The End Of Hateful Internet Comments Might Be Sooner Than You Think

The End Of Hateful Internet Comments Might Be Sooner Than You Think

Think of the internet, and right up there with gifs, cats and nutshots you’ll probably think of comments. Awful, terrible, hateful comments, full of bigotry, spite and venom. It’s long been assumed that might just be the way the internet works, but surprisingly, things might actually be changing.

In the last week, some of the biggest and most important sites in the world have begun taking serious measures aimed at curbing the vile garbage people leave anonymously beneath articles and stories.

We’ve got YouTube — long believed to be home to the very worst in internet commentary — introducing filters and Google + integration. Popular Science made the drastic decision to kill comments on its site entirely, so fed up had its editors become with their effects on the site (and science itself!).

Today GameSpot, one of the two biggest game sites in the world (the other big one, IGN, took similar steps only two months ago), joined the push, issuing a statement that it would soon be introducing a strict new terms of service for commenting on the site. It reads, “One of the biggest issue plaguing GameSpot is the abysmal practices seen in our comment section.”

“Hate speech and threats have no place in any community that hopes to be welcoming and engaging towards anyone who simply wants to talk to likeminded individuals.”

Those who break the rules three times will be permanently banned from the site, which may seem lenient in some respects, but it’s a massive site, so you had to expect some level of warning to be built into things.

GameSpot’s response comes only a week after the site became a magnet for some of the worst comments I’ve seen in a long time (see above). Despite giving the game a 9/10, GameSpot writer Carolyn Petit dared mention in her review of Grand Theft Auto V that the game features misogyny. What followed was as depressing a flood of vicious and hateful comments as you’ll ever see, mostly of course directed at Petit because of her gender.

It’s not like we’ll suddenly wake up tomorrow and the internet’s idiots will have all just… gone away. But the more big sites like this begin to take action — Gawker Media has been pushing for better comments as part of its redesign — and the more big sites that follow in its stead, the more the racists, bigots and trolls will be cleared from plain sight, leaving internet discussion clear for, you know, the normal people.


  • Russians were the first to mention even doing this. Their argument was, if we don’t use vile language in real life and we communicate just fine, why should we have to deal with it on the internet. And the stuff you see on the news here was like “bla bla bla, free speech, bla bla” and now all this stuff is happening and people are proud of the change.

    I’m all for the change but some things in this world, especially people and their ignorance I will never understand.

    Sorry for the whole politics thing. Been reading newspapers and listening to the radio and it just seems Russia is ALWAYS put in the darkest of lights, oh and China.

    • Free speech is fine. Free speech with anonymity is not. It lets too many trolls get away with blue murder.

      • All ‘Free speech’ refers to anyway, is that the government can’t come and arrest/kill you because you said something they didn’t like, with the obvious exceptions of threats.

        • And the right to Free Speech can be revoked by the government for various reasons, so freedom of speech doesn’t really exist in the first place.

    • Some people do use vile language.

      There are many people in society, and not everyone is the same.

      Some people realise that words are just words – and not weapons.

      Some people enjoy playing with words and language, and firing the imagination within themselves and others.

      Some people find being creative with words an effective and enjoyable outlet – for both the writer and the reader.

      If we have to limit our chosen words then we are being censored, and our creativity will be hampered.

      • That’s fine – you can do all that on your own website. If you’re going to post on somebody else’s site, though, you have to respect their rules.

        • I’m suggesting their rules (changes) don’t warrant respect.

          To be honest, if Kotaku is to be filled with people with closed minds with little to say then there isn’t much point of participating.

          Which is a shame.

          Yeah, down vote me for stating something that makes sense.

          Great community you got going here.

          • Ill downvote you because you havent made sense. All youve done is weakly justified acting like an asshole for no reason to decent people.

          • Ok, so this comment has been reported, as of 10.05am. Let me note that it’s received one up vote.

            So let me explain why I’ve reported the comment.

            Well because it says that I’ve weakly justified acting like an asshole for no reason.

            So, as with many or most poorly written comments, then meaning is open to interpretation.

            The writer could be making a direct and personal attack, saying that i’m acting like an asshole, or they could be suggesting that I’ve weakly justified (a just criticism) others that act like assholes.

            All I can do, as the reader, is guess what is meant.

            And I’m going to guess, or interpret, that the comment was meant either as a direct and personal attack, OR the writer put in too little effort to ensure that the comments couldn’t be interpreted (by myself and others) as such.

            FURTHER, although the writer is permitted to make criticisms, it’s only fair to me, and to the discussion as a whole, if the writer presents a case for his criticisms – which the writer does not even attempt to do.

            So, what’s the sum total.

            We either have a direct insult, or we have a completely unexplained criticism which in no way furthers the discussion.

            Either way, it’s rude. And uncalled for. And I don’t appreciate it.

          • Oh christ get a grip mate, if you’re gonna get insulted over a comment like that and writing giant rants like that on the net I’d suggest cancelling all internet service subscriptions asap.

            If you bothered reading the whole comment in context, actually reading it how it’s written and not reading it as you chose to perceive it, it was written saying that it said you justified the act of acting like an asshole to good people for no reason. Not that you yourself were an asshole.

            Seriously, I cannot *believe* I had to explain that.

          • Actually, you had to explain that because it wasn’t entirely clear in the first place.

            Where’s your reasoned justification for stating that i’ve not made any sense?

            There is none.

            Thereby your comment is an unsubstantiated and unnecessary criticism.

            Where have I weakly justified acting like an asshole?

            You’ve not shown where I have. You won’t be able to show where I have. Why? Because I haven’t.

            Thereby your comment is an unsubstantiated and unnecessary criticism.

            All you’ve done is make unclear comments that have made yourself look like an asshole (hey, I’ve not called you an asshole, right) but unfortunately assholes weren’t able to spot the assholeiness and as such decided to upvote your comments.


            Why are you saying Christ? Without a capital.

            That’s blasphemy. Who gives you the right to be so offensive.

            And why are you saying get a grip mate. What kind of patronising bullshit is that.

            And who are you to make any suggestions concerning my use of the internet.

          • Didn’t you just say that we shouldn’t censor anything? Right before flagging a comment for review? I think you meant don’t censor anything unless you don’t like it in which case its totally fine.

          • Didn’t you just say that we shouldn’t censor anything?

            Where did I say that?

            Right before flagging a comment for review?

            Am I not allowed to do that? I should be fine with people personally attacking me, is that it?

            I think you meant don’t censor anything unless you don’t like it in which case its totally fine.

            I think you’re just being facetious and in no way contributing to the discussion.

          • Read all his comments, or as many as you can be bothered with, you’ll see a chain of hypocrisy immediately.

            Two immediate examples:

            *Complains about being insulted (despite not actually being so), goes on to insult people regularly.
            *Complains about censorship, reports comments in the hopes of getting them censored.

            Then there’s the constant walls of meaningless text… the term ‘quantity over quality’ really comes to mind.

          • @ weresmurf (warning – more than 50 words will be used here – reminder – you don’t have to read, after all YOU have free will).

            *Complains about being insulted (despite not actually being so), goes on to insult people regularly.

            Complains about being personally attacked. Highlights the hypocrisy of celebrating the decision to end abusive comments whilst enabling them. Points out the ineptitude of moderation (note I did not say moderators – not that I’m saying that they’re not inept – they may be, they may not – I don’t know, but certainly the sum total of moderation (moderators+their resources and framework that they’re supposed to uphold) is inept.

            *Complains about censorship, reports comments in the hopes of getting them censored.

            Oh. So you’re suggesting that I shouldn’t attempt to work within the Kotaku rules? Is that it? And if so, don’t you think that that would be a little folly of me?

            Again, you don’t know what I was hoping.

            Maybe I was hoping that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Maybe I was hoping that the Kotaku moderation was fair, just and consistent against the odds. Maybe I was hoping that some people could be educated of their transgressions through being moderated.

            the term ‘quantity over quality’ really comes to mind.

            Well. at least something does.

          • @davedrastic tl:dr didn’t have a few hours. Seriously you have to learn to make a point quickly and concisely. Your walls of text are usually bereft of a point. They lack a cohesive point, structure and you don’t actually have to start a new line for every sentence. Just a little friendly critique. I’m sure you’ll reply with a wall of text I (and likely everyone else) won’t bother reading.

          • This is hate speech calling someone an “asshole”, you are now banned. This is how censorship works, the righteous become victims of their own oppression.

          • Apparently I’m not! Try reading it again, didn’t call him an asshole, I said it was a weak justification for acting like an asshole to people. Sheesh. So many oversensitive people on here today.

          • Mainly because I didn’t Dave. I see what you’re trying to do, turning the whole thing around, but nope, aint gonna work. Have a nice day 🙂

          • Yes.

            I’ve not said ANYTHING wrong, yet i’ve been attacked.

            The attacks are personal, and should be moderated but aren’t. Hypocrisy.

            Further, the attacks are by those that are arguing for more moderation.

            Idiotic hypocrites.

