Reddit’s gaming hub has shut down for April Fools’ Day, but it’s no laughing matter

Due to a coding error, the level cap in EVE Online is determined by the number of insults you have typed in the past 48 hours.

    
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While the gaming world is busy punking each other with goofy stunts and pranks, /r/games has shut its doors. Don’t worry, internet trolls; it’s only for one day, and it’s for a good cause: to shine a spotlight on some of the dark corners of the industry’s following. It’s effectively a protest against toxicity.

“Though certain memes (such as ‘gamers rise up’) surrounding gaming are largely viewed as a humorous interpretation of a mindset, at the core of the humor is a set of very serious issues that affect all gaming enthusiasts,” the mods write. “By showing disdain or outright rejecting minority and marginalized communities, we become more insular. In this, we lose out on the chance to not only show compassion to these people, but also the chance to grow our own community and diversify the demographics of those involved in it. Whether it’s misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, racism or a host of other discriminatory practices, now is the time to stymie the flow of regressive ideas and prevent them from ever becoming the norm.”

The fleet of mods have even posted an album of some of the worst of what they see on the daily, which sadly won’t surprise anyone who’s ever moderated a gaming community, including me.

“At r/Games, our community is becoming increasingly responsible for perpetuating a significant amount of these combative and derogatory schools of thought. We remove those comments, we ban the perpetrators, but the issue still persists at a fundamental level: the notion that it’s okay or acceptable to ridicule and demonize traditionally disenfranchised and marginalized members in the gaming community. This is not just an issue in r/Games or on Reddit alone; this is an issue deeply embedded in the ranging depths of the internet, frequently in communities that center around the discussion of games.”

Ultimately, the team says it hopes that by closing the sub down for the day, it can both raise awareness of the gaming community’s problems as well as direct the “good eggs” toward charities and causes that deserve it.

Source: Reddit
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John Mynard

There are ways to clean up nasty comments without resorting to censoring. The fastest way you can possibly imagine to make people, either individually or as a group, vulnerable to being recruited by ACTUAL bad actors and otherwise “radicalized”(God damn it, I hate that word) is to tell them that “not only are your opinions, which you have very good reasons for having, totally wrong but you are an evil, nasty, subhuman monster for having them.”

You tell someone one bullshit like that long enough and you create a self-fulfilling prophecy where your ostracization and otherwise bellicose behavior toward people you don’t like or disagree with for WHATEVER reason they will eventually become those very same subhuman monsters you’ve accused them of being because those bastards are more than willing to at least pretend to give a damn about you once you’ve been unpersoned by society at large and the outgroups are all you have left.

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Bruno Brito

WHATEVER reason they will eventually become those very same subhuman monsters you’ve accused them of being because those bastards are more than willing to at least pretend to give a damn about you once you’ve been unpersoned by society at large and the outgroups are all you have left.

Translation: “Even though you are blameless for being a target just because of who you are, it’s your fault that these people get out of control to begin with, so pretend to listen up to them, even when it’s fucking tiresome and rips out your dignity everytime.”

Yeah.

No.

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Utakata

This is not a free speech issue. And there is no real censoring going on here. Folks are still able to say whatever the Hell they want with out fear of being drag off in the night to the gulags by government agents.

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Tizmah

You really don’t reach people by doing this type of stuff. You reach people by listening, discussion, and understanding. So unfortunately, they only brought more heat on themselves. It wasn’t a good idea imo.

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Bruno Brito

Why are people thinking this is a reaching out for the ones perpetuating the jokes? This is a reaching out for the people who found them in bad taste for starters.

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Mark Mealman

Only way you’ll reduce toxicity on the internet would be the end anonymonity on the internet.

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Utakata

No, that won’t work either. Not everyone who has anonymity is toxic. So doxing everyone out because of a few bad apples will only makes things much more unpleasant and worse than they are now. Also see: Blizz’s RealID fiasco.

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Ririrawr

Usually, in fact, almost always; when people embrace hate, they forego civility. In real life, if we can’t communicate in a civil manner, no one (general populace) tolerates that for long. So, i approve of another attempt to point out that the internet should follow similar guidelines instead of constantly devolving into a weird adolescent popularity contest where harsh and vitriolic attacks are the only weapons of choice.

it is unacceptable to go around waving a cane/rod/stick at people every time you talk to them; and the fact that this behavior is considered… if not acceptable, the ‘norm’ on the internet and thus should be treated under ‘special provisions’ or whatever… it is a very terrible reflection of humanity as a whole.

if someone wants to be a part of a community, society, or the whole big gorgeous world, they generally don’t go around attacking (in any form) others within it. (disclaimer: this ignores people who involuntarily lash out due to other reasons)

so yeah, anyone enforcing “be civil or go away” gets a nod from me

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

People like to point fingers at Reddit for not moderating it enough. But just look at /r/games, it’s got 1.7 million subs. You’re gonna need to mass-conscript mods to handle that kind of load.

