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Op Ed

Brad Wardell - 3 things that have made gaming social media more toxic.
First, I want to emphasize that the gaming media isn’t some monolithic thing. There are a lot of good publications and journalists in the game industry. But at the same time, they, like you, know who and what I’m referring to, are often appalled by them, so I think they, and you, will forgive me if I simply describe the usual suspects as “the gaming media”.

It’s not just that the gaming media publicizes every tawdry rumor or speculation about the individuals involved in making games. It’s that they actively take sides and drive the narrative. This is extremely divisive and thus creates a constituency of people waiting “their turn” to air their grievances.

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43 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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43. Re: Op Ed Sep 3, 2014, 09:59 Verno
 
Squirmer wrote on Sep 1, 2014, 03:02:
Okay, now you're arriving at the problem. Game companies should have to hire another person just to ensure their developers aren't being sexist assholes. Spreading awareness of these issues will help to address that problem.

Haha what? Do women hire male script doctors at great expense to ensure that Greys Anatomy and Say Yes to the Dress is more relatable to me, even if it means changing the core programs?
 
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Watching: Enemy, Network, Wer
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42. Re: Op Ed Sep 2, 2014, 07:49 Hump
 
He should just name the offending publications, the asspie Gawker twins of Kotaku/Jezebel  
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41. Re: Op Ed Sep 1, 2014, 17:08 BobBob
 
jdreyer wrote on Sep 1, 2014, 14:54:
But how can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

Nice Pink Floyd reference.
 
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40. Re: Op Ed Sep 1, 2014, 15:02 harlock
 
jdreyer wrote on Sep 1, 2014, 14:54:
Burrito of Peace wrote on Sep 1, 2014, 11:27:
Then we'll get the pudding. But screaming and crying about it, throwing tantrums and generally being an offensive nuisance about not having pudding isn't going to incline me to abandon the more pressing issues that I already have.

But how can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

thought control!!
 
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39. Re: Op Ed Sep 1, 2014, 14:54 jdreyer
 
Burrito of Peace wrote on Sep 1, 2014, 11:27:
Then we'll get the pudding. But screaming and crying about it, throwing tantrums and generally being an offensive nuisance about not having pudding isn't going to incline me to abandon the more pressing issues that I already have.

But how can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?
 
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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38. Re: Op Ed Sep 1, 2014, 11:27 Burrito of Peace
 
I believe we have talked this particular "issue" to death on this site yet I am more than certain that it will crop up over and over with the same two main groups going at each other with their usual slash and burn, salt the earth mentalities.

This accomplishes nothing. Both sides are childishly myopic and fail the basic minimum requirements to effectively communicate an idea. If an idea has merit, it stands on its own. It does not require champions to vociferously campaign for a single, idiosyncratic interpretation while simultaneously casting aspersions or judgement, whether covertly or overtly, to demonize people of an opposing viewpoint. This near religious belief in the superior rectitude of one's own interpretation isn't just ignorant, bigoted and wasteful; it's dangerous. It actively and continuously prevents the free flow of information exchange and the compromise needed to find common ground. Common ground that is sorely and desperately needed to even begin the process of finding a workable solution.

Also, we must accept the fact that everyone has a different threshold for what they consider to be a "problem". You may find this "issue" to be a problem while others are of the opinion that this is about as much of an issue as running out of butterscotch pudding. In the world of my 5 year old niece, for example, running out of butterscotch pudding is tantamount to the apocalypse happening right then and there. For me, it just means that at some point I have to get to the store and pick up more. That's after I mow the lawn, fix the leaky faucet, take out the trash and then pick up and take Mom to her doctor's appointment.

Then we'll get the pudding. But screaming and crying about it, throwing tantrums and generally being an offensive nuisance about not having pudding isn't going to incline me to abandon the more pressing issues that I already have.

If my five year old niece can figure this out, can understand compromise and can behave like a civilized, rational adult, why can't we?
 
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37. Re: Op Ed Sep 1, 2014, 10:25 Slashman
 
jdreyer wrote on Sep 1, 2014, 03:28:
It's much cheaper to educate yourselves. My feeling is that most devs are not sexist, they just use tropes without really thinking about it. And I think that's what a lot of this is all about.

Exactly. There is also the reality that many game companies aren't on the same footing. Some companies barely have the resources to finish the game they started without going bankrupt, much less combing through their content for anything that might be offensive to some people.

Also, cultural differences exist in different countries where one thing may be perfectly acceptable to have in a game/movie/tv show that is frowned on by people in another country.

It isn't a simple matter of 'remove the tropes' and 'write better characters'. There is no simple, universal fix. That's even assuming you can get people to agree on the exact things that need fixing. And judging by several of the bad examples given by those championing the cause, that's a task all on it's own.

