David Pakman

Host of the syndicated political talk show that ebars his name, broadcast for radio, television and online.

 

Involvement with Gamergate

Pakman joined the discussion when he started doing interviews with several key figures from Gamergate starting late October 2014:

Others were invited on the show but their interviews didn’t come to pass for various reasons:

  • Stephen Totilo, who on 31 October was invitated via Twitter and politely declined [1]https://archive.today/v1exp
  • Zoe Quinn, who on 31 October was invited via Twitter, accused him of “public pressure” and enabling a “hate group”, among other claims from her and her peers, especially Alex Lifschitz. Please see the sections below for more details
  • Oliver Campbell, scheduled to be interviewed on 3 November, cancelled it [2]https://archive.today/QPKfW

Public reception of Gamergate interviews

Pakman’s very first piece on Gamergate, Brianna Wu’s interview, immediately drew criticism from the anti-GG side.

Brianna Wu’s criticism

Wu considered Pakman, who had so far not made any pronunciations on Gamergate, of being biased against her. During the interview itself, at about the 20:52 mark, she accuses Pakman of running a hit piece on her [3]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETVcInunAss.

Totalbiscuit commented on this on the Youtube, stating that she seemed to expect the interview to be a platform for her to uncritically expose her side and was surprised when Pakman contested her claims and put her on the spotlight:

dssdgdsdf

Soon after the interview, Wu took to Twitter to further her criticism of Pakman, whom she claimed was putting her “on trial” for being a victim [4]https://archive.today/T4cqM, fitting with the anti-GG narrative that casts Gamergate as a harassment campaign:

wu2

She ends her diatribe by announcing she will “answer all these tough question [sic]” soon in an interview with journalist Glenn Fleishman. A few facts not mentioned in that Twitter conversation are that Fleishman is a friend of Wu’s since before Gamergate or the “Quinnspiracy” controversy that preceded it [5]https://archive.today/3izMF [6]https://twitter.com/search?q=from%3Aglennf%20to%3ASpacekatgal and donated to the Kickstarter of her game Revolution 60 [7]https://archive.today/3qEvW#selection-463.0-463.15, whereas Wu has collaborated twice to Fleishman’s publication, The Magazine [8]https://archive.today/CQ6Yp [9]https://archive.today/3w6os and donated to two of his Kickstarters [10]https://archive.today/EXQU2. Thus Fleishman’s bias in the interview is a foregone conclusion [11]https://archive.today/wEkiA, as was his open stance against Gamergate as whole [12]https://archive.today/FLFlq.

Milo Yiannopoulos gets involved

Yiannopoulos took umbrage at supposed lies about him that Wu said in Pakman’s interview [13]https://archive.today/8Q7Ms [14]https://archive.today/yusbO [15]https://archive.today/9TMM9. This eventually led to more misunderstangs, explained on their respective pages.

Ben Kuchera’s preventive refusal

On 31 October, after receiving Totilo’s recusal for an interview, David Pakman lamented that they were having trouble finding anti-GG people to be on the show [16]https://archive.today/4oHHz. After a random commenter suggested he ask Ben Kuchera, the latter preventively recused himself with a peculiar message that compared Gamergate to creationists [17]https://archive.today/7N7dU. This reinforced the anti-GG narrative that GG, as a harassment campaign, has no merit whatsoever and doesn’t even deserve to be debated.

dsgsgsgsdfg

Zoe Quinn’s invitation

Still on 31 October, as Pakman sought for more anti-GG voices to be interviewed, he tweeted at Zoe Quinn asking if she would like to be interviewed. She immediately responded by accusing him of applying “public pressure” against people [18]https://archive.today/U4oSF especially with GG’s “interference” involved [19]https://archive.today/hurQE, and of legitimizing a “hate group” via a golden mean fallacy [20]https://archive.today/LnIH4, before refusing the offer and requesting further conversations to be in private [21]https://archive.today/5IrEF.

The implication of her accusations, in keeping with the standard anti-GG narrative, is that Gamergate has no valid points and isn’t even worthy of being discussed. As Pakman defended himself from these accusations, she further berated him for not asking in private [22]https://archive.today/b3H77 [23]https://archive.today/qXHmb. He apologized, claiming her replies were appearing out of order because of the software he was using, Hootsuite.

Still later on 31 October, Alex Lifschitz went on a rant because of Pakman’s requests for an interview. It’s pretty much impossible to highlight the most egregious tweets because it was effectively a day-long tantrum [24]https://archive.today/L57Ze.

Regardless, on 1 November Quinn mentioned responded to David Pakman to talk about a possible interview deal in private [25]https://archive.today/39CUy [26]https://archive.today/h0W7V. As of yet, she wasn’t interviewed by Pakman.

Source: 8chan

Source: 8chan

The same day, Pakman mentioned on Twitter how he had received many accusations of “leading a hate mob against women” simply for stating his neutrality regarding GG during the previous day’s fracas with Zoe Quinn [27]https://archive.today/SinMV.

tjrjtyjytj9

Wu piles on again

Following the multiple attacks on Pakman that followed the fracas with Zoe Quinn on 31 October, Wu again weighed in against Pakman, accusing him of egocentrism and making this “about him”, which Pakman refuted [28]https://archive.today/zJFEW.

asdfghjj

Arthur Chu’s criticism

The interview with Arthur Chu happened on November 4.

The second and so far last anti-GG figure to be interviewed by Pakman, Arthur Chu already had demonstrated animosity towards Pakman due to perceived victim harassment when offering her an interview [29]https://archive.today/iAFxm [30]https://archive.today/gvlvY.

Chu started openly criticizing Pakman soon after the interview was done [31]https://archive.today/4HzQT, to Pakman’s apparent surprise as he claims they agreed more often than not on the topics discussed. Later Chu claimed that his contention was that “the shows were set up as ‘Gotcha!’ zingers and whaddya know we did a half-hour on zinging me” [32]https://archive.today/6HBsZ, which Pakman denied [33]https://archive.today/qdrBO, without any proof presented by Chu.

Throughtout these Twitter conversations, Chu tries to smear Pakman’s reputation by claiming he is an unethical journalist who owes his career to a 2010 interview with Glenn Miller [34]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNrKqjYfv74 [35]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH93qfvnxls, a white supremacist who came to national attention on 13 April 2014 after a shooting rampage in a Jewish retirement community [36]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overland_Park_Jewish_Community_Center_shooting. Pakman and other Twitter users point out that the interview happened literally years before Miller’s crimes, which makes Chu’s accusations of sensationalism patently false, and moreover the interview tapes were handed as evidence to the FBI. However Chu still insisted that Miller’s 2010 interview and 2014 rampage where the springboard of Pakman’s career, while claiming his feud with Pakman wasn’t due to Gamergate but due to Pakman being only interested in “dirt” on his interviewees.

