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Kotaku has been blacklisted by Bethesda Softworks and Ubisoft

Aroll

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May 24, 2014
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I don't think he entirely gets why Fox News is criticized if that's the point of reference he's trying to use with Kotaku. Fox News is a bald-faced mouthpiece for a political party that shifts and spins every single story to fit a narrative. Kotaku, at worst, is a gossip tabloid.

I'd argue every news outlet (national outlet, anyways) does exactly this. CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, etc. They all spin everything to fit their narrative or agenda based on the party they represent most even as they deny they represent any party at all.

But I can get along with your point here - regardless of what we think of national news chains, comparing Kotaku to them isn't really fair to Kotaku because then were acting like their actual news reporting has some sort of agenda. I read their video game news at times, there isn't much there to draw on that conclusion.

They are closer to being like TMZ than Fox news. Though, under their current EiC, they have gotten a lot better.
 

APF

Member
Apr 13, 2005
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If we assume that information regarding the development of a particular game is protected under NDAs (which is a very safe assumption to make,) then it's safe to say that someone broke an NDA in order to leak the information.
But not Kotaku, which is the point. And you have no reason to believe that Kotaku approached anyone and convinced them to find and leak information, so you're basing your entire argument that it's black-and-white unethical off of baseless speculation. Which is itself unethical.
 

DeepEnigma

Gold Member
Dec 3, 2013
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I'd argue every news outlet (national outlet, anyways) does exactly this. CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, etc. They all spin everything to fit their narrative or agenda based on the party they represent most even as they deny they represent any party at all.

But I can get along with your point here - regardless of what we think of national news chains, comparing Kotaku to them isn't really fair to Kotaku because then were acting like their actual news reporting has some sort of agenda. I read their video game news at times, there isn't much there to draw on that conclusion.

They are closer to being like TMZ than Fox news. Though, under their current EiC, they have gotten a lot better.

Exactly this.

LOL mainstream media (which is owned now by 6-8 large corporations [over 700 private organizations in the 60's], who fund their candidate of interest campaign):


That is not Kotaku... at all. They have no "horse in the race". It was a dumb comparison. ]
 
Oct 14, 2014
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If we assume that information regarding the development of a particular game is protected under NDAs (which is a very safe assumption to make,) then it's safe to say that someone broke an NDA in order to leak the information.

IP law is ugly and complicated, and I know this first hand. I worked for a company that was developing a new product. Information about this product was published and it cost us a competitive advantage. There were less than 200 people on the project and they were all under NDAs. Someone in our company obviously broke an NDA, and the journalist who printed the story had to have known that someone broke an NDA. (It's unreasonable to think otherwise.) We couldn't prove who broke the NDA, however. If we could, legal action could have been taken against both the employee who broke the NDA and the journalist who knowingly solicited the information that was protected by NDAs. Legal action wasn't possible, but it was clear to us that the journalist acted in bad faith so we cut her off. We were under no obligation to deal with people who we viewed as unethical. Make no mistake about it: It's not "good journalism" to reveal information that was obtained by unethical means.

Perhaps my personal experience are skewing my opinion on this issue. I'll take a step back here to give Kotaku the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they didn't break any NDAs and maybe they weren't aware that anyone else was breaking any NDAs by providing them with information. It's possible, right? It seems unlikely to me, but I'll admit that it's at least within the realm of possibility.

If a journalist gets information that they know has been disclosed despite breaking an NDA, that is not at all illegal. Where it becomes illegal is if the journalist induces the leaker to leak the information.

Scenario A: Journalist gets buddy-buddy with someone they know to have insider information. Journalist repeatedly asks source for protected information, gets them drunk hoping they'll let something slip, and presses for protected information.

Scenario B: Journalist knows someone who has insider information. Person with insider information decides to break their NDA and offer the information to the journalist. Journalist knows information was covered under an NDA.

Scenario A involves the journalist doing something illegal. Scenario B does not.

You're right that Bethesda doesn't have a case against Kotaku because they can't identify the leaker, but that's because without identifying the leaker, they have no way of investigating whether or not Kotaku was attempting to induce a violation of the NDA. If Bethesda knew the identity of the leaker, but could also find no evidence that Kotaku was attempting to induce the NDA violation, they would have no case despite knowing the source. At best, they could threaten a lawsuit in hopes that the journalist settles because they don't have the resources to defend themselves. In short, a lawsuit as bully tactic.