This comment was edited on Sep 1, 2014, 10:34.
 
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36. Re: Op Ed Sep 1, 2014, 09:30 Squirmer
 
jdreyer wrote on Sep 1, 2014, 03:28:
Squirmer wrote on Sep 1, 2014, 03:02:
Slashman wrote on Sep 1, 2014, 00:52:
As to why game studios wouldn't make better female characters, money may have something to do with it. If you need to bring in a professional writer every time you make an action game just to 'nice up the female characters' in it, who is paying for that? And what kind of financial gain is to be had from it? Last time I checked, patting yourself on the back doesn't balance books.
Okay, now you're arriving at the problem. Game companies should have to hire another person just to ensure their developers aren't being sexist assholes. Spreading awareness of these issues will help to address that problem.

It's much cheaper to educate yourselves. My feeling is that most devs are not sexist, they just use tropes without really thinking about it. And I think that's what a lot of this is all about.
Sorry that "should" should have been "shouldn't"
 
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35. Re: Op Ed Sep 1, 2014, 06:12 jdreyer
 
Beamer wrote on Sep 1, 2014, 04:09:
Let's look at Blues news today:
Activision Taking Take-Two - a business story generated by an investing site
Icewind Dale announcement - PR
Raya Sound Engine - PR
The Sims 4 Preloads - PR
Steam Top 10 - autogenerated report
Op Ed - obviously op ed, but pointless for a site to report as news and not put some commentary (Blue is an aggregator, not a reporter, so he lists)
Interviews - PR, but questions can be seen as commentary
Previews - Commentary on something led by PR
Consolidation - Dead or Alive Announcement - PR
Metaverse - "Shady Retailers" sounds like commentary in the headline
Tech Bits - NVIDIA rumor - news. Anand - PR
Safety Dance - News, plus some commentary, that appears innacurate
Hardware reviews - all commentary

With a few exceptions, most things are PR generated, and what isn't needs some commentary to even be worth clicking on, unless knowing about Dead or Alive 5 or The Sims release dates really get you excited. That's the nature of this industry. News is created almost exclusively by PR, and everyone basically has the same access to the same news, so giving your own voice is the only way to be distinguished.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold up. You forgot the most important section:
OUT OF THE BLUE. This is a hard-hitting journalistic exposé that occurs daily, covering such relevant topics as:
- the walking of the dog
- the state of trees and deer in Blue's yard
- the state of the nation called MANSTOVIA
- the status of chili and barbecue in general
- the weather in NY
- prominent deaths
- the dubious financial errors of DirectTV
- holidays including those from other countries and lesser known ones like Go Topless Day
- NY sports
- the state of air conditioning in Blue Tower
and many other pertinent, life-and-death topics necessary for general living and well-being.
 
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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34. Re: Op Ed Sep 1, 2014, 04:28 InBlack
 
I have no problem with Op. Ed. pieces, commentary or reviews as long as they are clearly stated as such and are based on some kind of argument which ideally should be derived from some kind of actual experience. I DO have a problem with 'reports' or 'stories' where no one even bothers to check whether what they are reporting has even any basis in truth. Yeah I get it that most people writing in the industry today probably have no formal training in journalism, but to me thats just a convenient excuse for being lazy and half-assed.  
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I have a nifty blue line!
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33. Re: Op Ed Sep 1, 2014, 04:09 Beamer
 
InBlack wrote on Sep 1, 2014, 03:54:
jdreyer wrote on Sep 1, 2014, 03:02:
Beamer wrote on Aug 31, 2014, 23:52:
And, regardless, whenever Blue adds some color commentary to his reporting, people say "Keep it up, Blue, I like when you add your opinion!"

Well, that's because it's witty, observant, and often hilarious.

Beamer when has he ever posted an opinion that wasnt tongue in cheek and that wasnt clearly a personal opinion???? Also its not like he is making shit up to 'spice' up the story.

The point being, video game news tends to be very dry and either just release dates, which are boring, or PR fluff, which is made more fun with some kind of commentary rather than just recycling what the PR person put out there.

That tends to be the only news we have. In fact, nearly everything we get is carefully controlled by PR. Did the news person see the game? He saw what PR was willing to show him. Or did see a movie? He saw what they sent him. Screenshots? Same thing. The only real time this isn't true is reviews, which are 100% commentary.

Lastly, no one really says "hey, I want to be a journalist, I should cover games!" Instead, it's more "hey, I love games yet I have no technical skills, but I can write decently enough, I guess I can apply to cover games." That's all we'll ever really get. There's little meaty to cover in games.