Days later, Arthur Chu put his contention in more simple, honest terms.

tjrjtyjytj8

Yet a few days later, Chu wrote an article for The Daily Beast against Gamergate. Beside the usual narrative of misogyny and self-denefnse from personal accusations, he took the time to write Pakman “seems to enjoy doing sensationalistic clickbait interviews for the attention and the fireworks, without considering whether they make any positive impact” [37]https://archive.today/u511N. Pakman responded in a tweet that Chu had shown no objections to their research process at the time of the interview but now rants about how it’s “evil” [38]https://archive.today/W8H0j.


Further defamation and David Pakman’s defense

Besides rebuttals on Twitter seen in the section above, David Pakman has saw fit to follow the series of interviews with a few video “editorials” of sorts.

Pakman’s position on Gamergate itself

In the first non-interview video about Gamergate [39]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9fiz35EP2I published on November 10, Pakman clarifies his position on GG itself. Claiming to be accused of bias for both sides and that he accepts neither label, he explains he clearly sees harassment and trolling coming from both sides, states that issues of sexism misogyny clearly exists but has not be presented with evidence that such issues are worse in the gaming industry than elsewhere, and that it’s clear that there’s no doubt about collusion in gaming journalism even tho obviously the field is obviously not a serious matter in the grand scheme of things. In the next video, he clarified that tho neutral in the issue, he sympathized more with the anti-GG side.

CBC misidentification

In the second “editorial” video about GG [40]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kC7s7tfaEc, Pakman shares past instances where he was misidentified in the press (once as a former neo-Nazi, once as a dead gay suicidal teenager), and now it has happened again, thanks to CBC’s piece on Gamergate [41]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELZXPvdH9AY from 13 November.

During the segment, as the voiceover says that Gamergate began as a hashtag for the discussion of ethics in gaming journalism but has degenerated into a harassment campaign, the camera shows tweets and videos of several different people on the pro-GG side. Due to this lack of clarity, it can be implied that these specific people were labeled as either common gamers discussing ethics or harassers, and among the visible people is Greg Pakman. Worse still, the footage of Pakman that they used was precisely his previous video, where he states his neutrality. So the CBC article not only spuriously implies several people might be harassers, but it demonstrates they didn’t do any research at all in showing David Pakman as pro-GG at all.

The third “editorial” video is about CBC’s clarification e-mail to Pakman regarding the use of his image on the segment [42]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_782j_Cev8. It states that they didn’t imply he was a harasser, as his footage appears right as the voiceover mentions “initially a hashtag for the dicussion of ethics…”. However, it also states that his footage was chosen because he was an “early adopter” of GG discussion, which Pakman himself denies, claiming himself a latecomer to the debate. Thus the charge that CBC’s segment was badly researched remained.

ggautoblocker misidentification

During the fiasco of IGDA’s endorsement of the ggautoblocker program, it turned out that David Pakman’s personal twitter, @dpakman, was listed as one of the 10,000+ “harassers” within Gamergate [43]https://archive.today/d7WUG#selection-4902.1-4951.7, despite the fact that his maain account, @davidpakmanshow, had been whitelisted long before [44]https://github.com/freebsdgirl/ggautoblocker/commit/9fe7878983450b33f9fd716ae3799a2bd14b6e68

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1. https://archive.today/v1exp
2. https://archive.today/QPKfW
3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETVcInunAss
4. https://archive.today/T4cqM
5. https://archive.today/3izMF
6. https://twitter.com/search?q=from%3Aglennf%20to%3ASpacekatgal
7. https://archive.today/3qEvW#selection-463.0-463.15
8. https://archive.today/CQ6Yp
9. https://archive.today/3w6os
10. https://archive.today/EXQU2
11. https://archive.today/wEkiA
12. https://archive.today/FLFlq
13. https://archive.today/8Q7Ms
14. https://archive.today/yusbO
15. https://archive.today/9TMM9
16. https://archive.today/4oHHz
17. https://archive.today/7N7dU
18. https://archive.today/U4oSF
19. https://archive.today/hurQE
20. https://archive.today/LnIH4
21. https://archive.today/5IrEF
22. https://archive.today/b3H77
23. https://archive.today/qXHmb
24. https://archive.today/L57Ze
25. https://archive.today/39CUy
26. https://archive.today/h0W7V
27. https://archive.today/SinMV
28. https://archive.today/zJFEW
29. https://archive.today/iAFxm
30. https://archive.today/gvlvY
31. https://archive.today/4HzQT
32. https://archive.today/6HBsZ
33. https://archive.today/qdrBO
34. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNrKqjYfv74
35. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH93qfvnxls
36. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overland_Park_Jewish_Community_Center_shooting
37. https://archive.today/u511N
38. https://archive.today/W8H0j
39. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9fiz35EP2I
40. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kC7s7tfaEc
41. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELZXPvdH9AY
42. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_782j_Cev8
43. https://archive.today/d7WUG#selection-4902.1-4951.7
44. https://github.com/freebsdgirl/ggautoblocker/commit/9fe7878983450b33f9fd716ae3799a2bd14b6e68
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IGF

Independent Games Festival, the world’s biggest awards ceremony dedicated exclusively to indie games. Part of the UBM media group.

 

Chairman Bandon Boyer and GameJournoPros

IGF chairman since May 2010 [1]https://web.archive.org/web/20100527183248/http://www.igf.com/, Brandon Boyer, was a member of the now-defunct GameJournoPros list. Please see the relevant page for the list’s full membership.


 

Criticism from former judges and contestants

Anna Anthropy

A judge for the 2010 event, Anthropy commented on her blog [2]https://archive.today/6yoqY what she perceived as the judging process’ biggest flaws: a the frontend for the judges discouraged discussion; the inability of judges to weigh in on games that they hadn’t been randomly selected to; bad defitnions of the categories; lack of variety of backgrounds of the judges; and the participation of unfinished games.

On 2012 she protested at the fact that still-unreleased Fez, which had already entered the 2008 IGF and won the Excellence in Visual Arts category, was allowed to enter the contest again, in a lengthy article on Rock Paper Shotgun [3]https://archive.today/OWvmj. Added to her disapproval of unreleased games being elligible in the first place was the fact that the same game could enroll for the events of more than one year. Anthropy’s accusation specifically mention the “cliquey-ness, the scenesters that [she yells] about”. The article states that the IGF chairman, Brandon Boyer, claimed the organizers were “taking gradual steps to limit prior finalists from re-entering the same game”, but stated that 2012 was a “trasitional year” and thus Fez would be allowed to compete.

