YouTubers: not very well supervised, apparently
March 27, 2017 8:47 AM   Subscribe

 
slowbeef invented Let's Plays on Something Awful, to tell you how long he's been in that
posted by hleehowon at 8:54 AM on March 27, 2017 [14 favorites]


  • The youtube incentive structure requires you have to make a lot of videos all the time, which means
  • you don't have time to think about not making Nazi jokes, and
  • you don't make enough money to hire someone who'll apologize for you making Nazi jokes
posted by zamboni at 9:02 AM on March 27, 2017 [14 favorites]


  • if you want people not to make Nazi jokes, support their Patreon or buy their hates
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:05 AM on March 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


This is actually a great read (thanks) but it does leave off the fourth implosion cause, which we can call the JonTron.

If you are a miserable piece of garbage, and you talk continuously in public for your entire life, sooner or later people are going to figure that out.
posted by selfnoise at 9:07 AM on March 27, 2017 [33 favorites]


Also, I would love to read more on the MCN relationship. I feel like every time I hear about an MCNs relationship with a YouTuber that relationship has gone totally toxic.
posted by selfnoise at 9:10 AM on March 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


It's fascinating to me how many people seem to think that living in the public eye simply means that you gain an audience and then you just "do you" in front of a camera.

The level to which public personae are managed across the spectrum from entertainment to politics to everything in-between is pretty heavy, when it comes to professionally managed public figures. Even the negative public images (I've been watching Feud) are managed for market effect.

That we have a new legion of stars who don't realize this is a reflection of the publication technology advancing faster than the culture at large. I'm okay with this. It's good to have some of these lessons learned in the public sphere, to show that you do have to learn how to act on a global stage in order to not promote being an asshole inadvertently.

We all are inadvertent assholes. Most of us don't display this globally because we don't have a stage. We'd be mortified if it were broadcast. We learn how to gauge our public performance in small spheres, with low consequences. If you haven't learned these things on your own, and you don't have anyone teaching you, and you are on a giant stage, you're going to end up fucking up. All of us would, I think.
posted by hippybear at 9:16 AM on March 27, 2017 [35 favorites]


Ach, my son's obsessed with being a You Tube star and I'm always terrified he's going to slip up and exercise bad judgment (you know, being a little kid who gets easily confused about norms even though he's a caring, conscientious kid and a bit cleverer and more self aware than average for his age)... Lately he's been getting on a kick against some more strident self-identifying feminists online and I've been trying to negotiate that territory to keep him from coming away with bad ideas, but from his POV (recently getting picked on a couple of times by some girls who didn't even know him at school in the name of "girl power" though some girls have also been his defenders in other incidents) it's tricky terrain; I had to give him the standard "it's not racism by definition when there's prejudice against white people" speech and at first he was resistant, but finally the lights flickered on behind his eyes the last time I laid it out for him. I'm not sure how to avoid falling into the trap of describing the online feminists who say things like "all boys should be taught to keep their mouths shut" as not real feminists or otherwise let him know I'm on his side when that sort of thing happens without sending the wrong messages.

Gak, what a hell of a time to be a distracted parent!
posted by saulgoodman at 9:17 AM on March 27, 2017 [25 favorites]


you don't have time to think about not making Nazi jokes, and

I kind of feel like you always have time to think about not making Nazi jokes. It's not like some unavoidable trap everyone falls into.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:27 AM on March 27, 2017 [52 favorites]


I've noticed that even among what I consider to be the "decent" LPers on Youtube, like--their social circles in that world are fairly small and tend to consist almost entirely of other white guys. Plenty of people off Youtube have that same problem--and plenty of them turn into assholes, too, they just don't wind up being assholes in public. You are what you consume, and if your input is all white guys?

Once you're mostly only spending time around people who're that similar to you, then it's so easy. When you say the offensive thing they don't hold it against you, and sometimes they laugh. So you push things a little more, and a little more, and suddenly those are just the jokes you tell, now, and does everybody in your social group understand that they're jokes? And the next thing you know part of your social group consists of people who think that the Nazis had some okay ideas, and gosh, how did that happen?

We keep having this same Lord of the Flies problem on the internet, and people seem to keep being reluctant to say that part of the problem is that it really isn't okay for the boys to just hang out alone in their treehouse all day.
posted by Sequence at 9:27 AM on March 27, 2017 [53 favorites]


Public Service Announcement: If you don't have a solid sense of self or your place in the world, and your support group/community is Youtube commentators, you may start feeling a positive correlation between acting more like an asshole and becoming more loved.

In that case, do not be surprised to find your assholeness edging you towards racist humour
posted by Static Vagabond at 9:29 AM on March 27, 2017 [10 favorites]


Once you're mostly only spending time around people who're that similar to you, then it's so easy.

