Editor's Note, Supplemental: 20 August, 2018

Russ Pitts

The Boss of You
May 1, 2006
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Editor's Note, Supplemental: 20 August, 2018

The Escapist was always more than a website. It was an idea.


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Rainboq

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It's great to see the old Escapist coming back and the various dregs that have made being on this website a drag coming back. I hope to see this place flourish again.
 

Catnip1024

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Sweet. Look forward to actual new content.

One question...

There are people writing today from perspectives that are novel, unique, and even endangered. There are people not yet writing today because their voices haven't yet found a safe and welcoming home. We want to read their stories and we want to share them with you. We hope those of you in unique or at-risk communities will consider sharing your stories with us.
Does this suggest a shift away from the old gaming centric focus, or am I misreading it? I mean, if it's interesting and well-written it probably doesn't make a difference to myself, but it just kind of stuck out as I read it.
 

TDA WP

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Pretty sure it was stated that Escapist was "leaving politics at the door" and this applied not just to content being published, but people being hired. Nothing in this announcement would seem to present evidence of that being the case. I suppose if one is mainly hiring friends and people one likes then it is going to generally favor one's own political angle, but plenty of people have friends or like commentators who don't just represent their own beliefs. Was there anyone considered for a position whose views didn't closely align?

Guess I am curious in light of this announcement how the potential social media policy will be applied. I presume political comments won't be prohibited on social media, but is there any limit on how extreme on can get with expressing those views? Agnello, seems to have had some colorful remarks in the past on the Trump Administration:

[tweet t=https://twitter.com/ajohnagnello/status/796864138622500864]

[tweet t=https://twitter.com/ajohnagnello/status/796869826459398144]

[tweet t=https://twitter.com/ajohnagnello/status/801228883009867776]

[tweet t=https://twitter.com/ajohnagnello/status/811982286463913984]

[tweet t=https://twitter.com/ajohnagnello/status/843462964954959878]

[tweet t=https://twitter.com/ajohnagnello/status/850112929273872390]

[tweet t=https://twitter.com/ajohnagnello/status/917411191936503808]

[tweet t=https://twitter.com/ajohnagnello/status/920028229930536960]

Now, some of those "fantasy" tweets are silly and implausible, albeit gruesome, but others are completely plausible ill events that could befall people. So, will any of that kind of commentary be permitted under the social media policy? If any of it is deemed acceptable, then can we expect it to be adhered to consistently should the politicians being spoken of in such manner not be conservative Republicans?

Honestly, I have a hard time imagining how an editorial team being so much of one mind could ever truly be expected to "leave politics at the door" in their decisions on content, but this all touches on another glaring problem. It was stated this direction would not mean prohibiting contributors from expressing their political views or letting their politics get into their work, but apparently expression of political views in op-eds is even going to be encouraged. Nothing wrong with that or with any of the proposed kind of content, but there is a topic that has now been barred from discussion on the forums. What does that decision mean with regards to content?

Any number of figures in gaming who could be the subject of profiles have some history with that prohibited topic (Zoe Quinn, Daniel Vavra, Tim Schafer, or Brad Wardell) and seeing the topic brought up in op-eds related to various subjects in gaming (harassment, journalistic ethics, diversity, censorship) would be completely understandable. Should the topic be raised, as would be reasonably expected in any of these cases, then it would supposedly not be possible to discuss those parts of the articles on the forums and that would be rather unreasonable to readers, especially new users who may not be aware they can't discuss certain topics.

Only way to avoid that is to prohibit this topic in all Escapist content, which will still be perceived as very much the opposite of "leaving politics at the door" in content decisions. Not to say I think barring the topic altogether from any perspective is inherently a bad idea, but with profiles and features on topics in gaming this will often create a hole in your coverage. Personally, I believe profiles and features on topics should be covering every major angle, but that is only fair if the readers are able to discuss every angle in the designated place for discussion.
 

Vendor-Lazarus

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Mar 1, 2009
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It seems then that the escapist will be moving away from focusing on games themselves to extoll the more "progressive" virtues around them and signal that the "kings are dead... long live the kings". Most, if not all, the critics and journos are on the accepted edge of the advancing left-wing spectrum and with the banning of certain topics, and the politically biased moderation, the term hypocrisy & echo-chamber comes to mind.

If this is the new escapist move, then I will be moving away from it.
 

Gizen

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LysanderNemoinis said:
Yeah...with the new hires, and especially bringing back that unctuous hack Moviebob, I think I'll be getting my gaming news and analysis elsewhere.
Considering it's been years since the Escapist even had news articles and analysis, you already have been.
 

