News: The Tithe for Gay Heaven

Destructoid Marks Itself as the Nadir of the Kickstarter Phenomenon

There are none so blind as those who have invested everything into not seeing.
I’m’a just leave this here…

When Destructoid journalist, Jim Sterling, last night published yet another morally preachy liberal-regressive castigation of his readership, it was the source of some considerable exasperation as well as something of a minor headache, for the simple fact that it was the myriad such incident within the previous fortnight. The argument he put forth was mostly illogical and more than a little disingenuous, but at the very least it purported to be a response to a very real problem. The article claimed that in an earlier Destructoid post by Sophie Prell which announced the Kickstarter for the world’s first large-scale homosexual game convention, Gaymercon, the Destructoid readership had responded with ignorance and homophobia at the suggestion that gay gamers might benefit from such an event. As Sterling himself puts it: “The reaction from our community was … a little disheartening. I’ve felt for a while that we’ve started becoming one of the most open-minded and welcoming of online videogame communities, and while I still think that, I think it just a touch less right now. There was, to be quite frank, a lot of ignorant shit being spouted with regards to this project. Not by everyone, but by enough people to warrant a few clarifications. After all, when so many readers seem confused about the point of a gay gamer convention, and seem viciously angry about it, they definitely need to be sat down and talked to … For you to have an issue with that, for you to be vehemently upset that folks who are segregated by society might want to club together and put on a positive event for themselves … well … I honestly don’t know what to say to you. I think I wouldn’t want to talk to you at all, actually.”

After delivering this high-handed admonition, Sterling went on to talk about heterosexual white male privilege while (irrelevantly) sinking the boot into Chick-fil-A, because no liberal worth their smug can afford to be seen not losing their shit over a corporation with a different point of view than themselves; yet underpinning all of the hot air and bluster was the vague kernel of a notion that this tirade was initiated and justified to some extent by the poor behaviour of Destructoid commenters. While that justification may be all well and good for rusted-on liberals who tend to take rather a lot at face value, actually reading the original article would be sufficient to disabuse most thinking people of this contention, as the alleged homophobic deluge quite simply never occurred.

 Only supports indy brands; Apple Mackintosh
Supports gay rights -> Defends Islamic culture.

Many Destructoid readers did indeed respond with some considerable fury to the original post, yet precious little of it derived from their inherent bigotry, but rather from their incredulous outrage at Sophie Prell’s suggestion that one had to donate to this particular Kickstarter in order to be a decent person – a fact that Jim Sterling carefully ignored in his faux-moral misrepresentation of the situation. The original article stated: “So donate. Do it because you’re a decent person. Do it because Chick-fil-A sucks [Ed: are we beginning to see a trend here?]. Do it so the game industry can grow in diversity. Things only get better when people can be who they are and feel safe in their hobby at the same time. And hey, it’s not like Jim Raynor is going to suddenly dump Kerrigan for Zeratul and get all freaky on some blue alien wing-wong. Although…”

Covering Kickstarter is an incredibly thorny issue for gaming journals. Rock, Paper, Shotgun essentially released a short discussion paper describing the selection criteria for their positive coverage of Kickstarter projects, in an effort to eschew providing oxygen to anything that is not above board. Here at we are even more reluctant to provide anything in the way of positive coverage to Kickstarter projects on account of not wishing to inadvertently encourage readers to donate their money to what are frequently found to be highly dubious products. There is scope to argue between the relative merits of these two different policies, but what is clear is that both are a far cry from Destructoid’s Kickstarter policy vacuum. Prell’s direct exhortation for readers to support her pet project is a huge breach of journalistic standards, while Sterling’s meritless attack on unhappy readers is nothing less than scandalous.

