Games Journalism! Wainwright/Florence/Tomb Raider/Eurogamer/Libel Threats/Doritos

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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."
Those are all valid questions, but then again, if you HAVE answers to those questions (and the fact you're asking them is a good thing, and a necessary thing) then there's pretty much no reason NOT to level those criticisms. Again - regular press do it all the time. If a paper gets caught being faulty on the journalistic end, and reporters from other papers uncover that in the course of their digging into a story? That gets called out. So long as the facts are in place and are worth standing on - that other paper's role in the story BECOMES part of the story. There's no way it doesn't.

Writing about "the competition" is only difficult if the worry is less about the quality of your content and more about whether you'll lose audience to the competition by dint of merely mentioning them.
In the last few months, I can think of three journalists that have been caught plagiarizing their articles/interviews and all those stories were covered in the news. There's no reason whatsoever not to call this shit out other than fear (or self-incrimination).

Some links for reference:
http://www.lamag.com/story.aspx?ID=1771992
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/publ...e-plagiarism-scandal-a-test-for-public-editor
 
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.
Are you saying you'd be banned if you called someone a shill because you're a member of the press or a member of the forum.

If it's the latter, members have accused first and later uncovered PR shills like so.

They've also accused and been wrong with no backlash which happens pretty much every time two people disagree on a game's quality.
 
I didn't follow the story very closely, so it's likely I don't have all the facts straight, but didn't MS fund $750,000 for a documentary about Polygon? On its face, that seems like a pretty major ethical issue.
Press Reset is sponsored by Internet Explorer. Which we disclosed from day one. As for the exact amount, I don't actually know it, and also, our ad rates and CPM, which factor into that kind of thing, are not public, as far as I know. Those are private information between our advertisers and Vox Media's ad sales team.

This is not particularly fair. Your definition of hostility seems to begin and end with ad hominem attacks on your person, which by and large I agree with your view, but they also seem extremely rare and are called out when they happen. So, as near as I can figure, you're extending that definition of hostility to, for example, questioning your journalistic integrity over things like Press Reset. Not just over that specific example, but things like that. Am I wrong? I don't have a good history with you answering questions I ask like this, but I am legitimately asking if this is what you mean and it will help clarify your position and my understanding of said position if you expound upon that.

Your hypothetical of calling someone out as a PR shill - has this been an issue in the past? Are you implying that a member of the press has been banned, or threatened with a ban, for exposing someone like this? Did they have proper evidence? What made them so sure? I want to make sure myself that this is simply not a hypothetical and that you have a reasonable expectation that you would in fact be banned if you participated in any such naming and shaming.

I am struggling to understand the hostility you feel. While I have no doubt that some people here can be insulting and overzealous, to even imply that's representative of any larger group, especially when the majority of people here are making pleas for sanity, is completely inaccurate. I feel like there's an inherent hypocrisy in what you're doing here and what you're accusing this board of doing.
If you think instances of ad hominem attacks on me on NeoGAF are rare, you're wrong. I get tweets from random people literally every time they happen, because some people want to be extra sure I see every negative thing someone says about me.

With regards to Press Reset, it's advertiser-sponsored content. Microsoft, via Internet Explorer and Windows, has sponsored hundreds if not thousands of television programs over the last 20 years with similar agreements, though in this case, they pitched us on the kind of thing we could make with the sponsorship deal. We've never hid that sponsorship. We don't think that's unethical, and we don't think it's in violation of our ethics statement. We do not cover that kind of thing, and even if we did, they have no editorial input on what we're doing.

Clearly, none of that is enough to dissuade you from thinking it's unethical, which is your prerogative. But I'm not obligated to come here every time someone brings it up like it's a scandal. We disclosed what we felt we should and were obliged to under our then-developing and now-current ethics policy. I'm not going to apologize for a non-endemic ad deal that most sites would kill for. That kind of advertising is exactly what people in here have been insisting that sites should have. The problem is that almost nobody can get them. They're the holy grail. Every site I've ever worked at and every writer I've ever talked to has spoken of them in hushed tones.

I've seen marketing plants active on GAF. I have never called them out. I have never seen anyone banned for it. It was a hypothetical, based on the premise that it would be seen as a personal attack.
 
Totally off subject, but...

Hell, if you have a straight up Computer Science degree you'll be starting at just under 70K. The only problem, as I've found lately, is that you hit the ceiling with that work pretty quick. Regardless, CS is one of the most in-demand disciplines to learn right now. You will not be wanting for available jobs.
I guess it depends on where ya graduate then, and get internship experience etc. It's not like getting a job for any field is easy these days :p

I guess you probably can always move to management or something boring if ya want more money lol.


In the last few months, I can think of three journalists that have been caught plagiarizing their articles/interviews and all those stories were covered in the news. There's no reason whatsoever not to call this shit out other than fear (or self-incrimination).
really? Any links? I gotta pay attention more :X
 
I don't think anyone would be banned for actually outing some PR plant you were certain about, though it's probably something you'd want to go through via PM. The mods don't take kindly to that stuff and actual plants have been banned here before. There can often be a fine line between a genuinely enthusiastic fan and someone with an agenda beyond that, which can make it difficult to police without outside information.
Is there any precedent of this? I'm really curious if there is.

Aegies' point seems to be that GAF is allowed to shit on journalists, but journalists aren't allowed to shit in members. I've only seen the former happen when there is a genuinely questionable article and the writer digs himself in a hole. Like so: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=445927&highlight=

GAF has a long and proud history of laughing at people who put their foot in their mouth. Whether it is press or one of its own members. Engaging further in cases like this tends to end badly because the person in question takes it personally and makes it worse in an attempt at a hasty defence.
 