The Lunatic

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Jun 3, 2010
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There are people writing today from perspectives that are novel, unique, and even endangered. There are people not yet writing today because their voices haven't yet found a safe and welcoming home. We want to read their stories and we want to share them with you. We hope those of you in unique or at-risk communities will consider sharing your stories with us.
Ah, well, what about a right-wing homosexual furry?

Or, hell, Right-wing opinions in general. Very few safe and welcoming homes for that these days. I mean, even in this thread we have examples of people fantasizing about the death's of people simply for their politics.
 

vallorn

Tunnel Open, Communication Open.
Nov 18, 2009
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I'd be happy to write something from a British, Queer, Libertarian Monarchist perspective. Goodness knows the internet could use more people like that.

God Save The Queen.


And also, God Save The Queen.
 

ash12181987

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Russ Pitts said:
Editor's Note, Supplemental: 20 August, 2018

The Escapist was always more than a website. It was an idea.


Read Full Article
Are you guys going to make a Discord at some point?
 

Jamcie Kerbizz

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*sigh* you'll never learn.
Leaving politics at the door is an utopian idea and given whom you introduced as part of the team you already have heavy leaning roster. With loud mouthed, opinionated, one tracked people, with history of lack of reason and self-control. That will instantly deteriorate into 'gag anyone who points out the bias' game, followed by round up the wagons and fortify position by authors themselves (they only present their own point of view, so what everyone in the house has the same view!).

Get on board or invite contrarian people and give them equal footing to discuss their point of views and exchange arguments, eg. recently Jose Vargas vs. Jeremy Hambly on Battlefront V.
Get together in one room Carl Benjamin and Anita Sarkeesian and have them talk about what games they enjoy playing, see if they can find any common ground in gaming as a hobby, have Jim Sterling talk to Sean Murray, have Yong Yea and Troy Leavitt discuss publishing practices etc. Just don't invite active employed developers, publishers, gaming press members etc. cause that is done aplenty and you will not outcompete established brands. Hell maybe you'll in the end actually start building bridges in the community split over dumb buzz words and dehumanizing labels. You have comedy covered, you could provide agora for exchange of thoughts and then provide, accurate, aggregated information board tracking the schedules, releases etc.

Maybe I am too old but I use to expect that from mass media. Provide platform to discuss opposite takes on the subject. Not transmit and enhance single narrative, as they commonly do now - 'spoon feeding' their audience. Just provide a proving grounds and moderate discussion taking place. Try and veer between clashing points of view and personalities trying to point out the common ground opposite parties might share but lose sight of or never notice in their fervour. Let audience decide whom they find right and who was wrong.
 

Callate

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How do I put this...

It is well and good to be opinionated. It is also all but inevitable that people of intelligence who focus on a subject for an extended period of time will develop strong opinions on that subject. Hopefully, along the way, they will develop the desire and ability to support and defend those opinions, rather than simply developing a closed mind and a hostile, reactionary, reflexive lash-out response to anyone who might diverge from their view.

I make myself read pieces that diverge- sometimes sharply- from my own views in part to try to prevent myself from calcifying into such a closed mindset.

My opinion is that I really don't need to read or see any more pieces that treat anyone who differs as part of a homogeneous, lowest-common-denominator strawman. It's cheap and easy and I'm not exaggerating when I say it's making the world worse, maybe more so than any single specific ideology that might be tempted to employ it. It's the kind of dehumanization that we've often seen employed in wartime, and it makes my stomach sink.

On a lesser note, The Escapist 1.0 was indulging an increasing number of op-eds that referenced other op-eds that referenced other op-eds, all basking in the sunny glow of a perceived majority and none of them engaging with a single verifiable fact more tangible than "other people agree with me".

Long and short, I look forward to seeing the contributors to the Escapist, old and new... But that is tempered with a much-battered hope that the work I see will be the work of people who are looking to challenge themselves, not just their audience; that this will not be the home of "conversations" that read more like denunciations and lectures by those who can't even be bothered to establish the credibility that might afford them such privileges.

(And who am I, to presume such scrutiny? Just a humble Pub Club member who won't shut up and do the TLDR tag nearly often enough.)

Best of luck.
 

Pat Hulse

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The Lunatic said:
There are people writing today from perspectives that are novel, unique, and even endangered. There are people not yet writing today because their voices haven't yet found a safe and welcoming home. We want to read their stories and we want to share them with you. We hope those of you in unique or at-risk communities will consider sharing your stories with us.
Ah, well, what about a right-wing homosexual furry?

