It's me again, making yet another possibly controversial blog about this site. Previously I've made a blog about how the mods of this site don't take as active a role in much of what goes on on N4G as many people think and instead let us, the community, moderate the site ourselves. Now I'm here to ask and answer the question of if that is true of everything.
What I'm about to post is not a judgement of the moderating team of this site. Quite frankly, there is literally nothing they can do to change what I'm going to be talking about.
Do you all remember how there used to be a site called dealzone.com that would get instant approval to post their spam in the blog section? If you don't, I wrote a blog about that too. LOL. Anyway, I found out through some digging and a comment that the fact that dealzone.com got instant approval because of mods and Network Managers approving it was due to a deal that dealzone had with the owners of N4G, Hava Media. My blog called out this tactic as being against the very rules, and spirit, of this site. That a company can just pay for instant approval while the rest of us had to work for it was and still is completely wrong. After the blog I wrote I have yet to see a single submission from dealzone.com in the blog section ever again. I'm not taking credit for that, I'm simply laying out the timeline.
That incident brought up the fact that there are always exceptions to any rule, and that we don't actually "moderate" or control everything that comes on this site.
Well guess what folks, I have another instance of us, the community, having no control. You know when you read an article submission and you think "this is pure flamebait" and click on that little + sign next to the site's name so that you can vote it down? The object of that vote is so that we, the community that are the lifeblood of this site, aren't subjected to content we don't like because it's blatantly sensationalist, trolling, or spam. The idea is that WE get to decide what sites even have their submissions seen at all. Sounds pretty good right? Too bad it's not that cut and dry.
Turns out that Hava Media has other arrangements for some of the sites that can have articles submitted here. Ever wonder why Kotaku gets away with having their sensationalist B.S. posted on the site? Well part of it is because of the submitters and the approvers who don't care that it's garbage journalism, and the other part is because our votes don't count for jack. Sites like Kotaku, IGN, and any of the bigger gaming news sites are completely exempt from having their 3 stars downvoted to oblivion.
From a business perspective, of course anyone can understand why this is. The big sites bring in the clicks which brings in the money. But how hypocritical is it to tell us that we, the members of this site, are in control of everything that is shown on the site and yet in the same moment take away a basic, yet huge aspect of that control? We are told we have the ability to prevent unworthy content from showing up on the site. That if we so choose, we can make it invisible to us. In the Past, this power has been used to ban HipHopGamer from posting anything on this site thanks to how sensationalist and misinformed his submissions and even their titles were.
HipHopGamer is no different than Kotaku except to say that he is not as big a presence as Kotaku. HipHopGamer didn't get to have a seat in the panel that chose the 2012 VGA winners, but Kotaku had 3. Now, I'm no fan of HipHopGamer just as I'm no fan of Kotaku, but it seems to me that punishing one for being sensationalist, misleading, and causing deliberate controversy yet not punishing the other is hypocritical, contradictory, and completely wrong. Wouldn't you agree?
So really, what control do we actually have? Well, we can make submissions and approve or report them, but if a company pays Hava Media then they get instant approval. We can vote sites up or down but if they are a big site or have arrangements with Hava Media, then our votes mean absolutely nothing. Basically, what we get to do is decide if we want to submit an article from any site while the rest of the members hope that said site or submission isn't exempt from the traditional rules set forth in Site Guidelines that everyone else has to follow.
Wanna do something about it? Well I have a potential solution for you. No, it's not contacting the mods, admins, or Network Managers. They can't do anything. What you want to do is go to this site...
Use the form to tell Hava Media that you don't appreciate being told that you are the lifeblood of their site only when it doesn't conflict with their business relationships. That if they are going to remove control from the members they claim to value enough to give them control in the first place, that they should create an asterisked amendment in their own rules citing the moments we do not have control. In short, ask them what purpose there is in giving us control if there are moments where that control is taken from us in favour of going against the site rules and lowering the overall quality of the site in favour of pandering to sensationalist pseudo-journalists like Kotaku.com
I'm already submitting my "feedback." Will you do the same?