Editor's Note, Supplemental: 20 August, 2018

Combustion Kevin

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Mr Ink 5000 said:
Are we bringing back the D'n'D playing pornstars?
I'd like that.

Russ Pitts said:
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.
I really hope what you're doing, Russ, I really do, I would love the Escapist to come back as the media site it used to be, but I would hate to see it torn apart again by the staff and content providers getting out of touch with their audience and failing to mend and moderate the divisions that arose.

As Jamcie and Callate pointed to above, leaving politics at the door may just be an unrealistic expectation, but the least we, as the audience, can ask for is a measure of good faith, And we, as forum members, should return this good faith, of course.

Discussions are not meant to be won, they are to be understood, and I've always felt that way towards opinion pieces too, the writer should present their viewpoint as clearly and succinctly as possible and (if applicable) depict opposing viewpoints as accurately as they are argued, not as they are perceived.

I really hope that the Escapist can be rebuilt, visiting the site has been like watching the remains of a broken-down ruin with the occasional rat scurrying underneath the brickwork, the return of active management has made me hopeful and I hope that optimism may be satisfied as we proceed.

You can make the Escapist great again.
So please, do.
 

TDA WP

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Russ Pitts said:
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.
I feel I am being misunderstood. Nothing I have posted should be understood as me personally taking exception to anyone's politics or how they express their feelings about politics. However, your statement about "leaving politics at the door" in announcing the change of ownership has provoked some debate as to what that will mean. Who you bring on is certainly something that will inform that debate until people see what is put out and, so far, there hasn't been a sign of people being brought on whose politics don't closely align with each other. You also stated there would be a social media policy for employees and, in some news organizations, comments such as the ones I highlighted might be construed as violating their policies. Kathy Griffin was notably fired from CNN for posing with a mock-up of Trump's severed head and Kevin Williamson was kicked off The Atlantic for having previously suggested women who get abortions could be executed under an abortion ban. I myself am opposed to those kinds of actions regardless of where that person is on the political spectrum, but there are many outlets where that kind of disciplinary action is expected.

Here on The Escapist some years back there was a controversy over the announcement of one writer's hiring and that controversy was centered on his political views regarding transgenderism, which has recently been an issue in gaming because of a joke by the person running the Cyberpunk 2077 account and you were very openly critical of that person's joke. If your statement here is meant to convey that otherwise qualified people will be hired in spite of expressing such views, even when you find those views repugnant, and that making an issue of it here will be prohibited then I think that would be a positive sign for any who might be concerned about the site not adhering to the idea of "leaving politics at the door" even if it might provoke some objections. That kind of statement would be taken even more positively should it be backed up by action in the future, such as by hiring someone whose politics are very much opposite of your own. For now people will make assumptions about the kind of content the site will put out based on the current staff and contributors. You can't help it, of course, if you tend to draw people from one side either due to the available talent or the willing talent, but someone like that being part of the team would help signal your intentions in the announcement were genuine.

It is even more significant given you state in your editor's note that there will be op-eds and they will be "political" even as the regular articles themselves strive to avoid straying into political commentary on the issues. Limiting it to "inarguable experts" will presumably rule out a lot of people, but there are experts such as Jordan Peterson whose views would be very much the opposite of the current announced staff and have provoked considerable controversy. Not making a suggestion as this is just an example of someone who could qualify for writing an op-ed yet still have political views that would arouse controversy whether expressed in the op-ed or not. Should you be saying a person like that would be permitted to have an op-ed published, perhaps even involving those controversial views, then I think that would be illuminating for those wondering what "leaving politics at the door" will mean for the site.
 

tanatoes

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I?m loving the idea of The Escapist which I so fondly remember coming back to life. I can?t wait to see what is on it?s way.
 

Russ Pitts

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May 1, 2006
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TDA WP said:
Russ Pitts said:
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.
I feel I am being misunderstood.
I understand you. And I am asking ? no, insisting ? you stop.

