So, it’s been about a day since this whole “EA is the worst company in America” thing happened. I was thinking of writing something about it directly because seeing a bunch of entitled video game fans with no concept of how the real world works making a statement that a video game publisher is worse than, say, a bank that forecloses on the homes of soldiers or an oil company that poisons the earth, is simply offensive. I love video games and I’ll be honest, there are things that I see developers, publishers, and press do that really annoy me. I work in a library which is a customer service field. I understand the importance of excellent customer service, and it pisses me off to see organizations treating people like crap.
Anyway, based on what I’ve seen on Twitter and elsewhere over that past 24 hours, it’s pretty clear that my point of view on this matter is hardly controversial. I’m going to concede something, however; If you insist that a corporation related to your personal life (i.e. having to do with the Internet, about video games, not actually based in the larger world), then you are aiming at the wrong target. EA sucks, but it’s not really any worse than Activision, Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, or anyone else. They are not your friends. It’s nothing personal — they just want your money and will do whatever it takes to get it. No, if you want to go after someone, go after someone whose corruption actually harms the industry and damages lives.
Go after Reddit.
Full disclosure: Twinfinite has been blacklisted from Reddit since November 2012. Anything that gets posted from our site gets taken down, and anyone who posts our content gets shadowbanned. Why? We don’t know. Sure, they’ve fed us a line of “You are spamming us,” but if you’re here reading this then you can see that we don’t produce spam. We produce original, well-written, interesting content.
I made a joke on our staff page a while back that perhaps one of the mods is a vengeful ex-boyfriend of Yamilia. While that’s not likely the case (although Yami is quite the heartbreaker), we have clearly pissed off a few well-placed mods who have taken it upon themselves to deem us ‘spam’.
So yeah, that pisses me off. It pisses me off that because a small number of petty moderators with Napoleon complexes can block the content of an entire site and take some kind of moral high ground, while their website got big by doing exactly that.
I’m not a big fan of Gawker sites personally. However, they are one of the biggest fish in the sea of video game enthusiast writing. On top of that, they embrace the whole “journalism” side of things that frankly most of us don’t do. One major story from last year was when Adrian Chen wrote an exposé about Michael Brutsch, better known as notorious troll/moderator Violentacrez. In response to this article’s looking under the rock at the behavior of certain individuals housed there, Reddit’s response was swift and decisive.
They banned (and continue to ban) all posts linking to Gawker sites. Why would they do this? Surely they had a reason to do it beyond simple petulance. Their official line is that Gawker violated their rules by ‘doxxing’ Brutsch, but as evidenced by this exchange between Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo and a Reddit moderator, it was more a case of the mods getting together and exacting some vigilante justice on a site that dared criticize one of their own. Basically, what it comes down to is that Reddit supports free speech. Theirs.
So what you have here is an organization who says its content is community driven and committed to free speech, yet in practice it lays down arbitrary rules about posting that seem to be the result of an oligarchy of moderators imposing their personal preferences on the process. On top of that, this same group of people protected and rewarded Brutsch, whose primary purpose on Reddit was to ostensibly have a go at being the most awful person on the Internet.
Awesome. So it’s okay to support a moderator that thinks posting sexualized photos of underage girls, but a small site putting up an article about music that evokes themes in Bioshock is spam? Reddit — You suck.
At the end of the day, I recognize that awarding Reddit with some symbolic token of their shittiness is about as meaningful as doing it for EA. So here I am, being part of the problem I guess. The thing is though, if you’re going to make some kind of statement about a corporation that truly does damage to Internet culture and engages in unethical and unseemly practices, then go after a real bad guy.