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April 1, 2011 9:30 PM   Subscribe

G4TV.com, GamePro, and VGChartz GamrFeed have been abusing multiple accounts to spam and manipulate Reddit for months. Via Game Journalists Are Incompetent Fuckwits.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn (33 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Easy on the editorializing there, Klebanow.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:38 PM on April 1, 2011


MetaFilter: Cloudsourced [c]ontent aggregates that collect links and then invite people to comment on them have always struck me as exceptionally dull affairs, and most users of such sites appear to make one or two quick comments to express their ill-considered opinions on the matter before farting off into the sunset proclaiming themselves the smartest smartarse in Smartarsefordshire.
posted by drpynchon at 9:39 PM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Cloudsourced ontent aggregates that collect links and then invite people to comment on them" (sic) Cloudsourced? Or CROWDsourced? ontent? In that first paragraph, the blogger has shown himself to be an Incompetent Fuckwit. I've been following the story and it is totally unsurprising. You can game Reddit? Uh, yeah. That's exactly why MetaFilter does nothing more with favorites than ego support for insecure geeks like me.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:41 PM on April 1, 2011 [13 favorites]


Easy on the editorializing there, Klebanow.

That's the name of the blog on the second link.
posted by absalom at 9:43 PM on April 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Who visits reddit for /gaming?! IAMA, TIL, AdviceAnimals, Pics and dozens of other subreddits, then maybe /gaming.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:46 PM on April 1, 2011


Digg Vid Patriots


yes i totally recycled that joke from my reddit account, what of it
posted by Rhaomi at 9:47 PM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


What, Gamepro still exists? Do they still make all their reviewers use those awful pseudonyms, and use those cartoon crazy-faces for a rating system?
posted by JHarris at 9:55 PM on April 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh, and the result to this will be the same result to the Digg Patriots situation: now, every G4TV, Gamepro and VGChartz (VGChartz? For realz?) link to appear on a social media site will be automatically suspect, from first sight, regardless of other factors.
posted by JHarris at 9:58 PM on April 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


That's the name of the blog on the second link.

I thought that too at first...but in doing a "find" for "fuckwit"...I couldn't find anything except "fuckwittery"
posted by hal_c_on at 10:05 PM on April 1, 2011


Apparently game companies also game MetaCritic and pay for good reviews. Now the journos are doing it? It reminds me of early rock and roll history, rife with payola and lacking incisive critics. We need our Creem and Crawdaddy.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:05 PM on April 1, 2011


That's the name of the blog on the second link.

I thought that too at first...but in doing a "find" for "fuckwit"...I couldn't find anything except "fuckwittery"


Nonetheless that is the name of the blog.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:07 PM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


No, JHarris, they did away with that crazy face system some time ago.

I work for a gaming site (none of the ones involved) and we get all sorts of people trying to advertise subtly. I am not surprised in the least that people were gaming Reddit for visibility. Unfortunately, the "apologies" from the sites in question mostly seemed like more of an 'oops, we got caught' than filled with any real remorse.

They were paying to have the system gamed; of course they weren't going to be contrite.
And the result is of course, suspicion of all these sites' links and even possible deliberate burial/retaliation for this incident. Makes me think of how many people refused to have anything to do with Gamespot after the Kane & Lynch debacle that got Jeff Gerstmann fired. Or the deliberate voting down of Bioware's Dragon Age II after it came out that two employees had reviewed the game very highly.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:08 PM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


GJAIF is at the top of the page.
posted by amethysts at 10:08 PM on April 1, 2011


It's the Scandal of the Century Minute!
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:52 PM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Makes me think of how many people refused to have anything to do with Gamespot after the Kane & Lynch debacle that got Jeff Gerstmann fired.

I know that my own personal fury-having hasn't died down any.
posted by JHarris at 2:27 AM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


G4 still does games? Every time I accidentally channel-surf onto G4tv, they're running a COPS marathon.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:51 AM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can think of only one word to describe this. "Surprising" isn't that word.
posted by dagosto at 4:13 AM on April 2, 2011


And that's why you should always read the negative reviews first...
posted by Yakuman at 4:54 AM on April 2, 2011


Can someone explain why reddit hasn't banned the G4TV, GamePro, MasterOfHyrule, etc. accounts? Seems to me that would be the obvious way to stop this from happening again. Is it a culture thing over there?
posted by mediareport at 6:17 AM on April 2, 2011


Reddit doesn't have a policy against self-linking.
posted by empath at 7:35 AM on April 2, 2011


Reddit's admins are notoriously hands-off; they tend to leave drama like this to the individual subreddit moderators. In the first link, one of the mods makes the point that banning the individual accounts is pointless, since it's trivial to create new ones.

Given the way Reddit works, public shaming is much more effective. As cmgonzalez said, readers are going to be much more suspicious and quick to downvote links to those sites from now on.
posted by teraflop at 7:38 AM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


automatically suspect, from first sight, regardless of other factors

and I don''t see any problem with this. There has been a lot of fuckwittery of this nature on RE lately, and has done nothing to improve the site.
MF's mods do a great job kicking assholes like this off and swinging the banhammer, but RE seems hamstrung in their ability to do the same.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 7:53 AM on April 2, 2011


This is why I tend to dislike upvote/downvote sites in comparison to MeFi. Don't get me wrong--there are things I like about Reddit. The size and breadth of content, for one. The ability to customize by selecting subreddits. That's awesome. But I hate the upvote/downvote system. Shrill and sensationalist headlines consistently rise to the top of the current events and politics subreddits. Austrians and Ron Paul freaks have an iron grip on the economics subreddit. Gaming the system is pretty easy if you really want to do it.
posted by TrialByMedia at 8:15 AM on April 2, 2011


Can someone explain why reddit hasn't banned the G4TV, GamePro, MasterOfHyrule, etc. accounts? Seems to me that would be the obvious way to stop this from happening again.