Even just a NEWS FLASH: CONTROVERSY OVER EUROGAMER ARTICLE without actually taking one side or the other would at least inform people of the situation while avoiding the worry of bias. Just report the fact that it has happened.
 
Are you saying you'd be banned if you called someone a shill because you're a member of the press or a member of the forum.

If it's the latter, members have accused first and later uncovered PR shills like so.

They've also accused and been wrong with no backlash which happens pretty much every time two people disagree on a game's quality.
Don't forget this classic.

Why all games MUST be like Borderlands

Arthur if you have a reasonable suspicion that one of us is a viral marketer, please go ahead and share.
 
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."
I admit, I sometimes or often don't agree with Arthur's statements but this one is right on the money.

There's a reason why not everyone of us is doing an expose or feature concerning what happened here. It's not as cut-and-dry as most people think. And before anyone assumes, no. It's not about money or bowing down to PR or whatnot. This"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." and the fact that reporting or talking about another site on the site you work for isn't really seen in a good light and whole ton of other factors play into it.

It's just funny that some pretty vocal people on GAF always assume that games writers are corrupt or easily bought. Since I started writing about games for a living, I've only seen one or two instances of shady practices and definitely less than what most people assume. Not everyone of us are corrupt and sellouts, y'know? But coming here talking about it, people are quick to judge.

Just like Arthur said, a big vocal majority of GAF hates "us" or what we do for some reason. Be it from reviewing games, writing news posts (that people think are always just PR), etc. People are quick to point out or say "X is an asshat Gaemz joornalizm!" without looking at everything first.

Case in point, Jason Schreier. He posted here not to be an ass, but people were calling him out as if not writing a piece about this was a sin against his profession...it's not.

Why the hate, GAF? I -- heck, "we" are one of you guys. I can't even count how many threads I started here and how many people I quoted or discussed gaming with. But the moment we talk about "gaming journalism," everyone suddenly hates us.

I think this is some of the reason why press or even devs are wary of participating in the discussion here. I admit, when it comes to stuff like these, I normally browse instead of participating even if I wanted to. Not because I don't have an idea to say, but due to the hostility that's not warranted.

One good example is a few devs I see here interacting with GAF on their upcoming games. I've seen posters cry out at these devs as "liars" or something more insulting. And people wonder they don't reply? If you were the dev, would you when you know it will create a chain reaction that will eat up a lot of your working time?

Sorry for the long post, but reading what Arthur posted stirred what I was thinking for a long time. =)

TL;DR: Arthur has a point, the cynical hate-filled people need to chill sometimes. Also, for the record regarding this MCV/Eurogamer fiasco, I side with GAF on how shitty MCV handled everything.
 

TheSeks

Blinded by the luminous glory that is David Bowie's physical manifestation.
Even just a NEWS FLASH: CONTROVERSY OVER EUROGAMER ARTICLE without actually taking one side or the other would at least inform people of the situation while avoiding the worry of bias. Just report the fact that it has happened.
This is what I'm getting at. You don't need to name names or dig further, but you should report it and stand besides Wainwright as a "we agree with him on his points" thing. Boom, done. But if you aren't going to do that, you're part of the problem quite simply. Because you're being a coward and hiding and fearing the PR backlash for simply doing that.
 
Even just a NEWS FLASH: CONTROVERSY OVER EUROGAMER ARTICLE without actually taking one side or the other would at least inform people of the situation while avoiding the worry of bias. Just report the fact that it has happened.
Patrick Klepek seemed to manage just fine without naming any names or ticking anyone off. Hell, he even managed to express his own exhaustion with these sorts of stories and still sound like an upright dude in the process. Respect +10 (and +5 bonus for not shying away from the term "journalist"). I may not like GB much, but that Klepek guy is alright in my book.
 
really? Any links? I gotta pay attention more :X
Yeah. I posted them above. These were the two big stories that come immediately to mind when it comes to the press covering other journalists who have fucked up. It's not new and the press will talk about itself (even if it takes a lot of nudging).

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/publ...e-plagiarism-scandal-a-test-for-public-editor
http://www.lamag.com/story.aspx?ID=1771992

This is plagiarism at Canada's biggest national newspaper and The New Yorker, so journalistic ethics are lost even at the highest levels. But still, just because it's "games journalism" doesn't meant that we as readers shouldn't hold people to the same standards as "real journalists".

More importantly, other games journalists shouldn't be afraid to call out the junk that happens in their own profession because one bad apple will spoil the bunch and, as this thread has shown, call into question the entire profession.

I admit, I sometimes or often don't agree with Arthur's statements but this one is right on the money.

There's a reason why not everyone of us is doing an expose or feature concerning what happened here. It's not as cut-and-dry as most people think. And before anyone assumes, no. It's not about money or bowing down to PR or whatnot. This"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." and the fact that reporting or talking about another site on the site you work for isn't really seen in a good light and whole ton of other factors play into it.
If "real journalists" can do it, why not game journalists?
 
Not everyone of us are corrupt and sellouts, y'know? But coming here talking about it, people are quick to judge.
I could scream. It's as if almost all of you game journalists are deliberately missing the point. You're blinded by your own defensiveness. No one's calling you "sellouts" or "corrupt." Even Rab's original piece (and subsequent follow up pieces) made a specific point of that. This is something far more insidious, invisible, subtle, and pervasive. If you can't see that, you are indeed part of the problem.
 