You are free to speculate or debate the politics of anyone you like on your own time and at your own forum. At The Escapist forum, we will not tolerate that kind of discussion about Escapist staff or contributors. Full stop.

This is not open for debate.
 
Mar 30, 2010
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Cool beans, man. I must say I'm impressed that you're managing to pull so many of the old crew back together. This place is startin' to feel like home again!

Mr Ink 5000 said:
Are we bringing back the D'n'D playing pornstars?
I never left. ;-)
 

RealRT

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Took me awhile to remember my old account name, but I'm glad I did. Just as glad as I am to see The Escapist coming back. Wasn't hoping to find the site alive, to be honest, when I decided to pay it a visit yesterday and was delighted to see this post from ol' Russ.
 

Russ Pitts

The Boss of You
May 1, 2006
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TDA WP said:
Russ Pitts said:
I understand you. And I am asking - no, insisting - you stop.

You are free to speculate or debate the politics of anyone you like on your own time and at your own forum. At The Escapist forum, we will not tolerate that kind of discussion about Escapist staff or contributors. Full stop.

This is not open for debate.
Honestly, I don't think you do understand me, but I guess there is not much I can do about that. Genuinely wish there will be some sign in the future that you are committed to what you outlined in your announcement. Until then, seems I will have to wait and see if future updates will address the other concerns and questions I raised about the general direction of the site.
I don't disagree with you because I don't understand you. I disagree with you because I disagree with you. And what I disagree with you about are the new rules of this site. And since I'm the one running it, your continued whinging is doing nothing but bury you further into a hole.

We're done talking about this. Move on or MOVE ON. either way, this forum will not be a place where you can pick apart the twitter feeds, FB posts, or other "evidence" of a contributor's political leanings. That's the rule. And it applies whether or not you think it's valid, whether rope not your feel breaking it is warranted. Whether or not you feel it's in the best interests of this site.

You don't have to like that. But you do have to abide by it.

We cool?
 

RealRT

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Russ Pitts said:
We're done talking about this. Move on or MOVE ON. either way, this forum will not be a place where you can pick apart the twitter feeds, FB posts, or other "evidence" of a contributor's political leanings. That's the rule. And it applies whether or not you think it's valid, whether rope not your feel breaking it is warranted. Whether or not you feel it's in the best interests of this site.

You don't have to like that. But you do have to abide by it.

We cool?
There's nothing unreasonable about such a rule, but I have to ask: would The Escapist also moderate their content to be free of politics? So we could all have nice and clean discussions of, well, escapist entertainment without political leanings souring the milk.
 

Jamcie Kerbizz

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Jamcie Kerbizz said:
*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.
 

Russ Pitts

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RealRT said:
Russ Pitts said:
We're done talking about this. Move on or MOVE ON. either way, this forum will not be a place where you can pick apart the twitter feeds, FB posts, or other "evidence" of a contributor's political leanings. That's the rule. And it applies whether or not you think it's valid, whether rope not your feel breaking it is warranted. Whether or not you feel it's in the best interests of this site.

You don't have to like that. But you do have to abide by it.

We cool?
There's nothing unreasonable about such a rule, but I have to ask: would The Escapist also moderate their content to be free of politics? So we could all have nice and clean discussions of, well, escapist entertainment without political leanings souring the milk.
If you're asking me if I'm going to scour our content of any and all possible political inflections so as to shield you from seeing opinions that may bother you, then: No.

Everything is political. And so too ? often without us even intending it ? will our content be. If that fact, or the inevitable political inflections that creep into our content offend you, then your recourse is to stop visiting.

Again, I WILL NOT TOLERATE HARASSMENT OR CRITICISM OF CONTRIBUTORS AND STAFF ON ANY GROUNDS. And politically motivated criticism will receive especially harsh infractions.

This is now the rule.
 

TheRundownRabbit

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Aug 27, 2009
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Russ Pitts said:
RealRT said:
Russ Pitts said:
We're done talking about this. Move on or MOVE ON. either way, this forum will not be a place where you can pick apart the twitter feeds, FB posts, or other "evidence" of a contributor's political leanings. That's the rule. And it applies whether or not you think it's valid, whether rope not your feel breaking it is warranted. Whether or not you feel it's in the best interests of this site.

