[Discussion] The Escapist, volume 2

The scope is a place to discuss The Wscapist (Volume 2) as resurrected by Russ Pitts. The articles, the videos, the authors, editorial direction, etc.

Have at Er.

(Note that rehashing GG is not in the scope of this thread. GG was, is, and shall always be a horrible dumpster fire. )

So, Russ Pitts published a thing that blew up his face.


How Do We Finally Talk About Ethics?

As the chance that any further discussion of anything relating to The Escapist will not go pear-shaped is zero, the Everything Else thread was closed and discussion has been moved here.

Let's talk about the most recent incarnation of The Escapist, here, in D&D, where the discussion belongs.

If he could get over himself he could have the conversation he wants to have, or realize that while the last time the Escapist tried to have this conversation it didn't go well, other sites not tainted by being a hotbed of GG activity have already had them.

I frequently see stories about different monetization methods. I frequently see disclaimers about how a reviewer acquired the copy of the game they're reviewing (there have been several where the reviewer bought it themselves on its release date because they refused to agree to a review embargo in order to get it early from the publisher). There have been a slew of articles about the working conditions of those that make our games, and plenty of questions about the sustainability and ethicality of such conditions.

He's at least apologizing, but he never really should have been such an ass to begin with: https://twitter.com/russpitts/status...

garion333 wrote:

He's at least apologizing, but he never really should have been such an ass to begin with: https://twitter.com/russpitts/status...

Except that the person he's apologizing to didn't want that apology, they just wanted him to stop talking about them, so the apology ended up just sticking the spotlight back on Russ's feelings after being explicitly asked not to.

I mean, the apology is better than most public apologies these days, but that's a low, low bar. And when your apology is still actively hurting someone, you might need to sit back and have a rethink.

WipEout wrote:

To your second point-- we can have a discussion about ethics in journalism; and even in games journalism, that regularly occurs (see Waypoint, Polygon, others that I don't have time to look up right now). Just don't couch said convo in the justification of a hate mob, because like it or not, that steers the conversation away from the actual point.

I agree with this--it's not like the current ethical issues are even all that connected, so there's no need for an overarching umbrella discussion. The military's funding of games for recruiting is a very different issue from streamers having posted price lists for mentioning games. They're both ethical issues but their systemic roots aren't the same.

Or just label your discussion "moral issues in reporting about videogames" and skip the ethics buzzword because apparently most people don't really know what "ethics" means anyway, if the past six years are anything to go by.

Yowzers those replies to other women that left gaming after GG.

Also, the first thing you should realize if you want to have this discussion is you CAN NOT call it "ethics in game journalism". That phrase has been forever poisoned.

Reaper81 wrote:

More accurately...

IMAGE(https://i.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/001/372/654/fe5.gif)

As mentioned above. The phrase "ethics in journalism" is tainted . It stirs uncomfortable memories for those who suffered. It lights a beacon that may still, even now, attract those with ill intentions to start up anew. It's a poisoned well.

The subject itself, minus these buzzwords, holds some worth. Influencers who trade positive appraisal for personal gain are an issue. Across all forms of media. Not just gaming. How to combat this is not so easy to solve. Everyone has a spin. Everyone has followers who will raise their keyboards to rally in defence.

I also wonder how much of a problem it truly is. Trusted sources. Honest reporters. They are out there trying to balance the scales. We are also blessed with the ability to discern all on our own what to tune into, and what to tune out from.

It seems an odd issue to rekindle, and how. Russ Pitts has all but lit himself on fire.

Where this whole thing ended up reminded me of that old saying by Sean Sands, "That's like getting on the train to Cleveland and saying, 'Boy, I hope this train doesn't go to Cleveland.'"

The premise is false, people have been talking about, are talking about and will continue to talk about it. Sorry that the Escapist wasn't invited.

As the other thread has been locked, and as discussion on the article itself is moot because:

A. Discussion on ethics in (gaming) journalism & ethics in the gaming industry & actual investigative journalism on the gaming industry happens all the time on Waypoint, Kotaku and many other sites - as was pointed out in this thread and the locked one by several users.

B. The article itself has been overshadowed by Russ Pitts' horrible behavior on Twitter and its fallout

... could we maybe extend the scope of this thread to discussing The Escapist in general?

Yes, I don't find the premise of this thread to be a match for the discussion that occurred on the other thread. Time for a reset.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

I have fond memories of my time with the Escapist before I came here. Susan Arendt was Editor in Chief at the time, I found a decent crew to run highlander matches in TF2, and had a good time. I can't help but flinch uncomfortably at the memories of "being one of the guys" though. Super toxic.

Anyway, back on topic. Trying to revive the cesspool that is the Escapist was already a tall order. Pitt's appalling behavior followed by a half-baked apology, compounded with the horrifying Riot "interview"... I've said it in Slack, and I'll say it here: the Escapist is dead to me.
Unless there's some MAJOR change, which would start with nuking the forums, I don't see my stance changing any time soon. I'm willing to keep an open mind, as my scientific training will always tell me to. But I need hard, reliable data for that to happen. That's still not happening.
If anything, Pitt has dug a deeper hole.

dejanzie wrote:

... could we maybe extend the scope of this thread to discussing The Escapist in general?

I'm down for that. How about journalists NOT ambushing and touching without consent? That'd be a good start.

I don't care how "good" a man is, I'm very uncomfortable with a man's taking a leadership role in addressing anything which disproportionately affects women. That was one of several reasons why the interview seemed gross to me (She has permission to say whatever she wants?! F-U!), and this kind of explanation - as well intentioned as it likely is - doesn't ease that discomfort.