Or, hell, Right-wing opinions in general. Very few safe and welcoming homes for that these days.
I don't inherently disagree with the sentiment. I do think productive right-wing viewpoints are rarely given visibility in media, partially because of the left-leaning of the media landscape in general, but largely because conservatives seem to prefer not to express said viewpoints (at least non-anonymously) anywhere other than right-wing-friendly outlets, and those outlets tend to publish only the most extreme, loud, and click-baity of right-wing viewpoints. I'd like to see genuine and thoughtful conservative perspectives represented here.

But it's important to keep in mind that cynical right-wing politics kind of took over this site once before, and without re-litigating the hows and whys (since it's been long enough that we should probably just put it all behind us at this point), suffice it to say that the site virtually collapsed as a result. A lot of us felt like we were essentially run out of town 4 years ago, and we're all still unsure if this attempted revival will actually pan out. A lot of that depends largely on whether or not the conservatives who have made this forum their home are willing to accept the return, or if they would rather this place be a ghost town rather than be a place where liberals feel welcome, too. Will conservatives prefer an indefinite content drought over content they feel is liberally-biased (based less on the content itself and more on the people producing it), or will we be able to peacefully coexist this time?

There's absolutely a place for the right-wing perspective, and I do hope that the new (returning) management is sensitive to the fact that a genuine right-wing community exists here that doesn't have to become just another alt-right online ghetto. And I actually think it would be worthwhile for you to submit a pitch for a feature that expresses your personal experience (assuming you weren't just being facetious). So long as it was less Breitbart and more National Review in tone and substance, I'd probably be interested in reading it, and I bet it could engender a lot of important discussions that could potentially help us move forward as a community.

The Lunatic said:
I mean, even in this thread we have examples of people fantasizing about the death's of people simply for their politics.
Hmm... kinda hard to argue liberal bias over that when those examples were posted by someone apparently trying to drudge up cynicism over year-old tweets from one of the new editors here, while also bringing up the usual suspects that get brought up in flame wars (which, you know, is a GREAT way to kick off a new and more productive political tone in the forums and definitely DOESN'T feel like history repeating itself). And inappropriate or not, it's a little naive to suggest that people fantasize about the sudden and unexpectedly violent end of the Trump Administration "simply for their politics". The Trump Administration doesn't make enemies simply because they are Republicans. Some of their enemies ARE Republicans. I'd actually argue that, policy-wise, they've never really been all that conservative (for example, the tariffs are decidedly anti-free trade and are basically a sales tax hike on US-based distributors, imposed without Congressional approval). I can see an argument to be made regarding Trump's political leanings, but it's still something you have to argue. What the Trump Administration unarguably is is loud, rude, and pointedly apathetic about productive argument. They troll, they cherry-pick, they turn away and ignore people who ask difficult questions, and they never, ever, ever apologize. They've had a negative approval rating since like a week after inauguration, and nobody in the administration has ever seemed to think of that as a problem. You might see those tactics as the key to his success, and I'm not really trying to argue the effectiveness of it. What I'm trying to get at is... Effective or not, is it really that hard to imagine people hating and fearing an administration whose entire strategy seems to be "be an unapologetic dick to everyone all the time unless they praise you first"? Would there be as much morbid wish-fulfillment in the zeitgeist if the Trump Administration (and their most ardent supporters) didn't regularly and openly express animosity in equal measure, and were largely praised by many on the right in spite of it? It's hard to criticize someone for making politically-charged morbid jokes or veiled threats on Twitter when their targets are people infamous for... well, making politically-charged morbid jokes or veiled threats on Twitter.

Year-old attitudes towards the Trump Administration (or their close allies) are not a good bellwether for someone's political biases. This administration is too anomalous, controversial, shameless, and difficult to pin down politically for that to ever be a persuasive argument. I know Trump supporters that don't consider themselves conservative at all, and I know conservatives that are just as hateful towards this administration as any liberal. I mean, I probably would like to see an apology from Agnello, even just as a gesture of trying to reboot civil discourse in light of this place's resurrection and in recognition of the negative forces that brought it down in the first place, and I certainly would expect him not to tweet anything like that again while he's an editor here for largely the same reasons, but I don't see these tweets as particularly egregious given the context of the present political climate, especially given how I probably never would have known or cared about the tweets had someone not brought them up (in apparent bad faith) in the first place. Old tweets are really hard to just stumble upon, tweets hating on the Trump Administration are a dime-a-dozen, and I have little patience for people (on any side) who go out of their way to find something to get mad at.
 

maninahat

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I am excited for this!

