Forget EA, Fight the Real Enemy – Reddit!

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RedditProhibited

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.

EAFull 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.

Violentacrez

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.

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.

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About Author

(Senior Writer)

Born in 1844, I bring a lot of gaming experience to the table. In my day-job, I work for a public library which carries, amongst other formats, video games. I'm very interested in observing and documenting the growing pains this industry is experiencing as it is dragged kicking and screaming towards something resembling maturity. Join me!

  • Muaz Zekeria

    Careful Mikey, the all powerful mods might come after you and spamblock you IRL.

    • Mike Eaton

      I’m not scared. I’ve got righteousness on my side.

  • Brett McLeod

    Reddit is indoctrinating America, making them think they’re allowed to choose the content in which they see, yet witholding those with original content. A+ REDDIT!

  • http://wwe.com Fandango

    Duh Duh, DUH DUH DUH DUH DUH DUH, DUH DUH, duh duh duh duh duh duh

    • Justin Robert

      Thanks!

  • Matthew Stevens

    I’ll post exactly what I posted on N4G because it is so darn true…

    I’ve always viewed Reddit as a place where a bunch of nerds get together to do exactly what they claim to hate. Someone get bullied? Then let’s get 5000 people to bully the bully. Someone censor a group? We also like to censor groups that don’t meet what we want said. A group trolled some of our members? Let’s gather up a bunch of members to attack their website and troll them back. It’s all reactionary garbage because they have sheer numbers on their side.

    It would be 1 thing if the banning reason wasn’t something that happens on their site daily by a million other sites that are accepted with open arms. It would be wonderful if Reddit stuck to it’s own rules and had an even playing ground. Yet, they don’t and by having it be so lopsided, they open themselves up to the criticism that they deserve. Unfortunately, like the little children that they act like, they will just turtle up, act hurt and try to come up with some moral high ground about yet another article condemning them.

  • http://reddit.com Deimorz

    Twinfinite is banned from reddit because you created a large number of accounts to spam submissions to the site, and also used them to attempt to vote up each other’s Twinfinite submissions. I personally warned you on multiple occasions, but you continued breaking reddit’s rules to try to promote your site.

    Hilariously, I only found this post because I saw it in /r/Games’s spam filter, submitted by yet another brand new account, with 4 upvotes even though it’s never been visible to the public. I guess you’ll never learn.

    – Deimorz, /r/Games mod

    • http://twitter.com/KeithChima KeithChima

      Yes, we submitted this article to /r/Games, because we thought it would be funny, and clearly it brought you here. We’re fully aware that we’ve been mass-spamfoldered for months.

      Deimorz, you did message us, and we were polite each and every time, and tried to work with you. Each time you mentioned that someone was posting our content while in “poor standing” on Reddit, we contacted them and told them to stop, and on several occasions told everyone at the site not to post to Reddit unless they were posting external content as well. We never posted articles to the same subreddit more than once.

      Furthermore, several of us had Reddit accounts that were in very good standing, with tons of karma, tons of comments, and tons of links from sites other than Reddit, which didn’t seem to matter when every account was banned, because you treated the entire site as a spamming hivemind. Your rules are arbitrary, ambiguous, and for the most part, not written anywhere. I’ll note that in the reddiquette, it mentions: “don’t upvote or downvote based just on the person that posted it. Don’t upvote or downvote comments and posts just because the poster’s username is familiar to you. Make your vote based on the content”.

      However, it also says: “Use an ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ mentality.” It also says “Don’t moderate a story based on your opinion of its source. Quality of content is more important than who created it.” You shadowbanned everyone who has ever posted from Twinfinite, and told your robot to mass spamfolder anything that ever came from Twinfinite or Gawker. A harsh and sweeping judgment, considering Reddit openly admits they got big by manipulating content on their own front page.

      And THAT is what Mike’s article is about- Reddit’s hypocritical moral highground about democratic and user-driven content. I’m fairly sure you didn’t read it, as you didn’t address any of his major points, but instead focused on Twinfinite’s reputation with Reddit, which Mike was completely forthright about in the first place. Gawker was well within their rights to expose ViolentAcrez, who knew the risks when he trusted the Internet to preserve his anonymity, while he deliberately posted material designed to upset people. And yet, Gawker was completely banned from Reddit, regardless of their content, simply because, God forbid, a moderator had to be accountable for his actions.

      • RxDispensingunit

        I think it’s hilarious that you’re all so adamant about defending your point. All the while, the handful of people that barely noticed your website now think you’re all a bunch of pansies. I’m glad I stuck around

      • http://reddit.com Deimorz

        reddiquette is not the rules. The rules are easily accessible, linked from every single page on the site, and clearly stated: http://www.reddit.com/rules

        Twinfinite regularly broke both the “Don’t spam” and “Don’t ask for votes or engage in vote manipulation” rules. I’ve even seen the Twinfinite YouTube videos given to writers where you explain how to vote-cheat on reddit, there was absolutely no ambiguity about you blatantly breaking the rules.

        You can continue denying it and act as though you’re being treated unfairly, but it won’t change the ridiculous amount of evidence showing the reality of the situation.