          • Kotaku has a community of many people I’m happy to interact with in real life, and have done so on many occasions in multiple cities across Australia. They present themselves online as they would in person, despite the supposed anonymity of pseudonyms, and that’s the way it should be. As opposed to some other sites on the Internet where I’d be scared to be in same building as them if they carry on in person like they do online.

            So yeah, great community.

          • To be honest, if Kotaku is to be filled with people with closed minds with little to say then there isn’t much point of participating.

            That is exactly the point they are making. Trolls with foul mouths aren’t being open minded, creative or even civil, and thus there is no point in them participating.
            They can go do that somewhere else – no one is stopping them from being trolls, just not letting them do it on public forums.

            You’ll notice that despite being downvoted, people are still responding to you in a civil and respectful way – that is the hallmark of the community here.

          • You say we lack creativity because we choose to talk without swearing, I argue that you lack the creativity to talk without swearing.

            Dropping an F-Bomb is not creative, it’s using an ancient curse word as it’s been used for longer than I can remember.

            Freedom of speech is the right to get your point across, not swear like a sailor without consequences. I believe being polite is a lost art and that using it is more creative than simply falling back on crude language.

            If you want true creativity burgeon (<- it means expand) your vocabulary, rather than abridge (<- reduce) it and resort to swear words.

          • Are you replying to me? Serious question, I’m still not totally comfortable with Kotaku’s reply system.

            If not, please disregard.

            If so, can you show me where I said, or even indicated ” we lack creativity because we choose to talk without swearing”

            And if you’re not able to do that (and you’re not), can you please refrain from mis-quoting me in the future.

            Thank you.

            By the way, your comment is a good example of what is truly annoying within discussion sites.

            You’re essentially criticising someone for saying something that they did not say.

            And then you get up votes for it.

            Stop worrying about swearing, and start focusing on encouraging valid and thoughtful comments, and then take advantage of that by reading them and referring to them properly.

          • Some people do use vile language.
            There are many people in society, and not everyone is the same.
            Some people realise that words are just words – and not weapons.
            Some people enjoy playing with words and language, and firing the imagination within themselves and others.
            Some people find being creative with words an effective and enjoyable outlet – for both the writer and the reader.
            If we have to limit our chosen words then we are being censored, and our creativity will be hampered.

            I directly quoted you, I did remove the double spacing but every word is a direct cut and paste job. I underlined the words that gives me impression that censorship and a lack of swear words limits your creativity.

          • There is nothing that you’ve quoted of mine that in any way indicates that I meant, believed, suggested that I believe ” we lack creativity because we choose to talk without swearing””.

            I agree ” that censorship and a lack of swear words limits your creativity”, but that is completely different to “we lack creativity because we choose to talk without swearing””.

            Rotten apples will make you ill. I love apples,

          • You do know that starting an argument or debate with the assumption that everything you say is correct is literally the worst possible thing to do. Seriously, I’ve read a few of your comments and the problem with all of them is that you never try and think from the other person’s perspective and wonder why they are disagreeing with you. Just because people on the internet can be stupid doesn’t mean only stupid people disagree with you.

          • First off, i’ve not started this debate.

            Secondly, I welcome any challenges to any of my points. I’m participating within this discussion.

            Can you not tell me what I think please. I’m likely more aware of what I think than you are.

            If the person disagreeing with me clearly states why they’re disagreeing with me, there would be no need for me (or anyone else) to wonder anything – as I (we) would be able to know what they’re disagreeing with, as they would have told me (us).

            It is stupid to raise disagreements within a discussion without providing any reasoning. Stupid people do that. Smart people do that too.

        • I don’t think @davedrastic is suggesting that people should have free reign to just be pricks towards others.

          I believe that he’s suggesting that it’s silly to ban bad language in itself. People use ‘bad’ language all the time. Sometimes to stress a point, at other times because it actually fits the context of what they’re saying.

          If every website decides to create a list of words that they don’t deem as being appropriate and everyone has to behave like they’re in grade school, it might backfire on how open the internet currently is.

          By all means, moderate websites and put strict rules in place. But don’t go overboard to the extent that it becomes a moderation fest where only ‘positive’ things are shown. Because it’s then a slippery slope towards full censorship.

          Kotaku is a great example (at least the Australian site) of where moderation works pretty well. We’re also lucky to have attracted people that are not douche bags, since it’s rare to really see nasty comments on here. Certainly much more rare than on most other websites I frequent.

          • I totally agree with you there, its a bit too much of a simple ‘blanket rule’ to outlaw any bad language, but given the amount of abuse that these ‘bad’ words are given on many sites such as Gamespot, it seems logical to just rid the site of it. It would be too time consuming to check each comment to check the context of any curse words used, so, they simply have a filter.

          • It’s exactly what he was saying, albeit clumsily. It’s interesting how many people find solace in morality. You don’t beat the ignorant with censorship, you beat them with truth and education. At least i think that was his ideal and i don’t see anything wrong with that. It’s kind of disappointing how many people chose to be negationists.

          • Why can’t the people who own this website decide what is and what is not acceptable. If you work in my office I can ask you not to swear as it may offend our customers. I can fire you for using that language legally. If you have dinner in my Home I can expect you not to swear infront of my children.

          • Exactly. The word ‘entitled’ comes to mind in terms of attitude with what’s going on here. “I should be able to do this simply because I want to” is what’s going on. Simply put, if you don’t like the rules put forth that compel common courtesy and decency by all means go elsewhere and have uncivil discourse on those boards. My comment up above using the word ‘asshole’ is a good indicator, I did not call Dave an asshole on a personal level, but he has chosen to see it that way and run with it for some reason. I don’t necessarily care, it’s made for some amusing reading, but it’s highlighted one of the issues with people who don’t wish to pursue basic manners of these boards (something I have fallen into the trap of in the past), that is, that basic, common courtesy makes for better discussion, acting in a rude manner, simply does not and puts everyone off side and before you know it, we’re the DISQUS chatboards from Aintitcool news…

          • The “entitlement” is that we are all entitled to express our opinion and should be able to do so without being personally attacked.

            I chose to interpret your words as a personal attack for the reasons I previously, and explicitly stated.

            Can we just clarify that it’s not basic bad manners to not appreciate being personally attacked, but it is bad manners to personally attack someone.

            Can we also clarify that personally attacking someone is rude – but unfortunately doesn’t put everyone off side. Unfortunately a significant proportion of people seem to think it’s ok to personally attack someone.

          • I’d agree with you, most of the Allure sites seem to take a fairly light handed approach to moderation, and that the communities of those sites are a bit more mature in their responses.
            Either way, I’m glad they haven’t resorted to Boing Boing’s disemvowelling, which was amusing at first, but when I saw them censoring people they just simply disagreed with- which is akin to the censorship we want to avoid, I left the site and never returned.

            @davedrastic may have been making a valid point, but what he forgets in his comment, is that although people have the right to express themselves, they also have an obligation to do so in a respectful, if not exactly civil manner.

          • Actually. my initial comment in this thread was a response to the topic raised by hydroleks

            I won’t repeat why he / she was saying, as it was clear that I was responding to his/her comments and his/her comments are still able to be read above.

            What I said was not said clumsily. In fact, every point I made was very clear. And utterly correct.

            Instead of down voting me (and I know that you didn’t / haven’t as yet) why not challenge me with discourse. (i’m speaking to the others that have participated in this thread – and I use the word participated loosely).

            Which part of my comment was being objected to?

            Which part was incorrect, or indeed offensive?

            None of it.

            Yet, why not down vote someone that’s making a completely accurate point. And then to insult them, and up vote the insulter.

            This points to why the discussion is so disappointing.

            And does moderation work particularly well when people are being called douchebags and assholes and moderators aren’t doing anything about it?

            Does moderation work when comments are blocked for approx 24 hours for no good reason? (as mine have been)

            I have my doubts.

            But yes, ALL LANGUAGE has value and purpose.

            Some people DO like, enjoy, prefer to use “bad” language.

            Bad is in inverted comments as there is nothing bad about any language. Unless it’s Welsh. Oh come on, that was a joke.

            I’m saying that it’s silly to ban certain words because words are not the issue. Words have never been the issue. EVER. In the History of man kind.

            I’m saying that SOME people choose to use swear words. And, in real life, they’re completely entitled to do that (albeit with some public restrictions).

            Yes, this is not the real world, and yes we’re all subject to the terms as determined by the store keeper (Kotaku) – and I have not objected to that. I could object to that. I do object to that. But I have not objected to that, in writing. Thus far.

            Using bad language is not the only means to be pricks to each other.

            Being pricks to each other does not require the use of bad language.

            We can use bad language and not be pricks to anyone.

            Bad language and being pricks are not married.


            we have people using bad language AND being pricks AND they don’t get moderated. They get up voted.

            This is the hypocrisy of the situation, and of moderation of discussion (sites) that makes NO SENSE and STIFLES quality discussion. In turns people off. Or rather, it turns off those people that want a discussion and that are making valid, albeit not overly popular, points.

            And although I am criticising the moderation that i’ve witnessed, I will note that I don’t believe that the moderation of this site is any worse than it is on any other site, I’ve seen far, far worse, and I do believe that moderating is inherently flawed. I suspect that it’s essentially, in practical terms, impossible to achieve balanced, consistent and thoughtful moderation. I’m not blaming the moderator. I’m blaming the system.