I regret that I have but one favorite to give this, Sequence. I remember situations like that from my own youth. Nobody ever went the full Nazi, (maybe partly because I'm plainly not white), but telling very uncomfortable jokes about anyone who was not a cis het male was certainly the style in some crowds I knew when I was a dumb kid. I've cut off large branches of guys that I used to know because they never grew out of it.
posted by mordax at 9:43 AM on March 27, 2017 [9 favorites]


No oversight, huge audiences, and echo chambers. Sounds like a recipe for peace, love, and tolerance.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:55 AM on March 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


part of the problem is that it really isn't okay for the boys to just hang out alone in their treehouse all day.

I don't think it's all that helpful for any group to form exclusionary clubs like this. But for purposes of organizing and all that it seems unavoidable. Adults often seem to forget kids are potentially watching every single throw away comment they make. I mean, me, too, but still.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:03 AM on March 27, 2017


I know the phenomenon of which Sequence speaks is definitely real, but I also don't think we should just assume that being white on the internet is a slippery slope that inevitably leads to holocaust jokes.

I don't say this in a defensive "not all white people" sense, it's just that it seems to excuse assholes as being an inevitable product of what could easily be a benign environment, if not for assholes.
posted by incomple at 10:03 AM on March 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


And people say Goons are bad.

(Slowbeef is a Goon, BTW.)
posted by Samizdata at 10:11 AM on March 27, 2017


After reading the extract from Bill Hayes memoir about Oliver Sacks I now aspire to not know what Michael Jackson is.
posted by Pembquist at 10:19 AM on March 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is an interesting article, and related to what I study (I focus on Twitch instead of YT). I think I agree with a lot of it. Specifically the platform problem. I've noticed similar things in my research with Twitch, specifically that metrics determine behavior, and that often partnership metrics are very opaque, and very focused on growing and maintaining viewership.

However, Slowbeef seems to be ignoring the cultural problem of games. It's not a coincidence that in an effort to reach a large, assumed audience, so many people who are playing games for an audience will be presenting a magnified version of the (for lack of a better word) "edgey nerd" persona that's driven game marketing, social spaces, and products since essentially the 8-Bit era. On preview, Sequence puts it better,

I've noticed that even among what I consider to be the "decent" LPers on Youtube, like--their social circles in that world are fairly small and tend to consist almost entirely of other white guys. Plenty of people off Youtube have that same problem--and plenty of them turn into assholes, too, they just don't wind up being assholes in public. You are what you consume, and if your input is all white guys?

A lot of theorists present this problem as being one of the reasons that the culture of games seems so static. When you have games and social spaces that push against it, they often are the target of a pile-on from the guys who have lived half their lives on screens, being "gamers".

So when Slowbeef writes,

There’s always someone else with a funny screen name and a million subscribers who can reach the same audience. But you’d think this whole situation could’ve been avoided if there were somebody checking in when the first few issues with the content begun. This controversy didn’t happen all at once, there were plenty of chances for someone to step in and try to cool things down or provide help or advice when the media got involved.

I think it misunderstands the problem a bit. Think about when (to use a similar situation) Reddit tries to make a real commitment to cutting out the cancerous aspects of their userbase (which is an adult, sensible business decision). It's not just that people in charge aren't stepping in, or that they don't want to for profit reasons, it's the hellfire reaction to those interventions.
posted by codacorolla at 10:21 AM on March 27, 2017 [11 favorites]


This reminds me of industrial farming. The pressure to produce more and more leading to a glut of low-quality product, which makes it that much less likely anyone in the market will be able to earn a living, which creates more pressure, etc.

The lack of support resources and the pressure to produce are sort of two sides of the same coin. Whatever resources you have are going to be spread that much thinner if you're posting every day. I follow some YT channels; it seems to me that the best ones mostly update once a week or less. The really good ones have a (probably very small) production team.

Why is so much of the internet all about video, now? Did blogs ever have a problem like this, where superstar bloggers were burning themselves out, making bad decisions alone, with no one to help them check themselves? Is it possible that the process of producing written communication just encourages more care, reflection, and revision?
posted by Western Infidels at 10:43 AM on March 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


I've read a decent amount of scholarly stuff about this, but I don't want to get too into the weeds. If there's interest I could post a few journal article and book citations. Anyway, my gloss on why video is so prevalent is a few reasons:

1. For games, at least, it's necessarily an interactive and visual medium. Some Let's Players do text/image combos, but I would hazard a guess that most do video. Apart from that, content tends to chase audience, and YouTube gives you both an easy platform to advertise your work, and the audience for which to advertise it. Video platforms are also better in terms of remuneration. Nobody is really making money off of text LPs on a forum. YouTube, even if you have a less than 1% shot at it, does give the eventual possibility to make money off your craft.

2. If we're talking about live streaming, that obviously has to be video at some level. Live streaming is sort of understudied in the literature, but the main papers on the topic point to the idea that the combination of video and text chat lends itself to community creation, the feeling that you're sitting on the couch watching a friend play something, and (as above) has audience, possible economic returns, and a platform that affords those interactions.