Let's look at Blues news today:
Activision Taking Take-Two - a business story generated by an investing site
Icewind Dale announcement - PR
Raya Sound Engine - PR
The Sims 4 Preloads - PR
Steam Top 10 - autogenerated report
Op Ed - obviously op ed, but pointless for a site to report as news and not put some commentary (Blue is an aggregator, not a reporter, so he lists)
Interviews - PR, but questions can be seen as commentary
Previews - Commentary on something led by PR
Consolidation - Dead or Alive Announcement - PR
Metaverse - "Shady Retailers" sounds like commentary in the headline
Tech Bits - NVIDIA rumor - news. Anand - PR
Safety Dance - News, plus some commentary, that appears innacurate
Hardware reviews - all commentary

With a few exceptions, most things are PR generated, and what isn't needs some commentary to even be worth clicking on, unless knowing about Dead or Alive 5 or The Sims release dates really get you excited. That's the nature of this industry. News is created almost exclusively by PR, and everyone basically has the same access to the same news, so giving your own voice is the only way to be distinguished.

This comment was edited on Sep 1, 2014, 04:14.
 
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32. Re: Op Ed Sep 1, 2014, 03:54 InBlack
 
jdreyer wrote on Sep 1, 2014, 03:02:
Beamer wrote on Aug 31, 2014, 23:52:
And, regardless, whenever Blue adds some color commentary to his reporting, people say "Keep it up, Blue, I like when you add your opinion!"

Well, that's because it's witty, observant, and often hilarious.

Beamer when has he ever posted an opinion that wasnt tongue in cheek and that wasnt clearly a personal opinion???? Also its not like he is making shit up to 'spice' up the story.
 
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31. Re: Op Ed Sep 1, 2014, 03:51 InBlack
 
Apart from the obvious narcissism, Brad makes some valid points. Especially with regards to the parts about the gaming media. There is a huge problem in journalism today where the money dictates what you write/report or more accurately "how" you report. Fox News, CNN etc. are the biggest culprits as most of you are aware and I wont go further down that slippery slope. Game journalism goes even further, they have always been into the money, and now that most of the content is presented in an online format, guess what happen? Sensationalism and totally completely biased, sometimes even unfactual reporting. Its like no one gives a shit becasue they write about 'games' and no one takes them seriously anyway they keep getting away with it. There is 0, nada, no professionalism involved. No regard for the truth, something that should be the crux of any story on any subject matter.  
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30. Re: Op Ed Sep 1, 2014, 03:28 jdreyer
 
Squirmer wrote on Sep 1, 2014, 03:02:
Slashman wrote on Sep 1, 2014, 00:52:
As to why game studios wouldn't make better female characters, money may have something to do with it. If you need to bring in a professional writer every time you make an action game just to 'nice up the female characters' in it, who is paying for that? And what kind of financial gain is to be had from it? Last time I checked, patting yourself on the back doesn't balance books.
Okay, now you're arriving at the problem. Game companies should have to hire another person just to ensure their developers aren't being sexist assholes. Spreading awareness of these issues will help to address that problem.

It's much cheaper to educate yourselves. My feeling is that most devs are not sexist, they just use tropes without really thinking about it. And I think that's what a lot of this is all about.
 
Avatar 22024
 
"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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29. Re: Op Ed Sep 1, 2014, 03:02 Squirmer
 
Slashman wrote on Sep 1, 2014, 00:52:
As to why game studios wouldn't make better female characters, money may have something to do with it. If you need to bring in a professional writer every time you make an action game just to 'nice up the female characters' in it, who is paying for that? And what kind of financial gain is to be had from it? Last time I checked, patting yourself on the back doesn't balance books.
Okay, now you're arriving at the problem. Game companies should have to hire another person just to ensure their developers aren't being sexist assholes. Spreading awareness of these issues will help to address that problem.
 
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28. Re: Op Ed Sep 1, 2014, 03:02 jdreyer
 
Beamer wrote on Aug 31, 2014, 23:52:
And, regardless, whenever Blue adds some color commentary to his reporting, people say "Keep it up, Blue, I like when you add your opinion!"

Well, that's because it's witty, observant, and often hilarious.
 
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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27. Re: Op Ed Sep 1, 2014, 02:59 jdreyer
 
Agent.X7 wrote on Aug 31, 2014, 23:34:
Buzz buzz * I'm relevant! * buzz buzz. Buzz buzz buzz. *Look at me!* buzz buzz buzz. Buzz buzz.

I have no idea what you're referring to. Brad's essay? Yeah, although it's got some good points, using himself as an example is a bit narcissistic.

Or are you referring to some comment someone made?
 