Imagine if MassivelyOP had that same amount of commenters as /r/games, they’d overwhelm the mods instantly.

And very little people like to mod as a job, because moderation is like the internet equivalent of flipping burgers, it’s fucking terrible. It pays near minimum wage and you do a monotonous laborious job and nobody thanks you.

But kudos, to /r/games for this “April Fools” PSA. Or maybe it’s chemo/damage control after the New Zealand shooting where the Reddit admins went on a subreddit banning spree?

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Paragon Lost

My speculation (cup half empty) is that once it’s back up it will be filled with a bunch of nastiness about it being shut down for the day. :/

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Greaterdivinity

Those comments are awful and I can totally get behind this. Seen far, far too much of this kind of shit from years of modding other boards, and thankfully it was pretty easy to get rid of those asshats when they’d pop up since the sites were pretty small. I can only imagine how much garbage they have to look through on r/gaming, especially with how easy it is for folks to circumvent bans.

I’ve long since lost my tolerance for putting up with this kind of edgelord nonsense and hate, and I salute those with the fortitude to continue to filter out this kind of garbage.

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

Yeah… this is asinine. Just head-up-ass self-indulgent stupidity.

It’s as if a certain mindset has no concept whatsoever of how to motivate people.

I have no horse in this race, but I’m getting mightily sick of the toxicity police and their silly antics.

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Alex Willis

How is it “self-indulgent” to shut down your business for a day?

Suggestions welcome on how to “motivate” people into not hating things they don’t understand. (I just did a quick scan through ALL RECORDED HISTORY and it turns out the results on that front are “mixed” so, you know, we’re all ears.)

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

If you’re shutting down your business for a day just to mock your users, you’re being self-indulgent.

And I think Arktouros says it better than I can. You do it one person at a time. It means you have to engage in dialog with the people you are judging.

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Alex Willis

How is Reddit supposed to “do it one person at a time”, exactly?

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

Reddit is the venue. Shutting down the venue just to make a joke does nothing to enable dialog.

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Alex Willis

The fact that you think this is a joke speaks volumes.

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Bruno Brito

I don’t think you realized that…there was no dialog. These people weren’t sparking a conversation, they were doing offensive jokes. So instead of a massban that will be circumvented by their awful registration process. they tried to send a good message for those people who are more middlegrounded about it.

There’s no attempt of dialog in here. From either side. The minorities are sick and tired of trying to reason with privileged people while they’re getting bruised and battered at every single corner, and yet having to convince the morons they’re not somehow getting fucked all over.

It’s tiresome and i’m actually impressed they held out themselves with poise, grace and civility for so long.

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Utakata

“I have no horse in this race…”

But it appears that you very much do. Because then you state…

“…but I’m getting mightily sick of the toxicity police and their silly antics.”

…you really don’t want toxicity to be policed.

So the best way for doublespeak to be more effective, is to be less obvious about it. Non?

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Arktouros

This kind of approach is why you will rarely see progress on this topic despite it coming up numerous times over and over the last few years. You can’t just speak at people and tell them this is the wrong thing to do or the wrong way to behave and honestly expect people to change or even consider change. People just don’t work that way.

This isn’t some 200 IQ stuff either, just consider the reverse scenario. Is there any argument anyone could realistically make that would get you to suddenly start hating on genders, sexual preferences or otherwise? Presumably (hopefully) not, so why do people think the opposite will work? The people who actually hate are too entrenched in their ways and the people joking around weren’t serious enough in the first place to take you seriously either.

If you want actual change, you gotta make it at the individual level. Not everyone is cut out for that. It usually ends up being a conversation full of ugliness that most people just don’t want to deal with. So instead we get these meaningless, broad statements in a mass audience style fashion that gets supporters circle jerking each other over how great it is to see someone finally “addressing” the issue while the people it’s meant for brush it aside with a tide of cynicism and memes.

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Alex Willis

Having trouble figuring out what you’re saying about the Reddit one-day suspension. I get the impression that you disagree with it.

You suggest that “meaningless, broad statements” aren’t effective. Well, let me suggest that when you say “If you want actual change, you gotta make it at the individual level” falls into that category. How can people make individual choices if they never had access to “broad” messaging? You do understand that not everybody exists in a Hyper-Aware Wokedness Engine, right? Surely there is room for emphatic messaging and blunt awareness-raising in the morass of hate and discord that exists online? Looking at all that chaos, how could you expect people who don’t regularly engage with this stuff to say, every single time they encounter it, “Yeah, I’ma figure this out on my own.” Broad messages can capture the attention of people in the middle; it happens every day, to most of us, even when we don’t realize it or recognize it.