Press Reset is sponsored by Internet Explorer. Which we disclosed from day one. As for the exact amount, I don't actually know it, and also, our ad rates and CPM, which factor into that kind of thing, are not public, as far as I know. Those are private information between our advertisers and Vox Media's ad sales team.



If you think instances of ad hominem attacks on me on NeoGAF are rare, you're wrong. I get tweets from random people literally every time they happen, because some people want to be extra sure I see every negative thing someone says about me.

With regards to Press Reset, it's advertiser-sponsored content. Microsoft, via Internet Explorer and Windows, has sponsored hundreds if not thousands of television programs over the last 20 years with similar agreements, though in this case, they pitched us on the kind of thing we could make with the sponsorship deal. We've never hid that sponsorship. We don't think that's unethical, and we don't think it's in violation of our ethics statement. We do not cover that kind of thing, and even if we did, they have no editorial input on what we're doing.

Clearly, none of that is enough to dissuade you from thinking it's unethical, which is your prerogative. But I'm not obligated to come here every time someone brings it up like it's a scandal. We disclosed what we felt we should and were obliged to under our then-developing and now-current ethics policy. I'm not going to apologize for a non-endemic ad deal that most sites would kill for. That kind of advertising is exactly what people in here have been insisting that sites should have. The problem is that almost nobody can get them. They're the holy grail. Every site I've ever worked at and every writer I've ever talked to has spoken of them in hushed tones.

I've seen marketing plants active on GAF. I have never called them out. I have never seen anyone banned for it. It was a hypothetical, based on the premise that it would be seen as a personal attack.
That kind of stuff should be called out on. If you don't mind me asking, why didn't you do it? You don't have to post to tweet about it, just PM a mod.
 
Yet, it really is. It's kind of one of those unwritten rules.. you don't publicly talk shit about others in your field at different companies.. because good chance one day you'll be working with them.
It's amazing what non-journalists think the unwritten rules of journalism are.
If someone at another publication screws up, you go after them. This isn't even a questionable thing in our industry. You be fair about it, sure, but you don't let them off the hook until the truth comes out.

Just look at any newspaper war or scandal in the past century-and-a-half.
 
I could scream. It's like you all are deliberately missing the point. No one's calling you "sellouts" or "corrupt." Even Rab's original piece (and subsequent follow up pieces) made a specific point of that. This is something far more insidious, invisible, subtle, and pervasive. If you can't see that, you are indeed part of the problem.
I was just pointing it out since almost review that gets dissected in GAF has someone pointing out that X is a paid shill, etc. It's rarely that. :)

And yes, I agree with Rab's post and his subsequent post:http://botherer.org/2012/10/26/guest-post-robert-florence-on-the-last-few-days/

PR has too much power. Heck, I've tweeted publicly form time to time that I HATE interacting with PR since some of them are asshats.
 
It's amazing what non-journalists think the unwritten rules of journalism are.
If someone at another publication screws up, you go after them. This isn't even a questionable thing in our industry. You be fair about it, sure, but you don't let them off the hook until the truth comes out.

Just look at any newspaper war or scandal in the past century-and-a-half.
I think the entire world ignored Judith Miller because that would have broken the unwritten rules about journalists writing about other journalists!

Oh wait, the exact opposite happened and she got called out for being fed information from the White House.

Look, I understand video games aren't the Iraq War or outing CIA agents or whatever, but having some standards isn't a bad thing.
 
One good example is a few devs I see here interacting with GAF on their upcoming games. I've seen posters cry out at these devs as "liars" or something more insulting. And people wonder they don't reply? If you were the dev, would you when you know it will create a chain reaction that will eat up a lot of your working time?
How is this different than any other site on the Internet? You are acting like these people should get special treatment for coming down off their throne and speaking to us lowly peasants. The Devs who do post here do so on their own volition. And guess what? There are idiots and assholes just waiting to jump out and attack. Anonymity does that to people. So you either ignore it or roll with it. It would be nice if there was a place that was free from hostility, but that can never happen as long as an open discussion is allowed.
 
I admit, I sometimes or often don't agree with Arthur's statements but this one is right on the money.

There's a reason why not everyone of us is doing an expose or feature concerning what happened here. It's not as cut-and-dry as most people think. And before anyone assumes, no. It's not about money or bowing down to PR or whatnot. This"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." and the fact that reporting or talking about another site on the site you work for isn't really seen in a good light and whole ton of other factors play into it.

It's just funny that some pretty vocal people on GAF always assume that games writers are corrupt or easily bought. Since I started writing about games for a living, I've only seen one or two instances of shady practices and definitely less than what most people assume. Not everyone of us are corrupt and sellouts, y'know? But coming here talking about it, people are quick to judge.

Just like Arthur said, a big vocal majority of GAF hates "us" or what we do for some reason. Be it from reviewing games, writing news posts (that people think are always just PR), etc. People are quick to point out or say "X is an asshat Gaemz joornalizm!" without looking at everything first.

Case in point, Jason Schreier. He posted here not to be an ass, but people were calling him out as if not writing a piece about this was a sin against his profession...it's not.

Why the hate, GAF? I -- heck, "we" are one of you guys. I can't even count how many threads I started here and how many people I quoted or discussed gaming with. But the moment we talk about "gaming journalism," everyone suddenly hates us.

I think this is some of the reason why press or even devs are wary of participating in the discussion here. I admit, when it comes to stuff like these, I normally browse instead of participating even if I wanted to. Not because I don't have an idea to say, but due to the hostility that's not warranted.