I updated the scope and changed the title

LouZiffer wrote:

I don't care how "good" a man is, I'm very uncomfortable with a man's taking a leadership role in addressing anything which disproportionately affects women. That was one of several reasons why the interview seemed gross to me (She has permission to say whatever she wants?! F-U!), and this kind of explanation - as well intentioned as it likely is - doesn't ease that discomfort.

I'm not disagreeing with you, but that bit applies to anyone working at Riot, male, female or otherwise. They likely had to get permission from PR because that's how game companies are run, sadly.

garion333 wrote:

I'm not disagreeing with you, but that bit applies to anyone working at Riot, male, female or otherwise. They likely had to get permission from PR because that's how game companies are run, sadly.

It does, yeah. Which serves to make that extra egregious. As far as her take on sexual harassment and her work environment are concerned, she's not speaking on anyone's behalf but her own. This is how these outfits continue to get away with everything they keep doing though. I get it.

LouZiffer wrote:
garion333 wrote:

I'm not disagreeing with you, but that bit applies to anyone working at Riot, male, female or otherwise. They likely had to get permission from PR because that's how game companies are run, sadly.

It does, yeah. Which serves to make that extra egregious. As far as her take on sexual harassment and her work environment are concerned, she's not speaking on anyone's behalf but her own. This is how these outfits continue to get away with everything they keep doing though. I get it.

Given that they apparently told her that they were going to ask about her work with comics and then ambushed her with the questions about sexual harassment...

@cecianasta wrote:

[...]

According to several Riot employees, including Riot PR, the employee believed she was being interviewed specifically about her comics work. The journalist's question about the sexism allegations was a surprise. When the trailer came out, those involved were caught off guard.

On one hand, journalists simply are not obligated to share the breadth of their interview topics with sources. If they're asking about something potentially traumatizing or emotionally-charged, it's definitely good to give a heads-up. That's a judgement call.

The other hand I will express through a quote from a current female Riot employee: "It feels really bad to see a journalist who says their goal is to highlight women's discomfort in the workplace go about it by then making a woman uncomfortable in her workplace."

The quote continues: "This incident is exactly the type of situation that contributes to and reinforces why women don't want to speak up in games in general."

[...]

...I'm going to go ahead and say that the interview was definitely over the line.

I don't like ambushes that serve no purpose other than to court controversy for a relevancy boost. They hurt people for nothing other than personal gain. Seeking a headline. Projecting as ballsy thinking it's cool. What a douche.

My wife worked in newspapers and the whole “gotcha” ambush interview is considered Ron Burgundy a-hole behavior in print media. It might be seen as acceptable if you’re going after a dirty CEO, mob boss, or politician accused of sexual assault. It’s morally bankrupt to do to an artist just trying to do her job.

Why do it to the cartoon artist? I don't get that.

CEO, production manager, PR, etc. Those make sense if you want to get an answer when someone is being evasive. Here...made little sense.

best response on his twitter thread for that announcement!

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/5vW135e.gif?noredirect)

(inbetween all the GG/alt-right stuff offering support or calling him a coward/brainwashed of course)

To me, that's a good step which accurately reflects where things are right now. Stepping away to reflect and let everybody breathe a while is the action of someone who genuinely cares. Of course, it also appears to be serving another purpose. Like you said pyxistyx, followers are coming out of the woodwork to show why they're a follower and where they stand.

At some point maybe we'll see what further actions happen. I'm personally glad to have it off the radar, though the big blob of angry trolls who refuse to see cultural progress as a continuing process (OMG MY FAVORITE STUFF IS BAD NOW! I'VE GOT THE BIG MADS!) is still sitting there yelling garbage.

Jeebus. I don't twit, because I frankly can't see the point and don't have time to figure it out. Is that thread of replies standard for the medium, or is that just the ZQ-haters et al. following along with someone who manages a site they frequent?

Anyway, good for Russ. That was a decent actual-apology, as opposed to the standard, "I'm sorry you were offended," that you usually see online.

Anything Zoe-related, GG-related and/or Escapist-related will always draw those tips of comments, yes.

Feegle wrote:

Anyway, good for Russ. That was a decent actual-apology, as opposed to the standard, "I'm sorry you were offended," that you usually see online.

I mean it's better. I'm not sure I believe him about intent--or, at least, he reacted out of anger and didn't recognize that in itself was an intent to hurt someone with his words.

Also, his mentions are full of people to report and block, and have been throughout this. Yet he was only yelling back at the people who rightfully told him he was hurting people, while at the same time he was silent about the dungflies. (If he'd blocked them on Twitter they wouldn't be able to reply to his post and would have had a harder time using it to attack other people.)

Still, I hope he becomes a better person because of this.

Given everything with The Escapist in the past, Russ bringing it back, the forum issues, his response to Zoe and his lack of response to the hate mob behind him, I'm not inclined to take his apology and self-imposed time off as anything other than PR spin.

He'll be back in a year or two, spewing the same garbage to the same crowd and expecting everyone to have forgiven him.

bnpederson wrote:

Given everything with The Escapist in the past, Russ bringing it back, the forum issues, his response to Zoe and his lack of response to the hate mob behind him, I'm not inclined to take his apology and self-imposed time off as anything other than PR spin.

He'll be back in a year or two, spewing the same garbage to the same crowd and expecting everyone to have forgiven him.

Yeah, I'm not too optimistic that he'll actually learn anything from this.

I thought this was a good response to his statement: https://twitter.com/LeenaVanD/status...

Yeah, color me extremely skeptical. For a “man of words”, he certainly seems to be using them all wrong. Same actions, same outcome, and around we go...