3. A number of material changes in the way that we consume information online has lead video to be increasingly prevalent. Increased broadband access, improved video capabilities on mobile phones, and software that makes it fairly easy to produce video content. Even at a very low amateur level, if you have a PS4, XBONE, or Switch, you have built-in video capture capability, and even limited video editing capability.

And, yes, this sort of thing most definitely has a place in past study of online behavior. The idea of how we perform identities in online spaces - including the behavior of 'super star' content creators - has been studied in text formats. In popular literature, boyd has written about this in terms of how people negotiate online spaces with unclear and mixed audiences (arguably a main problem for PewDiePie), and Sherry Turkle has gone back and forth about the potentials and pitfalls of presenting the self on a screen, most recently coming out strongly against pervasive connectivity with Alone Together.
posted by codacorolla at 10:56 AM on March 27, 2017 [9 favorites]


Sorry, but I'm not buying this article. Pewdiepie is reportedly worth $15 million. The work, as outlined by the article, seems more than reasonable for the amount of money, considering it requires absolutely no training. They want to gripe that there's expectations, and deadlines, and responsibilities? Duh, this is your damn job. No one is making these people do this work in exchange for hundreds of thousand to millions of dollars.

This also blows up the excuse that these people don't have managers. Okay. Well, then hire a fucking manager? I think this can really be boiled down to "this is their livelihood but for some reason don't seem to treat it that way."

"if things went south, and you have a creator who is in a bad situation without any guidance from people who can help manage the situation."

No. It's not "he's without guidance", it's "he hasn't gotten guidance to do his job right". Guidance isn't something that just happens to you, you have to ask for it.
posted by FirstMateKate at 11:00 AM on March 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


FirstMateKate: "Sorry, but I'm not buying this article. Pewdiepie is reportedly worth $15 million. The work, as outlined by the article, seems more than reasonable for the amount of money, considering it requires absolutely no training. They want to gripe that there's expectations, and deadlines, and responsibilities? Duh, this is your damn job. No one is making these people do this work in exchange for hundreds of thousand to millions of dollars. "

You suggest that he hire a manager, but the point is that he did give tons of money to people who could have exerted editorial pressure and/or guidance if they were interested, and he apparently also gave money to people who would traditionally be understood to be "agents" (his management company), and he might be forgiven for thinking he'd already given enough money to people that surely someone would say something if he was going too far.

He is absolutely responsible for himself, but "just get an agent" is hard/impossible/unrealistic/not done in such a nascent industry, which is what the article is about.
posted by TypographicalError at 11:06 AM on March 27, 2017 [9 favorites]


That, plus the article is merely using PDP as an example of a broader issue. Most YouTubers, suffice to say, do not have a $15m net worth.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:11 AM on March 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


Does anybody get agents anymore other than authors? It doesn't seem like musicians do as often anymore. There's a real bootstraps mentality to all these newer online endeavors, even though in reality, there are usually unacknowledged, bigger corporate sponsors in the mix for the more visible/popular ones.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:13 AM on March 27, 2017


The MCN relationship is sooooooort of an agent relationship, although (arguably) scammier and more open to abuse, with less actual guidance and management. My experience researching this leads me to believe that a lot of the function of an agent is taken over by unofficial mentorship and modeling relationships - down to players mostly basing their decisions on what they see superstar performers doing. That's one of the reasons why guys like PDP being such assholes is incredibly frustrating, and leads to the reproduction of that behavior further down the line. Especially with their child and teen audiences.
posted by codacorolla at 11:18 AM on March 27, 2017 [5 favorites]


After reading that, I'm just stuck thinking how the hell PPD managed to get full editorial control from goddamn Disney of all places. Like, who at Disney managed to make that decision?
posted by dinty_moore at 11:28 AM on March 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the racism meltdowns happened and happen on gamer forums and blogs, too. That it's less commonplace in the general blogosphere (which definitely does or did have problems with minor Internet celebrities burning out and breaking down, just not usually manifesting through vile bigotry and nazism) than in gamer spaces says rather a lot about one key facet that slowbeef doesn't discuss: the culture attached to games ("gamer culture" inevitably sets off a giant not-all-gamers derail, which I'm not convinced isn't part of creating an environment that enables these assholes to exist largely unchallenged).
posted by Dysk at 11:36 AM on March 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


Mykie of Glam and Gore did a series about starting out on YouTube, including one on contracts and MCNS which is quite interesting.
posted by Mouse Army at 11:42 AM on March 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


This is a fair article about YouTube wonk, but it doesn't really touch on why game LPers and what not turn out to be Nazis or misogynists or alt-right fascists or whatever with alarming frequency. I'm sort of okay with turning-out-to-be-a-For-Reals-Bigot being a "career" destroying thing. It isn't like comedians making ill-informed jokes that land badly; it's more like comedians making hateful jokes that flop, then digging in and revealing that the bigotry they've been shrugging off as "ironic" in their acts is a sincere belief they have as a real person.