You don't have to like that. But you do have to abide by it.

We cool?
There's nothing unreasonable about such a rule, but I have to ask: would The Escapist also moderate their content to be free of politics? So we could all have nice and clean discussions of, well, escapist entertainment without political leanings souring the milk.
If you're asking me if I'm going to scour our content of any and all possible political inflections so as to shield you from seeing opinions that may bother you, then: No.

Everything is political. And so too ? often without us even intending it ? will our content be. If that fact, or the inevitable political inflections that creep into our content offend you, then your recourse is to stop visiting.

Again, I WILL NOT TOLERATE HARASSMENT OR CRITICISM OF CONTRIBUTORS AND STAFF ON ANY GROUNDS. And politically motivated criticism will receive especially harsh infractions.

This is now the rule.
Thats stupid
 

Okamisama

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Sep 23, 2015
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TheRundownRabbit said:
Russ Pitts said:
RealRT said:
Russ Pitts said:
We're done talking about this. Move on or MOVE ON. either way, this forum will not be a place where you can pick apart the twitter feeds, FB posts, or other "evidence" of a contributor's political leanings. That's the rule. And it applies whether or not you think it's valid, whether rope not your feel breaking it is warranted. Whether or not you feel it's in the best interests of this site.

You don't have to like that. But you do have to abide by it.

We cool?
There's nothing unreasonable about such a rule, but I have to ask: would The Escapist also moderate their content to be free of politics? So we could all have nice and clean discussions of, well, escapist entertainment without political leanings souring the milk.
If you're asking me if I'm going to scour our content of any and all possible political inflections so as to shield you from seeing opinions that may bother you, then: No.

Everything is political. And so too ? often without us even intending it ? will our content be. If that fact, or the inevitable political inflections that creep into our content offend you, then your recourse is to stop visiting.

Again, I WILL NOT TOLERATE HARASSMENT OR CRITICISM OF CONTRIBUTORS AND STAFF ON ANY GROUNDS. And politically motivated criticism will receive especially harsh infractions.

This is now the rule.
Thats stupid
I?d be careful, he might release personal information relevant to your account that people can use to dox you with or worse as he?s already done in another thread. And then sass you and subsequently hit you with a warning for ?sass?ing him.

Edit: And I say this as an honest fan of the Pitts era Escapist prior, as well as his writing beforehand along with Susan. What hope I had in seeing this site with his announcement has been quickly pushed down by subsequent reactions. I won?t push for political lefts or rights, I just want to see some honest good writing and content. I?d love to see Robert B. Marks return, I?d love to see Jim Sterling make cameos for his old Yahtzee Vs Jim wars. Or CineMarter. I?m glad to see Critical Misses crew returning, but that has sadly been it with what has been announced.
 

MrGalactus

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Well I came down here to be all triumphant and happy about a revival I never thought would happen, until...
Russ Pitts said:
I WILL NOT TOLERATE HARASSMENT OR CRITICISM OF CONTRIBUTORS AND STAFF ON ANY GROUNDS.
Harassment, fair enough. Criticism? That's...a little disturbing. Hoping I'm misinterpreting, but being able to be honest in the only community of not-shitheads there is on the internet is the deeper point of this place, isn't it? And who's going to remind Yahtzee that he's a spazz without Gabe, and now the Forums?
 

vallorn

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Nov 18, 2009
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MrGalactus said:
Well I came down here to be all triumphant and happy about a revival I never thought would happen, until...
Russ Pitts said:
I WILL NOT TOLERATE HARASSMENT OR CRITICISM OF CONTRIBUTORS AND STAFF ON ANY GROUNDS.
Harassment, fair enough. Criticism? That's...a little disturbing. Hoping I'm misinterpreting, but being able to be honest in the only community of not-shitheads there is on the internet is the deeper point of this place, isn't it? And who's going to remind Yahtzee that he's a spazz without Gabe, and now the Forums?
RIP Let's Drown Out. You will be missed.
 

meiam

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Apr 19, 2020
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Russ Pitts said:
Again, I WILL NOT TOLERATE HARASSMENT OR CRITICISM OF CONTRIBUTORS AND STAFF ON ANY GROUNDS. And politically motivated criticism will receive especially harsh infractions.

