Editor’s note: I am a supporter of the online revolt and have been involved since September of 2014. I have not engaged in the email campaigns to pull advertisers from our competition. I contacted the email address for Deep Freeze for comment as well as the twitter account for L4G but have not yet received a response. I will update this article should I hear back.
The consumer revolt to help improve ethics in gaming journalism has often been compared to a freight train with no brakes, often by people involved in it. Often referred to as #GamerGate, the people discussing ethics reform under the hashtag have done what no other group, or movement has done in my recent memory. They’ve not only outlasted the notoriously short attention span of the internet, they’ve withstood vilification by media and critics, accusations of all sorts, and the vast majority of people being lumped in with the vocal minority of trolls. Now that train seems to be breaking off, some cars hitching to other locomotives and running off on other tracks, some still related to the revolt’s goals of ethics and accountability, and others steaming off in directions that have nothing to do with it in my opinion.
Despite meeting most of the ethics goals the revolt set out to achieve, many people involved have moved into creating new media, setting up watch groups and sites, and taking the discussion to the Society of Professional Journalists under invitation. Many people involved, or watching the action over the last few months thought all of this would be the next logical step as more people began to accept that corruption in the media is not limited to gaming. Perhaps if the non-gaming media hadn’t waded into the discussion with varying degrees of imbalance the revolt may not have branched out, but it has and not everyone in the media is happy with the exposure.
Most recently the launching of a site called DeepFreeze.it, formed following one of the consumer revolt’s operations, describes itself as “a journalism reference resource, conceived to supply a reader with easy-digestible information to determine the reliability of an individual writer or outlet.” Looking through the site it’s easy to follow, and find information, but as the founder has stated on Twitter, it’s a work in progress. I think not having #GamerGate in the name of the site, and keeping things linked directly to instances of COI and corruption make the site much more appealing to the general public.
League For Gamers, @league4gamers, is consumer/gamer advocacy group that was started to stands up against online blockbots, blacklists and, as an answer to perceived corruption in other developer and consumer groups. We believe it was started by developer Mark Kern but have not been able to confirm if there is a broader site planned, scope or direction, or who else is working on the project.
Also in not-so recent news (I sat on this article for a couple weeks waiting on responses) surrounding the consumer revolt there was a great deal of discussion, information sharing and ‘shit-posting’ on the #SPJEthicsWeek hashtag started by the Society of Professional Journalism. In response most SPJ members abandoned the hashtag, but it did raise questions, and one member decided to start asking them. In his post, Michael Koretzky (@koretzky) put himself into the perceived ‘line of fire’, against the advice of his colleagues, to ask those questions. His post has led to plans for a debate, or discussion over AirPlay set to happen in Miami on August 15th. There is a lot of hope that this will shine more light on the consumer revolt’s goals, successes, and future for everyone involved.
I don’t know where any of these tracks will lead of course, but hope to keep you all updated as things develop.
I heard back from Bonegolem, creator of DeepFreeze.it and wanted to share a couple of the questions I had about the site, and his comments about how it all got started.
F&B: Does the site have a sort of mission statement, something that is used as a yard stick to determine whether something goes up or not.
Bonegolem: Yes. From the about page:
The most important factor to decide if a specific entry should be included or not is always: is this factual information that a reader would want to know, before deciding if he can trust this source?
F&B: Is the information permanent, for example, if a journalist or outlet does a complete turn around and shows a real drive to change would entries be removed or edited?
Bonegolem: Yes. Emblems get updated all the time.
People apologizing / talking about the emblems are, when I’m aware of it, always filed together with the emblem. For an example two emblems on Biddle here link to his apology.
Right now, we don’t have a system to remove emblems after they are assigned, unless the guidelines get updated. Once I figure some objective way to deal with apologies, I’d love to implement it.
F&B: Am I correct in assuming that DeepFreeze.it comes out of the #OpDeepFreeze that I heard mentioned?
Bonegolem: Yes and no. Name certainly comes from there, but I never watched the Stream and also got to the same conclusions as [Oliver] Campbell on my own.
I speak about it at length in the interview I mentioned.