Even leaving aside that "edgy" LPers have often turned out to be sincere bigots, their offensive jokes aren't really comparable with professional major league comedy, either, because it's only in the past like three years that we've collectively cared as a culture enough to criticize offensive comedy. So, if George Carlin or Eddie Murphy made kinda ehhhh jokes here and there...well; it isn't as if Seth McFarlane, Dave Chappelle, Amy Schumer, Tracy Morgan or pretty much anyone with a wide degree of visibility isn't getting called out when they make ignorant/hateful jokes/comments today. That is an increasingly accepted part of the culture now, and we are better for listening to it. Heck, Trevor Noah's been called out for a joke on trans issues that landed badly while otherwise being good there, while Steven Colbert's hardcore transphobia is something people still deny or apologize for.

Critical culture is increasingly open to actually listening to minorities in a way it hasn't traditionally been, and that means that offensive jokes prior to like 2013 really are products of their time more than they are examples of how to successfully navigate delicate topics in comedy. A lot of the offensive jokes gamers try to run by would get them chased out of an actual comedy club. What's going on with them isn't just a failure to adequately workshop ideas and polish their acts.
posted by byanyothername at 12:11 PM on March 27, 2017 [14 favorites]


Well, you know, anger does have a clinically recognized psychologically addictive potential. Rage-a-holicism is a real phenomenon. It can feel really great to get on a self-righteous high horse, especially when you're feeling low. Lots of people feeling low, click mechanics that function like a Skinner box for humans, a culture that rewards provocation and behaviors normally considered anti-social among its celebrity class--it's not any one of these factors, but a perfect shit storm of multiple complex factors, most likely.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:19 PM on March 27, 2017 [8 favorites]


"Did blogs ever have a problem like this, where superstar bloggers were burning themselves out, making bad decisions alone, with no one to help them check themselves?"

They definitely did, although I think it was smaller in scale in general, both because of the medium and because audiences were smaller. But you can still watch it play out in the "mommy blogs" where parents whose brand is "our family" push their kids into more and more difficult positions to generate content -- a thing stage parents have always done, but blogs are so unmediated by laws or agents or professionals that it's not just big-time child stars or ultra-pushy stage parents; an "average" family who gains a following that provides a substantial portion of their income now trades on their family for that income. It puts parents in a position of monetizing their children, and children in a position where they know if they refuse to cooperate, they're impacting the family income, and you can watch this turn VERY toxic.

(I'm pretty relaxed about people writing about their kids in general -- there have been parenting columns since the beginning of time and you can certainly write about your children in a way that's funny, interesting, and psychologically safe for them -- but you definitely do see the dynamic play out over and over where a non-professional slides into having an audience, feeling the pressure to produce for that audience, and like the frog in the pot doesn't realize the slow changes in behavior until they're in a very fucked-up situation. I think that happened less in, like, newspaper or magazine columns because parenting writers had an editor to say, "Hey, this is maybe not a great idea," or "I think people are going to be awfully uncomfortable with you writing about your kids this way.")
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:24 PM on March 27, 2017 [12 favorites]


Slowbeef touches on the idea that you have to make a lot of content to be a popular YouTube star. But I think you also have to be a slightly outrageous one. Because there are so many people doing Let's Plays, and because the audience for Let's Plays tends towards "edgy" teenage boys and people who have the senses of humor of "edgy" teenage boys, and because it is impossible to be interesting in a genuine and creative way for hours on end but possible to have one shtick and lean into it as hard as possible - it seems to create an environment where the "edgy" stuff is the stuff that rises to the top. It rewards people who get as close as possible to the line of Too Far without crossing over it. So in a way it's not surprising that extremely popular YouTubers keep imploding - they're popular because they were already so close to the line that a small misstep can take them right over it.

That doesn't mean I've got much sympathy for the people in question - there are a million other things you could do with your life than try to get famous on YouTube by yelling at video games, and if you're in a system with terrible reward structures the best thing you can do is get out of it - but I think it is, nonetheless, a system with terrible reward structures.
posted by Jeanne at 12:47 PM on March 27, 2017 [6 favorites]


tobascodagama: "No oversight, huge audiences, and echo chambers."

Wait I thought this was about YouTube, not talk radio...?

Seriously though the consumers have to take a bit of the blame. If you find content you like, it gets frustrating not to have new content appear regularly, but jeez to expect new content DAILY from the same person? You can have good content occasionally or crap content every day, your choice. We ought to punish the platform for choosing/promoting the latter I guess.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:51 PM on March 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


And people say Goons are bad.

goons ruin everything
posted by Sebmojo at 1:22 PM on March 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


caution live frogs: ...the consumers have to take a bit of the blame. If you find content you like, it gets frustrating not to have new content appear regularly...

