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(10-27-2012, 05:44 AM)
conman's Avatar

Originally Posted by aegies

This ... this is kind of disingenuous. GAF is hostile to press. Or at least, a very, very, very, very vocal contingent of GAF is hostile to the press. Asking a group of people that GAF regularly shits on and makes personal attacks against to talk to GAF members as normal human beings is actually asking kind of a lot. You might not have said anything negative, ever. Most of the posters here haven't. But there's a contingent that sets GAF's tone as perceived by the outside, and that tone is, like I said, hostile.

You acknowledge that there's a tense relationship, but I don't see anyone at GAF that's particularly influential or with the ability to guide conversation making an effort on this end to make any sort of peace. Even those of us who are posters here suffer some pretty hateful personal shit at the hands of other members, but it's totally fine, because, you know, whatever. We're press. So we deserve to be called giant pieces of shit. Meanwhile, if we were to come here and point out when we are absolutely positive that someone is a PR plant or a schill for a game, we'd get banned.

That kind of behavior, which I've watched get more hysterical over the last five years, has made GAF a thing that most press avoid, and tell other members of the press to avoid, instead of engaging with the forum the way they used to. I don't think I should automatically have your respect because I get paid to write about games, but some decency from people here as a human being would be a good start. And I don't see that very often.

The funny thing is, with regards to this thread topic, I'm in the same camp as GAF. I think the shit that went down was gross, and that a great deal of the ass-covering is shameful.

Covering this story for most outlets is writing about the competition, which is a really difficult thing to navigate. Are you being too negative? Is it because it's to your competitive advantage to make another site look bad? Can you be a trustworthy source on another site? What if your report is wrong? Like, completely, 100 percent wrong? What are we actually exposing? This isn't dateline. We're not taking down a major corporation that's dumping chemicals into the river.

Going negative about other sites is toxic, and most readers don't like that kind of content. It's lose lose. None of which stopped me from going on an extended twitter tirade about it, which I still don't know if I should have done, because it's more complicated than "write the story idiot."

Wow. I'm honestly impressed. And I will say that Polygon (as with Chris Grant's prior baby, Joystiq) has been one of the most forthright with its ethical stance about trips and gifts and whatnot. GAF has been critical of your launch, but I honestly think it's healthy and potentially productive criticism.

I'll also (sheepishly) admit that I've been horribly unfair to you as a writer. But I would also hope you can tell the difference between that sort of lambasting of you as one individual writer and the recognition of a deeply troubling and deliberate collective denial. This is different.

Even if there's a loud contingent of GAF that will always shit on journalists no matter what, there's an even larger contingent (likely made up of even those who are loudest in their criticisms) who read widely and avidly in the gaming press. Many of us see this forum as an extension of the larger collective "project" of writing about, understanding, and, yes, being critical of the industry we all love. You journalists are part of that. Many of us are incognito journalists or would-be journalists. Some of us are regular bloggers. Whatever. We all contribute to the conversation and work of making games into something more than just some "fun toy" that we all play with.

My point is, this is a seriously f-ed up situation. You journalists are the most public mouthpieces in our gaming culture. We expect you to voice these things. It is your responsibility to us and to our collective gaming culture to give a larger voice to these things. It really is the right thing to do. And it's seen as a betrayal by many of us to just sweep this under the rug. This is an opportunity to do some atonement and stake out what could truly be a new direction for the industry. A true moment of "growing up." Finally.

As for writing about the competition, well, you all are writers. It's your job to know how to write about these things in smart, intelligent, diplomatic ways. This just happens to be an especially touchy series of events for you all.

Why not get together with a handful of prominent writers from other sites? Why not write a collective statement that you can all proudly sign off on? Show your collective disgust with what's happened and with what continues to happen? Is this really so difficult? Is game journalism truly incapable of doing such a thing? Is it really as bad as that? If so, I feel bad for you all. It must suck to live and work in such a jaded community, to be writers with creative souls chained to disillusionment and disenchantment. But I'd like to think, much like Rab Florence himself said in one of his recent blog posts, that as writers you all are capable of doing better than what you're currently doing.