            And how can the system work better?

            By having less moderation. Not more.

            In fact, only have more moderation if you can ensure that it will be fair and consistent to all, which you cannot do.

            If you’re going to implement new rules to stop hate speech, then don’t let people call other aholes and douchebags. And don’t pat yourself on the back for having a community that rewards those that do.

            If you’re going to let some people call others aholes and douchebags, then let all of us attack each other. Don’t let others attack me and then block my opportunity to make any response. That is NOT CONSISTENT (and no – I’m not mumbling curse words under my breath, I promise).

            Here’s what should be moderated (off the top of my head)…

            Hate speech
            Personal attacks
            Dumb comments that are negative, critical or offensive unless it is clear that the writer has an arguably valid or relevant point.

            You can do all of the above without using bad language.

          • The two are often related when used in a sentence.

            There isn’t much need for words such as that to be used in a sentence unless they are meant in a derogatory way.

            I believe you have interpreted this article incorrectly, the point isn’t to ban select words, the point is to ban people who are behaving offensively towards others, and/or trolling. This Dave guy is clearly trolling everyone.

      • You have the freedom to say what you want in your own space, on your own time.

        On a privately owned forum, you have no such right. You can be given rules for what you are and are not allowed to say. Think of it as a condition of entry. In the real world, a place can say “No shoes, no shirt, no service” and you’ve just gotta suck it up. You either dress and act the way they demand, or they aren’t interested in your custom.

        • I agree. Websites are free to define their own rules which you agree to when signing up and commenting. If they don’t suit, then people need to move on.

          There needs to be a fine balance though so we don’t slip into a world of complete censorship and political correctness.

          • True that media outlets shouldn’t try to stifle criticism and I agree that it’s a fine line to walk. This is going to be one of those things that people will get upset about in order to keep their “right” to be jerks.

            I really feel like using “politically correct” as a shorthand for censorship isn’t good practice, though. Political correctness is not being a jerk to people when talking about them.

          • Pokedad, my feeling is that your interpretation of what a jerk is, and my interpretation of what a jerk is are two very different things.

          • All we’re doing here, all I’m doing, is informing Kotaku of our (my) opinions on the subject.

            Sure, they can do what they want, and I’ll (we’ll) just have to accept it. I can’t change their policies for them. None of us can.

            I’m just stating my opinion, in the (vain) hope that someone pays attention and improves their system for the better, and not the worse.

            Kotaku can make whatever rules they see fit.

            Just because Kotaku makes a rule, does not mean that that rule is a good rule.

            It doesn’t work that way.

            It’s quite possible that Kotaku implements new rules with the intention of improving their discussion forums, whereas they in fact are a detriment to them.

            It’s quite possible that Kotaku sees an issue (offensive comments), decides to take action, and chooses the wrong way to achieving the best possible outcome.

            Focusing on bad language is the wrong thing to do when bad language is not the problem.

            Stopping hate speech whilst allowing people to call others aholes and douchebags is a flawed system.

            More moderation is only fair if it is consistent. Which it will never be, due to the reliance on over worked, under paid (or unpaid) moderators that cannot be expected to understand the meaning or intended meaning of every comment they are asked to moderate – no matter how good a moderator they happen to be.

          • Banning people for behaving offensively and/or trolling other people is the best idea I have heard all week, it would never be detrimental to an online environment unless that environment was dedicated to that. Gaming sites such as Gamespot, IGN, and Kotaku desperately need this kind of system to eliminate all the morons who are just there to stroke their e-peen. Kotaku is not nearly as bad as the other two.

      • Some people realise that words are just words – and not weapons.

        There is a reason the phrase “The pen is mightier than the sword” exists and is a valid phrase. Words are not just words and can be very much used as a very effective weapon. When your primary method of communication is to convey meaning via words that are interpreted by another person, using specific words with specific meanings to the other person can be very effective in attacking them.

        Words can damage you psychologically, words can incite you to action, words can undermine a person’s confidence in something, words can cause another person to doubt themselves, words can cause a person to kill, words can cause a person to feel happiness, words can make a person cry, words can lead people to victory, words can lead people to defeat, and words can simply mean nothing. Choose your own words wisely because they may be used against you, and as you’ve already seen, people have taken your words as an affront and have responded in kind.

        • Heads up.

          Words are not swords.

          You might have been misinterpreting things.

          Have you been checked for dyslexia?

          Yes, words convey concepts and ideas.

          Concepts and ideas can be very powerful.

          Each individual word does not in itself have power, unless we give it power ourselves.

          The word duck does not create any ripples within the world. The letter F is not an offensive letter.

          Combing the two together does not create a chemical reaction.

          People use words. We all use lots and lots of words. There’s no need to be scared of words. Words will NOT hurt you (unless contained within a heavy book as Mike Tarno illustrates).

          • Do you know what bullying is?

            A lot of bullying is done verbally, hence, words CAN hurt people.

            I am enjoying your desperate need to justify your opinion that offensive language somehow invokes a higher level of creativity and human existence, but you will find most sane people will disagree. Most trolls act that way just for their own amusement, I doubt even THEY would honestly believe the tripe you are preaching.

          • Quick question.

            Was it the words that cause hurt, or the meanings that the words convey?

            I’d be thinking that it was the meaning.

            Words can’t be blamed for how they’re used, therefore words should not be blamed.

            I am enjoying your desperate need to justify your opinion that offensive language somehow invokes a higher level of creativity and human existence

            Well, i’ve not said that. So if I do have a need to say that, it’s not that desperate. But i’m glad you’re enjoying it none the less.

            you will find most sane people will disagree.

            Oh, you’ve performed a study of some kind. Could you please elaborate.

            Most trolls act that way just for their own amusement

            Which way? It would be helpful if you told us what you were talking about,

            I doubt even THEY would honestly believe the tripe you are preaching.

            Preaching? I’d have thought that I was merely expressing my opinion. No flock to be found in these parts.

        • Thanks to Celebrity Jeopardy, I can no longer read the phrase “the pen is mightier” without reading it as “the penis mightier” and hearing Sean Connery asking Alex if he’s selling Penis Mightiers and if they actually work.

        • That phrase always reminds me of this quote from Douglas MacArthur:
          “Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons.”

      • I think the spirit of this is not so much curb your swearing as it is “Don’t be a dick.”

        Sure everyone has different values and not everyone is the same bu that doesn’t make bigotry, racism and just plain being an asshole acceptable behavior no matter how witty you feel you are being.

      • Some people enjoy playing with words and language, and firing the imagination within themselves and others.

        Some people find being creative with words an effective and enjoyable outlet – for both the writer and the reader.
        Because the above example in the article is a prime example of this.

        My interpretation of this “censorship” is that it is predominantly about clearing out the unimaginative drivel that comes out of your regular troll.

      • Actually, there’s been many noticable moments in history when creativity shined as a result of limitations.

        It’s one of the reasons why some people miss 90 console games, the hardware limitation made developers think outside the box. Hell, Metal Gear Rex got its iconic look because of the processing power of the PS1.

    • Wasn’t the Russian thing that they were making swearing online completely illegal (banning websites that use it)? Which is quite different to hate speech. That’s even more extreme than banning pornography, which didn’t get many supporters on the internet either.

      And, sure, some people just hate on Russia because it’s popular to do so but some have an issue with the direction that Russia is heading in, in that extreme nationalism and hate crime seems to be increasing more and more (for various reasons) and the Russian government is trying to capitalise on that instead of trying to reign it in.

    • I hope this answers to all. I’m using a lag phone.

      you all make valid points without being jerks. I’m really happy I made this comment. Enlightening different perspectives have been and this phone is so Larry. Omg

    • Russia is ALWAYS put in the darkest of lights,

      Let’s not forget that sometimes it’s for a good reason; outlawing homosexuality is probably the most primitive, primordial brain hemorrhage of stupidity to plague this modern world.

    • And big brother stomps on freedom of expression yet again, with an enormous nudge from The Department of Goody Two Shoes – aka ‘The Women In Sensible Shoes Brigade’ – which is almost always staffed by females and/or the gender confused.

      After reading this article, I’m embarrassed to admit I’m female. Grow up, sisters!

      I LOVE the gaming community, am a WoW player myself, and I accept a bit of what the more ‘anal’ of my female contemporaries call ‘misogyny’ – because you know what? – IT’S A GODDAMN GAME/GAMING COMMUNITY we’re talking about. This is NOT a life or death situation!

      So, because of the whiny minority (in this case, estrogen producers), the majority must be silenced and forbidden from expressing their anger.

      Yup. Big brother’s hard at work again – although it should really be called ‘Big Bitchy Sister’ because in my experience, females are usually the ones behind the ‘BB’ mentality anyway.

      What was that saying again? – Behind every successful man is a woman? Ohhhhh yeeeah – Big Brothers’ been most successful, hasn’t he?

  • Youtube is going to be a good stress test for these kind of restrictions, because if they are actually able to help clean up the comments on that site, then this whole concept might actually work for any site.