Ever since the journalistic coverage of Kickstarter projects came into vogue, the staff have been quite concerned about the direction in which the industry reporting was headed; with Destructoid’s lack of journalistic integrity on this issue, the worst case scenario has been realised, illustrating the importance of overarching structural discipline even when a publication’s writing style is informal. Incredibly, when this professional breach of faith was brought to Sterling’s attention he continued trying to to transform the issue into something that it was not. A reader pointed out to him that he had failed to mention that much of the negativity toward the article had focused on Sophie Prell’s lack of journalistic integrity, to which he replied that “It wasn’t the point. If you read a Sophie article and get pissed off at Sophie for being Sophie, you did kind of bring it on yourself. :-) Besides which, hating on a fundraiser because you don’t like who told you about it is too silly a point to address.”, amply demonstrating that he simply does not get it, or worse, he understands but pretends to ignorance.

The Arse Has Fallen Out of Zynga

Hey, I can see THQ stock from here!
How low can we go?

There was a time when Zynga’s stock reached the lofty heights of $15.91, and had market analysts speculating that this was browser gaming’s destined ascendency over the stodgy old console traditionalists – yet it seems that the intellectually (and now fiscally) bankrupt Facebook developer may have flown too close to the sun, as their stock is now in freefall. Earlier this year when the company’s stock was still priced at $12, Zynga floated additional shares in the company, and the Zynga management used the occasion to cash-out of $500,000,000 of their own personal stock in the company. Now, after Zynga stock crashing to a new low of $2.66, investors have filed lawsuits alleging insider trading.

Key to the lawsuit are allegations that on the 23rd of March Zynga’s management amended the lock-up restrictions in place which applied to the Zynga management. The lock-up restrictions effectively precluded the company’s management from trading company shares until the 28th of May, which would have prevented them from offloading their shares during the second float of Zynga stock. On the 26th of April Zynga issued positive guidance which indicated that the company was growing market share, and was expecting growth to be heavily weighted toward the latter half of the year – then in late July Zynga disclosed its second quarter numbers which painted a bleak picture involving a huge drop-off in user interest and revenue gleaned from the company’s Facebook operations, which constitute the bulk of Zynga’s business. The suit will allege that Zynga’s management knew and failed to disclose this information when they sold $500,000,000 of their company shares.

Insider trading is serious business which carries serious jail sentences for those found to have acted inappropriately. While it will no doubt prove quite difficult to ascertain just what was known when, there does seem to be the pungent whiff of convenience in the management’s decision to offload a bunch of personal stock shortly before it crashed. At any rate, at least things could not get any worse for Zynga, right?

EA Sues Zynga for Copying The Sims

Intellectual theft? Surely not...
Ginia and Kendra are spoiled for choice.

Well, as it turns out they most certainly can. Zynga has made a (fleetingly) lucrative business from copying other developer’s successful social titles, yet this is the first time that Zynga has been brazen enough rip off a company with the wherewithal to defend their intellectual property. The game in question is The Ville, which imitates The Sims Social to a shonky Chinese extent. Play systems appear identical, layout appears to be a perfect match, and tile-sets appear to be an almost pixel-perfect duplicate.

According to EA this is not just about defending their intellectual property, but also about protecting the creative endeavours of their employees, as well as those of the other smaller developers that Zynga has copied. In reality this is probably more a case of EA seeing a their chief social gaming competitor in a moment of weakness, and seizing upon the possibility of potentially taking them out for good – though few could deny that Zynga absolutely have this coming. For their part, Zynga has stated: “We are committed to creating the most fun, innovative, social and engaging games in every major genre that our players enjoy. The Ville is the newest game in our ‘Ville’ franchise – it builds on every major innovation from our existing invest-and-express games dating back to YoVille and continuing through CityVille and CastleVille, and introduces a number of new social features and game mechanics not seen in social games today. It’s unfortunate that EA thought that this was an appropriate response to our game, and clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of basic copyright principles. It’s also ironic that EA brings this suit shortly after launching SimCity Social which bears an uncanny resemblance to Zynga’s CityVille game. Nonetheless, we plan to defend our rights to the fullest extent possible and intend to win with players.”

