IGN, a ‘gaming site aimed at 18-34 year old men, attracts over 40 million unique visitors monthly to their site worldwide’, according to the “About Us” section of their website. 40 million unique visitors. That’s a lot.
They have recently instituted some changes to their forums, which I thought was timely considering my last post. If they can attempt this at a site of their magnitude, there’s no reason it can’t be attempted at Goodreads, or even Amazon, given they have the people to do it, and do it fairly. I think it’s extremely interesting, and something to think about.
Here’s the link the the article at IGN:
Here’s the article, written by IGN’s Head Editor, Steve Butts:
Changing the Comments at IGN
IGN announces new moderation guidelines.
So there’s this problem with IGN. A lot of the comments lately have been terrible.
Horrifying is probably more like it.
While most IGN comments are respectful and productive, we’ve let the abusive comments get to a point where they dominate our discussions. When even just one hostile comment is enough to ruin an entire thread, we’ve got to take our job as curators of our site more seriously. The best way to create an appetite is to feed it and, by letting these abusive comments live on IGN, we’ve been encouraging more of the same. It’s long past time for that to stop.
Some of what we’re dealing with is an extension of the trash-talking that’s part of a competitive gaming culture. Some of it is just the bold lack of empathy that the facelessness of the internet allows. Some of it is just the natural tendency of some people to find happiness in making other people miserable. The excitement over next-gen consoles and the increasing popularity of games in general means that we’re seeing more new users on the site each and every day. When you add all those factors together, it’s clear we need to pay more attention to our interactions with each other.
With that in mind, we’ve revised our community moderation guidelines and brought on several new moderators. As Editor-in-Chief, I’ve also made it clear to the entire content team that moderating comments and positively confronting abuse is a critical part of our jobs. All of us — staff, moderators, and community included — have to lead by example. No longer can we simply throw our hands up and suggest that cleaning up IGN comments is someone else’s responsibility, or worse, pointless to even try.
We’ve written new guidelines for the IGN comment culture and moderation, which are going into effect immediately. They outline what we don’t allow. Take them seriously and hold us all, readers and staff alike, accountable for their enforcement. Positively confront and report abuse where you see it. I promise I’ll be doing the same.
Will that mean we won’t tolerate disagreement or fiery debates? Not at all. We’re an audience of advocates who come to IGN because we feel passionately about certain platforms, products, and philosophies. Being able to express and defend those tastes is part of why we’re here. Articulate disagreements about those tastes are a healthy and necessary part of those interactions. The comment guidelines aren’t meant to stop that.
The problem comes when a disagreement stops being about the merits of the argument and starts being about the people making it. It’s okay for us to disagree with each other, but we won’t tolerate abuse and threats disguised as disagreement. We also won’t tolerate ad hominem attacks, where you insult a person’s character or identity merely because you don’t like that they’re not the same person as you. None of us are perfect, and we all have bad days, of course, but we can’t let a difference of opinion devolve into being nasty to each other.
This change starts today. I’d like to say the change will be instant, but it won’t. It will take time as we discover and encourage new habits in each other. I’d like to say that the change will be absolute, but it won’t be that either. It will take constant attention and thoughtful reinterpretation. What I can say is that the change will be worth the effort.