Rotting Cartridge

Indie studio Rotting Cartridge had entered an Iphone game called Kale in Dinoland for the 2012 IGF, and in February 2012 they wrote a post on their blog containing heavy accusations about the judging process [4]https://archive.today/MpeFi. Chiefly, 3 of the 8 judges to whom Kale In Dinoland had been assigned didn’t even play the game, and 4 of the remaining ones played about only 35 minutes total between them. Further, they accused the judging process to lack transparency, and credit their knowledge of judges’ playing times only because it was the first time the event was using a platform called TestFlight to judge the iPhone games: “The sad truth is, the heads of the IGF know about all of this. They made the mistake of using TestFlight and allowing us, the developers, to see backstage.”

Rotting Cartridge made a follow-up post the next day with a few clarifications, including the playing times of Kale In Dinoland’s judges [5]https://archive.today/XIYLt. Part of it was intended as a reply to Jenn Frank’s criticism, seen below.

Jenn Frank responds

A judge at the 2012 IGF event, Jenn Frank took umbrage at Rotting Cartridge’s revelations and offered a rebuttal [6]https://archive.today/7C9zj, altho she seemingly wasn’t one of the judges to whom Kale In Dinoland was assigned.

Altho she raises valid points (namely, the failure of some devs to provide documentation for their entries or simply of offering buggy builds), her post is littered with assumptions, flaws in logic, personal diatribes and petty insults. Many of the comments on the post condemn it.

Team Meat

Edmud McMillen and Tommy Refenes, who compose Team Meat, have been contestants in the 2010 IGF with the game Super Meat Boy [7]https://archive.today/EjCOi and judges in previous iterations of the event.

In an episode of the HAWPcast podcast published January 2013 [8]http://hawpcast.podbean.com/e/keepin-it-real-with-edmund-mcmillen-and-tommy-refenes/, McMillen and Refenes talk at length about their experience with IGF. They criticize the judging process, accusing the judges at large of voting for games not based on merit but on subjective criteria like “need for exposure”. This hapened agaibnst Super Meat Boy itself as they say:

It pains me to have Phil Fish directly tell me that – he straight up just told us that, “I was one of the many people that voted against Super Meat Boy because I knew you guys were going to be fine.”

This bias against game which are perceived to already be successful is reflected in the judges’ strong stance against already released titles.

8bitpixelrobot

Note: 8bitpixelrobot’s role as a game developer is still unconfirmed, as he claims he doesn’t want to use Gamergate to promote his products.

On 7 October 2014, a Twitter user claiming to have been a IGF entrant came forward with his own experience at the Game Developer’s Conference, the event during which the IGF is awarded [9]https://archive.today/qqWT5, during which a GDC staffer flat out told him games aren’t judged based on merit.

fgnfgm

Assorted comments

In the comments of a Gamasutra article about IGF 2012, the site’s own commenters complained about the awards having become incestuous and favoritism [10]https://archive.today/AodVE.

[Maurício Gomes]: Most recent years are jokes, specially when you consider how inbred the things is… Just take a real look at the judges and winners, and you will notice lots of overlap (and things like judges that judged their own game, or thinks like: The organizer and 5 judges are personal friends of Fish, this year winner… And also winner in 2008… )

And then we have things like a iOS developer that complained that only 5 judges actually played his game, and only 1 actually played it for more than a minute, and the official reply from IGF was something like:

“Judges are busy volunteers, this happen, do not complain.”

Kinda sad when you consider you had to pay 95 USD to enter the competition.

[…]

I know some ex-Judges, and once I talked a bit with the organizers, the problem is clear: There has a general change of direction since it started (causing many old judges to stop being judges because they think the new rules are broken), and also the place where all judges are coming from is the same community (mostly centered TigSource)

So if you take a look, you will see entries of all over the world, but almost all judges are from US, Canada and Scandinavia, you do not see asian judges or latin (from south europe) judges, or latino (from south america) judges, much less african judges.

And cultural perceptions affect a lot of what a person think of each work.

Not only that, the fact judges come from the same community, they tend to like the same things, thus if things remain as they are, we will be forever seeing the same sort of games winning over and over again, it will be always something along the lines of what you see in TigSource and Indiegames.com blog, mostly action games, platformers, retro graphics… I am very sure that Seumas McNally and his strange 3D tank game would never win a today IGF, not because he made a bad game (if it was a bad game he would not win the prize he has won), but because the culture of the judges do not favor that sort of game.

If you look at the early hall of judges, it had half of them being from AAA industry, and lots of clearly “random” people. Now we have mostly ‘indie’ devs and ‘indie’-scene journalists. With ‘indie’ meaning like a person told me once: What Derek Yu says it is ‘indie’ (ie: instead of meaning independent developer, it means small team that started without much money and do retroish stuff)

[…]

Extra note: Nothing against TigSource or Derek Yu (or IGF in fact), I am only explaining why IGF is biased toward a certain type of games and certain people (ie: you have some few people that won several times, instead of several winners that won once…)

[Michael Lubker]: Part of the issue is that judges are often asked to come back. Several times, people have been asked to judge, and then recuse because they enter something. There’s a fine line of conflict of interest.

[…]

Also I agree with Mauricio. The team I’ve been working with didn’t submit this year because we knew our game wasn’t “weird” or pixely enough.

[James Margaris]: Seems like people are waking up to the fact that these awards highly suspect (to put it mildly). For the most part it’s the same narrow slice of people awarding each other and scratching each other’s backs. The fact that you have the same people winning for the same games (that have never been released!) years apart is just ridiculous.

And that’s before you look at the the list of super judges and the incredible lack of diversity represented there. It’s 70% guys with scarves and ironic hats. The whole affair appears intensely cliquish, where games that conform to a narrow sensibility and whose creators are friends with the judges, blog with them, hang out with them at events and websites and such take home the awards.

I see a lot of high quality indie games but I see the same dozen or so names everywhere – handing out awards at IGF, winning awards at IGF, starring in movies and Gamespot videos, speaking at GDC, deciding who gets to speak at GDC…it really does appear that there are a small number of indie gatekeeper illuminati.

And that’s before you get into the dirt-digging stuff where judges don’t even bother playing the games of unhyped entrants.

[David Phan]: Why did this piece get taken off or de-listed from the news threads on the main page? I had to search for it to find it. I understand the IGF is part of Gamasutra’s network of properties, but it looks suspect when something not in your favor gets de-listed like this imo.