Yes, that is right – Zynga actually accuses EA of copying their long running SimCity franchise from Zynga’s CityVille browser game. Intellectual property law is so arcane that it is very difficult for the lay person to discern just how much of a case that EA has against Zynga, but then that may not be the point. EA has already said that they do not care about winning because this is about principle, which can be interpreted to mean that EA is aware that they may not win this suit, but it pleases them to bleed the beleaguered Zynga in a public court of law. Zynga can ill-afford to fight another suit whilst attempting to fend off allegations of insider trading. Moreover, the company will remain unattractive to investors while it is beset with such existential strife, and if EA can manage to get a temporary injunction against The Ville then one imagines that they will be quite chuffed. Further, if EA actually manages to win their suit then Zynga’s entire business model goes up in smoke, as it will set a precedent that will entitle other victims of Zynga’s intellectual theft to receive redress. At any rate, one hopes that Zynga continues to live in interesting times during the coming months and years. It is very difficult to imagine a scenario wherein Zynga is ever able to regain the power that they once wielded.


  1. Sterling and Prell got up on the soapbox, but I felt that the issue at its core was addressing homophobia and explaining why the marginalized need or deserve more representation. And I’m willing to give them a pass if they overreached or got preachy in doing so.

    And lol Zynga, etc, etc,.

  2. I don’t give people a pass for using unsavoury methods in a good cause. I don’t subscribe to the notion that ‘the ends justify the means’.

    Zynga was a foul, thieving company, and I am glad they are in the soup.

  3. @ Caspius: I respect that, I just don’t see the mistake that they made to be that unsavory. I feel like they probably got swept up on being on that soapbox. When you have an emotional stake in things and you don’t take time before you post a reaction you can type rash things. Sometimes is hard to know when you need to take that time. Perhaps I just sympathize.

  4. Telling your readership that unless they give you money for your personal moral crusade then they are something tantmount to bigots is an action that strikes me as unsavoury at the very least.

  5. Mel fails to find directly soliciting funds for a personal project from your readers, and then untruthfully labelling those readers as homophobes, as unsavoury – I don’t even know what to say to that…

  6. This is some of the very worst behaviour that I have ever seen from a game journal.

  7. :/

    You’re reading into it too much, she simply said “Do it because you’re a decent person,” not “do it or else”. Not only is it a just cause, it was a very minor overreach at best. Would this whole article have been made better if that one sentence was worded differently? She didn’t call anyone a bigot. If this really just boils down to not liking kickstarter, then…Ok. I’m not a fan of it either.

  8. Well… it wouldn’t be Monday without Mel being incredibly wrong about something..

  9. @Mel: No, it actually just boils down to the obvious connexion that ‘if you don’t give money to my personal moral crusade, you’re not a decent person.’

    I am astounded that bold-faced and obvious implication and connotation and connexion are lost on you. But, if you truly are that naive, there’s very little to be done here, and no one can help you.

  10. Bold-faced! Get it? Because you typed in bold-face…

    Ahem, well… Lusi, of course if you word it like it makes her out to be a demon. But what she said does not equal what you said.

    If you were speaking with her face-to-face and you said “so not donating means I’m not a decent person?” I don’t think she would say “yes”. Perhaps you do.

  11. I think Chris is in danger of no longer being the ‘wrong’ guy.

    “If you were speaking with her face-to-face and you said “so not donating means I’m not a decent person?” I don’t think she would say “yes”. Perhaps you do.”

    ‘Do it or you’re a bad person’ is the clear implication of her statement, but like you I also doubt that she would have the courage to admit this to someone’s face when confronted.

  12. Well, before we BOTH continue making character judgements about a person we don’t know, I’ll simply repeat that I did not see the wording of that one sentence to be as damning as you guys did. And if the delivery of her request was inelegant it doesn’t make her a crusading elitist.

  13. @Mel: I cannot believe you are incapable of following the logic of her statements to their necessary ends. It isn’t even an inference; it is the outright conclusion of her unstated assumptions!

    “Do X because you are a decent person.”
    Therefore: ‘Being a decent person’ is the cause for ‘doing X’.
    Therefore: A decent person would do X, because ‘being decent’ causes ‘doing X’.

    Resultant question: What kind of person would not do X?
    If being decent causes doing X, no decent person can not do X.
    Therefore to not do X, the person must not be decent.
    Hence, Answer: A person who is *not* decent.