This is now the rule.
This is ridiculous and I'm assuming your just writing this due to strong emotion or something and haven't really though it out, because otherwise, no criticism, really? Even if they write a piece that's factually wrong, can't criticism them for that?

You have to realize how crazy and unenforceable that rule will be, say a contributor get into a car accident that killed peoples and it's discovered they were driving drunk or something (trying to keep this non political) no criticism of that behavior will be accepted? They will just keep writing on the website like nothing happened and anyone that take offence to that will be banned?

Anyway, I think the rule will blow up on it's own, next time there's a controversy that's even slightly political (like the cyberpunk 2077 joke) the only way to stay apolitical would be to stay silent and I don't think contributor will do that. You might want to put a firewall between what they do on the escapist and outside, but they're still the same person.
 

vallorn

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Nov 18, 2009
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Meiam said:
Russ Pitts said:
Again, I WILL NOT TOLERATE HARASSMENT OR CRITICISM OF CONTRIBUTORS AND STAFF ON ANY GROUNDS. And politically motivated criticism will receive especially harsh infractions.

This is now the rule.
This is ridiculous and I'm assuming your just writing this due to strong emotion or something and haven't really though it out, because otherwise, no criticism, really? Even if they write a piece that's factually wrong, can't criticism them for that?

You have to realize how crazy and unenforceable that rule will be, say a contributor get into a car accident that killed peoples and it's discovered they were driving drunk or something (trying to keep this non political) no criticism of that behavior will be accepted? They will just keep writing on the website like nothing happened and anyone that take offence to that will be banned?

Anyway, I think the rule will blow up on it's own, next time there's a controversy that's even slightly political (like the cyberpunk 2077 joke) the only way to stay apolitical would be to stay silent and I don't think contributor will do that. You might want to put a firewall between what they do on the escapist and outside, but they're still the same person.
I mean, it's a vague as fuck rule to the point where even questioning Russ right now could be taken as breaking it. Hence my trepidation in directly posting about it. I know a couple of the mods are viewing it as "criticism of their person", but even they are waiting on the new COC, and not all the mods hold the same interpretations of the vague as fuck rules.
 

megs1120

Wing Commander
Jul 27, 2009
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Welcome back Russ, I'm thrilled to see that my favorite gaming mag is back under old management. I'd been resigning myself to the thought that I'd check back in and the site wouldn't even be here anymore. If you decide to bring back the Publisher's Club, I'll be first in line to sign back up!
 

Russ Pitts

The Boss of You
May 1, 2006
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vallorn said:
it's a vague as fuck rule
The vast majority of forum members avoid breaking this rule every day. If you continue to have trouble with it, you are welcome to leave.
 

EvilRoy

The face I make when I see unguarded pie.
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Apr 4, 2020
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Russ Pitts said:
vallorn said:
it's a vague as fuck rule
The vast majority of forum members avoid breaking this rule every day. If you continue to have trouble with it, you are welcome to leave.
That's more likely because nothing really contentious or noteworthy has been posted since the revival of content. We won't really know how people are interpreting the new wording until an author posts something that actually generates conversation.

For my part I really don't know how to interpret "criticism" in the broad terms provided. Are we talking criticism as a person, criticism of ideas, criticism of how ideas are presented, how they're developed or interpreted... and then what if we get into something intrinsic to an author. Bob is all about Nintendo, so if he posts a very personal video on nintendo with reference to himself, is then criticizing an idea he presents tantamount to criticizing him? Is me questioning the rule as it has been stated tantamount to criticizing you?