This is a much under-appreciated pressure of being an online content creator who has enjoyed any degree of success. Certain vocal segments of the audience begin to berate you for not creating more. They send you angry tweets and emails demanding that you publish more often or just quit already. They'll leave your podcast a low score on iTunes with the review text "I love this show but they don't publish often enough." Even just a few of these toxic pseudosuperfans can tip one into a burnout death spiral with shocking suddenness.
posted by Hot Pastrami! at 1:28 PM on March 27, 2017 [7 favorites]


Jeanne: "Slowbeef touches on the idea that you have to make a lot of content to be a popular YouTube star. But I think you also have to be a slightly outrageous one. Because there are so many people doing Let's Plays, and because the audience for Let's Plays tends towards "edgy" teenage boys and people who have the senses of humor of "edgy" teenage boys, and because it is impossible to be interesting in a genuine and creative way for hours on end but possible to have one shtick and lean into it as hard as possible - it seems to create an environment where the "edgy" stuff is the stuff that rises to the top. It rewards people who get as close as possible to the line of Too Far without crossing over it. So in a way it's not surprising that extremely popular YouTubers keep imploding - they're popular because they were already so close to the line that a small misstep can take them right over it.

That doesn't mean I've got much sympathy for the people in question - there are a million other things you could do with your life than try to get famous on YouTube by yelling at video games, and if you're in a system with terrible reward structures the best thing you can do is get out of it - but I think it is, nonetheless, a system with terrible reward structures.
"

I dunno, the pair of Chip and Ironicus seem to do some really good LP's complete with things like history notes on the area the game takes place in and all. Plus they just have a really lovely rapport between the two of them.

Also Captain Disillusion can be pretty awesome.

I wonder if it is the Patreon factor that makes this difference...
posted by Samizdata at 1:43 PM on March 27, 2017


Sebmojo: "And people say Goons are bad.

goons ruin everything
"

Not that article at least, so you are wrong. QED!
posted by Samizdata at 1:44 PM on March 27, 2017


Wait I thought this was about YouTube, not talk radio...?

I mean, talk radio is at least answerable to the FCC.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:57 PM on March 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is a fair article about YouTube wonk, but it doesn't really touch on why game LPers and what not turn out to be Nazis or misogynists or alt-right fascists or whatever with alarming frequency.

I think there's a couple of reasons for it:

1) Teenagers are idiots. And people who figure out how to make a living from teenage hobbies probably haven't had to go through a lot of the personal growth sorts of things that make people grow out of that.

2) Traditionally, people who are successful in mass media have had to move to a big city or have gone to college. A few years in a big media market or a big university will probably force you to examine some of your local prejudices, and get out side of your comfort zone. Now, anybody, anywhere with an internet connection can get a soap box, and they're going to have to do that learning and growing up *in public*. (For example: Destiny)

3) For whatever reason, white males make up the majority of people starting gaming channels and watching gaming channels, so you're going to disproportionately see streamers with the kinds of faults that socially isolated, poorly educated white males have.
posted by empath at 1:58 PM on March 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


You can have good content occasionally or crap content every day, your choice.

That's not broadly true, though. If what you're looking for is "hangout" type content, which you get from a lot of the popular but not edgy Youtubers/Twitch streamers, that kind of stuff can absolutely be produced at a good quality every day because the creative overhead is quite low. There are also people who only record once a week or something but they do it for a few hours and then break the resulting recording up and release it in pieces over a week, which allows for a little bit more prep and a more traditional production cycle while still having daily releases. You're right that if you're looking for smart media criticism or something like that you're definitely not going to have a good episode coming out every day, but I honestly think that the fact that Jacksepticeye has 15 million subscribers and the PBS Idea Channel has 750,000 can't be blamed entirely on people's need to have something RIGHT NOW; at least some of these people actually have to prefer an episode of what feels to them like "my Irish friend and I hang out and play video games".

(Although to be fair that numbers disparity also has something to do with the popularity feedback loop that certain kinds of content can enjoy; I'm not interested in Jacksepticeye's stuff at all but I've known who he is for years, while I am definitely the target audience for the PBS Idea Channel but I only found out about it a week ago despite the fact that they've been doing it for almost half a decade.)
posted by IAmUnaware at 2:00 PM on March 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty relaxed about people writing about their kids in general

I'm not sure I'd ever want to write about my kids for profit; that just seems skeezy and weird to me personally (not that I don't think it could be done well by someone more skilled). But for pleasure, what parent doesn't love going on about their kids? I've seen that dynamic you describe though. It scares me a little. I mean, breaking the fourth wall is one thing, but no boundary between intentional performance and real life at all? That's a mental disorder.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:11 PM on March 27, 2017