I am really glad to hear this site is going to be bringing back content. I was this close to not ever coming back to the Escapist, having not commented on the forums for months, and now I'm glad to find a bunch of content starting to appear all of a sudden.

Also, about user contributions, I'll definitely be getting my pitching gloves out. You wear gloves to pitch right? Is that how baseball works?
 

Russ Pitts

The Boss of You
May 1, 2006
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Vendor-Lazarus said:
It seems then that the escapist will be moving away from focusing on games themselves to extoll the more "progressive" virtues around them and signal that the "kings are dead... long live the kings". Most, if not all, the critics and journos are on the accepted edge of the advancing left-wing spectrum and with the banning of certain topics, and the politically biased moderation, the term hypocrisy & echo-chamber comes to mind.

If this is the new escapist move, then I will be moving away from it.
Bye.

ash12181987 said:
Are you guys going to make a Discord at some point?
TBD.
 

TDA WP

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Pat Hulse said:
Hmm... kinda hard to argue liberal bias over that when those examples were posted by someone apparently trying to drudge up cynicism over year-old tweets from one of the new editors here,

. . .

I probably never would have known or cared about the tweets had someone not brought them up (in apparent bad faith) in the first place. Old tweets are really hard to just stumble upon, tweets hating on the Trump Administration are a dime-a-dozen, and I have little patience for people (on any side) who go out of their way to find something to get mad at.
There was no "bad faith" involved in bringing this up. I found the tweets because I used the search function on Twitter for tweets by Agnello mentioning Trump. Anyone could do that in mere minutes. Using the same means, I checked the history of the other editors on Twitter as well. My reasoning was to see if there was any political or ideological diversity in the first confirmed major hires when I saw some of Agnello's "fantasy" tweets and then used search to find those tweets. Do not mistake my intent here as the purpose is to address whether The Escapist's new management is really committed to "leaving politics at the door" as was claimed in the initial announcement. Should Agnello's tweets be acceptable under whatever social media policy is being constructed, then I would expect someone making similar tweets regarding Democrats to be given just as fair a shot at working for The Escapist. If his tweets would not be acceptable, yet not held against him as they are in the past, then I would likewise expect similar treatment if a prospective hire made similar tweets about Democrats. Of course, I am concerned it would not be the case, given the overwhelming political persuasion of the new staff, that there would be fair treatment for someone making such tweets about Democrats. Hence, why I am asking.
 

Tanis

The Last Albino
Aug 30, 2010
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I hope the relaunch is more FF14 than Silent Hill HD Collection.

It'd be nice to see this site live again.
 

Russ Pitts

The Boss of You
May 1, 2006
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TDA WP said:
Pat Hulse said:
Hmm... kinda hard to argue liberal bias over that when those examples were posted by someone apparently trying to drudge up cynicism over year-old tweets from one of the new editors here,

. . .

I probably never would have known or cared about the tweets had someone not brought them up (in apparent bad faith) in the first place. Old tweets are really hard to just stumble upon, tweets hating on the Trump Administration are a dime-a-dozen, and I have little patience for people (on any side) who go out of their way to find something to get mad at.
There was no "bad faith" involved in bringing this up. I found the tweets because I used the search function on Twitter for tweets by Agnello mentioning Trump. Anyone could do that in mere minutes. Using the same means, I checked the history of the other editors on Twitter as well. My reasoning was to see if there was any political or ideological diversity in the first confirmed major hires when I saw some of Agnello's "fantasy" tweets and then used search to find those tweets. Do not mistake my intent here as the purpose is to address whether The Escapist's new management is really committed to "leaving politics at the door" as was claimed in the initial announcement. Should Agnello's tweets be acceptable under whatever social media policy is being constructed, then I would expect someone making similar tweets regarding Democrats to be given just as fair a shot at working for The Escapist. If his tweets would not be acceptable, yet not held against him as they are in the past, then I would likewise expect similar treatment if a prospective hire made similar tweets about Democrats. Of course, I am concerned it would not be the case, given the overwhelming political persuasion of the new staff, that there would be fair treatment for someone making such tweets about Democrats. Hence, why I am asking.
This is exactly the kind of political BS we're not in the mood for anymore. You're free to have an opinion about the political leanings of anyone involved on this website so long as you keep that to yourself. Posting about it here tells me you want to debate that, or in some other way call that person's politics to account. That's going to be an instaban in future.

You've been warned.