You do seem to be aware of this detail since you're talking in terms like "knowingly induce", but you're entirely discounting the scenario that the information was disclosed without the journalist inducing it.
 

Teeth

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May 7, 2014
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It actually isn't the best. It restricts access to interviews from developers, key players, previews, etc. If nobody was ever allowed a preview build, to talk to devs, etc - we would have a few paragraphs at best on some official website to inform us about the games. No real "meat and potatoes" coverage.

I agree that not being buddy-buddy with swag and exclusivity deals is ideal - but there is more to game journalism than product reviews which is MOST affected by partnerships. A lot more.

Meat and potatoes stuff would be covered by things like the Nintendo Treehouse and Iwata Asks type stuff.

It's already moving that way anyway.

Additionally, there will always be sites that play ball. But instead of all sites existing in a quasi-marketing quasi-adversarial role, users get a clear delineation between sites that work with pubs to help market their wares and those that don't. And the blacklist makes it official.
 

cjp

Junior Member
Dec 1, 2013
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nor has Kotaku called law enforcement to let them know that the law is being broken since Todd Howard is legally obligated to return the phone calls of anyone who claims to be from the press.

Is that a real thing? I have never heard of this before.
 

DeepEnigma

Gold Member
Dec 3, 2013
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Is that a real thing? I have never heard of this before.

No, he was using an example that neither one is illegal. Saying that did not happen, because there are no laws for it. Laws are not a measurement of ethics either way, so people need to stop clinging to that.
 

Green Yoshi

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Mar 21, 2011
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Yes.

People should never leak anything that they are legally obligated not to leak. If you work for a company and you break an NDA, you shouldn't do it. Simple.

If you have a blog and you receive information from someone who knowingly broke an NDA, then you should not leak it. Simple.

I agree that it would make things "boring" but if there's no ethical basis for leaking information that companies have taken appropriate measure to keep secret.

This would only work in the pre-internet era.
 

Matt

Member
Jun 7, 2004
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Exactly this.

LOL mainstream media (which is owned now by 6-8 large corporations [over 700 private organizations in the 60's], who fund their candidate of interest campaign):


That is not Kotaku... at all. They have no "horse in the race". It was a dumb comparison. ]

That's an incredibly dumb graphic and I would suggest you never use it again.
 

daycru

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Mar 21, 2007
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Maybe they're just not interested in cooperating with the Hulk Hogan's dick guys? Plenty of websites out there not currently being sued out of existence.
 

striferser

Huge Nickleback Fan
Nov 25, 2013
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If we assume that information regarding the development of a particular game is protected under NDAs (which is a very safe assumption to make,) then it's safe to say that someone broke an NDA in order to leak the information.

IP law is ugly and complicated, and I know this first hand. I worked for a company that was developing a new product. Information about this product was published and it cost us a competitive advantage. There were less than 200 people on the project and they were all under NDAs. Someone in our company obviously broke an NDA, and the journalist who printed the story had to have known that someone broke an NDA. (It's unreasonable to think otherwise.) We couldn't prove who broke the NDA, however. If we could, legal action could have been taken against both the employee who broke the NDA and the journalist who knowingly solicited the information that was protected by NDAs. Legal action wasn't possible, but it was clear to us that the journalist acted in bad faith so we cut her off. We were under no obligation to deal with people who we viewed as unethical. Make no mistake about it: It's not "good journalism" to reveal information that was obtained by unethical means.

Perhaps my personal experience are skewing my opinion on this issue. I'll take a step back here to give Kotaku the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they didn't break any NDAs and maybe they weren't aware that anyone else was breaking any NDAs by providing them with information. It's possible, right? It seems unlikely to me, but I'll admit that it's at least within the realm of possibility.

I've never been convinced that this issue was entirely about leaks in the first place. As many people have pointed out, leaks happen all the time. Gaming journalism is more-or-less built off of leaks, after all. Kotaku certainly isn't the only source to post leaked information over the years, so my initial point of contention still stands: There could be any number of reasons why Kotaku was blacklisted.

I agree with this post because i've been in similar position.

I'm not going to hold a grudge or anything to any media that did it. But if they defend their leak as 'ethic in journalism', especially for something petty as leaked screenshot of game in WiP condition i will laugh at their face.