One good example is a few devs I see here interacting with GAF on their upcoming games. I've seen posters cry out at these devs as "liars" or something more insulting. And people wonder they don't reply? If you were the dev, would you when you know it will create a chain reaction that will eat up a lot of your working time?

Sorry for the long post, but reading what Arthur posted stirred what I was thinking for a long time. =)

TL;DR: Arthur has a point, the cynical hate-filled people need to chill sometimes. Also, for the record regarding this MCV/Eurogamer fiasco, I side with GAF on how shitty MCV handled everything.

You know, we don´t ask yet for opinion pieces. Just reporting. Reporting, the most basic thing journalists are doing. Being silent on this, in the time of internet, undermines any kind of credibility sites got.
 
I was just pointing it out since almost review that gets dissected in GAF has someone pointing out that X is a paid shill, etc. It's rarely that. :)

And yes, I agree with Rab's post and his subsequent post:http://botherer.org/2012/10/26/guest-post-robert-florence-on-the-last-few-days/

PR has too much power. Heck, I've tweeted publicly form time to time that I HATE interacting with PR since some of them are asshats.
The problem is that journalists are getting uber-defensive and using it as an excuse to belittle what we're saying. They're assuming this is just an outgrowth of the "moneyhat" accusations. This is different. We're not talking about "paid for" review scores or some silly thing like that. Most of us here are talking about a deeply rooted system of connections between PR and press that too often goes untouched, unmentioned, and unproblematized by the press themselves. And the worst part is, that as you yourself mention, you all already know this is a problem. So why not use this event as an excuse to bring this into the open? This might be your one big opportunity to change things for the better. Your chance to get the attention of publishers, even. Who knows? As I said before, are you all really so jaded?

But then we see on Twitter and in some posts here that journalists keep wanting to frame this in ridiculous extremes. That somehow we all think you're a bunch of bought-and-paid-for corporate shills. It ain't like that. Folks like myself just want to see some open acknowledgment of a conversation that clearly needs to happen. Not talking about it is just as naive and self-incriminating as what Wainwright did.
 

NervousXtian

Thought Emoji Movie was good. Take that as you will.
Yeah. I posted them above. These were the two big stories that come immediately to mind when it comes to the press covering other journalists who have fucked up. It's not new and the press will talk about itself (even if it takes a lot of nudging).

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/publ...e-plagiarism-scandal-a-test-for-public-editor
http://www.lamag.com/story.aspx?ID=1771992

This is plagiarism at Canada's biggest national newspaper and The New Yorker, so journalistic ethics are lost even at the highest levels. But still, just because it's "games journalism" doesn't meant that we as readers shouldn't hold people to the same standards as "real journalists".

More importantly, other games journalists shouldn't be afraid to call out the junk that happens in their own profession because one bad apple will spoil the bunch and, as this thread has shown, call into question the entire profession.

If "real journalists" can do it, why not game journalists?
Actual provable plagiarism is a bit different than the suspicion of bias due to PR friendships or gifts.

One you can prove actually did something wrong, the other is just suspicion.
 
One good example is a few devs I see here interacting with GAF on their upcoming games. I've seen posters cry out at these devs as "liars" or something more insulting. And people wonder they don't reply? If you were the dev, would you when you know it will create a chain reaction that will eat up a lot of your working time?

Sorry for the long post, but reading what Arthur posted stirred what I was thinking for a long time. =)

TL;DR: Arthur has a point, the cynical hate-filled people need to chill sometimes. Also, for the record regarding this MCV/Eurogamer fiasco, I side with GAF on how shitty MCV handled everything.
Posting here can get you into hot water. I have said little things here that ended up getting picked up and distributed by the gaming press. Case in point when I posted that nobody bought Dead Space Extraction (true, but not my place to say). I have been reading and posting on game forums since I got my 300 baud modem for my c64 and I do it because I love it. Games are my life.

I think a key rule to avoid hate is to not say anything that isn't true. If you say you're adding a feature then it better be there and it had better work.
 
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.
I am certainly not denying that writers often get lumped together and don't get a fair shake here but I also can't count the number of times I have listened to comments podcasts or see twitter posts that basically amount to a condescending sneer. 'Oh, that's how GAF is.' 'Those people are just fanboys who drive me crazy' etc. I understand that it is different when it is personal. And I probably am guilty as anyone because I disagree with you a lot and I sometimes voice that disagreement in more colorful language than is necessary. But I can tell you that it doesn't really help matters when half the time while listening to Rebel FM you guys try to mind read or generalize about groups of people who like a particular game or have an attitude you don't share or understand.


.

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."
I don't think most people are asking for take downs of specific individuals. Rather they just want more transparency and more honest discussion about things like the subtler influences of press kits, PR relationships, or just general leveraging of access. I think the exchange that you and Shawn had earlier speaks to this point exactly. You don't think that stuff impacts you, just like nobody else thinks marketing/PR/advertising impacts them either. But that kind of blanket denial doesn't really address the issue in an honest way. It is merely a dismissal. Moreover, the fact that we have even more overt cases of conflict of interest cropping up and going underdiscussed in mainstream gaming media just furthers the desire for more direct conversation and transparency about these issues.
 
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.
Has there been any discussion among those that you talk to about why some people on this forum have a negative view about the press? I think that it's something that's been building here for years. Whether it be questionable reviews, trips, freebies, or lack of coverage of major issues (Skyrim PS3, PS3 hack, FIFA 360 scamming etc.), it's all been leading to this point where everything boils over. It's another issue that seems like it should be a big deal but receives very little attention (if any) on the major sites. And those are the sites that people are most concerned about.