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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26. Re: Op Ed Sep 1, 2014, 02:56 jdreyer
 
Squirmer wrote on Aug 31, 2014, 21:01:
NKD wrote on Aug 31, 2014, 19:58:
The fewer sexist developers you have in the gaming world, the fewer sexist games you'll see. The solution isn't to attack content or attack developers, it's to get women and men who do not hold those sexist views into the game development world.
Agreed, I just don't see how this will happen without knowledge (and acknowledgement) of the problem. It's not a natural process. Whether it happens because of website editorials or because of the developers' formal or informal education, or whatever, the criticisms need to be voiced at some stage.

Software developers are among the least sexist generations to ever have lived. That they're highly educated makes them even more aware of sexism. There's been steady improvement in the 30 years I've played games. Social media and developer-fan intercourse also serves to remind/educate devs. And, as imperfect as her message is, so does Sarkeesian, as devs have responded to her analysis. Things are much better than they were, and should continue improving in that vein barring some catastrophe that throws us into a dark age (a couple of which are sneaking up on us).
 
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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25. Re: Op Ed Sep 1, 2014, 01:00 eRe4s3r
 
Beamer wrote on Aug 31, 2014, 23:52:
NKD wrote on Aug 31, 2014, 23:43:
Beamer wrote on Aug 31, 2014, 20:32:

Out of curiosity, though you won't tell developers what content they should or shouldn't create, aren't you kind of telling game sites what content they should or shouldn't create?

Game developers are creative minds making whatever they feel like making. No one expects them to be impartial. On the contrary, an artist's only obligation is to their own idea and trying to make it come to fruition.

Journalists should be held to a higher standard, because they are a source of information. They shouldn't be trying to shape the discussion, or use their sites as a bully pulpit to fan the flames of outrage. Gaming journalism sites are starting to become the personal blogs of the staff writers.

Game journalists aren't really news journalists, though. Frankly, there isn't much news in the video game world. It isn't like "More missiles fired in the Gaza Strip today" or "Ebola victims reach an all-time high." It's "EA releases The Sims 4 today, despite review copies not being sent out" or "AMD Announces New Piledriver Cards."

For the most part, there's little to be said without adding some commentary. And people like that. Sites get their hits based on people liking the personality, not the dry news, because the dry news in this industry tends to be dull - the news tends to be secondary to the product. "Sony Announces Little Big Planet 8." What else can be said there that is just news, rather than shaping discussion?

And, regardless, whenever Blue adds some color commentary to his reporting, people say "Keep it up, Blue, I like when you add your opinion!"

Bluesnews is a news aggregator and believe me, I click on links because the topic interests me, not because blues writes witty commentary
 
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24. Re: Op Ed Sep 1, 2014, 00:52 Slashman
 
Squirmer wrote on Aug 31, 2014, 19:29:
That's really simplistic. Assuming there's some truth to the claim that those games are more appealing to men due to their design rather than content (and there might be truth to that, I don't think anyone knows for sure), the fact remains that plenty of women do still play those kinds of games. You can't use a simple percentage stat as an argument for treating female characters like shit.

First, that's based on years of observation from both being a PC tech and network admin and working at companies which do a lot of home PC repairs. Also from years of hosting and being involved in local LAN tournaments and gaming in general.

I have yet to find a truly significant number of women who are dedicated players of games like GTA or Just Cause 2. Sims? Sure. Casual social games? Sure. MMOs? Sure.

With regards to treating female characters like shit: Sometimes...even most times. Game story writers are not all that great at writing characters. And most of the time a badly written female character is a reflection of poor character writing skills period. It's not some attempt trivialize women.

Take The Last of Us: I don't have raw numbers, but I get the impression that plenty of women played that and really enjoyed it, including because the female characters in that game were treated comparatively respectfully. And the game still had tons of violence and killing. Overall, I'm sure more men than women played it. But is that because it has a lot of violence, is it because more men own PS3s than women, is it because all games have more male than female players, is it due to the cultural-historical reason that games have always been aimed at men and not women and so that's how the audience has been built, is it for some other reason?

The Last of Us, like The Walking Dead games, is a story-driven game. Women do like story driven games. Action driven games, much less so.

As to why game studios wouldn't make better female characters, money may have something to do with it. If you need to bring in a professional writer every time you make an action game just to 'nice up the female characters' in it, who is paying for that? And what kind of financial gain is to be had from it? Last time I checked, patting yourself on the back doesn't balance books.

You can also ask most developers, characters and story pretty much take a back seat in most games because they get fit in after the major framework of the game is done. So unless someone is writing a story or character driven game, those things are going to be secondary.

"Women don't like those kinds of games" seems really reductionist and lacks any evidence.

Feel free to go out and gather evidence you think is relevant and let me know what you find.

Also, I have no idea why it is a crime for women to be attracted to different game types than men. Someone probably wrote that rule while I wasn't looking.
 
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