Gaming Subreddit r/Games Closes on April Fool’s Day

The r/Games Reddit has been closed for April Fool’s Day to shine some light on a very serious topic: the ways the games community has been increasingly combative and deragatory. The r/GamesMods have created a post highlighting their point and locked the entire reddit from creating posts and comments for the day. A meta-thread will open up for discussion on the topic when the reddit reopens tomorrow.

Here’s the first paragraph of the post, pulled from reddit

This April Fool’s, we decided to take things a little more seriously and shed some light on a growing, pervasive issue that has affected the community of r/Games and gaming communities as a whole. In recent times, it’s come to our attention that what has been intended to be a forum for the potential spread of knowledge and involvement in video games has instead become a battleground of conflicting ideas. Ordinarily, this isn’t an issue; discussion by its very nature is certain to bring argument, but when that argument descends into vitriolic attacks between individuals on a regular basis with no chance at deescalation, that’s when, put simply, something’s got to give.

Though certain memes (such as “gamers rise up”) surrounding gaming are largely viewed as a humorous interpretation of a mindset, at the core of the humor is a set of very serious issues that affect all gaming enthusiasts. By showing disdain or outright rejecting minority and marginalized communities, we become more insular. In this, we lose out on the chance to not only show compassion to these people, but also the chance to grow our own community and diversify the demographics of those involved in it. Whether it’s misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, racism or a host of other discriminatory practices, now is the time to stymie the flow of regressive ideas and prevent them from ever becoming the norm.

At r/Games, our community is becoming increasingly responsible for perpetuating a significant amount of these combative and derogatory schools of thought. We remove those comments, we ban the perpetrators, but the issue still persists at a fundamental level: the notion that it’s okay or acceptable to ridicule and demonize traditionally disenfranchised and marginalized members in the gaming community. This is not just an issue in r/Games or on Reddit alone; this is an issue deeply embedded in the ranging depths of the internet, frequently in communities that center around the discussion of games.

Although April Fool’s Day may seem like a bad time for such a serious topic, r/Games is one of the most popular subreddits on April Fool’s Day, as many gamers flock to the page to see the many game-realted April Fool’s jokes. In this way, the post is sure to get more than a few eyes and hopefully start a real conversation about the toxicity against marginalized groups in games.

There are also highlights of the more awful comments that exemplify their point; comments showing transphobia, homophobia, islamophobia, racism, mysogyny, and more. The r/GamesMods have compiled an entire album of these comments, which I will absolutely not be linking to here.

While this whole thing overall is about wwhat some of the worst the reddit games community has shown, it also takes notice of the good the community has to offer.

Let’s not let the good eggs go unnoticed, though: There are plenty of you who, as members of the community, want to take care of one another. Sometimes this means identifying when conversation becomes confrontation, when discussion gets out of hand and turns to name-calling, slurs or other degrading language. To you, we say thank you. You’re what keep us going, you’re who we want to see more of, and you’re everything that is the potential for a strong, open community for those who love and enjoy video games the way we do.

It ends with a call for people to be better to one another and links to various charities focused on helping smaller communities within gaming such as GLAD, Race Forward, Rainn, Able Gamers, and more. There are a myriad of ways gamers can help each other and I appreciate that these are highlighted here.

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