Don't get me wrong, i still consider leaks is still necessary in the right condition, especially if its related to to something that might endanger or unfair toward company employee or public. Now that is what i call good leak since it attempt to correct unfairness that occur.

Leaking a wip game in progress is honestly petty, so is the company blacklisting media that did it. It just ain't worth it in a long run.

I also add that i enjoy reading leak as well, but i won't defend myself as doing something ethical. So yeah... my feeling on this is neutral. Just my 2cents
 

The_Endgamer

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Jul 4, 2011
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kotaku deserve every right to be innocent until proven guilty to have leaked information.

as a professional actor who has to sign NDAs tho? if you're dumb enough to breach contract, you don't deserve the next job or the sympathy of the people giving you good will.
 

yurinka

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Jan 19, 2007
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The existence of a game is not a trade secret, because there is no inherent economic value to its secrecy.

Now, if Kotaku was leaking the source code to a game or something, you might have an argument.
Yes, it's a trade secret.

A public company has a game scheduled to be announced later in the road. This IP use to sell very well, so it's likely they agreed with a 1st party to announce in a 1st party conference (E3 or similar), a marketing deal, a console bundle and/or exclusive DLC.

The game is leaked once the previous chapter in the series was suffering a lot of criticism due to its unpolished state and being milked too frequently. Both the IP and the company get extra criticism for being working in another game instead of fixing the previous one, and because the new one doesn't look as hot as it should.

But both the game info and the assets weren't ready to be revealed and weren't shown in the most impactful, positive way, so the powerful marketing weapon that is the game announcement and hype campaign is lost.

Company and brand image get extra damaged and the company loses the marketing deal with the 1st party. So the company has to pay all the marketing, doesn't reach powerful 1st party marketing channels and the game sells way less because of the leak. This IP is the main one from the company, so the company stocks go down. Companies have secrets, NDA and communicate their stuff through PR and marketing to make sure it's communicated properly and in the proper moment.

When Kotaku leaks AC, Fallout, etc. stuff is damaging these companies. And people who leaked the stuff were likely fired. It's laughable considere it "journalism" as if they were discovering the Watergate to the people. Players could have waited some months to get the same stuff, Kotaku just did it to get clicks.
 

Clockwork5

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Feb 19, 2013
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Again, since you only read what you want, I'll repeat myself.

Leaking information about a game we know is in the works, which doesn't change formula from previous iterations, is a regurgitation of old ideas, etc - I would hardly call a "trade secret".

It can simply be classified under: "no shit, Sherlock". The leaks only served to reinforce what we were already speculating because its the same shit, different year.

A new IP would be thinner ice but this shit is old hat.

From your perspective.

Obviously, not from the perspective of Ubisoft or Bethesda.
 

Big Nikus

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May 15, 2006
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Yes, it's a trade secret.

A public company has a game scheduled to be announced later in the road. This IP use to sell very well, so it's likely they agreed with a 1st party to announce in a 1st party conference (E3 or similar), a marketing deal, a console bundle and/or exclusive DLC.

The game is leaked once the previous chapter in the series was suffering a lot of criticism due to its unpolished state and being milked too frequently. Both the IP and the company get extra criticism for being working in another game instead of fixing the previous one, and because the new one doesn't look as hot as it should.

But both the game info and the assets weren't ready to be revealed and weren't shown in the most impactful, positive way, so the powerful marketing weapon that is the game announcement and hype campaign is lost.

Company and brand image get extra damaged and the company loses the marketing deal with the 1st party. So the company has to pay all the marketing, doesn't reach powerful 1st party marketing channels and the game sells way less because of the leak. This IP is the main one from the company, so the company stocks go down. Companies have secrets, NDA and communicate their stuff through PR and marketing to make sure it's communicated properly and in the proper moment.

When Kotaku leaks AC, Fallout, etc. stuff is damaging these companies. And people who leaked the stuff were likely fired. It's laughable considere it "journalism" as if they were discovering the Watergate to the people. Players could have waited some months to get the same stuff, Kotaku just did it to get clicks.

This, totally.
 

Branduil

Member
Sep 20, 2006
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Yes, it's a trade secret.

A public company has a game scheduled to be announced later in the road. This IP use to sell very well, so it's likely they agreed with a 1st party to announce in a 1st party conference (E3 or similar), a marketing deal, a console bundle and/or exclusive DLC.