There’s a popular counter-narrative that suggests people are so entrenched, so partisan, that this in-a-bubble talk is ineffective and pointless. This seems like a hopeless, pessimistic idea to me. I’ll stay in favor of those who speak publicly about doing the right thing.

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Arktouros

What I am specifically saying is that talking at people rather than talking with people generally won’t accomplish what you want to accomplish. Your message at that point becomes irrelevant whether it’s a plea for empathy or a blunt message because it’s lost in the method chosen to deliver it.

In this case, reddit is a place where people go to discuss, meme, joke around, etc as it’s sole purpose and removing people’s ability to do that, even for a day, it will earn you nothing but scorn and most likely your cause by association.

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Alex Willis

Except a lot of the time, you should NOT be trying to talk WITH people who are spewing hate-speech. You don’t meet those people half-way. Doing so essentially brands you as a conciliator. If someone says, “I think all of [X PEOPLE] should die,” you don’t say, “That’s an interesting perspective, let me try to understand your motivation. Explain why you think all of [X PEOPLE] should die.” No, you say, “F*ck that, f*ck you, and don’t ever come back here again.”

Funny how the people who preach intolerance are always the ones who want to be the beneficiaries of tolerance when it comes to the dissemination of their ideas.

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Arktouros

That’s a perfectly reasonable response to have to a person who spews out hatespeech like that. Absolutely.

However at that point you’re no longer trying to change anyone’s opinion on matters nor should you expect people to change the way they view things. You’re simply stating what is and isn’t acceptable and that’s a message that isn’t going to stick the way you want it to even if you think it’s morally and objectively right.

Personally I always found it more funny that when you don’t snap perfectly to the line people accuse you being just as bad as “the enemy” as if every topic is 100% for or 100% against. People, in general, are fairly complex and are capable of having complex views.

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Arktouros

However, again which my original point was before we side tracked onto the truly hateful, is that the message is lost in the method used to send such a message. Shutting down discussion in a place where the only purpose is discussion is going to earn you nothing but scorn.

I would argue that anyone you think this potentially helped is equally offset by the number of people in the middle who are now upset by the method used to deliver the message who are more inclined to lean against these causes in the future.

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Alex Willis

All this pearl-clutching about “method”. Who cares about “method” when the offending party is the person spreading hate? Honestly.

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Arktouros

Well presumably when they shut down the subreddit for a day and posted a big old blurb on prevailing negative behavior of the behavior of the people who visit said subreddit they had a goal of getting people to change that behavior. However the method they chose to get people’s attention on the matter is more likely to cause even worse behavior than getting people to change their behavior for the better.

My counter question to you is why do you keep falsely equivocating a disapproval of methods as me wanting to enable or promoting hate speech?

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Alex Willis

My counter question to you is why do you keep falsely equivocating a disapproval of methods as me wanting to enable or promoting hate speech?

Lack of action is tacit approval.

For reference, please see ALL OF RECORDED HISTORY

Haggling over methods will accomplish even less than full-scale blocking information channels.

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Arktouros

Lack of action is tacit approval.

History is full of examples of people who felt morally in the right and committed atrocities as the result of their need to take action. The same groups who argue to commit genocide are the same groups who argue to remove the voices of the people they want to oppress. You’re not going to beat fire with fire, you’re just going to fuel a new generation of people who will hate you and your cause.

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Alex Willis

What room for “complexity” is there in genocidal hate speech?

However at that point you’re no longer trying to change anyone’s opinion on matters nor should you expect people to change the way they view things. You’re simply stating what is and isn’t acceptable and that’s a message that isn’t going to stick the way you want it to even if you think it’s morally and objectively right.

Yes, and at a certain point in history, that’s EXACTLY how any reputable organization or business should be thinking re. hate speech. Acknowledging that the worst purveyors of hate speech will not change their minds, there should be NO ROOM for them to discuss it in their venues. Why would any organization wish to host this kind of discussion? Simply because, what, it “can”? It astonishes me that we would give the benefit of the doubt to hate-speech-mongers, out of some misplaced notion that the agonistic exercise of constantly reassessing whether it’s a good idea to exterminate an entire group of people is warranted or not. Let me help you with that: it’s not warranted, and most businesses that I will bother with will echo the same thing. (And not because it’s knee-jerk agreement, but because at this point in history we do actually know better.)

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Arktouros

No one here is disagreeing with you. Shut it all down. Clamp it down. As I already said, perfectly 100% acceptable response to it all.

But you didn’t change any opinions. Nor did you convince anyone. All you did was put a big, thick coat of white paint over the problem and pretend it’s not there.

Cya in 50 years when we’re having the same conversation about hate speech and hateful individuals on the next technology.

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Utakata

“But you didn’t change any opinions. Nor did you convince anyone.”

Citation needed.