With regards to this last quote, it’s worth noting that Gamasutra belongs to the UBM Media group, of which the GDC and IGF are part as well.


 

Unprofessional behavior by judge Mattie Brice

On 4 November 2014, IGF judge Mattie Brice tweeted that she was automatically giving bad marks to games which had men in them [11]https://archive.today/mhjYp, which if true, is an obvious admission of bias and a reinforcement of critics’ claims that IGF’s judges don’t regard merit on the games they’re assigned.

Initially dismissed as a joke, including by IGF itself [12]https://archive.today/o9Ady [13]https://archive.today/Wya91 [14]https://archive.today/HQQGE, Brice has a history of seemingly bigoted comments [15]https://archive.today/5Zt6u [16]https://archive.today/jpBrS [17]https://archive.today/N7K64 [18]https://archive.today/KfP8E [19]https://archive.today/KfP8E [20]https://archive.today/05Z42 [21]https://archive.today/VP4YZ.

Regradless, IGF asked Brice to stop misrepresenting her duty as a judge even if in jest [22]https://archive.today/40Dqd, and Brice responded by quitting her position [23]https://archive.today/hHMfm. Several other IGF judges also threatened to leave the process unless IGF apologized to Brice:

  • Christine Love [24]https://archive.today/8HZjS, who donates to Brice’s Patreon [25]https://archive.today/Qtzgs and afterwards tried to hide this fact by making her Patreon profile private [26]https://archive.today/UNrYl
  • Brendan Keogh [27]https://archive.today/3NOJ7, who also donates to her Patreon [28]https://archive.today/yWmyj
  • Zoya Street [29]https://archive.today/xXDNr

Additionally, journalist Ben Kuchera, another donator to Brice’s Patreon as well as a member of the GameJournoPros list like IGF chairman Brandon Boyer, chastised IGF [30]https://archive.today/G2MBR [31]https://archive.today/I76Df.

IGF soon issued an apology to Mattie Brice [32]https://archive.today/7vm6F. While acknowledging that Brice initial tweet “raised suspicions that judgment would be made on games without due diligence”, the apology is aimed at anyone “been made to feel unsupported by or unsafe”, and keeps the door open for Brice’s return.

As of yet, Mattie Brice has not taken up on IGF’s offer.

Friendship with 2014 IGF entrant

Mattie Brice and Brendan Keogh were friends with indie developer Izzy Gramp [33]https://archive.today/7YMc4 [34]https://archive.today/iXE4n, who had a game among the STudent entrants of IGF 2014, Intergalactic Space princess [35]https://archive.today/5GAAf. Altho it’s currently unknown if Keogh was a judge in the 2014 event, Brice was confirmed to be involved in some capacity [36]https://archive.today/Fn4FX.

 


References

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Ben Kuchera

Gaming journalist, current senior editor of Polygon.

kuchera02

 

Participation in Brad Wardell’s slandering

When Kotaku published its one-sided article accusing Stardock’s Brad Wardell of sexual harassment [1]https://archive.today/JTUza, Kuchera, then at Penny Arcade Report, “signal-boosted” Kotaku’s article [2]https://web.archive.org/web/20130827020524/http://penny-arcade.com/report/article/brad-wardell-of-stardock-sued-for-sexual-harassment-with-some-pretty-damnin. As the URL shows, the original name of Kuchera’s link was called “Stardock CEO Brad Wardell sued for sexual harassment, with some pretty damning evidence”. The latter part was soon edited to “some heavy allegations” as it became clear that Kotaku’s article was heavily flawed, drawing all its accusations from one side of the litigation, namely that of Wardell accuser, and had never sought Wardell to hear his side of the story. Eventually, the case against Wardell was dismissed with prejudice by the courts.


Participation in GameJournoPros

All of the information in this section comes from a single article by William Usher, the leaker of GameJournoPros [3]https://archive.today/aIteI.

Started on 31 August 2010 by Kyle Orland, senior gaming editor at Ars Technica, and was ostensibly modelled after JournoList, the controversial Google Group which had been closed down a few months prior due to evidence of collusion between its members, American liberal reporters, to push specific narratives.

uP6HvaD

A little less than a month after the list’s creation, Ben Kuchera, then senior editor at Penny Arcade Report, joined it. Orland spcifically mentioned that Kuchera’s recommendationis what caused him to land his job at Ars Technica, which goes a long way towards explaining the influence Kuchera had on GameJournoPros.

KfrxeKT

According to Usher, kuchera utilized this influence unduly on several occasions in the list’s discussions:

You see, this explains why Kuchera had such pull in the Game Journo Pros, why fellow member Ryan Smith was nearly kicked out of the group for snidely putting Kuchera in check on one occasion, and why Kuchera was allowed to bully Greg Tito in an attempt to close down the The Escapist’s #GamerGate discussion thread – a thread, I might add, that only stayed open thanks to a lot of intervention from The Escapist co-founder Alexander Macris, the same man who completely reorganized all of Defy Media’s ethics policies following the early days of #GamerGate.

The attempt to get Greg Tito to censor discussion of Gamergate on The Escapist is mentioned in more detail below.


“Quinnspiracy” narrative collusion

Yiannopoulos’ articles revealing the exitence of GameJournoPros claimed that several members of the list used it to practice collusion, by planning concerted narrative efforts between supposed rival publications. The focus of Yiannopoulos exposé was a thread about the “Quinnspiracy” controversy, where some of the journalists, most notably Ben Kuchera, argued about penning “signal boosting” articles on Zoe Quinn’s support or if they should just ignore the issue. Kuchera himself had financial ties to Quinn in the form of Patreon support dating to early January 2014 [4]https://archive.today/48pVJ. In that thread there was an attempt to pressure Greg Tito, editor-in-chief of The Escapist, into closing down discussion of Gamergate on its forums [5]https://archive.today/u397Q. It should be noted that The Escapist was one of the very few of the big gaming sites that did not ban discussion of the topic.

Other members voiced their worry at the ethics of this and chose to stay away.


Cronyism within GameJournoPros

In addition to being responsible for Orland’s job at Ars Technica and his undisclosed financial tie to Quinn, mentioned in the sections above, Kuchera was also friends with his future employer [6]https://archive.today/XwEK1 thanks to GameJournoPros. Chris Grant, editor-in-chief at Polygon, offered Kuchera a job less than a month after he had left Penny Arcade Report [7]https://archive.today/aIteI.

qw90lLM


Undisclosed conflict of interest

As mentioned above, Kuchera has a financial tie to Zoe Quinn in the form of Patreon support since early January 2014 [8]https://archive.today/48pVJ. In 19 March 2014 he penned an article about Quinn without any disclaimers [9]https://archive.today/iuDHi.


