Video game news and review outlet GameRanx has recently updated their ethics policy. This comes after site manager Ian Miles Cheong notified the community that he would do so in a brief Twitter post. The site’s new guidelines are extensive and detailed and cover various topics of ethics regarding news coverage, reviews and even anonymous sources. They also attempt to adhere to some of the guidelines outlined by the Society of Professional Journalists.
This whole ethical about-face came to fruition after Ian Miles Cheong apologized to the gaming audience for his behavior over the past 10 months and attacking the gaming audience at the behest of political ideologues who have painted the gaming industry as a “misogynistic” breeding ground. Cheong and the audience eventually came to an understanding and things blossomed into a discussion about ethics and policies to maintain proper journalistic integrity at GameRanx. Here’s how Cheong responded to the community regarding the issue.
Gameranx's ethics policy is almost done, just need to upload it and tighten up the graphics on level 3.
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) June 10, 2015
The site states…
“These are some of the guidelines that were first instilled in the Gameranx style guide upon managing editor Holly Green’s arrival to the site in 2013, along with professional policies formed during private staff discussions. We are happy to share these guidelines with you now in the interest of professional transparency”
They roll out details on sourcing information, fact checking when using anonymous sources – an issue that was particularly troublesome when Kotaku ran a piece against Silicon Knights and Denis Dyack without properly confirming some of the details – and making sure that anonymous sources are verified before publishing any of the information they have to provide.
They also offer an interesting stance on preview events, but a very solid stance on bribes and gifts, noting…
“During your time as a Gameranx writer it is unlikely that you will be offered direct compensation in exchange for positive coverage at the request of a PR representative, developer, or publisher. However if the situation arises, the acceptance of such a bribe is strictly forbidden. You may accept paid travel and accommodations for conventions and other major gatherings or events, however, you must disclose this clearly in any ensuing coverage. Preview events are to be avoided altogether.”
Preview events are tricky because gamers definitely want to know more about the game, but they usually come with NDAs or embargoes when it comes to certain kinds of information that can be talked about, making them little more than puff pieces to promote the company and the game.
The ethics policy also covers sourcing and crowd-funded projects, noting…
“We do not forbid you from participating in video game Kickstarter campaigns, however, we ask that you limit your donations to the minimum amount necessary to acquire the game. Disclosure of Kickstarter and Patreon support is encouraged but not required.“
They also link to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.
Almost a year in and #GamerGate is still aiming for ethical reform from various gaming websites.
You can check out the full ethics policy for GameRanx right here.
(Main image courtesy of Redustheriotact)