        • Justin Robert

          Hi Deimorz, I’m glad you made it over here at least. Disclaimer, I do volunteer here, but don’t represent the group. It sounds like Mike is not mad at mods for upholding the rules, but rather the rules themselves can be a little warped from their intention. Some of the time they could be arbitrarily applied and they are also slightly hypocritical given Reddit founders used the same strategy to grow their site. You came here to say that we broke those rules, but didn’t reply to the other points. We get it, we broke your rules. Mike stated very clearly that we broke your rules in the article. He wasn’t angrily screaming about us getting back in. The article and your response are completely different conversations.

          I understand this became personal for you because you’re a Reddit admin, and it was personal for some of us because we a video game writing-and-stuff hobby and were treated like diabolical masterminds undermining a pristine community. At the end of the day, I understand that spambots are a real issue and we do not live in a perfect world where every group can be dealt with on an individual basis. Thanks for stopping by regardless.

  • tyler

    my guess is that they blacklist and ban your twinfinite posts because there are literally hundreds of sites like twinfinite and they all try to post their blogspam on the same stories and games constantly. gawker sites are banned because their content is consistently trash and often stolen.

    look at how much blog content is on the first 5 pages of /r/gaming right now: there’s a yahtzee review and a gameinformer article. they dont want self-promotion content, it’s just not the right place for it. if you really want your content to get through you would self post — but that would defeat the whole purpose wouldn’t it?

    also: deimorz’ post

  • UncleNasty

    Good answer Deimorz I’m still waiting for Mike Eaton’s response. There’s your answer Twinfinite: You were blocked from reddit for doing shady stuff like creating spam and upvoting your own contents.

  • Justin Robert

    BUT MIKE I FOUND THIS BATTLETOADS CARTRIDGE IN MY ATTIC!!!

  • GemstoneHeart

    What you fail to understand is that the people that post content on reddit are generally not employed by the website behind said content. Additionally, reddit hold no responsibility over the rules placed by a moderator of a sub-reddit. Just because you broke r/gaming’s rules, doesn’t make all of reddit suck. Furthermore, do you think it’s fair to leech hits from another website, of which you have no partnership or agreement with? If you were posting for the sake of sharing original content with the masses, your statements would be just, but you’re blatantly trying to advertise on another website without their consent. Just think about that. Do you openly allow people to advertise on your website with no incentive? With all of that said, you lot all just seem really butt-hurt that you cant have things your way. By the way, you’re website is a peon among giants, articles like this build you a terrible reputation (which you have none of considering this is you’re most “active” article in terms of comments), something you need to build, not destroy.

  • Anonymous

    What the fuck does EA have to do with you spamming Reddit? What the hell?

  • UncleNasty

    N4g banned me because of my response to this article does that make them just as bad as reddit? Most people already agree that this site is butthurt because they were banned for breaking the rules.You can’t compare Reddit and EA because they’re two completely different entities. EA is a greedy gaming company that screws their customers by selling incomplete games and forcing them to buy the rest with DLC or microtransactions. Reddit is a free social networking site that gives users freedom to share whatever they like. If you look at reddit’s main page there’s minimal advertisements and most of the contents and links isn’t about selling products. Reddit itself is not evil however some of their user base is. EA is evil and most of their user base are the victims. See the difference?

    • Matthew Stevens

      I don’t know if they banned you outright or just took off your spam comments, but I can tell you that I marked your comments as spam because you kept copy/pasting them over and over and over and over and over again without offering anything to the conversation. I’m guessing that a bunch of other people marked those comments as spam as well and the admins eventually were brought to it and considered it spam as well. Think of it as downvoting if that works for you, but the community as a whole spoke on that one.

  • Phil

    This is all I hear.

    WWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH

    r/gaming doesn’t like my shit so reddit sux

    Seriously I haven’t read such whiny shit since freshman year of highschool.

    The fuck do you know about internet culture?

    • Justin Robert

      That it’s childish?

  • Yamilia Avendano

    People are totally disregarding the rest of the article because in one paragraph we mention our bad standing with the website, hahahaha. Let’s not give full disclosure next time. People love lies, got it!

  • Justin Robert

    Reddit cares more about anonymity than free speech. As long as they have anonymity, then they can have their free speech whether it’s legal on a national or private level. Along those lines, they don’t about widespread free speech, just their ability to have it through this anonymity regardless of everyone else. But what about the anonymity of the people in the pictures posted without their knowledge? Creepshots was the perfect example and I’m glad it’s gone. A lot of the Reddit community (definitely the vigilante mods) thought they had a heart of gold defending Michael Brutsch, but what about the people in those pictures??

    Why does their right to anonymity matter less than the poster, especially in the cases of blatant sexual objectification. I’m sure at least one of those people in a posted picture is a Redditor, yet their anonymity doesn’t matter. Hypocrisy, narcissism, lack of empthy, and shortsightedness is why. If you want to post someones picture, then you should have to post your own. If you want to publish someone’s name, then you should be able to IF you publish your own. Until that happens, everyone who defends Reddit as some bastion of free speech is just a coward. These people want to be able to spout vitriol and be immune from the consequences… meaning they want absolute free speech, but would prefer if others didn’t have the freedom to speak back on the level the responder deems appropriate. How is that not suppression? It mostly sounds like a bunch of people who have been scared of judgement their whole lives and this is their idea of retribution.

  • Fill Phish

    I don’t get it. You break the rules, you get banned. You keep breaking the rules, you keep getting banned. You’re not some special snowflake who gets to use the world as you please; you’ve gotta obey the rules like everyone else.