    Sometimes, I begin to think you are deliberately simple when it comes to conclusions which go against your own personal likes and inclinations, Mel. I love the gays, too, but I’m not going to use that to justify unethical conduct in other directions. It’s shocking that you would think such a course is all right, just because you happen to agree with the stated underlying intentions.

    p.s. I think obviously unethical and unprofessional conduct falls under ‘unsavoury at the very least’, which is what you have been feebly failing to disprove since Comment 3.

  14. Also, I have to point out that Sterling didn’t “carefully ignore” Prell’s request to donate to Kickstarter:

    “You don’t have to support Gaymercon. You don’t have to invest in it, or make plans to attend, or ever read coverage of it. I certainly don’t think you’re a bad person if you politely decide to keep your coins to yourself.”

    Doesn’t this directly touch on the issue we’re going on about?

  15. @ Lusi: I’m not trying to defend her exact wording, I’ve already stated numerous times I thought it could have been done better. I’m saying that when I read that post I didn’t see the wording to be as deliberate as you did. Could I be WRONG about her intent? YES! Could you? YES!

    I saw her wording as much more casual, but I will freely admit I have no basis to justify that. But when I see this vitriol coming down on this, I just feel it’s misplaced. Blown out of proportion for what truly is the point of it all. Now, if I’m incapable, after all this examination, of catching some devil in the detail about how she levied this demand or request for donation, then I’m willing to invite the possibility that I cannot see it. But I don’t deny what I did see when I read it.

  16. Oh my gosh you are dense, Mel.

    I meant that Sterling carefully ignored the fact that much of the unrest in the original comment section was caused by the content of Prell’s article. This was perfectly clear from the context of the paragraph, so no, it doesn’t directly touch on the issue at hand.

    I am genuinely shocked at how infirm your thinking is, even for you.

    Caspius has now explained to you in language unambiguous enough for a first grader exactly what was meant by Prell, and exactly why it cannot be interpreted any other way. The bit that kills me is that Caspius and myself do not even need to be right about the meaning of her words in order for the article to be abysmally unprofessional, because Destructoid is the only publication that I have ever seen which allows journalists to directly solicit funds for Kickstarter projects – that is the aspect that I found most shocking about Prell’s article, while her shabby insinuations on decency really just painted her as a petty bint.

  17. And I already explained my feelings quite clearly regarding her wording. However, yes, Kickstarter (and by extension its promotions) isn’t something I’m keen on either. I do think I’ve said that before, too.

    And I pulled the Sterling quote in error if what you say is true. It seemed to me you meant he ignored the issue of the request for donation (since you do go on to quote those very lines) not the lack of “inherent bigotry” in the comments, I couldn’t tell what “fact” you were referring to.

  18. Be careful of logical fallacies here, boys. Denying the antecedent, straw man, etc. I am not agreeing or disagreeing with anybody on the principal argument here, just defending logic.

    While Caspius’s logic may very well eventually draw a correct conclusion about the author, it is not in and of itself sound logical discourse. The statement “Do X because you are a decent person.” from a purely logical standpoint does not make conclusions about what else a decent person does or does not do.

    The exaggerated example from Wikipedia:
    “If Queen Elizabeth is an American citizen, then she is a human being.
    Queen Elizabeth is not an American citizen.
    Therefore, Queen Elizabeth is not a human being.”

    Obviously flawed logic. But it can also be applied here.
    “If Ethos donates to this cause, he is a decent person
    Ethos did not donate to this cause.
    Therefore, Ethos is not a decent person.”

    Now, I might very well NOT be a decent person, but that logical reasoning is flawed at arriving at that conclusion.

    Also to be considered, it’s possible that THIS is the flawed logic that the ORIGINAL person was using and that SN and Caspius fiercely object to – as they should, it’s extremely flawed logic – but because the original author ONLY presented “do it because you’re a decent person”, then they did not actually state that if you do NOT donate, you are not a decent person.

    So because the argument is that there is implication that the author is using manipulative and faulty logic, there can’t actually be a conclusion.