Minor disclosure of Patreon support

Between 25 and 27 August 2014, as a consequence of the discussion within Gamergate, Polygon ammended their ethics statement in regards to Kickstarter and Patreon contributions by its journalists [10]https://archive.today/uZe1b [11]https://web.archive.org/web/20140827204741/http://www.polygon.com/pages/ethics-statement. The additions were:

Polygon staff are permitted to back video game Kickstarter campaigns at the minimum level necessary to acquire the game or hardware. No disclosure is needed.

[…]

Polygon staff are permitted to contribute to Patreon campaigns for members of the video game industry, but need to disclose the details of those contributions on their staff page as well as on any related coverage they publish on the site.

Consequently, Kuchera updated his Polygon user profile to disclose whose Patreon accounts he contributed to [12]https://archive.today/UCzqx [13]https://web.archive.org/web/20140829054155/http://www.polygon.com/users/Ben%20Kuchera. However, his previous article about Zoe Quinn’s Depression Quest remains unaltered.


Unprofessional behavior

Accusations against Erik Kain

In 27 January 2013, Erik kain, a gaming blogger for Forbes, posted news about the imminent release of an old 16-bit game [14]https://archive.today/iAta9. Altho only then receiving a physical release in the form of Super NES cartridge, the game Nightmare Busters had already circulated among the emulation scene for a while before this, and to demonstrate that the game itself wasn’t new, Kain linked to a browser-playable version of this ROM. However, due to the less-than-clear legal status of emulated games, his post drew criticism [15]https://archive.today/aj7W2, and he has since edited it to remove the link, apologized and clarified that he mistakenly thought that emulation of a previously unreleased game wasn’t considered piracy.

Ben Kuchera took the opportunity to accuse Kain of advocating piracy [16]https://web.archive.org/web/20140919211214/http://www.giantbomb.com/forums/general-discussion-30/ben-kuchera-starts-twitter-smear-campagin-against–576873/ [note: the thread went for longer than the 9 pages, but there isn’t a better archived version available]. In the ensuing spat, he started responding to criticisms simply with “Deal with it.” and changing his Twitter avatar to the same message [17]https://archive.today/Q2OAu [18]https://archive.today/qMgzk [19]https://archive.today/2bBaF [20]https://archive.today/QpAYG [21]https://archive.today/g5AoJ [22]https://archive.today/HLzOM [23]https://archive.today/VCT19, to much mockery from the internet [24]https://archive.today/5wXdD [25]https://archive.today/6CtZa.

 

Kuchera gets caught advocating piracy twice

On August 2014, Kuchera wrote an article for Polygon arguing unequivocally for the piracy of Star Wars movies [26]https://archive.today/KpeYt. When called out on the hypocrisy, he again chose to react in an unprofessional manner [27]https://archive.today/aW1KO.

On January 2015, he again advocated piracy, this time in regards to the movie The Hobbit [28]https://archive.today/qfpju.

Attacking Forbes’ ethics policy

On 30 March 2013, there surfaced a rumor that another Forbes blogger, Jason Evangelho, was making a profit by selling review copies of games [29]https://archive.today/yuGAV. Likely because of his previous spat with Kain, Kuchera used the opportunity to passive-aggressively criticize Forbes’ supposed lack of ethical oversight or even an ethics policy, despite he himself admitting that he never had one for the Penny Arcade Report [30]https://archive.today/OkX20.

 

 

Using other press sources without citation

On 15 January 2015, Kuchera wrote on Polygon about a developer of Hotline Miami 2 giving his blessing for Australians to pirate the game after it was banned [31]https://archive.today/STgri, without giving credit to the article he cribbed, from Australian site OXGCN [32]https://archive.today/aHw7J. OXGCN had gotten the information itself from Reddit. Four days later, Kuchera’s article was edited to add Reddit as a source, while still ignoring OXGCN [33]https://archive.today/O0TJr. On 22 January, he confessed and apologized on Twitter [34]https://archive.today/onG35 [35]https://archive.today/2jyyN [36]https://archive.today/Rhui9 [37]https://archive.today/BL2Wn and the Polygon article was further ammended [38]https://archive.today/MkMHS. This is a rare instance of Kuchera admitting to a past mistake.

Penning articles without any fact-checking

On 9 February 2015, Ben Kuchera wrote an opinion piece questioning the profitability of Xbox One title Destiny [39]https://archive.today/g5U64. NeoGAF users spotted how flawed the premise of the article, as the question posed could be solved with simple Google searching [40]https://archive.today/AGNkN, making the whole article moot. The opinion piece has since been edited [41]https://archive.today/mm8op. This complete lack of fact-checking also demonstrates hypocrisy, considering Kuchera’s past diatribe against Erik Kain.

“Tetris is Soviet propaganda”

In a glaring display of ignorance of the subject matter of his job, Kuchera defended the opinion that Tetris as Soviet propaganda [42]https://archive.today/EJsiu [43]https://twitter.com/Rock_DS/status/549024559928983552, defending his point by stating the music and themes as extremely political [44]https://archive.today/APLQY, the government owning the rights to the game [45]https://archive.today/cY2oE and that its unending gameplay transmits the message that [46]http://archive.is/pIA0Q, all while insulting naysayers and bragging about having read about the game’s history. When faced with evidence contrary to his statements (Tetris at its start didn’t have graphics or music, and what little it did come to have weren’t Soviet in nature but Russian; the aforementioned music and graphics pre-dated the Soviet union by decades or centuries; the original version and several of its port and remakes do have an ending; the Soviet government owned the rights to virtually everything within its borders etc.), he chooses to react with more derision.

Assorted


Defends firing people on their opinions

On 31 January 2014, Kuchera had a minor spat with a Gamergate supporter on Twitter [47]https://archive.today/l2aHJ [48]https://archive.today/I5rhw, and followed it up by trying to get him fired over it [49]http://archive.is/TRe1C [50]https://archive.today/eZ9Gh.

1420768822814

 


Hypocrisy

A common theme in Ben Kuchera’s career in gaming journalism is the contradiction between his opinions and actions, or between opinions themselves.

