Following OpenCritic publishing their list of the most trusted video game websites of 2016, Destructoid took the opportunity to address the list, since they actually made it onto the top 15 most trusted gaming websites. Owner Niero Gonzalez thanked fans for considering them to be one of the more trusted sites out there, and opted to further update the ethics policies for the site for better transparency and clarity for site visitors.
We were tipped off to Destructoid’s newest update, which took place on March 27th, 2017 [backup]. The last major update before that took place on February 20th , 2017 to notify people about Fig, and the last major update before that took place back in 2014.
The major addition to the ethics policy includes a reorganization of the page, detailing the site’s different policies for various ethical principles. One of the more notable changes comes in the form of disclosures in relation to the FTC. Niero writes…
“As outlined by the Federal Trade Commission, Destructoid makes every effort to follow the guidelines set by the FTC, as recommended in 2013. Generally speaking, we make repeated clear and conspicuous disclosures and disclaimers in every author’s biography, and under every editorial where our readers may have any such concern. We view ourselves as a consumer-first publication and do everything in our power to live up to this standard.”
This is fairly significant given that this was one of the big pushes by #GamerGate; to get more sites to adhere to the standards and practices of the Federal Trade Commission, and be more forthcoming with disclosures when conflicts of interest arise.
Destructoid owner Niero Gonzalez had mentioned before that he thought that overall, #GamerGate was good.
In this regards, we can at least see that they’re aiming to be ethical and reform how they approach material. In fact, the ethics policy also includes a section regarding corrections, where it states…
“When a story contains a serious error, such as an error in pricing or factually incorrect statements, we will add a note with [ brackets ] within the editorial, usually at the top. If small spelling or grammatical errors are made that don’t affect the meaning of the story this may be silently corrected by our editors.”
This means that factually inaccurate material will attempt to be corrected as quickly as possible, something that many of the other major gaming websites refuse to do when it comes to ideologically slanted pieces.
Speaking of ideological slants… part of the ethical policy also notes that they won’t be “wading” into harassment territory or discrimination against anyone. So based on this update, don’t expect Destructoid to lead any witch hunts against developers.
One of the more serious additions to the ethics policy is a termination clause for serious conflicts of interest. It states…
“If it is discovered that an editor at Destructoid willfully withheld ethical conflicts of interest that may or may not have affected their output, the person will immediately be put on suspension and following an investigation may be immediately terminated. We take these matters very seriously.”
That’s a very serious clause in the ethics policy, and something that will surely keep writers on their toes.
It’s sad because had something like this been implemented at Kotaku from the start, #GamerGate never would have taken off in the way that it did back in 2014.
Nevertheless, it appears as if being considered one of the top 15 most trusted gaming sites in 2016 was enough to light a fire under Destructoid, and encourage them to get back into the good graces of the gaming community, especially following the Alistair Pinsof blacklisting situation that came to light back in 2014, as detailed by DeepFreeze.
(Main image courtesy of RedustTheRiotAct)