    If the author truly was implying that faulty logic, then she is at fault for considering it. But if it is not CONCLUSIVE and other people are arriving at that faulty conclusion FOR her, then they are the only ones conclusively using faulty logic, not her.

  19. Therefore it’s a debate of opinions and nobody can be right or wrong without further evidence.

    Now, in my opinion, I’m siding with Caspius that she should not have said it. It’s an irresponsible thing to post on a mainstream article knowing that it’s going to give people the wrong idea, albeit arriving at that idea illogically. I also agree with Julian that it’s unprofessional to post articles soliciting money. I just think it’s doing the argument a disservice to argue you can arrive at conclusions that Prell simply did not make, whether or not she believes them.

  20. @Ethos: Those examples would be valid if she had phrased it the way you do in your examples, but she didn’t, Ethan.

    You, not I, are misapplying the logical sets here. She did not say, “there are decent people who do X,” or, “the people who do X are decent” which would have certainly have left the possibility of a set of decent people who do not do X. She said, ‘do X BECAUSE you are a decent person.’ The word *because* is an exclusive term: it restricts the proposition and results in an unspoken but logically following assertion: DECENCY is asserted to be the CAUSE of X.

    When that assertion is present, all of my propositions above follow from it. Because decency causes X, the absence of X is indicative of an absence of decency, because any decency would cause X by its presence. Such an assertion precludes the possibility of decency without X (but not X without decency)–and that is where you have mixed yourself up.

    An example of a valid categorical syllogism is this (I have used some standard logical forms here):

    All S are P.
    M is S.
    Therefore M is P.

    If you wanted to reduce what she has said into some sort of syllogism (including the necessary premiss and resultant conclusion), it would be in this form:

    S causes P.
    M does not P.
    Therefore M cannot possess S.

    In this case, the minor premiss (M does not P) is a statement of fact (there are people who do not P). Once you define S as the cause of P, reality provides the instant example of M who do not P, and the conclusion follows.

    Decency causes Donations.
    You do not Donate.
    Therefore You cannot possess Decency.

    Of course, there may be people who donate and who also lack decency, because this argument doesn’t say that S is the *sole* cause of P–only that it causes P. The problem is that if one lacks P, one cannot also possess S: that’s the stupid assertion which I and SN bristle at.


    Did she think this out? Probably not. I’ve read her article and it’s clear she doesn’t think very much at all, given that a lot of it is pretty superficial nonsense. But does that lack of thought excuse her from the ramifications of her language? Certainly not. She should be brought to book for it, just like anyone else, with the (hoped-for) result that, in future, she’ll think more carefully about the things she says. She most certainly should not be given a pass because her ‘heart is in the right place’.

    I am not in any way advocating a hostile backlash, but I *am* advocating the raising of this issue until she either repudiates or defends the assumptions which lie behind her statement. It is vulgar to use the resources afforded as a consequence of one’s PUBLIC job to push one’s PERSONAL moral crusade, however right- or wrong-minded any of us may think that crusade is; but to go a step beyond and to demonise, across the board, anyone who doesn’t donate money to one’s cause…! I called it ‘unsavoury at least’ earlier, and I was being polite when I did so.

  21. It is always worth debating because then there is always room to learn, so I do not apologize for engaging. If I didn’t, then you wouldn’t have been able to clarify!

  22. @Ethos: It gives me a chance to brush up on the moods of the categorical syllogisms!

  23. Yeah, hate to let you know, but Caspius owns a “Mel Correctness Time Machine”. I have no idea why he has such a specific time machine, but he does. I have seen it.

  24. I feel better knowing that it’s not that I could win, and didn’t. But that I can’t win.

    That time machine explains a lot, actually…

  25. @Mel: In just a moment, I’m going to go back and erase his explanation. Then, you won’t even feel better about that.


  26. Also:

    “It seemed to me you meant he ignored the issue of the request for donation (since you do go on to quote those very lines) not the lack of “inherent bigotry” in the comments, I couldn’t tell what “fact” you were referring to.”