Just today we learned this

As we write this article on the morning of Friday 26th, French has as yet issued no clarification on any of the points raised in response to his tweet. His only further comment was a reply to a tweet by Colin Campbell, a former UK journalist and magazine publisher now employed by IGN in California, which accused those who were criticising Eurogamer and Wainwright of "sententious, self-righteous cant".
We haven't highlighted how Intent Media has been at the forefront of debasing videogames journalism for years, along with VG24/7 and many others. We haven't even told you the story of how IGN's Colin Campbell, mentioned above and a winner of the GMA's "Games Industry Legend" award, is directly implicated in the practice of covertly selling review scores for advertising – something this writer can verify from first-hand personal knowledge.
http://wosland.podgamer.com/the-wainwright-profile/#more-14177

That's why people are irritated by the lack of coverage. Obviously this isn't something that everyone in the industry is doing. So why the lack of coverage? It just seems like something that you'd expect others journalist (those that aren't influenced by PR) to want to weed out so that they can be trusted more. And then we see Rab's recent piece about how people in the industry are telling him to just let it go or move on. Why do they want this issue, something that's quite serious for their profession, to be swept under the rug?
 
Patrick Weekes from BioWare had a couple of his posts to the Penny Arcade forums badly misconstrued and quoted out of context by a couple of gaming "news" websites. The misquotes were then repeated by other sites. It goes both ways.
 
Actual provable plagiarism is a bit different than the suspicion of bias due to PR friendships or gifts.

One you can prove actually did something wrong, the other is just suspicion.
That's fair, but at the very least you can have an open discussion about the issues that are being raised rather than shitting on people who want that discussion to happen by calling them tin hat conspiracy theorists or "haters".
 
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."
I appreciate this post and I sympathize with you. I think just in general the public is hostile to the press and if you are a journalist you pretty much get shit on day in and day out. It's one rung below being a lawyer when it comes to being treated as a human being. Say what you will about that Kotaku guy, but he at least he had the balls to post in this thread and express his opinion, yet every time Kotaku is mentioned on GAF it's accompanied by that .jpg and 10 posts about "Kotaku is shit". I realize that it's very easy for journalists to become jaded about public criticism, but sometimes criticism is warranted. When it devolves into personal attacks is when stuff gets ugly.

However - again I respect you as a person and I realize journalists are just people and it's a tough job - I think where the disconnect is that, just honestly speaking, there is some shit that journalists in the gaming press could be more transparent about.

PLEASE READ THIS PART:

You don't even have to go negative about another site because like you said what if you are 100 percent wrong? A story about this mess doesn't even have to focus on Eurogamer, Florence or Wainwright. What you can do on your end is address stuff, which you already have in this thread, about things like press junkets and press kits on your site. I'm just generalizing, but if you get sent a swank, crazy expensive press kit don't put up an "unboxing" blog post about how cool this press kit is. I'm not saying that you have, but I have seen gaming media outlets do this. The story should be that publisher A is sending crazy expensive press kits to media outlets. The story shouldn't be "Wow, look at this cool shit!" It should be about how many of these press kits were sent out. It should be something that publishers are made to feel ashamed of for and derided for. I'm just speaking candidly, but how is this even accepted practice in this day and age? In what other profession involving journalism would this not be considered shady as shit? The whole hashtag for a free PS3 should be front and center news on any game site.

Secondly, you guys have enough collective power to reign in the bullshit from PR. If you get punished for not playing ball or blacklisted, the competing site shouldn't look at it as a chance to gain a competitive advantage. You guys should stick together and expose these abuses. You have the power to do this. You really do have the power to just say "no" and expose some of this shit. If you have to be flown out to Hawaii for a press junket and it's a waste of time, report that it's a waste of time.
I think people would respect you guys more if you called out PR for a lot of the bullshit instead of looking at is as if I don't play ball someone else will. Let the dude who writes a glowing preview because he was flown out to Hawaii look like a corporate shill. The story should be X number of gaming journalists were flown to Hawaii Monday for an exclusive preview of Y game. Call them out for their bullshit. If your editor or your publisher won't go to bat for you then you probably don't want to be working there in the first place. Hold PR's feet to the fire. They don't have a gun to your head.

END RANT

I know it's common for people to accuse those in the gaming press of being money hatted. I know the vast majority of you guys are actually honest, hard working dudes. But to the average, everyday normal person like myself just some of the shit I see is disgusting and should be exposed.

Frankly, it's a little fucking disappointing too. When I was in the hospital as kid reading issues of EGM one of my dreams was to become a journalist. I looked up to a lot of game journalists. Despite my horrible grammar and spelling in this post, I went to college to become a journalist and graduated cum laude. Reading about a lot of the inside baseball shit later in life was, frankly, kind of soul crushing. Little stuff like ex-EGM staff writing that Ed Semrad didn't actually write half of his editorials or reviews. Shit about being blacklisted for not playing ball. It's just disappointing. I take my lumps regularly, but I've never put myself in a situation where I've had to question my morals. I just wish you guys had editors that would go to bat for you and you'd be more transparent sometimes.
 
Has there been any discussion among those that you talk to about why some people on this forum have a negative view about the press? I think that it's something that's been building here for years. Whether it be questionable reviews, trips, freebies, or lack of coverage of major issues (Skyrim PS3, PS3 hack, FIFA 360 scamming etc.), it's all been leading to this point where everything boils over. It's another issue that seems like it should be a big deal but receives very little attention (if any) on the major sites. And those are the sites that people are most concerned about.