  • C’mon tell us how you really feel. No wait! That’s too much. Be nice to everything we post.

    We will find a reason to remove the negative posts.

    Whenever I watch product review on YouTube I had an expectation of the comments section to be critical and candid. Which is what differentiated this model from commercial advertising.

    Will this effect how the internet works. It may start with mind your language, and end with an artificial impression of feedback.

    In theory if you can get rid of enough comments in the above mentioned article,
    You will find most people agree that GTA V is a misogynist game.

    • Every language consist of more than just curse words. If you need curse words to express how you really feel, you need to sort some issues out.

      Don’t forget such things as death threats to developers for changing reload times in COD. Just an example.

      • Curse words communicate anger. I’m not saying they are the only method.

        What we are trying to do is, pretend it doesn’t happen. That’s the issue I’m trying to point out.

        • That’s not what they’re doing at all. They’re trying to remove hateful speech that has no place anywhere. Just because it’s the internet, doesn’t make it okay for people to be called sluts because of their opinions.

          • I’ve seen it happen in real life, to both men an women. Don’t you still want to know the true public reaction? Or do you want it watered down. Who decides?

            I have no vested interest in this argument, being reasonably articulate. But it is interesting.

          • Call someone a ‘fucking slut’ in front of a police officer and you’ll find out that regulation is basically up to who chooses to enforce it. In Australia, at least, we don’t actually have explicitly-mandated ‘free speech’ and some language can actually be deemed ‘assault’. It’s rarely enforced, but it’s one of those many, many little laws that if the cops decide they don’t like you, they can hit you with.
            (Example: )

            Just because it happens doesn’t mean it’s meant to, and if you do it in a place where people are paying attention to enforcing standards, and the Internet is no different. You act abusively and attract attention for your abuse in the Kotaku (AU) comments, and you’ll find enforcement pretty swift.

            Youtube has been considered the wild west by comparison, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s ENTIRELY on Google.

          • Swearing in public is against the law. I don’t know all the ins and outs but that’s essentially the sum total of it.

            I get annoyed when I walk down the street, and I’m passing a couple of people whilst they’re talking on the pavement, and as I’m walking past they swear.

            They don’t swear at me, they’re swearing as a part of their conversation with their friend.

            But I think to myself, why couldn’t he have waited 3 seconds for me to have walked past him, and then he could swear.

            Why do I have to listen to him swearing?

            They do realise that other people can hear them? They’re not that stupid, are they?

            And then I’ll walk past a car parked on the pavement, get hit by 3 people walking abreast towards me that think that I should magically de-materialise myself as walking on the pavement shouldn’t be a luxury afforded to me, and then I’ll walk past a group of people hocking up and spitting on the ground, whilst cars zoom past me with their P plated drivers busying themselves writing text messages.

          • Oh how hard I tried not to post but after this post, I had to make a comparison to the guy that was on Penn and Teller Bullshit who had a stick up his ass about people using the mobile phones near him. You are not a delicate snowflake, you are a peon in the great machine of life.
            Also, what constitutes swearing?
            The law regarding swearing, to my knowledge, hasn’t been changed since near its inception in a time when damn, bloody etc were vulgar terms. Where Fuck was an acronym, Dick was another word for condemn both used in wide circulation, Bastard, Faggot and so on and so forth.

          • The fact that you aparently get annoyed when people swear in public, but then you are strongly protesting against online censorship is a bit of a contradiction.

            So do you believe that using offensive language should be allowed in the anonymous environment of the internet, but not in public?

        • I don’t think they’ll be removing straight-up criticism. We tend to find out when sites do that, like Origin/EA forums. All but the absolute die-hards or desperate go somewhere else that’s actually useful.

      • Just because people use curse words does not mean that they need to use curse words. We all CHOOSE what words we use. There’s nothing wrong with choosing to use curse words. They are, afterall, just words. No one will actually be cursed.

        Let’s not pretend that curse words aren’t words without meaning.

        By mentioning curse words and then death threats you’re muddying your point.

        Are you suggesting that death threats are worsened by the use of curse words?

        If that’s the case you might as well argue that acne worsens the plight of an aids victim.

        Death threats are abhorrent to all, and illegal.

        Curse words are not.

        • Death threats are abhorrent to all, and illegal. Curse words are not.

          They might not be abhorrent to all, but in many cases they can still be illegal. It’s just rarely enforced.

          • Some Australian states do have “offensive language” laws. I think you can get up to 6 months jail time for it, although I’m not sure what you’d have to say to actually get that heavy a penalty.

          • Yep, my ex was fined for telling her now ex-friend to ‘F off’ in the middle of the Queen Street mall around five years ago lol. Can’t say I disagree with that decision personally, someone screaming out the F word in public probably should be fined.

      • Nope. Blanket statement. If you need alcohol to have fun, you have issues.

        See, judgement sounds like a prick.

    • You can easily give negative feedback without being an abusive douche bag! I have read plenty of articles where I have totally disagreed with what the editor has said, and commented on them. I will not get abusive or make threats, I will be constructive in my feedback. Editors respond to this kind of feedback. If someone you know says they prefer a movie/game over another, and you disagree, you wouldn’t threaten them for their opinion would you?

    • It’s okay, I’m sure you have a tinfoil hat to keep you safe.

      They’re removing hateful comments… how you can jump from that to the censorship of any unwanted views is beyond me. Talking about what COULD happen is useless. I could just as easily put forth a different scenario: doing this will cause internet usage to drop heaps and it’ll no longer be relevant to society. My reason? In theory if you can get rid of enough comments on the internet, people will get annoyed and stop using it.

      • People get concerned about change.

        We don’t know what will happen – so there’s an unknown at play.

        I hope that these new policies, on this site and others, make little difference as I think it’s important to present differing views.

        Sure, some differing views are innocuous and won’t be under the threat of censorship.

        Other differing views might be controversial, unpopular, taboo, offensive – but no less valid. Yet we’ve been made aware that utterances of such viewpoints may lead to our dismissal.

        That’s not cool for those that want honest discussion and debate.

    • Let’s say that you’re right, and that…

      “In theory if you can get rid of enough comments in the above mentioned article,
      You will find most people agree that GTA V is a misogynist game.”

      Even if that is correct, where is the issue?

      People are allowed to misogynistic. It’s not against the law (I think).

      And people are free to interpret things how they choose. That’s definitely not against the law.

      And artists, and media creators, are free to create what they want to create.

      We don’t all have to get into a moral panic over everything.

      If we were to, I could sit here and point out 1,000s of hypocrisies and cause for concern. But to do that would be a waste of time, and it’s better to manage one’s life by just getting on with it.

      • I’m pretty sure Misogyny is illegal

        According to Wikipedia
        Misogyny /mɪˈsɒdʒɪni/ is the hatred or dislike of women or girls. Misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, denigration of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women.

        Gender, Racial, Sexual and Religious discrimination is against the law.

        Misogyny manifests as either Sexual Harassment or Discrimination

        • Discrimination is against the law if you’re say a business that won’t hire someone due to their gender or race.

          Misogyny is the hatred/dislike or women. It doesn’t equal sexual harassment or professional discrimination. It can be entirely mental. It’s not illegal to say “I don’t like you because you’re a woman”. Dickish? certainly, but not illegal

          If misogyny, racism, and homophobia were illegal on a personal level, it would be tantamount to the government dictating the reasons that you can or can’t dislike someone. And seeing as they’re all mental view points, it would also allow them charge people for thought crimes. And, it would do nothing to alleviate the problem.

          • “It’s not illegal to say “I don’t like you because you’re a woman”. Dickish? certainly, but not illegal”

            You’re right, that it’s not illegal, which was my point, but who are you to say that that view is dickish?

            Don’t get me wrong, i’m not necessarily saying that I agree with that statement, but people ARE ENTITLED to their opinion. Even when that opinion may seem dickish, or otherwise taboo.

            “If misogyny, racism, and homophobia were illegal on a personal level, it would be tantamount to the government dictating the reasons that you can or can’t dislike someone. ”

            Worse. It would be tantamount to criminalisiing all humans for having natural human thoughts and inclinations. It would be George Orwell stuff. You know, Animal Farm.

            And yes, I agree, I don’t see that it would do anything (significant) to alleviate the problem.

    • Being critical of a body of work and being abusive to the content provider are two very different things. The former is fine. The latter… not so much.

      We can still have plenty of candid discussion on media without resorting to petty name calling.

  • I’d rather some sort of system where a comment gets downvoted enough that the commenter gets automatically tasered.

    • Wouldn’t work. Just because people don’t like your comments or disagree with the comment you should get tasered?

      Happens here. You just don’t get tasered but the mods gotta check your stuff eventhough you said nothing to offend anyone, just made them angry because you disagreed with them. And by them I mean quite a few people.

      • I agree that there is a big difference between someone downvoting you because they simply don’t agree with your opinion and downvoting you because you are being maliciously offensive and not actually contributing anything to the discussion.