On social justice

In his old posts at the Ars Technica forums, he often defended opinions that directly stand against his current stances with regards to social justice. While it’s perfectly understandable that a person can change opinions as time goes on, there’s a distinct lack of cognizance of this particular reversal. This dovetails with Kuchera’s habit of almost never apologizing or even acknowledging his mistakes [51]https://archive.today/Vmowh#selection-3232.4-3232.8 [52]https://archive.today/js8dA#selection-1348.3-1348.4 [53]https://archive.today/5IwkK#selection-2956.33-2956.34 [54]https://archive.today/fHVzH#selection-1190.11-1190.12 [55]https://archive.today/FMsQ2#selection-866.3-866.4 [56]https://archive.today/MckAf#selection-3740.0-3740.1 [57]https://archive.today/kEg1U#selection-671.0-671.117 [58]https://archive.today/rEa2p#selection-448.7-448.8 [59]https://archive.today/zmfv9#selection-1057.1-1065.10 [60]https://archive.today/GdFI1#selection-2799.0-2837.32.

 

On cronyism

During the “Doritogate” controversy, journalist Lauren Wainwright threatened legal action against Eurogamer for publishing an article by Rab Florence where he named people involved in malfeasance in gaming journalism. Ben Kuchera added his voice to the chorus that criticized this form of censorship, while also making clear that he thought that close relationships between publishers and journalists was a problem [61]https://archive.today/bLphH. The last paragraph is particularly pertinent:

We need to be more willing to report on the mingling of marketing and reporting in the video game industry, not less. There needs to be more instances of disclosure, not fewer. The common industry practice of sticking our heads in the sand and dismissing these stories as “drama” won’t work anymore. Lauren Wainwright is finding that out, to her detriment.

As Gamergate demonstrated, he owes part of his career thanks to cronyism within the GameJournoPros mailing list. He also used it to further collusion regarding a proposed media silence surrounding Zoe Quinn after the publication of The Zoe Post. This is documented in the previous parts of this article.

On piracy

As discussed elsewhere in this page, Kuchera once used a possibly spurious charge of advocating piracy as an opportunity to attack Forbes’ gaming blogger, Erik Kain. After that fracas, Kuchera fomented piracy twice.

 

   [ + ]

1. https://archive.today/JTUza
2. https://web.archive.org/web/20130827020524/http://penny-arcade.com/report/article/brad-wardell-of-stardock-sued-for-sexual-harassment-with-some-pretty-damnin
3, 7. https://archive.today/aIteI
4, 8. https://archive.today/48pVJ
5. https://archive.today/u397Q
6. https://archive.today/XwEK1
9. https://archive.today/iuDHi
10. https://archive.today/uZe1b
11. https://web.archive.org/web/20140827204741/http://www.polygon.com/pages/ethics-statement
12. https://archive.today/UCzqx
13. https://web.archive.org/web/20140829054155/http://www.polygon.com/users/Ben%20Kuchera
14. https://archive.today/iAta9
15. https://archive.today/aj7W2
16. https://web.archive.org/web/20140919211214/http://www.giantbomb.com/forums/general-discussion-30/ben-kuchera-starts-twitter-smear-campagin-against–576873/ [note: the thread went for longer than the 9 pages, but there isn’t a better archived version available]
17. https://archive.today/Q2OAu
18. https://archive.today/qMgzk
19. https://archive.today/2bBaF
20. https://archive.today/QpAYG
21. https://archive.today/g5AoJ
22. https://archive.today/HLzOM
23. https://archive.today/VCT19
24. https://archive.today/5wXdD
25. https://archive.today/6CtZa
26. https://archive.today/KpeYt
27. https://archive.today/aW1KO
28. https://archive.today/qfpju
29. https://archive.today/yuGAV
30. https://archive.today/OkX20
31. https://archive.today/STgri
32. https://archive.today/aHw7J
33. https://archive.today/O0TJr
34. https://archive.today/onG35
35. https://archive.today/2jyyN
36. https://archive.today/Rhui9
37. https://archive.today/BL2Wn
38. https://archive.today/MkMHS
39. https://archive.today/g5U64
40. https://archive.today/AGNkN
41. https://archive.today/mm8op
42. https://archive.today/EJsiu
43. https://twitter.com/Rock_DS/status/549024559928983552
44. https://archive.today/APLQY
45. https://archive.today/cY2oE
46. http://archive.is/pIA0Q
47. https://archive.today/l2aHJ
48. https://archive.today/I5rhw
49. http://archive.is/TRe1C
50. https://archive.today/eZ9Gh
51. https://archive.today/Vmowh#selection-3232.4-3232.8
52. https://archive.today/js8dA#selection-1348.3-1348.4
53. https://archive.today/5IwkK#selection-2956.33-2956.34
54. https://archive.today/fHVzH#selection-1190.11-1190.12
55. https://archive.today/FMsQ2#selection-866.3-866.4
56. https://archive.today/MckAf#selection-3740.0-3740.1
57. https://archive.today/kEg1U#selection-671.0-671.117
58. https://archive.today/rEa2p#selection-448.7-448.8
59. https://archive.today/zmfv9#selection-1057.1-1065.10
60. https://archive.today/GdFI1#selection-2799.0-2837.32
61. https://archive.today/bLphH
Posted in | Comments Off on Ben Kuchera

Polygon

Major gaming website. Part of Vox Media.

 

Belated launch and Microsoft financing

Vox Media announced on January 2012 [1]https://archive.today/XFYBG that it would launch a website geared at videogames journalism, under the placeholder name of Vox Games, which launched in February of the same year [2]https://archive.today/9rYNF. Its name was changed to Polygon in April [3]https://archive.today/K2Lll, but the official launch happened only in 24 October [4]https://archive.today/BlSj0.

Meanwhile, in August 2012, thus before the official launch, Polygon start publishing a documentary called “Press Reset” about the history of Polygon itself [5]https://archive.today/033mr. Besides the oddity of a documentary of the story of a website that hadn’t even officially launched yet, there was the question of the source of its budget: Microsoft paid US$750,000 for its production [6]https://archive.today/Yfmti, ostensibly as sponsorship from its browser Internet Explorer which can be seen at the end of the videos. However, since Microsoft is also a console manufacturer and a major games publisher, this financing of a documentary goes beyond the usual publisher ads that are the major revenues of most major gaming sites, thus raising the question of conflict of interest even before the site itself launched. Added to this is the fact that Polygon already had US$40,000,000 raised in venture capital [7]https://archive.today/tqlZO.

untitledqndc0

 

Halo 4 advertorial

On 30 October 2012, less than a week after its official launch, Polygon (among other sites) ran a loosely reworded press release of a Halo 4 ad campaign [8]https://archive.today/Tqi8X, a major game published by Microsoft. The first few user comments on the article were critical of this and were censored for a little while before being restored [9]https://archive.today/ZVzqf according to NeoGAF users. The following pictures are sourced from that thread.