    My article features no content which could lead you to believe that that was the case. My article clearly orients reader understanding by unambiguously mentioning that reader comments (which were later portrayed as bigotry) were actually a response to the content of Prell’s assertion that decency required donation, which I then supplied in a quote. It doesn’t matter a jot whether Sterling went on to reference (if ever so insipidly vaguely)that funds were lobbied for, or whether he even outright mentioned Prell’s overt browbeating of the readership – the fact is that he failed to mention either of these things as the basis for reader hostility – so either your brain is incredibly confused, or you are being deliberately dishonest in an attempt to obfuscate clear debate.

    My contention couldn’t have been clearer in its delivery:

    “Many Destructoid readers did indeed respond with some considerable fury to the original post, yet precious little of it derived from their inherent bigotry, but rather from their incredulous outrage at Sophie Prell’s suggestion that one had to donate to this particular Kickstarter in order to be a decent person – a fact that Jim Sterling carefully ignored in his faux-moral misrepresentation of the situation.”

    Nowhere in that sentence is there any logical jump or disconnect that might have disoriented readers, unless they were so ideologically blinkered that they simply could not stand to absorb any message that they disagreed with. Do you so oppose stark factual reason that your brain has to cobble together a fevered false reality which negates the good sense that my article promotes?

    Thusly, I resubmit this nugget of truth:

    “While that justification may be all well and good for rusted-on liberals who tend to take rather a lot at face value, actually reading the original article would be sufficient to disabuse most thinking people of this contention, as the alleged homophobic deluge quite simply never occurred.”

  27. The words “a fact” in your bolded and underlined excerpt can logically reference either the lack of inherent bigotry in the commenters OR the commenter’s incredulous outrage at Prell’s suggestion to donate. The wording, standing alone, can read either way.

    BUT, before I play host to more interesting name calling (I’m convinced you’ll run out eventually!), I agree that the rest of your article makes it clear what you intended by the words “a fact”. And fret not, I do get what you intend.

    Now, I feel that it’s becoming important that I point out that I’m not some blindly outraged follower of some camp or group of ideas or of any person in particular. As Lusi added at the end of comment # 21: “She should be brought to book for it, just like anyone else, with the (hoped-for) result that, in future, she’ll think more carefully about the things she says.” This is what Lusi felt upon reading her wording, and I simply didn’t see it so literally. I see the point Lusi’s making, but certainly didn’t see it upon my first reading of Prell’s post. It’s not much beyond that, I assure you, something I stated way back in comment # 3: “PERHAPS I JUST SYMPATHIZE”. Wasn’t asking for agreement there, either.

    Are we done with this silly mess? Because that time machine must cost so much to run. Oh, but it’s probably powered by those employee hamster wheels…

    [Actually, we use the hamster wheels to power the building now, as part of my new eco-drive. When the staff are playing games, they don’t need to use their legs. By running, they power their own devices! is a green company. -Ed.]

  28. “The words “a fact” in your bolded and underlined excerpt can logically reference either the lack of inherent bigotry in the commenters OR the commenter’s incredulous outrage at Prell’s suggestion to donate. The wording, standing alone, can read either way.”

    The two are inextricably linked. I don’t see how Sterling could theoretically have mentioned either one of these notions without tacitly acknowledging the other. If he mentioned their lack of inherent bigotry (which isn’t very likely considering the issue didn’t exist until Sterling created it through misrepresentation), then on what basis were their comments not the result of bigotry? On the basis that they were addressing Prell’s outrageous comments. If Sterling theoretically mentioned commenter’s incredulous outrage at Prell’s suggestion, then how could that possibly be the result of inherent bigotry?

    The issues that you mention are linked, so you can’t speak of one without obliquely referencing the other. Moreover, understanding of one of these notions is not complete without understanding of the other, as either one in isolation does not constitute a logical train of thought. Thus, I do not believe that Sterling could have failed to mention one of these things in his article without also omitting the other.

    As far as I’m concerned it is fine for you to think that I intended to say either of those bolded notions in the quote, because accepting one requires also accepting the other.

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