Just today we learned this





http://wosland.podgamer.com/the-wainwright-profile/#more-14177

That's why people are irritated by the lack of coverage. Obviously this isn't something that everyone in the industry is doing. So why the lack of coverage? It just seems like something that you'd expect others journalist (those that aren't influenced by PR) to want to weed out so that they can be trusted more. And then we see Rab's recent piece about how people in the industry are telling him to just let it go or move on. Why do they want this issue, something that's quite serious for their profession, to be swept under the rug?
I can't speak for everyone else. I wouldn't presume to. And the things that are said to me in confidence by people i know are to be kept in confidence. And as far as Shawn having a discussion with me, I know Shawn. Not well, mind you, but we've hung out a bit. Talked like human beings. Slept in the same hotel room. Ate pink rice. He's a personal acquaintance. So when he approaches me in a critical way, I have an easier time understanding where he's coming from.

I can't speak for Colin either, because I only know him a little. He's a super nice guy, and I've never seen anything to suggest the kind of behavior he's being accused of. I also wouldn't report on something like that without crazy sourcing and triple confirmation, because even the accusation of shit like that can ruin someone's career.

But you have to understand something else, and maybe GAF loses sight of this. The press I deal with 99 percent of the time is not the press caught up in this particular row, for good or ill. I don't know anyone from eurogamer, for example. Games media tends to be geographically insular. So when people talk about press defending the shadier shit that's happened in this situation over the last week, I personally haven't seen any of that. And I follow most of the high profile people on twitter. So I can't speak to defensiveness, outside of MCVUK et al's behavior, which seems gross to me, looking from the outside and with little factual information outside of hearsay.

If we reported on game rumors with as little substantiated information as this situation, we'd be accused of trolling for clicks. Or of falling for a reddit trap, or something.

Frankly, it's a little fucking disappointing too. When I was in the hospital as kid reading issues of EGM one of my dreams was to become a journalist. I looked up to a lot of game journalists. Despite my horrible grammar and spelling in this post, I went to college to become a journalist and graduated cum laude. Reading about a lot of the inside baseball shit later in life was, frankly, kind of soul crushing. Little stuff like ex-EGM staff writing that Ed Semrad didn't actually write half of his editorials or reviews. Shit about being blacklisted for not playing ball. It's just disappointing. I take my lumps regularly, but I've never put myself in a situation where I've had to question my morals. I just wish you guys had editors that would go to bat for you and you'd be more transparent sometimes.
I don't question my morals, or my ethics. I act in a way that is consistent with my personal ethics. I do have editors that go to bat for me. And as a section editor, I also go to bat for the people that write for me. I don't know what transparency people want from us that they're not getting. I've disclosed literally every event I've ever gone to, at least on Twitter, and often in the articles themselves for review events.

If it makes you feel any better, the absolutely crazy shit that happened back in the day doesn't happen much anymore. This year especially, events have been considerably more subdued. But nothing is even close to the insanity of the 80s and 90s, or even the first half of the 00s.
 
...
Just like Arthur said, a big vocal majority of GAF hates "us" or what we do for some reason. Be it from reviewing games, writing news posts (that people think are always just PR), etc. People are quick to point out or say "X is an asshat Gaemz joornalizm!" without looking at everything first.

Case in point, Jason Schreier. He posted here not to be an ass, but people were calling him out as if not writing a piece about this was a sin against his profession...it's not.

Why the hate, GAF? I -- heck, "we" are one of you guys. I can't even count how many threads I started here and how many people I quoted or discussed gaming with. But the moment we talk about "gaming journalism," everyone suddenly hates us.
...
Yeah, sometimes I wish the mods here were a little more strict about people being total pricks to one another, but it is what it is. We do tend to self-moderate fairly well, though it sometimes takes a while. I know I and others spoke up when Schreier was being slammed, for instance. After a while you get used to how, like most any other big forum, some people are just going to be unreasonable so you simply ignore them. But don't mistake the parts for the whole. There are actually quite a lot of thoughtful, considerate posters here who are worth talking to.
 

NervousXtian

Thought Emoji Movie was good. Take that as you will.
Posting here can get you into hot water. I have said little things here that ended up getting picked up and distributed by the gaming press. Case in point when I posted that nobody bought Dead Space Extraction (true, but not my place to say). I have been reading and posting on game forums since I got my 300 baud modem for my c64 and I do it because I love it. Games are my life.

I think a key rule to avoid hate is to not say anything that isn't true. If you say you're adding a feature then it better be there and it had better work.
I loved my Commie 300 baud. I remember doing MUDS back in the day. Holy shit it was mind blowing at the time.

That's fair, but at the very least you can have an open discussion about the issues that are being raised rather than shitting on people who want that discussion to happen by calling them tin hat conspiracy theorists or "haters".
Well, to be honest they kind of tossed the 1st shit.. but yeah. Kind of let them get to me a bit.

I still don't think most game writers are really all that swayed by the PR shit.
 
Press Reset is sponsored by Internet Explorer. Which we disclosed from day one. As for the exact amount, I don't actually know it, and also, our ad rates and CPM, which factor into that kind of thing, are not public, as far as I know. Those are private information between our advertisers and Vox Media's ad sales team.

...

