No Fooling: Reddit r/Games Subreddit Goes Dark to Highlight Bigotry Online

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This is not an April Fool’s joke, though it may sound like one. The r/games subreddit on Reddit.com has gone dark for a day to draw attention to the growing problem of hate speech and bigotry online. The mods write that while they do not object to strong discussion, “when that argument descends into vitriolic attacks between individuals on a regular basis with no chance at de-escalation, that’s when, put simply, something’s got to give.”

The mods note that r/games, by their own estimation, has become an increasing center for this type of material and that banning perpetrators and removing disallowed comments has not solved the problem. The problem, as they note, is not unique to r/games or Reddit, but is embedded throughout the internet, often in gaming and game-centric communities:

The condescending, dismissive, vindictive and pessimistic attitudes we see in our day to day activity is troubling, especially when those interactions involve harassing or outright targeting regularly discriminated communities. It’s not uncommon for us to see the real issues surrounding these communities be trivialized, derided out of ignorance, or worse, for the sake of entertainment.

They then go on to provide links to the sorts of content they remove on a daily basis in a 71-image thread on Imgur. Transphobia, homophobia, racism, misogyny, pro-pedophilia, pro-rape, and vitriolic attacks on other users are the order of the day. That this occurs in many online communities is a given. As the mods point out, it doesn’t have to. No users are named in the images — the focus is on the content mods have to deal with.

One of the messages left in r/games, after the Christchurch massacre.

The post ends on a hopeful note, with extensive links to community resources and education. It calls on gamers to unite on what brings them together — namely, a shared love of video games — rather than focusing on divisive cultural and social issues that tear conversation apart.

Despite the strife that’s both within and caused by our community, there are a multitude of opportunities to prove that we can come together and be a more wholesome, accepting community that exists on a single core idea: enjoying and discussing video games together. The mods also took time out to thank the folks who want to contribute to a positive community and take a role in creating it.

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