I meant to ask this the last time video game streaming came up, but does anyone have recommendations for people who do Let's Play-type stuff where the players are mostly playing games they're good at (or at least have already played) and are doing more calm explanations of game mechanics and strategies than yelling or just fucking around? For reference, I have watched this entire 89 part playthrough of Diablo II multiple times because I find it kind of calming to have on in the background while I work.
posted by Copronymus at 2:15 PM on March 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


It's likely you already know him (and I have a vague memory of perhaps having recommended him to someone on here before), but SuperGreatFriend is an LPer who has encyclopedic knowledge of the games he plays, has never made (that I've heard) a shitlordy joke in his videos, and has a pretty good radio voice besides. He mostly plays obscure horror games.
posted by codacorolla at 2:28 PM on March 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


Check out FightinCowboy. His livestreams and drunkthroughs can be silly romps, but his walkthroughs lay down a heap of science, and cover all the strategic bases. He's got mad analytic skills and fast reflexes, and has forgotten more about gaming than I'll learn in ten lifetimes.
posted by Gordion Knott at 2:35 PM on March 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


Let's Play Trespasser by Research Indicates is, in my humble opinion, the standard by which all other Let's Plays should be judged. But RI only posted two full Let's Plays to YouTube, over five years ago.

Other than that, I don't actually watch that many Let's Plays, to be totally honest. I've always been more inclined to spend my leisure time just actually playing games than watching other people play them. So my video watching is more inclined to commentary or informative content than "let's hang out and let game stuff happen".

But I have recently got into Tony Mo, who does some really good guide/commentary videos for various games. I found him via Titanfall 2, but he's got some other games on his channel as well. I like him because he's got a really chill, positive approach to what is generally a low-chill genre of game, namely competitive multiplayer shooters.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:37 PM on March 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


And people say Goons are bad.

goons ruin everything

Not that article at least, so you are wrong. QED!
You clearly haven't read the comments:

Random commenter: "Not that PewDiePie doesn’t matter, but is it really necessarily to have 5+ articles about the same thing? Come on guys, you guys are better than this."

Slowbeef: "To be fair, I’m not better than this."
posted by Sparx at 2:41 PM on March 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


Not that article at least, so you are wrong. QED!

He has stairs, and yet is not protected.

:ohdear:
posted by Sebmojo at 2:52 PM on March 27, 2017


I see "a staggering lack of self-awareness" is missing from the list. The most recent high-profile case with JonTron* is basically the story of a half-Turkish-half-Iranian guy who thinks that the Keep 'Em Out factions would find him White Enough to not be considered a Them.

*You'd think that someone from New York who's into musical theater wouldn't be quite so, erm, Republican in his views, and yet
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:19 PM on March 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


So, an interesting thing happened to me this morning, that's kind of tangential to this but kind of not.

I like to catch up on my YouTubing in the morning while I get ready for work and fortify myself with a bucket of coffee and generally get all my subroutines up and running. It's usually Funhaus (I know, I know) when they have a new gameplay video, and I dipped my toes into Cow Chop for a few months but god-damn are they awful. Some cooking videos. Some weightlifting videos. Organic farming. Fermentation. That whisky guy who lives in a lighthouse. A guy who eats decades-old rations and exclaims "Nice!" all the time and who is awesome. Whatever.

This morning many of my recommends were to do with Mass Effect: Andromeda. This is a game I was kind of interested in checking out, having thoroughly enjoyed FemShep'ing it up in the first two. Never got around to the third, so maybe I should check that out. Anyway, Andromeda was going to be a likely purchase, until I started watching these videos.

Firstly, the game looks awful. Like, comically awful. The characters all seem to have received concussions just before filming their scenes, facial animations are terrible, the V/O is sub-par, and the tech is worse than it was in the first game. I mean, this seems to be, objectively, a pretty awful game.

But what got me is that, while all the videos - all by males, naturally - touched on these issues for the first part, they quickly devolved into some weird alternate reality conspiracy theory bullshit about how the character models and facial animations are shitty (they are) because of feminism and "SJWs". As in, Electronic Arts, who make more money in a year than every movie studio on Earth combined (I have not verified this info), have somehow "caved to feminism" by... on purpose making their game terrible?

It's fucking bizarro-world stuff. These guys were ranting for ten, fifteen minutes about women (and, presumably, LGBTQ folk - I didn't get that far) being responsible for Bioware sucking at their one job (making video games). And the clincher is that these were people with a half-mil or more subscribers, and tens of thousands of likes on their videos, just rambling out-there whacko nonsense. About video games!

Now, I get worked up about games and movies etc. that should have been good, but weren't, but I've never once blamed an external force for it - it's always down to developers, publishers, producers, directors, editors, whatever. But these guys, banging on about Andromeda like it was a personal affront? I watched a few minutes of about a dozen videos hoping for something non-toxic and halfway objective, that I could chuckle along with and roll my eyes over, but all of them were about six uploads away from PDP Nazi shit.