With regards to Press Reset, it's advertiser-sponsored content. Microsoft, via Internet Explorer and Windows, has sponsored hundreds if not thousands of television programs over the last 20 years with similar agreements, though in this case, they pitched us on the kind of thing we could make with the sponsorship deal. We've never hid that sponsorship. We don't think that's unethical, and we don't think it's in violation of our ethics statement. We do not cover that kind of thing, and even if we did, they have no editorial input on what we're doing.

Clearly, none of that is enough to dissuade you from thinking it's unethical, which is your prerogative. But I'm not obligated to come here every time someone brings it up like it's a scandal. We disclosed what we felt we should and were obliged to under our then-developing and now-current ethics policy. I'm not going to apologize for a non-endemic ad deal that most sites would kill for. That kind of advertising is exactly what people in here have been insisting that sites should have. The problem is that almost nobody can get them. They're the holy grail. Every site I've ever worked at and every writer I've ever talked to has spoken of them in hushed tones.

...
Polygon's transparency thus far is certainly praiseworthy. And using an ad-based revenue model, there will always be some tension between journalistic integrity and the business side of things. I just think due to the nature of IE/Microsoft's relationship with the site and amount of money allegedly involved, there is greater amount of skepticism than usual. You say the deal is one "most sites would kill for," that it's "the holy grail," and that it's the kind of deal spoken about in "hushed tones." It makes it sound like the money is of existential import for Polygon. In your statement of ethics, under advertising, you state:

Polygon Statement of Ethics said:
We do not accept money or other consideration from companies as a condition or incentive to write a review or story, whether favorable or unfavorable, on Polygon.
I think a reasonable person could conclude that Microsoft's support might provide incentive or at least subconscious bias to treat their products more favorably, particularly since the documentary/money helped jump start the site to a certain degree. Now, to be fair, under the same section in the ethics statement, Polygon retains editorial discretion and adheres to a number of other good rules that help ensure editorial integrity. It's just the amount of money alleged and the timing of the thing makes it easy to suspect impropriety.
 
I don't know why I'm so amused by this story. I don't even go on gaming news sites. I get all my news from GAF, and use GameFAQs if I have a question about a specific game.

Anyway, to journos asking for respect, you just have to earn it. Don't assume GAF is some collective mind. Some people will hate no matter what. Some people will listen.

I'm not going to waste my time attacking someone on Twitter. But if someone like Wainwright is displaying obvious signs of impropriety, I'm going to crack on that. And if someone writes a great article for IGN about this situation, I'm going to respect that.

Ideally, before a gaming preview, there would be a disclaimer stating something such as: "Ubisoft would not send us a copy of this game. We were flown out to Montreal and given copious amounts of Mountain Dew as refreshments during our time here. Our impressions follow:"
 
I can't speak for everyone else. I wouldn't presume to. And the things that are said to me in confidence by people i know are to be kept in confidence. And as far as Shawn having a discussion with me, I know Shawn. Not well, mind you, but we've hung out a bit. Talked like human beings. Slept in the same hotel room. Ate pink rice. He's a personal acquaintance. So when he approaches me in a critical way, I have an easier time understanding where he's coming from.

I can't speak for Colin either, because I only know him a little. He's a super nice guy, and I've never seen anything to suggest the kind of behavior he's being accused of. I also wouldn't report on something like that without crazy sourcing and triple confirmation, because even the accusation of shit like that can ruin someone's career.

But you have to understand something else, and maybe GAF loses sight of this. The press I deal with 99 percent of the time is not the press caught up in this particular row, for good or ill. I don't know anyone from eurogamer, for example. Games media tends to be geographically insular. So when people talk about press defending the shadier shit that's happened in this situation over the last week, I personally haven't seen any of that. And I follow most of the high profile people on twitter. So I can't speak to defensiveness, outside of MCVUK et al's behavior, which seems gross to me, looking from the outside and with little factual information outside of hearsay.

If we reported on game rumors with as little substantiated information as this situation, we'd be accused of trolling for clicks. Or of falling for a reddit trap, or something.
Has there been any interest in looking into this after the story was published? I'm sure you realize these type of stories exist somewhere and that PR sends these press kits to influence press. Would Polygon run a researched investigative story on these type of deals or would it damage your relationship too much with other press members and publishers to make it worth the hits you would receive for the story? Is that something Polygon thinks about when they are going to write a story?
 
With regards to Press Reset, it's advertiser-sponsored content. Microsoft, via Internet Explorer and Windows, has sponsored hundreds if not thousands of television programs over the last 20 years with similar agreements, though in this case, they pitched us on the kind of thing we could make with the sponsorship deal. We've never hid that sponsorship. We don't think that's unethical, and we don't think it's in violation of our ethics statement. We do not cover that kind of thing, and even if we did, they have no editorial input on what we're doing.

Clearly, none of that is enough to dissuade you from thinking it's unethical, which is your prerogative. But I'm not obligated to come here every time someone brings it up like it's a scandal. We disclosed what we felt we should and were obliged to under our then-developing and now-current ethics policy. I'm not going to apologize for a non-endemic ad deal that most sites would kill for. That kind of advertising is exactly what people in here have been insisting that sites should have. The problem is that almost nobody can get them. They're the holy grail. Every site I've ever worked at and every writer I've ever talked to has spoken of them in hushed tones.

I've seen marketing plants active on GAF. I have never called them out. I have never seen anyone banned for it. It was a hypothetical, based on the premise that it would be seen as a personal attack.
I appreciate most of what you said in this post and it seems reasonable but could you explain what you mean by a "non-endemic deal"? If you mean outside the realm of gaming advertising, I'm not sure how Microsoft fits that label.
 