        I’ve been downvoted a lot in some discussions on here, and it’s not because i’m being hateful or offensive, it’s simply because people don’t agree with what i’m saying. Fair enough that they disagree with me, but that doesn’t make me ‘wrong’ and them ‘right’.

        • “I agree that there is a big difference between someone downvoting you because they simply don’t agree with your opinion and downvoting you because you are being maliciously offensive and not actually contributing anything to the discussion.”

          If mods were to only allow comments that are “actually contributing anything to the discussion” I would be very happy with that. But I’m sure my comments would appear very lonely indeed.

          Roh, if you’re saying things that people are disagreeing with, there’s a very good chance that you have a very good point.

          People do not always choose the best solutions en masse.

          Do you realise how many records Kylie sold?

          That does not make her a great artist.

          If we go by popularity alone Joey from Blossom should have been president.

      • You disagree with me, you clearly need to be tasered.

        We haven’t automated it yet so we’ll have to use the honour system. Please submit yourself to your nearest tasering centre.

        • This comment is a good example.

          Cynicism is negative. But it’s funny.

          I lol’d because of this. Well I sniggered. Can we get a new lol for sniggering please?

          We can’t do away with negativity. It is not positive.

          And, Kotaku, please don’t tell us to make our jokes better. We don’t tell you to make your articles better, do we? 😐

          Let us play.

          • People tell Kotaku to make their articles better all the time!

            They all need a good tasing if you ask me. But then again that is my solution to everything.

        • It wasn’t about your comment, we’d just heard the new tasering system was being implemented, and we were just testing it out..

      • Nah, being optimistic is OK. There’s plenty to like about the thing. A lot of people are getting one now.

        Blindly ignoring or rejecting valid criticism… yeah, that might become painful.

        • I think he means if you made a positive post about the XB1, you’d have been downvoted 50 times by fanboys and gotten tasered something fierce. For a while there, if you didn’t hate on the XB1 in your Kotaku post, you were apparently Hitler reincarnate.

          • It didn’t get THAT bad. I remember his posts. He was pretty far into apologist-in-denial territory.

          • I saw some people get pretty solidly slapped with downvotes just for saying they liked it or agreed with the 24 hour check. I liked the original XB1 design myself, I just knew better than to throw my hat in the ring when the monkeys were busy rampaging around the place and throwing feces at anyone that disagreed with them 😉

  • Just like anything/everything in the world. There will always be that minority who ruin it. Not ‘minority’ in a racist or ethical way, but the few who would prefer to remain anonymous for the sake of trolling and being vile.

      • More the fact that there will be a change. This change is only coming about because of these people who love to troll and act abusive.

  • I’ve actually found the comments here and Giz/Lifehacker to be perfectly civil.

    A little trollish here and there, but completely minor stuff, generally only related to Xbox One.

  • Why is it ok to call me a douchebag?

    (scroll up a little).

    I didn’t personally attack anyone.

    I reported the personal attack (several days ago).

    Some of my posts go through moderation before being listed.

    What’s going on?

    Why is it ok to call me a douchebag?

    Why are some of my comments requiring moderation?

    Am I allowed to personally attack someone?

    Would Kotaku like me to do that?

    Is that the issue here – that I’m not personally attacking someone?

    Little bit confused here.

      • Thanks for that. For the record I rarely edit any comment more than once. Just a quick grammar / communication check mostly.

        • Also if you have more than one URL, possibly for long posts, and it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s some kind of automated moderation for people who have had stuff recently removed (though I don’t know if this applies to you at all).

    • I think one of the problems moderators have is that some people will over react to things. That person who said douchebag, is hardly the same as a death threat or some other form of vile, unnecessary abuse. Plus, you did get a personal apology…..

      • So what you’re saying is that it’s ok to call me a douchebag.

        Fair enough.

        Just to help me out, could you explain why it’s ok to call me a douchebag.

        Could you also clarify for me if it’s ok for me to personally attack you.


        • In regards to your comment, it could be interpreted that you personally offended the other guy. You called people like him silly, and that them going to a midnight launch is the equivalent to him wearing a band shirt. Lines like People want to believe that they’re so devout, and so loyal to the franchise / brand, that they were one of only a few (thousand) that is dedicated enough to attend an otherwise pointless midnight launch event. They are the true fans. And their baggy eye lids prove it. and It’s all very silly and much of it is due to consumer desire which is fuelled to dizzying heights with majestic marketing and PR. really make a fool of people who are just passionate about a game, or want to play it as soon as possible. As he said, there’s no posing involved in wanting to get a product early in order to actually enjoy it.

          Maybe the fact that you judged the actions of others so presumptuously really did make you seem like “a high and mighty douchebag,” and after all, he didn’t say you were a douchebag, just that you “come off” as one. He was rather eloquent, and it was obvious he was offended; he did give you a personal apology, too.

          Point is, I think you may be blowing this a littttleee out of proportion. Not saying that it is justifiable to call others douchebags, but I’m also not saying it is justifiable to make an ordeal out of such a small incident that was already resolved, nor judge the perfectly harmless decisions of others so harshly.

          Food for thought.

          • “In regards to your comment, it could be interpreted that you personally offended the other guy.”

            Let’s be clear. It is NOT possible to interpret that I personally ATTACKED the other guy – seeing as I made no reference to the guy whatsoever – I think we’ll all have to agree with that.

            However, you’re stating that I may have personally offended the other guy.

            So what?

            A racist is personally offended by the colour of the skin of those of certain nationalities.

            Are you suggesting that if one person is personally offended then another person must suffer punishment? We must all appease, or suffer the wrath of, the offended. Is that it?

            Are you suggesting that it’s ok for the other guy to personally attack me because he was in some way offended by me, or the opinion that I’m free to express?

            If this is the case, then that would mean that you’re happy for me, or any one to personally attack you, or your friends and family, should they be personally offended (for whatever reason) by any actions that you take, or comments that you make? That would put you in a very precarious position.

            How did I “make a fool” of anyone?

            Perhaps we have different understandings of what “make a fool” is.

            I expressed my opinion in regards to the actions that some people take.

            Here, I’ll do it again….

            I think that those people that consistently drive over the speed limit are selfish aholes that put the lives of themselves and others at risk for no good reason at all. What do they hope to achieve? To get home 5 seconds earlier? How stupid could they be.

            Am I not allowed to say that?

            Must I now suffer abuse because I expressed an opinion?

            I’ve done something wrong because at least some will take personal offense at the view that i’ve expressed?

            Please, explain your point more clearly.

            “really make a fool of people who are just passionate about a game, or want to play it as soon as possible. ”

            Where did I make a fool of people who are just passionate about a game?

            I didn’t make any comment in regards to people that are passionate about a game. Or in regards to how soon they want to play a game.

            “there’s no posing involved in wanting to get a product early in order to actually enjoy it.”

            I completely disagree with the above statement (which was made after my comment and after his personal attack).

            I’m allowed to completely disagree. I expressed my reasons for disagreeing, in detail, in my original comment. Although, it’s best to acknowledge that I’m not the one that used the word “posing”.

            I”ll also further add that personally I don’t see the point in taking a personal affront at my opinion.

            How do you know that I view wearing band t-shirts as a negative thing? You don’t. You’re just being presumptuous.

            In your comment, “Maybe the fact that you judged the actions of others so presumptuously really did make you seem like “a high and mighty douchebag,” you have just personally attacked me.

            Why did you do that?

            I’ve not personally attacked you.

            Or am I misinterpreting you because you’ve used the words “seem like”?

            So if I said to you that you “seem like” a complete (insert insult here), then that would be perfectly acceptable would it? Or would that only be acceptable if I choose to be personally offended by something you’ve said?

            “he did give you a personal apology, too.”

            No he didn’t. He said that he was sorry about being overzealous in his wording. He did not apologise for personally attacking me. And he did not apologise both in terms of words and in terms of his lack of actions (in rectifying the personal attacking text).

            And even if he did provide me with an apology, does that justify his personal attack? I should now be willing to accept personal attacks as long as they are to be followed by an apology? Again, you’re not being clear with your reasoning.

            “Not saying that it is justifiable to call others douchebags”

            I’m pretty sure that that is what you’re saying.

            And further, you’re also saying that objecting to personal attacks is ” blowing things out of proportiion”. That sounds like a justification to me.

            ” I’m also not saying it is justifiable to make an ordeal out of such a small incident that was already resolved”

            What ordeal are you referring to?

            I’ve referred an unmoderated personal attack within a discussion thread the topic of which is moderation of hate speech and personal attacks.

            I’ve not claimed that the small incident was a huge ordeal.

            I’ve simply used my personal experience within the Kotaku family of sites to make a completely explicit point. And that that is that moderation is inconsistent. And, again, to be clear, that’s not an attack on moderators. Moderators may be the ones to blame, but my feeling is that the issues are more systemic than that.

            “nor judge the perfectly harmless decisions of others so harshly.”

            Are you suggesting that it’s ok to express opinions as long as they don’t involve judgements?

            So harshly?

            Isn’t that a judgemental term?

            Who are you to say if my opinion is harsh or not?

            “Food for thought.”

            Don’t you think that some of us might view your final comment as being a tad condescending?

