/r/Games closes on April Fool's to call out bigotry in the gaming community

Like most gaming communities on Reddit, /r/Games has traditionally been an awful, right wing hive of disgusting racism and bigotry. But apparently the mods have had enough, and posted this excellent message about the issue with an explanation of their reasoning and a list of good charities to support.

What do you think?

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This is, again, one of those situation where I’m stuck between wanting to praise people in positions of (relative) power for doing the right thing, and also not wanting to congratulate people for doing what they should be doing anyway.

That being said, Reddit being the absolute hellhole that it often is, specifically in games communities, means the mods are putting themselves in a position to be harassed pretty intensely (especially by outright putting down the cultivated identity bullshit of “gamers”), so I do respect them putting themselves out there and using their platform to say something meaningful and boost some charities.

I’m ultimately glad to see another games communities, especially something as large as r/Games (1.7 million subscribers right now), call out and moderate some of the really awful behavior that plagues them. Hoping other communities take note.

Also, hey, a warning y’all: some of the things linked in that post for bigotry are truly, deeply appalling. Might not be worth clicking those images if you’re not in the place for that. All you need to know is that, yeah, it’s unapologetic awfulness.

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Kinda late. It’s not a bad statement taken in a vacuum. In fact it’s pretty much what I’d like to see from every gaming message board. But we’re not in a vacuum, and we’re about 5 years out from the moment when this could have made a serious difference. It’s a gesture.

I mean, this doesn’t stop them from having been complicit in everything they’re taking a stand against in this post. Whether or not the individual mods who wrote this where there during the successive waves of targeted hate speech and harassment that began on the forum, their organisation is responsible for not shutting that down and they need to own it in order to move forward.

The people targeted by that bigotry aren’t going to forget that precious little was done when they needed it most.

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Too late or not this will inevitably result in some of the nastier elements in its subscriber base abandoning the sub because “the SJWs took over”

On any other subreddit this wouldn’t matter so much but this is the undivided Gaming subreddit. The world is probably a better place for this even if it isn’t the most impressive gesture in the world.

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I don’t think this one is actually true. I don’t really use reddit much but my understanding is that r/gaming and r/games are different subs and r/gaming is something like 20 times the size of games as it is a default suggested subreddit. I think games is supposed to be at least somewhat less toxic than gaming which is apparently just coalesced radioactive goop. At any rate I’m glad they’re at least trying to clean up the mess they have on their hands.

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I haven’t used reddit regularly in years, but I believe r/Games is smaller than r/gaming. There’s also subs like r/TrueGaming. I think it’s fair to say that, at least in some capacity, those communities are a little divided.

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I think why this stands out is that /r/games loves to share all the game related prank videos that companies put up on April Fool’s. Its usually the best place to see all of them in one page. And /r/games is ACTUALLY punishing their community for being toxic by saying, "No, you don’t get to have that."

That’s fantastic.

I agree that these steps should have been taken years ago, but it’s refreshing to actually have a subreddit tell a community to fuck off with their bullshit and PUNISH them. To not be afraid, like so many spaces are, of splitting the audience or ‘getting into politics.’

I’ve been tearing my hair out at /r/videos continuing to delete Contra Point’s newest video for ‘politics’… On terfs silencing trans folk… ON TRANS VISIBILITY DAY.

But this is a nice change of pace from the pit that is Reddit on a normal day.

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r/Games’ form of grossness was one of the more insidiously pretentious types among the gaming subreddits. It was the kind of place that banned discourse on GG at all shortly after it started happening, but stated absolute neutrality toward the movement, so a lot of GGers got to continue to hang out/be platformed/speak through euphemism etc. under the umbrella of fuckin tRuLy eQuAl cIviL dIscOursE. It’s the place you went if you still took TotalBiscuit completely seriously as a smart boy brain critic long after he openly sent twitter followers after trans people. It was a place for mid-late teenage white dudes went to feel smart and civil for their age, a subtly prime recruiting ground for cryptofascists and the like. I believe there were statistics that were posted on the left-leaning subreddit r/GamerGhazi that showed the overlap between places like r/thedonald and r/Games long after r/Games’ “apolitical” rules were put in place, and it turns out, there was a fair bit!

r/Games embodied a lot of the canonized myths of reddit discourse. None of what happened on it was anomalous, and even with this gesture driving away some vocal elements, even if the charity links are nice, I’m a billion miles away from trusting a gaming subreddit’s mods to deal with the swathes of ways the worst of reddit culture, one still influenced by the former existence of a pedo subreddit no matter how much people keep pretending all subreddits are vacuums, codes its language.