My guess is that if they banned MasterOfHyrule, they would find all their pots smashed, their grass cut, their dungeons ransacked, their chests looted and their chickens hurt. And then try explaining to the authorities why a man has been pecked to death by a storm of chickens after being banned from your site.
posted by ersatz at 8:44 AM on April 2, 2011 [12 favorites]


Apparently game companies also game MetaCritic and pay for good reviews. Now the journos are doing it? It reminds me of early rock and roll history, rife with payola and lacking incisive critics. We need our Creem and Crawdaddy.

I just did some simple analysis of reviews on MetaCritic metascores and user ratings, and they both show inflated scores for games. The user scores have an even higher mean and median than the external scores. This seems weird, because magazines and other review sites have an incentive to review games higher than normal users on metacritic. It sure seems to point to shilling going on on a large scale on MetaCritic.
posted by formless at 10:33 AM on April 2, 2011


A lot of the sites that come out with the earliest (and more often than not, high) scores on MetaCritic often do so pre-release. This does create an inflated score for release.

In the market right now, when it comes to games, publishers are usually aghast if any of their titles is scored under say, 80+. Wouldn't be surprised at all if there is something being exchanged hands, even if it's exposure and review copies.

The recent drop in stock for THQ (and subsequent layoffs) over mixed reviews for their highly hyped Homefront shows the effect fear over lower than awesome scores on MetaCritic can have.

There's a severe overreliance on it, to say the least.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:37 AM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shilling may not be the only reason for higher than average user scores on metacritic. Users are probably primarily purchasing the better games and reviewing those, whereas professional reviewers are reviewing more crappy games.
posted by formless at 10:45 AM on April 2, 2011


I'm really not surprised by this, but it does point to one of the reasons that big budget gaming is such shit. Same reason Hip Hop sucks in '96: it's the money.
posted by codacorolla at 10:58 AM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


The GamePro statement is just jaw dropping. "we’re apologizing because we got busted. Damn you. We’d have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you meddling kids. So give us the kicking we deserve, and we’ll look forward to seeing what the conspiracy theorists will come up with." I guess they're trying to be funny? Games deserve serious journalism, but it's sadly lacking. Still it's disheartening to see the review industry behave much, more worse than even such crap as the movie review business.

The only big game journalism I'm really enjoying these days is Rock, Paper, Shotgun. I don't know that they're any more ethical or less biased than the rest of the industry, but they write well and often get stories I don't see anywhere else.
posted by Nelson at 11:11 AM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Speaking of Gamespot and Gerstmann et al... Anybody go to Giant Bomb? Think that they're pretty solid rep? I hope so. I sub to their feed to catch up on stuff. Seem like pretty honest guys from what I can tell.

And G4? What a joke. Is X-Play on there? Does Adam still have anything to do with that show? It was the last bastion of competent/decent gaming TV out there (not that there was much to begin with), and sure it wasn't perfect, but I think Adam Sessler also has integrity. What's he up to now?
posted by symbioid at 11:32 AM on April 2, 2011


This is just advanced SEO.
posted by doublehappy at 2:24 PM on April 2, 2011


The user scores have an even higher mean and median than the external scores. This seems weird, because magazines and other review sites have an incentive to review games higher than normal users on metacritic.

When someone actually pays money for a game I image they have a greater incentive to view it favorably. It reinforces the idea that their judgement to purchase the game was correct.
posted by the_artificer at 2:53 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Criminy!

The manipulation of reddit and metacritic aren't particularly surprising to me. There is quite a bit to be gained by manipulating them - and it's very true that the media around the video game industry often seems completely and totally devoid of anything resembling maturity or professionalism. Consider that these days, video game publishers consider metacritic to be the only real predictor of game sales, and a low or high metacritic can really make or break your career, it really can seem like no joke at all.

I was just watching a stand up comic today, Kathleen Madigan, who was joking about vegetarians telling her that people weren't meant to eat meat, and she replied "well they should have made cows easier to catch, shouldn't they?"

The irony is not lost on me that this website you've linked to (I'd never seen it before) - the "Game Journalists are Incompetent Fuckwits" site is full of typos, unclear statements and poorly framed arguments, all served up with a snide, knowitall snotty tone.

As a gamer and a game developer who's been dreaming of better discourse and more - dare I say it - art - from the industry I've spent the last 12 years of my life passionately participating in, I sometimes get discouraged by the state of game journalism (and the industry, but that's a post for another day). Then I remember that what attracted me to it in the first place was that I thought "hey, I bet if I work in the video game industry, I can have blue hair and toys on my desk and my job will be FUN instead of BORING! Maybe there will be nerf gun fights at work!" Expecting maturity and professionalism from people like me seems silly when I remember that.

Then I laugh at myself and remember that video games are supposed to be fun, making them is supposed to be fun, and while it is a business, ignoring the flameouts and the fanboys and the griefing and the gaming of whatever systems one can find is probably the one true path to making the whole thing better.
posted by pazazygeek at 8:16 PM on April 2, 2011


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