          • This is a joke, right? There is taking things too far, and then there is just being completely unreasonable.

            I’m not trying to advocate personal attacks, but he alluded to you being a douchebag. Get over it. The fact that you’ve taken this too far is borderline spam and much more toxic to a civil discussion than ad hominem is.

          • This is a joke, right? There is taking things too far, and then there is just being completely unreasonable.

            Taking what too far?

            Oh, I’m supposed to drop a valid point as soon as it’s over-looked and dismissed by a certain number of people, and we’ve met that thresh-hold? Is that it?

            I was thinking that a valid point would remain valid regardless as to how popular the point may be.

            Get over it

            Get over what? The alluding to a personal attack? What makes you think that I’m not over it?

            The fact that you’ve taken this too far

            Too far? Discussing something is taking something too far? Even when on a discussion site?

            I’m really struggling with this.

            And, by the way, who are you to determine when a discussion is taken too far or not? You’ve been appointed discussion referee have you?

            “and much more toxic to a civil discussion than ad hominem is.”

            That’s a bit mean. Where have I not been civil? Just show me the one example, that ought to do it.

          • I’ve been reading up and down this whole Forum, Daves got around 10 posts for everyones single post. From what I can tell, he’s got ‘victims syndrome’. Everyones ‘picking on him’ apparently if they disagree with him. Best advice in this case is just to ignore him. Seriously. He’s going to continue being the ‘victim’ as long as he can get attention and every time he replies, instead of three or four sentences of interesting tet, he’ll write another bloody wall of meaningless text for you to skip by and avoid reading…

          • Why the heck are you trying to psycho analyse me?

            I’ve not asked you to. And I certainly have no intention of paying you to.

            Are you even qualified to?

            Everyones ‘picking on him’

            Well. clearly , people have made personal attacks. Some have tried to deny this. Other have simply palmed it off.

            Multiple people have rewarded those that made personal attacks with up votes.

            The point ISN’T that i’m a victim of personal attacks.

            The fact that I’m a victim of personal attacks and that moderation has failed to stop them WITHIN a thread largely celebrating the decision to STOP hate speech. whilst others reward the insulters, IS THE POINT.

            “He’s going to continue being the ‘victim’ as long as he can get attention”

            So you can read the future too. You are a man of many talents. Or a preposterous imposter. One of the two.

            “instead of three or four sentences of interesting tet, “

            Who are you to claim how interesting my text is?

            Is there a point to your criticism or is it pointless negativity that in no way contributes to the discussion at hand? If it is the former, could you please illustrate how – as it as the very least completely oblivious to me.

            And, just out of idle interest, why are you reading text that you find uninteresting? ‘

            “he’ll write another bloody wall of meaningless text for you to skip by and avoid reading…”

            To be clear, I don’t write anything for the purpose of people skipping by it. People might skip by it. They’re free to do that. Let me assure all concerned that no one is obliged to read any of comments, whether that be a small group of words, or what some consider to be a large group of words. No, no, no. It is all voluntary, of that I can assure all of you.

            In fact I’m not necessarily writing for any person other than myself.

            For example, within this thread, the posing of reasonable thoughts and highlighting real issues has not developed the discussion further. People don’t want to develop the discussion further. And that’s fine, they don’t have to. I think they should want more than the they do, but it’s not for me to make decisions for others.

            This became apparent to me some time ago.

    • I’ve had that happen a lot and it’s very frustrating.

      Just because some people don’t agree with me, i’m put on notice and my voice is restricted, even though other people are being smart asses and leaving snide comments, i’m the one being punished and locked out.

      • Just happened now – with my above reply to cardinal7477

        What line have I crossed?

        Where’s the offensive comment or thought that i’ve presented?

        Sure, one comment that makes compete and utter sense has attracted a few downvotes – which to be honest annoys me as it is completely undeserving of any down votes and indicates to me the type of people that are swimming to the top within Kotaku discussion threads – and that is those people that don’t contribute to the discussion and down vote those that do.

        Clearly i’m not allowed to say the next two words that would naturally come out should there be no censorship.

    • I got down voted almost 2 weeks ago and it seems all my comments require moderation. One wrong comment and you reap punishment for more than is needed.

    • From the looks of the comment, he didn’t technically say you were a douchebag just that your comments came across to him like a douchebag’s. You’ve misinterpreted the comment. He may be implying it, but he is not directly inferring that you are a douchebag. In my opinion it’s strongly worded and the last line is unnecessary but it’s not a personal attack.

      Moderating or censoring because you misinterpreted his comments and took them personally is unnecessary, moderating a comment that can only be interpreted as a personal attack; e.g. if fryiee1 had simply replied with ‘You’re a douchebag’, is different because it provides no context and doesn’t add anything to the debate.

      • Oh please. Misinterpreted. Puh-lees.

        Really. That’s the best we can do is it.

        If we’re playing that game I can play all day long. But of course I won’t be allowed to.

        It’s ok for him to play with me like that though.

        Why are you defending personal attacks?

        So you’re suggesting that Kotakus moderation approach is to permit insults as long as they’re shielded by some weak attempt at mis-direction.

        That’s wonderful. It will clearly be so much better here with attacks being permitted as long as they’re shielded to avoid moderation. That’s not at all pointless and silly.

        This is going down hill fast.

      • I’m reminded of an episode of Yes, Minister where the Minister has this sort of (paraphrased) discussion:
        “Well he’s a damned liar!”
        “Ah yes, but you can’t say that.”
        “But he’s telling damned lies!”
        “Well, you can say that the allegations are ‘a pack of lies’, but you can’t directly call him a liar.”

        • Hmm there’s an idea, I wonder how civil the internet would be if we all just paraphrased classic British sitcoms 🙂

          I love the flexibility of the English language, you can say so much without actually saying anything 🙂

  • I don’t see how banning people really makes a difference, though. Not as long as all these things are free anyway. You acted like a wanker on Gamespot so they banned your account? No worries, just create another one and pick up where you left off.

    If you actually had to pay some kind of fee to have an account then people might change their behaviour because it would actually cost them something to create a new account to replace the banned one. But then most of the regular, non-dickhead users would probably stop posting. I mean, as much as I enjoy participating in discussions here on Kotaku, I probably wouldn’t bother if it was actually going to cost me money.

    • I probably wouldn’t mind a once-off $5 gratuity or something. Maybe get access to competitions or something out of it, a community forum, whatever. *shrug* I’m not the ideas person! All I know is I’ve got value out of the site I’m paying for it in ad-views, but would probably toss a few bucks extra.

    • Unless you’re already well established, charging for an account is a quick way to kill user contributions.

  • There are assholes out there whose greatest thrill is being a troll on the internet, there are also racists, sexists, idiots and a whole host of other ignorant and hateful idiots out there who comment but contribute nothing to a discussion and generally act like dicks. They wouldn’t dare say that stuff to your face (particularly the 11 year olds) but it’s all too easy to do it in the comment section.

    It’s definitely easy to pick them and their comments out, so getting rid of that kind of stuff is fine, as it does nothing for anyone, but apart from the extremely obvious insults and trolling, it is very hard to draw a line in regards to peoples opinions and who agrees/disagrees.

    As I’ve said in some replies above, I’ve often had trouble with my comments being down voted due to people simply not agreeing with me, this leads to my comments being restricted and at the mercy of a moderator. This becomes a problem as I’m then subjected to the moderator’s version of what is deemed appropriate and inappropriate, which may conflict with my own, even when I’m positively adding to the discussion. This turn leads my voice to become restricted and often silenced, pushing me out of the discussion altogether. When you look at it that way it becomes a form of censorship that restricts people who have certain viewpoints from even entering into the discussion. What’s the point of discussion at all, if only certain viewpoints are allowed to comment?

    • Roh, i’ve had the same problems that you’ve had.

      Here’s another comment for you (which will naturally get moderated before being posted) as I’ve clearly stepped out of line by expressing a valid and well constructed opinion.

      I’ve seen racist comments against racial minorities in discussion sites – and they get pooh-poohed – as they should.

      I’ve seen racist comments against non minorities – such as English backpackers -the Irish, the Scottish – and they do not get pooh-poohed – as they ought to, In actuality, I’ve seen the pooh-poohing of such comments be pooh-poohed.

      At which point you would imagine that moderators would step in, easily identify the hypocrisy of the situation and amend the comments accordingly. But no. That would require fore-thought and consistency.

      Roh, I’ve just had an idea.

      I would like to be able to view your comments. I don’t care if others would prefer you to be tasered. I find your comments to be interesting and insightful. I would like to read more. Others disagree.

      So, here’s the idea.

      Why isn’t there a system that will allow me, the reader of comments, to do my own censoring?

      Why can’t I click on Roh’s name or avatar – and award him/her a personal medallion so that if Roh makes a comment in a thread that i’m reading, that I get to see it.

      And at the same time, when I read some plonker making small minded comments, as I’ve seen further up in this thread, I can think to myself, you know what, I don’t have time for your pettiness. I’m going to click on a button which means that I won’t get to see your comments in a thread.

      How is that for an idea?

      Pretty awesome yeah?