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While I guess this gesture is better than nothing, it just feels like the mods are absolving themselves of their part in creating this community. Had they enforced a strong culture of flagging, removal, and banning of posters spewing out garbage, maybe they wouldn’t have such a massive catalog of hate compiled at this time. I’ve seen it over and over again on internet gaming spaces. They let coded bigotry linger in the name of free speech, and that just signals to all the dipshits that it’s ok to be an asshole. Soon enough, the coding stops and you have an out and out cesspool of hate.

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In defense of /r/games the mods have gotten better recently I think. (And I don’t say this cause I chill with some of them on discord.) They haven’t deleted any major news posts lately for “not being in scope”, whatever that means, and they’ve locked toxic threads pretty fast too.

Just a few days ago they were policing the shit out of the Notch Minecraft news. A lot of bans, a lot of deleted comments.

Still the comments are shit. Any lay-off news will be drowned in comments like “oh why should I care?” “Dis is the price of doing business” “drrr narrative pushing drrr drrr”. And don’t post JRPG news or 50 dudes will tell you how the game sucked.

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Reading the comments on the after action discussion thread really gives the impression that nothing was learned by the user base of /r/games.

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05%20PM

i have to assume this is an API error but i also bgrudgingly accept that it is very likely this is the real ratio

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i mean the top comment is the biggest white moderate “yeah i totally seriously for realzies appriciate the idea, but could you like go protest somewhere else where i can’t see it”

actually every comment is either a variation of that, shit flinging about virtue signaling, “but y u punish all the good gamers too”, or some sort of “r/games is actually the least bigoted place i’ve ever seen.”

My shocked face :neutral_face:

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The thing that I find most “hilarious” about these responses is that the comments the mods pointed to weren’t a problem because they all had zero or negative upvotes. Here’s the problem with that. First, there’s no reason to assume that negative karma impacts these users’ behavior, and in fact may be acting as a badge of honor in other communities. Second, negative karma alone does not remove the comment from the site, and marginalized people still have to deal with that shit. Sure, you can just wait until a thread gets popular and sort by top, but that takes you out of commenting when something new is posted when the discussion is actually happening. And third, the constant drumbeat of hate normalizes other forms of “benign” bigotry, thereby pushing the community as a whole in a less inclusive direction.

I know this is old hat to the Waypoint community, but I just needed to get it out there. I don’t post anywhere else nowadays, mostly because of reactions like the manbabies in the /r/games thread.

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The lack of self reflection is staggering in that thread, holy shit.

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Abolish Gamers.

At this point nothing will surprise me about the “gaming community” and I grow more and more embarrassed that I share a deep love of something that seems to mostly be loved by absolute shitheads.

Extremely glad Waypoint exists to remind me that (goddamnit…) not all gamers are complete and utter trash, because it can be a real struggle to enjoy this hobby.

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I check that subforum fairly regularly just for its function as a news aggregator, and while sometimes there are progressive top comments on a games culture event post, by and large the discussions are dominated by the sorts of mealy-mouthed conservative For The Gamers posturing that Ali outlined.

Like Twitter, Reddit’s format makes it really easy to disseminate news and information at wicked fast speeds, but the comment field-like formatting makes directly interrogating any ideas or views to be a painful exercise that always surfaces reactionary populism to the top of the list.

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I was gonna give my two cents on this, but I found that you already said it perfectly.

I don’t know everyone’s experience with reddit on these forums, so maybe I can give some context around the different subreddits and the internal culture on the site.

  • /r/gaming is a default subreddit, which means that anyone who makes an account on reddit is automatically subscribed to it. Default subs are not super well considered by the users of non-defaults (usually those that operate in the same lane), for things like low quality content, casuals, attention that may skew the kind of content that is posted/upvoted, etc. Mostly trades in images, videos, memes, sometimes articles.

  • /r/Games gained popularity as a place to discuss video games more thoughtfully, and is basically what you’d expect from a video games news aggregator/forum without memes: articles, videos, news, etc. It’s not a default sub though, so the number of subscribers is lower.

  • /r/truegaming uses the naming convention ("/r/True____") of subreddits that advertise themselves as a place for discussion that would not get traction in the other subreddits that exist for that topic, due to the content that is typically posted. Sometimes this comes with a bit of elitism (idk about /r/truegaming, I never used it), but often it’s just a smaller community that probably also interacts with the larger subs as well. Mostly discussion topics in the form of text posts.

In terms of numbers, the number of comments on a post in /r/Games is comparable to those on a post in /r/gaming, despite the former having more than 10x fewer subscribers.

True gaming is ok for discussion of game design and other more in depth topics, but it’s just as shitty politically.

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