Reddit by design is a platform that moderates and regulates itself. Users can use the vote system to promote topics that they feel contribute to a sub or a topic and demote those that do not belong. It’s a system that aims at max power for the users, and little to those owning a sub. Because of that MMORPG subs have largely taken the role of antagonists to company-owned and regulated official forums, where sometimes even the slightest criticism gets removed. Players can still go to the game’s sub and freely voice their frustration there. I think it’s important to have such independent environments for an honest discussion about games.
But there are obvious downsides to the system. The case of Jessica Price vs. Guild Wars 2 shows how the toxicity of Reddit can completely cripple its benefits. In that particular instance, moderation would have been able to step in and prevent this mess. Neverwinter has a studio-controlled and moderated sub and while I’ve always been an advocate against it, the GW2 disaster definitely presents the flip side. Imho Bree from MOP said it best in her own take on the issue:
There’s indeed some ambivalence involved, and it essentially becomes a question of the lesser evil. Do you want studio/mod control for a non-toxic environment or a “free speech” approach with the downside of trolls and hatred? I still believe in the latter, because there’s just so little value in having a sub that largely allows the same discussion as official forums. Because if that’s the case, you’re much better off posting in the official one. And if a discussion gets banned, chance is that the same thread will get trashed on the other platform as well. Alternatives are important, and for now I’m willing to accept the struggles that come with it.
But if the hate culture in the internet continues to trend in the wrong direction, there’s a compelling case to be made against it. Reddit can indeed defeat its own purpose if enough people are willing to post and upvote toxicity, drama, and trolling. And when no meaningful game talk can take place any longer, users might ironically call for moderation to help out. That’s by the way also what the Neverwinter sub claims happened to it. When the current owner took it over, they had to implement some basic rules because the whole thing was just a pure hellhole. So there you go.
I think it’s an interesting dilemma that gets increasingly more complicated to resolve. Neverwinter by the way is not the only game with a sub under studio control or studio alignment. Ashes of Creation or Black Desert are other examples.
That’s my take, what’s yours? Is Reddit fine or has the toxicity already taken over too much of the platform? Share your thoughts and experience on our social channels, in the comments below, or visit our message board!
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