      Sure, technically complicated, that’ll be the reason. But if site developers put some effort into it then that solution can become real before long.

      Then everyone would have the best possible system, no?

      We would all get to see what we want to see. And censor everything and everyone that we want to censor.

      The perfect world.

      This is why you shouldn’t stifle thought and discussion. For gems like these.

  • Where will all the stupid go?

    I’m thinking big rivers of pink goo running under our cities just like in Ghost Busters 2… I think that was the internet comments section of the 80’s.

  • I think the freedom of speech is important, but you should also be held accountable for for your actions. Anonymous posting is a breeding ground for hate (ironically as I post this as a guest!), how many of the trolls would continue if they were identified by their govt name?

    • You seem to be suggesting that it would be a good thing if commentors were threatened by their own governments.

      First off, who gets to decide who is a troll?

      What definitions are we going by here?

      Let’s get some clarity on that.

      Secondly, feeling threatened is not conducive to freedom of expression. If I’m wrong on that, please show me how.

      Thirdly, comments are hardly actions. They’re words. They’re not little soldiers that crawl off the screen and into your mind. If they are, please seek help.

      Fourthly, the success of internet blogs and discussions sites (such as THIS ONE (helloooo)) is largely down to the ability to write comments with no consequence and with anonymity.

      Anonymity is not the issue.

      Having anonymity does not mean that everyone makes hate speech all the time. It just doesn’t.

      Don’t blame anonymity unless there is a reason to do so.

  • EVERYONE is entitled to their opinion, be it positive or negative.

    But when you choose to be hateful and abusive, that’s not cool. If you cannot contribute without name-calling and making threats, then I say BRING DOWN THE BANHAMMER.

    • I’m all for constructive criticism. If anything it should help curb some peoples behavior with what is and isn’t acceptable in today’s society.
      But I’m looking forward to the day when people start shying away from direct insults, for the sake of insults.

      In the essence of Stay Classy. I’m sure if people are going to continue insulting people, one could at least be classy about it “You Scallywags”. lol

    • Yes.

      And it’s unfair to block people, or to allow people to be insulted, just because what they have to say is negative (or viewed negatively) and/or unpopular.

      If they have a good reason to express the views that they do, then we should hear them.

      If there is no good reason. If they’re just spouting tripe (i.e. First! , You’re an ahole, I love your boobies) then moderate them – as they don’t add to the discussion and they don’t even attempt to add to the discussion.

      That’s the criteria to which moderation should be tied.

  • This is probably the only website I actually read the comments, because everyone comments on the actual article, and has a discussion about it. Not just have an online verbal flame war, like pretty much every other site out there that has a comments section. (youtube, imdb, etc.)

  • I believe this is a step in the right direction but at the same time i can see it flaws. Its very frustrating searching for insightful posts on ign when you have to sift through so much rubbish.

  • Yaaay, a computer. I’m no longer bound to the stupidly annoying smartphone keyboard.

    Despite giving the game a 9/10, GameSpot writer Carolyn Petit dared mention in her review of Grand Theft Auto V that the game features misogyny.

    What was that author thinking besides “I wonder how I can rial up a bunch of testosterone filled nerds today”? It’s a GRAND THEFT AUTO game. It’s made for a target audience. Sure, some females might play it (lots might play it, it might even be a 50/50 divide between males and females, this is completely irrelevant), the target audience for GTA games is males. Get over it.

    I’m actually at the stage now, I’m starting to think journalists are playing the misogyny and sexism cards simply to get reads/views (this in turn leads to hits/money). They know for a fact that claiming a popular game is sexist will result in a shit storm. We should be beyond being surprised by this now. As far as I’m concerned, they know full well the shitstorm is coming and they’re greasing their bank account for it. (In before someone who’s going to do absolutely nothing about the problem jumps in and says something like “just because we’re not surprised doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be informed” or some such rubbish. Unless you’re going to help “them”, you’ll change the channel just as quickly as you do to World Vision. Go away.)

    Whew. Man, I’ve been wanting to say that all day. Now for the next part.

    The overall conversation threads in here are about the same as the last time this was a discussion. And the time before that. Actually, I don’t think the winds are changing very much. “I should be allowed to say what I want” – “But it’s mean and hurting peoples feelings” – “People can choose to read my content” – “It’s a public website available to children” – “I’m entitled to my opinion” – “I’m entitled to my opinion” – “Swearing is wrong” – “Words can’t hurt” BLAHBLAHBLAH. We are down a large thread between me and Wisehacker, as we can’t agree on this subject. Doesn’t count enough for a change, though.

    Firstly. All for website moderation. I’ve been a website administrator before (ohhh! ahhh!). It’s a shit job that deals with the two most painful types of people you can imagine: Kids and stupid people. Neither of them have the comprehensive skills required to understand they can’t do what they did regardless of “free speech” and whatever BS they want to rattle. People need to remember, your “free speech” is an entitlement granted to you (technically, since we’re Australian it’s not entitled) by the US Government. [Website A] isn’t the US Government. It’s private property. It’s up to the owners of that website to decide what does and does not constitute free speech. Even if it’s servers are located in the US and they’re European.

    Secondly, if people are that sad about cursing and “swear words”, go grab Firefox, download Greasemonkey and I will help you write a script to replace all those naughty words with [curse] if you want… I’m lying, there’s no way I’m going to do this. It’d be simple enough, yes, but I’m not going to. The option is there though. Funny that. It’s almost like you can avoid content you don’t want to see with a bit of technical know-how (or a friend).

    I have more to write on this, lots more I was going to write, then I remembered I don’t care what anyone does on the internet anymore… I’m going to stop here and go watch Steins Gate, as it’s a far more useful use of my time.

    • I’m more concerned that so many people have completely forgotten what the word ‘misogyny’ actually means. Carolyn and your ilk, please, pick up a dictionary and a thesaurus sometime (and maybe a copy of The Boy Who Cried Wolf). Misogyny and sexism are completely different things. The more you misuse the term ‘misogyny’, the less meaning it has for situations that really do call for it.

    • Here’s my take on the Gamespot GTA V review topic. And I shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not I’m going to be banned or moderated for stating it.

      Petit, if you’re reading this and don’t want to read criticism, please don’t read any more.

      Right, I’ve been fair and responsible, yeah? Let’s begin…

      I think Petit has an agenda. She is unhappy with sexism / misogyny within games. Yes there can be issues with the definition of misogyny, so let’s stick with sexism. We know she is unhappy with this as it has been raised before. Major discussions have been sparked by Petit (and her cohorts) that have involved 100s of 1,000s of comments and commentors, across the most popular media forums the world has ever seen, I believe. This is not her first rodeo. She has flashed her boobs before (metaphorically speaking).

      She has every right to be offended / unhappy about the sexism / portrayal of female characters within any game. She has every right to raise those concerns within a paid review (she gets paid a wage, presumably).

      However, in my opinion, it’s incredibly small minded (and purposefully blind) to get offended by sexism, and choose not to get offended by other aspects of the game that are at least equally offensive – racism, bad portrayal of male characters, extreme violence, illegal actions of characters – etc etc.

      Petit chose only to get offended by the sexist content – which arguably is not sexist at all – but she is entitled to her opinion and interpretation.

      Why did Petit choose only to get offended by the sexist content, and ignore all other ugly aspects of the game? Because that suits her agenda, and her level of journalism isn’t strong enough to enable her to be more balanced and fair.

      Did she do this for monetary gain?

      Possibly, but I suspect it’s simply a self-interest, ego based thing. She has an agenda, we know that, and she’s using this opportunity to push the agenda – consciously or sub-consciously.

      Should gamespot have allowed her to do that?

      No. They acted irresponsibly by allowing such an agenda based review to be posted. Especially when it is to be viewed by such a high number of people, and especially when the content is regarded as extremely important to such a high number of people.

      The audience deserved better. The developers deserved better.

      To be honest, we all deserved a better review full stop – with or without the purposefully inserted sexist hoo-ha.

      Was the reaction to Petit’s review justified?

      The death threats and hate speech was not justified, as death threats and hate speech are unjustifiable.

      Being critical of Petit’s sexist claims is entirely justifiable when a) those claims can be argued as being spurious, and b) Petit chose to ignore those multiple aspects of the game which are at least equally offensive as the sexist content as they did not meet with her known agenda, and c) her review is posted on one of the worlds largest gaming internet forums and she is being paid for her words and d) this is the only formal review to be posted by Gamespot for this game.

      Was Gamespots reaction to criticism of Petits review justified?

      Not really, no.

      They should be using the ban hammer on death threats and hate speech. There should be no discussion of moderation there. There’s nothing to discuss.

      They should not be blocking or ignoring valid criticism.

      I’m now going to watch a horror movie and then write a complaint to the director that the movie was too scarey and the use of blood was offensive. Any movie ought to do.

      • I honestly think it was intentional. I don’t see this as a bad thing. While we have comments like @tiberath’s (And I’m not trying to be offensive here; I actually agree with 95% of your points – It’s just this one sentence that really bugs me)
        Sure, some females might play it (lots might play it, it might even be a 50/50 divide between males and females, this is completely irrelevant), the target audience for GTA games is males. Get over it.