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Bruno Brito

Cya in 50 years when we’re having the same conversation about hate speech and hateful individuals on the next technology.

I completely agree with Alex in this debate. Sadly, i think you’re 100% correct in here.

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Utakata

But we know this already. What Mr. Arktouros wants us to really do is just give up on it…and that’s both unsustainable and untenable.

He goes on enough about it though, as we’ll have something to lose. But hasn’t really ever stated what we’ll be losing. So the issues he raises seems all quite a bit pointless in the end, IMO.

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Bruno Brito

There isn’t really anything to lose. Transgenders are already known for dying early. In Brazil alone, more than 80% of them die before the age of 31. Black people are more liable to be held accountable for crimes they didn’t commit, they’re also the perpetrators of more than half of the crimes happening in the US, even when they’re just 10% of the population, which is explained by a perpetuated culture of marginalizing them, from slavery to ghettos.

There’s also a culture in the US that started to spread around the world where being helpful and caring for poor people means giving them a free ride. It’s fucking laughable that medium class people who fuck themselves working to provide for a family of three, actually bought the fucking idiocy that a woman with eight children, that never even heard about prevention can somehow provide for them just by having fucking foodstamps.

Who gives a shit about what Arktouros feels.

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

I gotta disagree. I’ve tried to engage these people individually — it never worked. Not once. And I tried more than was healthy. You’ve seen me in this comments section enough to know that I make strong arguments that attack arguments, not people. But the inverse was never true. Not a single time.

I don’t see another option here other than the mass approach repeatedly saying, “No. You are wrong. Your hate is wrong. Your opinions are not main stream, they are not the majority. Your hate is wrong.”

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Arktouros

I have to object towards the viewpoint that people who disagree in turn attack the person rather than the argument and offer myself as the example. I have many…controversial…view points and I’ve never attacked anyone individually.

Personally I’m not equipped really to have the kind of conversation that would get people to change their values or get them to question the way they think about things. I would personally expect any effort I make on that front to generally fail as a result.

The only method I have ever found to really work is question people on their behavior and why they choose to do what they do without judgement or condemnation. I’ve always thought about it as leading a horse to water by getting them to start thinking about why they say something a particular way or use various terminology. I can’t make them drink, but if I get them to the water then that’s about best I can do.

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

I mean, obviously we are working with anecdotes here. My experience might not the end-all and be-all, but fuck all if I didn’t legitimately try to talk and understand and persuade and it never once worked. I left the conversations feeling utterly defeated, flouted with bad faith arguments and unsupported generalizations that rationalized away every exception I showed.

I mean Ark, you are talking to someone who has more fucks to give than any human has a right to, and generally believe the best about people.

But that’s never been the case for randos spewing hate on the internet. It never mattered how much I wanted to have the discussion, to not even change their perspective just get them think about things from any place but where they were — it never mattered.

I impacted exactly no one engaging individually.

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Arktouros

From my own anecdotal experience I don’t think it’s generally possible to persuade people in a single conversation. Like when you give it a good think, we’re all pretty complex as individuals. How many pin-ball series of moments throughout my life lead to me writing this post here with the opinions I have? It took their lifetime of experience to lead up to that point, there’s no way anyone is going to flip them on their head in a single conversation.

While I can’t say that a conversation will change their minds, I can say with reasonable confidence that talking at someone will almost never change their minds. Again this is pretty basic, if I just told you that you were wrong and you should think XYZ would you just accept it? Presumably (hopefully) not.

But again, this is one extreme end of the spectrum that people bring up. Consider someone in the middle who doesn’t spew hate speech or doesn’t in general hate people but is wrapped up in a collective punishment to make the case. Such actions are more likely to push those people to be sympathetic against such restrictions even if they don’t agree with the reasons why they’re happening.

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Bruno Brito

There are statistics all over the place showing how minorities are screwed all over. Why is the function of every single member of said minority to work as a posterchild of understanding when the same courtesy is not held up towards them? Why are minorities forced to prove themselves every single time something like this happens?

Why would anyone in any way shape or form being forced to “change anyone’s mind” just so they are left alone? Don’t you see the issue here?

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

Not to mention it’s not even really ‘understanding,’ it’s most of the time just me, the minority, sitting there while while some asshat spews out hateful things loosely justifying their opinion with constant cognitive dissonance and intentional misunderstanding, while really hoping that they somehow, in the middle of their hate-filled diatribe, gain the self awareness to realize how shitty they are being and then have the personal motivation to actually change.

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Fervor Bliss

Boris: “We have been taking a lot of heat from moose and squirrel for publishing hate speech. Our profits are at risk.”
Natasha: “Let’s single out gamers they have a bad reputation anyway.”
Boris laughs: “Good that should satisfy moose and squirrel for a while.”

No it doesn’t fool us at all Reddit. You are trash.