The game is leaked once the previous chapter in the series was suffering a lot of criticism due to its unpolished state and being milked too frequently. Both the IP and the company get extra criticism for being working in another game instead of fixing the previous one, and because the new one doesn't look as hot as it should.

But both the game info and the assets weren't ready to be revealed and weren't shown in the most impactful, positive way, so the powerful marketing weapon that is the game announcement and hype campaign is lost.

Company and brand image get extra damaged and the company loses the marketing deal with the 1st party. So the company has to pay all the marketing, doesn't reach powerful 1st party marketing channels and the game sells way less because of the leak. This IP is the main one from the company, so the company stocks go down. Companies have secrets, NDA and communicate their stuff through PR and marketing to make sure it's communicated properly and in the proper moment.

When Kotaku leaks AC, Fallout, etc. stuff is damaging these companies. And people who leaked the stuff were likely fired. It's laughable considere it "journalism" as if they were discovering the Watergate to the people. Players could have waited some months to get the same stuff, Kotaku just did it to get clicks.

Sounds like the harm here was caused by the developers making a bad game and not dealing with it properly, not anything due to Kotaku.
 

dLMN8R

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Dec 14, 2007
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The fact that people think "Kotaku leaked <X>" shows that people are still assigning the wrong blame.

Kotaku isn't leaking anything. Employees are leaking information.

Kotaku would only be leaking this if they got information under embargo and divulged the information breaking their NDA.



Kotaku reported on information that was leaked to them. If they didn't report on it, some other outlet would have.

By the time a shitty employee decides that they want to leak information, consider it leaked. Whether to Kotaku, or Polygon, or Gamespot or otherwise.

At that point, Kotaku has to decide "Will we report on the information someone else leaked, or will some other outlet?"
 

HariKari

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Jun 28, 2013
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Kotaku reported on information that was leaked to them. If they didn't report on it, some other outlet would have.

By the time a shitty employee decides that they want to leak information, consider it leaked. Whether to Kotaku, or Polygon, or Gamespot or otherwise.

At that point, Kotaku has to decide "Will we report on the information someone else leaked, or will some other outlet?"

Exactly right. And the only reason people are attempting the argument that Kotaku did something 'wrong' is due to the death grip the major publishers have on games media. It would be preposterous to control the news in other industries, yet people are giving Kotaku crap for reporting a leak and supporting the blacklisting.

At this point, being blacklisted and frowned upon by publishers should be a badge of honor, given how uncomfortably close some are.
 

jschreier

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Jan 6, 2011
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Exactly right. And the only reason people are attempting the argument that Kotaku did something 'wrong' is due to the death grip the major publishers have on games media. It would be preposterous to control the news in other industries, yet people are giving Kotaku crap for reporting a leak and supporting the blacklisting.

At this point, being blacklisted and frowned upon by publishers should be a badge of honor, given how uncomfortably close some are.
Agreed.
 

jschreier

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Jan 6, 2011
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Boogie also posted a video about the Kotaku blacklist stuff
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-Ll7h85-78

tl;dr: Boogie himself was blacklisted by Kotaku for not speaking against the gamergate stuff so he finds it ironic that they are complaining about being blacklisted. He also mentions neogaf and how he conducted himself poorly here.
Right, except for the fact that Boogie was never blacklisted by Kotaku. He and I talked privately and he has since apologized: https://twitter.com/Boogie2988/status/668550831201906688
 

Quote

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Aug 11, 2009
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What I really want is just someone to put me in the shoes of the publisher.

The whole "I don't even like Kotaku, but..." thing is kind of annoying. Does it even add much to the conversation that you agree with something you don't like normally? His points are stellar otherwise.

Boogie also posted a video about the Kotaku blacklist stuff
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-Ll7h85-78

tl;dr: Boogie himself was blacklisted by Kotaku for not speaking against the gamergate stuff so he finds it ironic that they are complaining about being blacklisted. He also mentions neogaf and how he conducted himself poorly here.
Yep, then he posted this: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sntig8

It would do him well to hold off on these rants and consider if this is actually good for... well anyone.
 

Sho_Nuff82

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Jan 2, 2007
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From your perspective.

Obviously, not from the perspective of Ubisoft or Bethesda.