I am certainly not denying that writers often get lumped together and don't get a fair shake here but I also can't count the number of times I have listened to comments podcasts or see twitter posts that basically amount to a condescending sneer. 'Oh, that's how GAF is.' 'Those people are just fanboys who drive me crazy' etc. I understand that it is different when it is personal.
I'm sure this explains much of the of the animosity between forum members and press people. Writers rightly feel as though forum members lump them together like family; forum members rightly feel that writers forget that forums are actually thousands of people and not just the the last person to piss them off.
 
Actual provable plagiarism is a bit different than the suspicion of bias due to PR friendships or gifts.

One you can prove actually did something wrong, the other is just suspicion.
It would be a start to think about all these PR gifts. If a company should do this and journalist should accept them. You know, people don´t have to write about the "the suspicion of bias" point you keep making up.
 

Antiwhippy

the holder of the trombone
I appreciate most of what you said in this post and it seems reasonable but could you explain what you mean by a "non-endemic deal"? If you mean outside the realm of gaming advertising, I'm not sure how Microsoft fits that label.
Microsoft, like many other giant corporations, have separate divisions that tend to keep to themselves, as a way to expand business deals as far as I know.

Like say, samsung can provide apple their screens and Sony can provide nikon and olympus their camera sensors, even though they are the the competition.

The documentary was funded by the interent explorer team from what I know, not the gaming division.
 
I appreciate most of what you said in this post and it seems reasonable but could you explain what you mean by a "non-endemic deal"? If you mean outside the realm of gaming advertising, I'm not sure how Microsoft fits that label.
The money that Microsoft spends to advertise windows and internet explorer is different than the money they spend on games advertising on video game sites. Endemic ads, which are ads about the subject matter being covered, generally, go for lower rates typically than non-endemic ads. It would be like accepting money from sony to advertise their televisions, which would be far more lucrative than playstation ads.

Our ad model is similar to, say, Wired magazine. Or Playboy. Or GQ. It's targeted towards mens interest, not gamers specifically. The business sites that have covered our launch this week go into it better than I could.

Has there been any interest in looking into this after the story was published? I'm sure you realize these type of stories exist somewhere and that PR sends these press kits to influence press. Would Polygon run a researched investigative story on these type of deals or would it damage your relationship too much with other press members and publishers to make it worth the hits you would receive for the story? Is that something Polygon thinks about when they are going to write a story?
This would be a question for Brian, not me. I'm Reviews Editor, which has its own various responsibilities, and I write features sometimes. 99 percent of the press kits I have are the game and a reviewers guide/fact sheet/asset disc or USB drive. Almost everything else is a piece of garbage, which is where it goes.
 
I can't speak for everyone else. I wouldn't presume to. And the things that are said to me in confidence by people i know are to be kept in confidence. And as far as Shawn having a discussion with me, I know Shawn. Not well, mind you, but we've hung out a bit. Talked like human beings. Slept in the same hotel room. Ate pink rice. He's a personal acquaintance. So when he approaches me in a critical way, I have an easier time understanding where he's coming from.
We once tempted fate at a $10 all-you-can-eat Indian buffet in Berkeley, which is a lot like finishing basic training with a man.
 
The site listed in your profile gave Brink an 81 out of 100.
Yeah, you're correct. I must of mixed it up with some other review, because I clearly remember a game which got a negative review and received some backlash. (Had to defend the score)

Looking back at Brink though, I still agree that score was/is too high. I never played that game on release though, but when I did play it, it was a ghost town and very boring. Maybe it was promising at launch? No idea. I didn't write the review, so it's the opinion of the other reviewer.

Also, certain people quoting you made me appreciate this discussion less. Before I even had time to write this reply, several users already replied with "LOLOLOL PWNED NIGGA" . I agree though, this was a faulty statement of my part. I'm always willing to explain things, and I like this thread/discussion because it shows the faults in the "bizz". At one point though, it's hard to distinguish corrupt people from different opinions. If someone liked a game you didn't like and gave it a high(er) score, is that person corrupt or not? I remember reviewing the cod black ops dlc, where I gave the "call of the dead" dlc around 80 because it was a nice package with a fleshed out zombie map and good mp maps, but the dlc after that were worse and received 55-65. I still got negative comments 'bout the first dlc, because it was CoD. I think so, even more than other media like movies, opinions are very divided in the gaming industry.
 
The money that Microsoft spends to advertise windows and internet explorer is different than the money they spend on games advertising on video game sites. Endemic ads, which are ads about the subject matter being covered, generally, go for lower rates typically than non-endemic ads. It would be like accepting money from sony to advertise their televisions, which would be far more lucrative than playstation ads.

Our ad model is similar to, say, Wired magazine. Or Playboy. Or GQ. It's targeted towards mens interest, not gamers specifically. The business sites that have covered our launch this week go into it better than I could.
I'm not sure that I buy the general idea here that a big company like MS or Sony wouldn't care to apply advertising pressure or pull revenue just because it's a different division of the company that was getting coverage they didn't like. But that's a minor point since my problem was never really with ad revenue in the first place.

My problem is mainly with the crazy hype PR machine circus that attempts to make you guys feel like you are VIP with a backstage pass to hot new AAA releases. All the press events, PR kits, etc just facilitate that stuff in my mind. The whole cult of the new game thing is just so different from the way I approach gaming these days in general. But I just constantly hear about this interest in the next big thing from the gaming press even when they are just talking about what they are playing or interested in in their spare time. It makes it hard to separate PR from coverage.
 
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