It’s worth mentioning that this happened amidst the “Doritosgate” controversy, also surrounding the marketing blitz of Halo 4’s release.

Accusations of reviews biased against Sony and Nintendo

The aforementioned connections to Microsoft led some gamers to speculate on whether Polygon’s reviews unfairly favored titles for Microsoft’s consoles in detriment to those for Sony’s and Nintendo’s consoles [10]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIRNAQseuec [11]https://archive.today/heut6. However the evidence is circumstantial at best, seeing as several Xbox One releases received bad scores too. On June 2013, a user blog post on N4G showed that Polygon’s scores for Microsoft console titles tended to actually be lower than those for Sony console titles [12]https://archive.today/LEYMl.

Accusation of misappropriation of funds

A Reddit user [13]https://archive.today/heut6, along with accusing Polygon of possible pro-Microsoft bias by Polygon, also realized that the IMDB page for the “Press Reset” Documentary listed its budget as only US$75,000. The IMDB page has since been edited to show US$750,000 [14]http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2533830/business. The high possibility of a typo makes this evidence of bias seem circumstantial.

 


 

SimCity review

In its advance review, published 4 March 2013, of the remake of EA’s SimCity for PC, Polygon’s Russ Pitts gave the game a a 9.5/10 [15]https://archive.today/ab5ra.

Polygon_SimCity_Image

As the game was released the very next day, it was plagued by server outages [16]https://archive.today/1mJfh. Seeing as the game’s DRM included an always-on component, it was rendered unplayable to many people for large stretches of time [17]https://archive.today/ix3ey. In order to attempt to fix this, EA had to take servers offline as well in more than one occasion, further compound the problem [18]https://archive.today/cAOeK.

Adding to this were several bugs afflicting the people who did manage to get the game to start [19]http://imgur.com/f4PcBjb,3qnxoIs,o9F4MfM,cXirt8b,YeKbtxr,8uw8Mmc,54nSR0l. Besides common graphical glitches, the main issue seemed to be with bad pathfinding [20]http://games.on.net/2013/03/maxis-to-address-simcity-pathfinding-complaints-as-more-bugs-are-found/, a severe problem given the game’s design.

As the multitude of problems with SimCity cropped up, Polygon’s review drew criticism. Although they could be excused for not experiencing server outages as it was an advance review, they still failed to warn their readers as to the numerous issues with both design and execution. So on the same day of the game’s launch they updated their review, lowering the score to 8/10. However, this seemed to some as disingenuous [21]https://archive.today/RmYst and the score still seemed high considering the updated review itself admitted the reviewer couldn’t quite even play the game.

Perhaps more importantly, score aggregator Metacritic always keeps a publication’s first score as final, so the previous 9.5/10 remains on the site [22]https://archive.today/i3Rp7. As Metacritic’s aggregate score is the closest the videogame industry has to a standardized score, with several stores like Amazon and Steam featuring them on their games’ pages, the hastily-given initial score of 9.5/10 was effectively the only one that mattered. The days after release saw the bug reports and server outages mounting, and on 7 March Polygon again changed the score of the game to 4/10, before finally settling on 6.5/10 on 3 April.

Polygon’s glowing first review of the game and complete failure to warn their readers of the many flaws in the game that weren’t related to server overload, coupled with their strange first update to the score (mocked as “Literally unplayable. 8/10”), harmed the site’s credibility and fueled long-standing allegation of favorable reviews demanded by publishers.


Bayonetta 2 review

On 13 October 2014, Polygon’s Arthur Gies reviewed the WiiU title Bayonetta 2, giving it a 7.5/10 [23]http://archive.is/NhE84. Discussion about the sexualization of the title character takes up virtually half of the text.

A Reddit user [24]https://archive.today/A8FwK noticed that Gies had also reviewed the first Bayonetta game as well, altho for a different website [25]http://archive.is/kwlHD, giving it 8/10. For that first title, the discussion about sexualization is a brief mention, whereas for the sequel it’s a major factor in the review, and the game arguably lost score points for it.

Happening as it did amidst Gamergate, this raised the question of casuistry and the role of ideology in reviewing games [26]https://archive.today/LI9fP. On the other hand, overzealous Bayonetta fans have been accused of retaliating against an unfavorable score, which does amount to a stiflement of criticism [27]https://archive.today/gl3jo.

Suicide Girls mockery

Reddit users accused Gies of hypocrisy over his Bayonetta 2 review’s criticism of oversexualization membership in porno site Suicide Girls [28]https://archive.today/nEFHj.


Gone Home review

On 15 August 2013, Polygon’s Danielle Riendeau reviewed Gone Home and gave it 10/10 [29]https://archive.today/VpZTg (comments not available on the archived page).

It later surfaced that Riendeau was friends with at least two people involved in the game’s development: Steve Gaynor, co-founder of Gone Home’s devhouse The Fullbright Company, and Chris Remo, composer of the game’s score [30]https://archive.today/6bOmd [31]https://archive.today/pgrC3 [32]https://archive.today/ew6rL [33]https://archive.today/R1K4u. These relationships are not disclosed at all in Polygon’s review.

Riendeau had been a guest at Remo’s podcast, Idle Thumbs, a week before Polygon’s review was published [34]https://archive.today/HbDpZ. At about the 0:02:30 mark, they talk about being friends for a long while before. Additionally, Gaynor was a member of Idle Thumbs, once having been co-host of the main podcast, and in October 2013 returned to host his own show in the site, Tone Control [35]http://idlethumbs.wikia.com/wiki/Steve_Gaynor. Among the comments on Polygon’s review, a reader comments on these potential conflicts of interest, but is told by the site’s deputy review editor, Phillip Kollar, that a podcast guest appearance bears no problem. Riendeau’s friendship with Remo and gaynor which predates the podcast itself wasn’t brought up.

On May 2014, Riendeau became an occasional host on the same podcast [36]http://idlethumbs.wikia.com/wiki/Danielle_Riendeau [37]https://web.archive.org/web/20140702044028/https://www.idlethumbs.net/about [38]https://archive.today/tOLBC.

All the information regarding Gone Home’s review other than Riendeau eventually joining Idle Thumbs was sourced from an anonymous picture found below.

8atPtzN

Source: 8chan


Assorted

“Kissing vs Killing”

On 1 October 2014, Polygon published an opinion piece by developer Zach Gage about the game Shadow of Mordor [39]https://archive.today/XpO7f. He complained about the way the game introduced a stealth mechanic in a tutorial, as the player was taught to sneak to kiss his wife in the same manner as sneaking to kill an enemy. From that, Gage proceeded to pen a convoluted moral diatribe, including bringing up an issue of misogyny.