The only one that I don't immediately recall being about "people who aren't males" ruining video games forever was from videogamedunkey, but for other reasons (e.g. his voice and personality and the words he uses and the things he talks about) I find him one of the most obnoxious people alive.

I don't even remember what my point is. I guess I would make a good YouTuber? But this is a good article and I agree with many of its findings, but I also believe that many of these problems arise out of the sort of YouTubers we're talking about being, simply, shitty people.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:38 PM on March 27, 2017 [8 favorites]


Adding to the lack-of-self-awareness argument: the homogeneity of the community makes it self-reinforcing. If you're a white male Youtuber who gets in trouble for saying or doing racist shit, another white male Youtuber, no matter how good of a person he is in other aspects of his life, will publicly support you by saying that what you said/did isn't all that bad and why are you getting bullied for "being yourself" or "being under pressure" etc because he really doesn't get why this is all that bad.

And then the followers of that second Youtuber will pile on anybody who dares to comment asking the second Youtuber to clarify his views on the subject of antisemitism.

Long story short, that's how I left Nerdfighteria. Hank tweeted in support of PDP, I started leaving comments on Vlogbrothers videos asking for reassurance that Hank didn't actually support someone who thinks it's funny to license the killing off of an entire ethnic group, and ended up the opposite of reassured. [/rant]
posted by dialMforMara at 4:01 PM on March 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


It's fucking bizarro-world stuff. These guys were ranting for ten, fifteen minutes about women (and, presumably, LGBTQ folk - I didn't get that far) being responsible for Bioware sucking at their one job (making video games). And the clincher is that these were people with a half-mil or more subscribers, and tens of thousands of likes on their videos, just rambling out-there whacko nonsense. About video games!

Bioware is a major target for these guys because... I think because they've had gay romances and stuff, social conservatives complained and some Bioware employees specifically pushed back. So they became one of the big enemies for Gamergates or whatevers.
posted by atoxyl at 4:18 PM on March 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


Ohh that's right.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:23 PM on March 27, 2017


We've failed our children if this is their culture.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:14 PM on March 27, 2017 [7 favorites]


It's fucking bizarro-world stuff. These guys were ranting for ten, fifteen minutes about women (and, presumably, LGBTQ folk - I didn't get that far) being responsible for Bioware sucking at their one job (making video games).

It's because Gamergate pretty much won. The online gaming community is terminally reactionary and misogynistic. I don't think it's salvageable at this point, the only thing to do is stay away.

I also have a real concern in the crossover between gamers and other reactionary groups such as the Rabid Puppies and Breitbart. I think you're looking at people grooming themselves to be the next Joeseph Goebbels.
posted by happyroach at 8:22 PM on March 27, 2017 [6 favorites]


Well, at the same time, Gamergate was the catalyst for forcing all games outlets and communities to take a stance on things like misogyny, racism and other bigotries within games culture. And a fair number of places took the stance of, "You know, this stuff does matter and isn't acceptable." Which is a pretty big change; there are a lot of fairly comfortable dudes who really have believed that "politics" has no place in discussion about games, who thanks to Gamergate just exploding in a torrent of toxicity, now see that everything is already political, and "let's just ignore it and have fun!" is siding with the status quo.

So, there's a smidge of hope. I can talk about games again without always getting gaslit, and it's a relief.
posted by byanyothername at 9:10 PM on March 27, 2017 [8 favorites]


I think it would be very useful to have a curated list of 'Gamers who aren't racist pricks' on youtube and twitch. Like, I can listen to Proton John or Metal Jesus Rocks with a fair degree of confidence, as they both have women/people of colour on with them on a regular basis, (and in MJR case, then spend a couple minutes talking them up about how great they are and how they know way more about X then he does). But when Youtube recommends a new channel to me, it would be nice to consult a list to see if I'm going to be giving views to someone terrible. For example, there are a ton of youtubers who's names are plays on "Mark" and I recall one of them is a terrible person, but there is no easy way to look up which on. Heck, I'd trust a MeFi curated list.

So far the Nostalgia/Retrogaming community seems pretty safe. Lazy Game Reviews, Pushing Up Roses, Ancient DOS Games/PixelAmusement, 8-Bit Guy, Rertomoan....)
posted by Canageek at 9:10 AM on March 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


So there was a link to a Cracked article posted in comments, and one point in there was "I Was Most Persuaded By People Only Slightly Less 'Backwards' Than Me."

So, there's a very narrow Goldilocks zone for being able to criticize one of these Youtubers and be seriously listened to, rather than shouted down like dialMforMara mentioned above. Which is a situation you only really enjoy if you're a bit of a troll, and trolls disproportionately love "edgy" humour. So you won't see these criticisms very much within the fan community of the Youtuber.

These narrow restrictions don't apply to posting elsewhere, on Twitter or whatever, saying "Look what this jackass did." Then you have the ability to criticize him to an audience that's more receptive to that criticism, because of whatever shared values the criticism depends upon.