Their perspective is that their audience are sheep that need to be led from hype cycle to hype cycle by carefully crafted media narratives, rather than letting the games in already popular series speak for themselves.

It's a condemnation of the entire AAA console industry. Just burn the whole thing down if everything depends on getting a pop at E3.
 

danm999

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Jul 15, 2014
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Yep, then he posted this: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sntig8

It would do him well to hold off on these rants and consider if this is actually good for... well anyone.

Yeah with the stuff he said about regretting his conduct on these forums that seems to be a recurring theme.

I mean, if you sat down and thought about it for a few minutes you'd realise accusing Kotaku of blacklisting him (even if he sheepishly walks it back later and days that's not what happened) during the past week was probably going to elicit exactly the response he says he wanted to avoid.
 

LPride

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Jun 19, 2014
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Exactly right. And the only reason people are attempting the argument that Kotaku did something 'wrong' is due to the death grip the major publishers have on games media. It would be preposterous to control the news in other industries, yet people are giving Kotaku crap for reporting a leak and supporting the blacklisting.

At this point, being blacklisted and frowned upon by publishers should be a badge of honor, given how uncomfortably close some are.

People give Kotaku crap because theyre only making a story about this because theyre getting cut out of the loop. Kotaku isn't doing anything on principle here, they just salty. MAYBE if they were acting in such a manner that made it obvious they were against the embargos and courting of games writers instead of just being pouty that theyre not in the club anymore people would have a different opinion about them at the moment.
 

dLMN8R

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People give Kotaku crap because theyre only making a story about this because theyre getting cut out of the loop. Kotaku isn't doing anything on principle here, they just salty. MAYBE if they were acting in such a manner that made it obvious they were against the embargos and courting of games writers instead of just being pouty that theyre not in the club anymore people would have a different opinion about them at the moment.

I keep seeing people repeat this meme and hearing people regurgigate it on podcasts, but when I originally read the article I didn't get this impression that Kotaku is "salty" at all. Totilo's post is very level-headed and clearly explains that he's divulging this information because his readers are asking him why their coverage for certain games is late or nonexistent.

Sure he dives into a lot more detail beyond that, but none of it is "salty".


It's almost as if....people who haven't read the article are sharing opinions about what they think it says???
 

jschreier

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I keep seeing people repeat this meme and hearing people regurgigate it on podcasts, but when I originally read the article I didn't get this impression that Kotaku is "salty" at all. Totilo's post is very level-headed and clearly explains that he's divulging this information because his readers are asking him why their coverage for certain games is late or nonexistent.

Sure he dives into a lot more detail beyond that, but none of it is "salty".


It's almost as if....people who haven't read the article are sharing opinions about what they think it says???
You. I like you.
 

Broken Joystick

At least you can talk. Who are you?
Apr 30, 2013
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I keep seeing people repeat this meme and hearing people regurgigate it on podcasts, but when I originally read the article I didn't get this impression that Kotaku is "salty" at all. Totilo's post is very level-headed and clearly explains that he's divulging this information because his readers are asking him why their coverage for certain games is late or nonexistent.

Sure he dives into a lot more detail beyond that, but none of it is "salty".


It's almost as if....people who haven't read the article are sharing opinions about what they think it says???

Every single person I've seen that has said this is Kotaku "complaining" also appears to have some personal vendetta against them; formed from opinions made like 5 years ago.
 

kamineko

Does his best thinking in the flying car
Oct 7, 2014
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Please, won't someone think of the millionaires.

You must be doing something right, Kotaku. Keep it up
 
D

Deleted member 10571

Unconfirmed Member
Every single person I've seen that has said this is Kotaku "complaining" also appears to have some personal vendetta against them; formed from opinions made like 5 years ago.

Yes. Or, you know, about one year ago. Like, when one infamous internet movement started and occupied a reddit site with "Kotaku" in the name.

It's not even a "personal vendetta" but more like following the choir without even having an actual own opinion.
 

MrJoobJoob

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Yes. Or, you know, about one year ago. Like, when one infamous internet movement started and occupied a reddit site with "Kotaku" in the name.

It's not even a "personal vendetta" but more like following the choir without even having an actual own opinion.

A little while ago I posted one of Schreier's Destiny stories to the Destiny forum on reddit, and there were dozens of comments that read something to the effect of "first off -- fuck Kotaku. But great article!"