In a phrase: Ethical Standards and Practices in the Gaming Journalism Industry.
GamerGate desires straightforward, honest coverage of the industry, such that anyone can read these outlets with the basic expectation that they are being told the truth. In an ideal world, every gaming outlet would adopt the New York Times’ Standards and Ethics policies, but that is an unrealistic goal in the world of internet media. As such, we must be content with ethical policies that fit within the limitations. The Escapist, a gaming media site of some repute, has already adopted such a set of standards.
To put it in layman’s terms:
- Truth and fact must be treated with the respect they deserve. This means, at a minimum:
- Opinions are not to be stated as universal truths
- Hearsay is not to be reported as factual without corroborating evidence
- Assumptions and speculation are not to be reported as fact
- Intentionally misleading or inflammatory wording is not ever to be used, in headlines or elsewhere
- When in doubt, stick only to information that would hold up under examination in a court of law
- Editorials and other opinion pieces are to be kept separate from News pieces. Bias and opinion will always color a writer’s work, but they should strive for as much objectivity as reasonably possible in the News. If they wish to share their opinion on the piece, something that should be encouraged, it should be done in a distinct space.
- There’s nothing wrong with the News article including “And I think it’s great/terrible/stupid/etc, click this link to find out why” or some variation thereof. It is only within the article proper that opinions are to be avoided.
- All journalists must be required to behave professionally within the public space. This includes but is by no means limited to:
- No irrational, emotionally-driven rants
- No insults, threats, or any of the other assorted childishness
- Engage the audience calmly, reasonably, and without rancor, or do not engage them at all
- Be aware when one is within the public space, especially any and all social media.
- Do not treat one’s audience as an enemy
- Journalists must strive to be objective. No human can be truly impartial, but journalists must strive to the best of their ability to be above external bias, and to inform their readers when they cannot. Put simply, this means they must, at minimum:
- Recuse themselves from reporting news regarding subjects that they have a personal or financial link to
- Disclose any personal or financial connections to subjects they are giving opinion pieces on (Editorials, Op-Eds, Reviews, etc)
- Engage in honest and fair coverage. Consistency and the interest of/relevance to the audience must be the deciding factor in the decision to run a story.
GamerGate simply wants gaming media websites to adopt some variation on these policies, much like the Escapist has, and actively work to adhere to them. Nothing more and nothing less.