So the Youtuber's getting positive feedback from their own fanbase to keep doing what they're doing, and can easily ignore criticism from "outside." Up until the day one of these criticisms goes viral to an extent they can't ignore it.
posted by RobotHero at 9:27 AM on March 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I should link those:

First Two I mentioned:
Metal Jesus Rocks
Proton Jon

Retrogamers:
Pushing Up Roses (Female retrogamer who plays adventure games, does crossovers with LGR and ADG and is generally awesome).

Pixelmusement
, Does crossovers with PUR and LGR. Does the GREAT Ancient DOS Games series
Generation 16
Lazy Game Reviews
The 8-bit Guy
Techmoan

So yeah, I've found that I can watch these channels without worrying about someone saying something that will make Mara and I uncomfortable. There are more channels they cross over with and talk to on twitter, but I've not verified them myself.

I've also found there is a safe area of Warhammer 40K youtube, somewhat surprisingly. Now, some of these COULD go off the rails quickly, as I found out when one of the lore channels put out a video claiming there was enough female representation in W40K and anyone who disagreed didn't know the lore, but so far I've found these are good:
Teri Litorco (The most famous female W40K personality as far as I understand things. I watched her Geek & Sundry videos and they were good, but haven't kept up.)
40K Theories
Foria The Tank Girl I figure if you are willing to do crossovers with a trans wargamer, you are less likely to suddenly flip out and be horrible.
posted by Canageek at 9:29 AM on March 28, 2017 [6 favorites]


The Canadian gaming and sketch comedy group, Loading Ready Run, are progressive, inclusive, gender-diverse (they need more race diversity), and just so fun and friendly. They air a lot of scheduled content on Twitch, as well as do more edited material on YouTube.

Their more-popular-than-them charity marathon, Desert Bus, more or less saved my and my partners' lives after the election, and we've continued to lean heavily on them for safe, casual "hanging out". Although firmly (radically, for gaming) liberal, they also have a serious policy of precluding political talk or doom and gloom. They know how much of their audience relies on them for relief.
posted by gilrain at 9:33 AM on March 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


Second'ing LRR above. Also: posted by introp at 11:20 AM on March 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


I watch just about everything Victor Lucas puts on on his Electric Playground channel. He's a pro who's been at it for decades and won't put up with chicanery from teenaged bigots.

Thanks for the suggestions above. I added a couple of interesting channels to my YouTube subscriptions.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:45 PM on March 28, 2017


“Advertisers Ditching YouTube, After Being Matched With Hateful Videos,” Patrick Klepek, VICE Waypoint, 27 March 2017
posted by ob1quixote at 9:49 PM on March 28, 2017 [3 favorites]




Somehow I knew it'd be Canageek who'd chime in with the list of non-awful Youtubers. He schooled us all on them on Twitter a few days ago. Pretty much a treasure!
posted by JHarris at 6:36 PM on March 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


I found Pushing Up Roses through a completely different avenue (@dosnostalgia on Twitter), but she does seem pretty cool so far! Her channel is definitely worth a look.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:43 PM on March 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


Well, at the same time, Gamergate was the catalyst for forcing all games outlets and communities to take a stance on things like misogyny, racism and other bigotries within games culture. And a fair number of places took the stance of, "You know, this stuff does matter and isn't acceptable." Which is a pretty big change; there are a lot of fairly comfortable dudes who really have believed that "politics" has no place in discussion about games, who thanks to Gamergate just exploding in a torrent of toxicity, now see that everything is already political, and "let's just ignore it and have fun!" is siding with the status quo.

I've been going back and forth on whether it's entirely right to call GG a catalyst. I think that overall you are right, but... Gamergate is at its heart a reactionary movement, and the stimulus they were reacting against was a number of feminist game scholars and designers who had the guts to put steady pressure over many years on the game industry about those things. That coalesced around an invented controversy regarding Zoe Quinn, but had certainly been brewing before that as women personalities (notably Sarkeesian) had been getting heat for presenting feminist critiques of games. I agree that GG gave these issues greater visibility through toxicity that spilled out of comment sections and into IRL, but I think that they were spurred by a slowly moving underground movement that has really been building since the 80s or so.
posted by codacorolla at 6:48 PM on March 29, 2017 [4 favorites]


I actually kind of suspect that GG was a test run by russian intelligence attempting to radicalize a community. 4chan was and is swarming with them. The ties between GG, Redpill, white supremacists and early donald trump supporters online are really hard to ignore.
posted by empath at 8:48 AM on March 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


Here's another good channel nobody's mentioned yet: Extra Credits. They talk about video game design from a number of perspectives, and have done some thoughtful videos about diversity, addiction, and harassment. They also do an excellent history series, which includes periodic videos about everything they did wrong or couldn't include in the main videos. Here's their Let's Play channel. Also, Leelee is best Dan.
posted by dialMforMara at 8:03 PM on April 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


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