The article was mocked as inane, pointless and a cheap attempt to create a moral panic [40]https://archive.today/BzrQL [41]https://archive.today/72hb5 [42]https://archive.today/mcktO [43]https://archive.today/DVzFB. By contrast, Penny Arcade’s Gabe praised the tutorial in question, seeing it as a clever twist on the usually boring tutorial mechanics and it resonated on his experience as a family man [44]https://archive.today/N3sIb.


 

References

   [ + ]

1. https://archive.today/XFYBG
2. https://archive.today/9rYNF
3. https://archive.today/K2Lll
4. https://archive.today/BlSj0
5. https://archive.today/033mr
6. https://archive.today/Yfmti
7. https://archive.today/tqlZO
8. https://archive.today/Tqi8X
9. https://archive.today/ZVzqf
10. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIRNAQseuec
11, 13. https://archive.today/heut6
12. https://archive.today/LEYMl
14. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2533830/business
15. https://archive.today/ab5ra
16. https://archive.today/1mJfh
17. https://archive.today/ix3ey
18. https://archive.today/cAOeK
19. http://imgur.com/f4PcBjb,3qnxoIs,o9F4MfM,cXirt8b,YeKbtxr,8uw8Mmc,54nSR0l
20. http://games.on.net/2013/03/maxis-to-address-simcity-pathfinding-complaints-as-more-bugs-are-found/
21. https://archive.today/RmYst
22. https://archive.today/i3Rp7
23. http://archive.is/NhE84
24. https://archive.today/A8FwK
25. http://archive.is/kwlHD
26. https://archive.today/LI9fP
27. https://archive.today/gl3jo
28. https://archive.today/nEFHj
29. https://archive.today/VpZTg (comments not available on the archived page
30. https://archive.today/6bOmd
31. https://archive.today/pgrC3
32. https://archive.today/ew6rL
33. https://archive.today/R1K4u
34. https://archive.today/HbDpZ
35. http://idlethumbs.wikia.com/wiki/Steve_Gaynor
36. http://idlethumbs.wikia.com/wiki/Danielle_Riendeau
37. https://web.archive.org/web/20140702044028/https://www.idlethumbs.net/about
38. https://archive.today/tOLBC
39. https://archive.today/XpO7f
40. https://archive.today/BzrQL
41. https://archive.today/72hb5
42. https://archive.today/mcktO
43. https://archive.today/DVzFB
44. https://archive.today/N3sIb
Posted in | Comments Off on Polygon

GameJournoPros

A mailing list for several gaming journalism professionals. It’s membership and some conversations were leaked by member William Usher.

 

Reveal

On 17 September, Milo Yiannopoulos published an article about a mailing list of several gaming journalists called Game Journalist Professionals a.k.a GameJournoPros [1]https://archive.today/5iLCl, followed by another one the next day [2]https://archive.today/ypaNu and a dump of the e-mails corcerning Zoe Quinn [3]https://archive.today/u397Q

Yiannopoulos published two more articles in the following weeks [4]https://archive.today/TuCns [5]https://archive.today/EV7kl.

Accidental reveal of leaker

On 20 September, Yiannopoulos posted screenshots showing the membership list of GameJournoPros [6]https://archive.today/vXylK, accidentally revealing his source in the process [7]https://archive.today/4gDOM. He deleted the tweet about an hour later. On 22 September, the leaker, William Usher, claimed there was no harm done [8]https://archive.today/gTvlJ.

Former members

On 6 November, Usher revealed in his Twitter the names of four former users of GameJournoPros [9]https://archive.today/i6gNp. Among them were Leigh Alexander, who is on record as stating she wasn’t a member [10]https://archive.today/utUDS, altho she quit a few months before the “gamers are adead” controversy [11]https://archive.today/eGYk5.


Creation

All of the information in this section comes from a single article by William Usher, the leaker of GameJournoPros [12]https://archive.today/aIteI.

Started on 31 August 2010 by Kyle Orland, senior gaming editor at Ars Technica, and was ostensibly modelled after JournoList, the controversial Google Group which had been closed down a few months prior due to evidence of collusion between its members, American liberal reporters, to push specific narratives.

uP6HvaD

A little less than a month after the list’s creation, Ben Kuchera, then senior editor at Penny Arcade Report, joined it. Orland spcifically mentioned that Kuchera’s recommendationis what caused him to land his job at Ars Technica, which goes a long way towards explaining the influence Kuchera had on GameJournoPros.

KfrxeKT

According to Usher, Kuchera utilized this influence unduly on several occasions in the list’s discussions:

You see, this explains why Kuchera had such pull in the Game Journo Pros, why fellow member Ryan Smith was nearly kicked out of the group for snidely putting Kuchera in check on one occasion, and why Kuchera was allowed to bully Greg Tito in an attempt to close down the The Escapist’s #GamerGate discussion thread – a thread, I might add, that only stayed open thanks to a lot of intervention from The Escapist co-founder Alexander Macris, the same man who completely reorganized all of Defy Media’s ethics policies following the early days of #GamerGate.

The attempt to get Greg Tito to censor discussion of Gamergate on The Escapist is mentioned in more detail below.


 

“Quinnspiracy” narrative collusion

Yiannopoulos’ articles claimed that several members of the list used it to practice collusion, by planning concerted narrative efforts between supposed rival publications. The focus of Yiannopoulos exposé was a thread about the “Quinnspiracy” controversy, where some of the journalists, most notably Ben Kuchera, argued about penning “signal boosting” articles on Zoe Quinn’s support or if they should just ignore the issue. Kuchera himself had financial ties to Quinn in the form of Patreon support [13]https://archive.today/48pVJ. In that thread there was an attempt to pressure Greg Tito, editor-in-chief of The Escapist, into closing down discussion of Gamergate on its forums [14]https://archive.today/u397Q. It should be noted that The Escapist was one of the very few of the big gaming sites that did not ban discussion of the topic.

Other members voiced their worry at the ethics of this and chose to stay away.

Members of GameJournoPros defended the list as simple networking between colleagues [15]https://archive.today/LhhIT which might have been true for most of the list’s discussions.

The charges of collusion were further reinforced with another scandal, this one surrounding Allistar Pinsof.


Involvement in Allistair Pinsof’s dismissal

Please see the appropriate section in the Allistair Pinsof page.


 

References

   [ + ]

Posted in | Comments Off on GameJournoPros