        There is this conception that video games are a male thing. Yes, I know, It’s always been that way. If video game players are divided equally among genders, why should they be “Targeted for males”? I’m fine for certain games doing so; I mean sure, there are definitely some games targeted towards females. But often they are so freaking cutesy that nobody I know would play them, regardless of gender.

        Now, I haven’t actually read that particular article (I generally try to avoid GameSpot), but I have read several others in the same sort of vein about GTA 5. And most of them boil down to this one point: “GTA 5 gave us three playable characters. It would have been a refreshing change if ONE of them had been female.” ;

        Now, another admission: I’m a PC Gamer. I haven’t played 5 yet. But, I can fall back to GTA 4. I recall one female NPC who game me missions. Anyone care to recall how many romantic interests there were?

        So yeah. While it’s still an issue, there are still going to be people complaining about it.
        The easiest solution to this would probably be to accept that “girl gamers” are gamers too.

        • From my personal point of view I don’t see the need for a game to have female characters, but I can generally empathise with your point.

          It’s not a requirement for games to have female characters. Game creators are free to choose the gender of their characters, as they’re free too choose all kinds of things when making THEIR game. But yes, for some (presumably mostly female gamers) having female game characters is a good thing, a wanted thing, and, given the general lack of female characters, would make a refreshing change.

          Of course girl gamers are gamers too. It says so in their name.

          I think it’s at least mostly true to say that up until recently gamers have been predominantly male, and given the high level of violence in a lot of games, AAA games have been particularly well suited to male tastes. So for game developers to STILL make choices based on what they feel the majority of their audience want is entirely normal and justifiable, and to be expected.

          When Tarantino makes a film he’s not making it for everyone.

          He knows, beforehand, that the Jesus brigade (or some proportion of it) are likely to take issue with the film.

          But that’s fine, because he know that his films will appeal to certain groups and will be profitable because of it.

          He also makes films that HE wants to see. He’s an artist. He don’t look back.

          So I would say you’re right. IF gamers are 50% male and 50% female, and if developers are aware of that (and they are aware of most things due to extensive market research), and if they want to make games that cater to the largest market possible (which many or most will), then we’ll see more games with female characters.

          But I would say that the face that there aren’t female characters in MANY or MOST AAA games goes to show that the gaming demographic isn’t 50-50, and if it is, that it has been for a very short period of time and the developers haven’t determined that as yet.

          But the more important point, in my mind, is that it’s wrong to criticise only one game for something that most games are “guilty” of – especially when there’s good reason(s) for making the artistic or market decisions that they did.

          If Gamespot are going to be consistent, and will complain about and down mark ALL games that don’t have female characters then good for them. They’ll turn off a lot of their readers (is my guess) but at least they’ll be acting in a principled manner. But we know that they’re not going to do that. We can all test it ourselves. We can all refer to any other review and see if they’ve had these same complaints. They’ve not. So this has become an issue all of a sudden. So at THE VERY LEAST gamespot need to maintain that moving forward. Will they? Have they?

          Time will tell or we can use our noggins and make the determination now. No they won’t.

        • I said GTA is targeted at males. Not “video games are a mans domain”. There’s a hell of a difference between what I said and what you’re implying there.

          Are you unaware of the concept of a target audience?

  • you are dead right. In Shakespeare’s time all writing was censored in some way, Mostly to prevent slander against the government or the religion, and the playwrights would find clever ways to get around it. These plays are now some of the worlds most respected pieces of art

  • I can imagine Popular Science comments are down because they give biased reports missing half the data which is accessible even on wikipedia.

    p.s. The irony of this whole comments section.

  • As long as websites will still take on the strong, legitimate, straight-to-the-point criticism that they deserve, everything will be ok. If you screw up and/or are plain wrong/incorrect, you deserve to be criticised in front of everyone, and if you won’t accept legitimate criticism then you have no place on the internet.
    Full blown swearing and uncivilized messages of illegitimate and unfounded hate should be expunged though.

  • “What followed was as depressing a flood of vicious and hateful comments as you’ll ever see, mostly of course directed at Petit because of her gender.”

    I don’t know how people can miss the irony and hypocrisy of someone making a gender related complaint then complaining about gender-related complaints that were made because of her gender-related complaints. People, I believe, were irritated because they clearly saw a satirical point to the misogyny and when writers frequently play negationist in order to support their own views, people quite rightly get upset. No one has the right to abuse (and we can stop pretending I’m referring to the potty-mouthed internet creatures with nothing to say but rather those who express views on gender issues that are constantly ignored) but they do have a right to defend themselves, especially when they’re being talked down to and no argument that criticizes any part of the idea seems to be valid. I think that when we talk about gender issues and equality, most people take the terms literally. As in, “equality” means “equal”. There is no denying that things are not equal. That there are men and women in our creative industry that perpetuate gender roles is no secret. I, however, do not subscribe to the idea that when someone challenges my ideals, that they are outright ignorant and don’t understand. I may listen but disagree. I do not ignore all points of view that don’t support my own – something that many supporters of equal rights tend to do.

    Ignorance is wrong and damaging, at least that’s what I believe. So it’s saddening to see one type of ignorance being replaced with another type of angry ignorance. You may want equality but that does not mean that everything you feel is right, actually is. One person’s vision of equality greatly differs from another. I feel that women should be given identical opportunities and be held to an identical standard to men. I do not believe that our consumption and experience of media or art should controlled but I do think we should promote awareness on gender stereotypes without starting witch-hunts. I believe that you shouldn’t look for ways to shape “evidence” to support your views without considering the holes inherent. I do not believe that anyone should play ethics police and start carelessly pointing fingers. I do not believe that when someone says “hey, actually I think you’re moving a little past equality and into another type of discrimination…” that they should be ignored and told that they don’t understand. I think that equality works both ways and just because one side has it harder than the other does not grant them carte blanche to reform the very definition of the word to suit all of their gender-related insecurities.

    Finally, I strongly disagree in appointing the people that are guilty of this in the position of overseer, never to be challenged by removing the power of the other side. When either side removes critical thinking from the issue, when we lose the ability to be creative and open in our discussion (championing equality whilst engaging in persecution is NOT open) or address concerns that didn’t originate from ourselves then progress is inevitably stifled. When we work together (bloggers and writers may believe they are but not listening or addressing criticism makes their work irrelevant), expand our knowledge and points of view on the issue, then we can move forward. I’ll give you a quote that Deborah Lipstadt frequently uses from a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson: ‘A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.’ No matter what side you’re on, you’ve just got to listen to people with legitimate concerns because quite frankly, the truth can’t come from one person. It comes from a collective thinking of people with different views, not someone who surrounds themselves entirely with material and people who just reinforce their own propaganda.

    • People, I believe, were irritated because they clearly saw a satirical point to the misogyny and when writers frequently play negationist in order to support their own views, people quite rightly get upset.

      I fully agree. People don’t like being manipulated, ignored or treated like fools.

  • I would just like to point out the following to anyone that mentions free speech seeing as this in an Australian website and the majority being Australians that are commenting on here. Australia does not have explicit freedom of speech in any constitutional or statutory declaration of rights, with the exception of political speech which is protected from criminal prosecution at common law per Australian Capital Television Pty Ltd v Commonwealth.

  • In a way i agree with the idea of ending hateful comments but it feels like to pop-culture the very idea of “hateful comments” is strictly people insulting others with an emphasis on swear words, as someone who grew up in a family that swears a lot i can fully understand places that you cannot swear, “Their is a right time and place” my dad would always say (insinuating that i not swear at school or more specifically in front of teachers), this is not the full story though as i see it, rather this is the black and white skipping all shades of grey, reading through the comments on this page reveals a cruel truth, that of hateful comments filled with hate and hypocrisy due to the overwhelming majority casting a shadow over those who share different opinions, this perpetuates through the liking system and popular comments receive up-votes for the sole reason they are already popular, it’s a nasty view of the 100 monkey syndrome taking full effect (monkey see monkey do), I have no idea as to a solution to stop the nonsense comments, but indeed it’s intriguing to me at least the methods used to stop all the hate.

  • Yeah, to single out swear words as being the only or primary source of hate speech is just a nonsense. It’s absurd to think that people can’t see that.

    Within this thread there definitely have been rude. hurtful, mean, insulting, negative comments which have not been backed up by any thought or discussion that contributes to the discussion – and many from those supporting and celebrating a move to decrease hate speech.

    This in itself displays the flaws in the (new and improved) attempts to decrease hate speech and hurtfulness. The system as is currently stands is shown to be, by this thread alone, inept, unfair and inconsistent. It’s a failure in the first instance and will continue to be without significant changes.

    The internet sites that do want to make positive changes to their comment systems need to sit down and give the issue some real thought, not just come up with utterly flawed quick fixes.

  • Oh dear lord. So that biased reviewer got some hate and now the internet comes to a crashing halt. It’s really interesting to see the white knight syndrome come into effect. Oh no wait it’s not.

  • this is terrible, it is like my mum has joined the internet

    we need a way of filtering out geys

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