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From The Ashes: NeoGAF Returns – Malka Issues Statement

From The Ashes: NeoGAF Returns – Malka Issues Statement

NeoGAF returned online late Monday evening, after facing a colossal meltdown over the weekend which took the venerable gaming forum offline entirely.

The crisis began after allegations of sexual impropriety surfaced regarding NeoGAF’s owner, Tyler Malka.

A Facebook post from a woman who claimed Malka made unwanted advances towards her while she was inebriated surfaced last week and eventually found its way over to NeoGAF, which prompted an outcry from the gaming community.

It wan’t long before moderators of the site began handing out bans to anyone discussing the matter within the forum; however, that only exasperated the public outcry further, and it wouldn’t take long before moderators started jumping ship, leaving the site in total chaos.

By late Saturday evening, NeoGAF had been taken offline entirely.

This was pretty much all that was left of NeoGAF after Saturday’s meltdown

The reboot of NeoGAF on Monday was accompanied by the first public statement by Malka regarding the allegations against him since the site’s weekend collapse, as well as the direction of NeoGAF going forward.

“Hi.

An allegation of sexual misconduct has been made against me by an ex. It’s not true, the individual making the accusation isn’t credible, the story doesn’t reconcile logically with the facts, and there’s plenty of evidence and witnesses to corroborate that. It’ll be a process.

All allegations of this nature are serious, of course. I first got word of it on Wednesday when a screenshot of a Facebook post was handed to Voat. I immediately talked with my mod team about the contents of the screenshot and clarified that it was baseless and explained some of the details concerning my former associations with her, and tried to ensure any concerns from the team were addressed fully and transparently to everyone’s satisfaction. On Thursday I heard that she had deleted the accusation from Facebook, and wasn’t entirely sure how to proceed from there or how this would all play out in the public space at that point. Then, Friday morning, the screenshot made its way to NeoGAF and chaos ensued.

I was in the process of writing a statement that entire day to address formally address the allegation, but the community had erupted in a flash that morning. While the moderation team was trying to restore the peace, accusations and threats concerning the screenshot started shifting to them as well by association with me, and I was asked by my team to do something to fix things and get the heat off of all of them at least. I was beyond exhausted by that point, though, stretched too thin in the time since the post had first appeared and seeing unprecedented events unfold on NeoGAF. I was slow and weak. I failed to handle it quickly enough and let the team down. Before I could finish a statement and get it out there, understandably some mods hit their emotional limit, expressed concerns about the community coming after them, and decided to leave. A few people resigned, and many more quickly followed for similar reasons, citing stress and harassment. The site started breaking under load spikes leading up to the first resignations, too, and then flatlined altogether, so issuing a statement at that time on NeoGAF itself became impossible for the time being, and my attention shifted toward the moderation team’s future. 

Since that whole mess, lasting from Friday morning through Saturday, before we formally went offline for maintenance and repair and restructure, we’ve just been trying to figure out the best course of action for NeoGAF going forward. And as stories began being published by various outlets, I issued some comments to the press, since everything coming out was proving to be sensationalized, opportunist, and unprofessional. 

We’ve all become increasingly stressed and weary this year in ways even I’m not accustomed to by now, and discussions on heated news, political issues, and social issues on the off-topic side of the site have become areas no one has wanted to moderate in the open for fear of backlash or just general exposure to the inevitable toxicity. I’ve gone in there myself to take the heat, since it’s very much my responsibility to do so before anyone else’s, but there’s been little headway, mostly just more anger and resentment and a lot of bans. I don’t think this necessarily reflects on our community; more so the tone of the entire internet this year with regards to heated issues. 

That’s all going to inform the way forward for NeoGAF as we refocus on what the main goals are supposed to be for the site. The mod team will talk about more specifics on what that will entail below.

One last thing. The NeoGAF mod team is here for this community; all of you. You have no obligations to respect me or believe anything I say about my personal life one way or another, but if you’re going to be here and participate on NeoGAF, respect the mod team by following the rules and behaving. The team is diminished at the moment and the folks who stuck around care very much about this community and its future. Be considerate of them. That’s non-negotiable. 

Thanks.

A reply by one of the moderators stated that they would be returning to what the primary focus of NeoGAF was in the first place: games.

They also announced that ancillary off-topic forums devoted to politics would be offline for the time being.

Political and social discourse will not be allowed in the new Off-Topic. Those types of discussions greatly added to the harsh and unwelcoming atmosphere of Off-Topic, which pushed many users away.

One thing that was not addressed by either Malka or the site’s moderator, was the root cause of the toxicity that had permeated NeoGAF in the recent past: namely the rather militant, one-sided point of view which banned any form of dissent from the prevailing opinions of management.

We reported on NeoGAF staff members banning anyone who hinted at sympathy towards then President-elect Donald Trump, in the wake of the stunning outcome of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election last November. Bans were handed out for as little as saying people should respect the results of the election.

It will remain to be seen what the future holds for NeoGAF. After all, allegations are just that – allegations, and nothing has been proven at this point. The bigger question now is if Malka and team truly recover from the damage done to NeoGAF’s reputation, and become a truly inclusive forum.

What are your thoughts on the situation at NeoGAF? Will the site do a better job of policing the toxicity that was rampant? Or will things just go back to how they were? Let us know in the comments section below.

 

Written by The Watchman

The Watchman


The Watchman is a journeyman gamer who has seen and played a good chunk of gaming history.
He’s also an actor, a reporter, a pro wrestling connoisseur, and some say he’s a cat whisperer.
If you have any questions or just want to drop me a line, hit me up at thewatchman@nerdbacon.com
Or follow me on Twitter @DavetheWatchman
You can also game with me!
Look me up on Xbox Live @ DJKhadoken
Or on PlayStation Network @ Eaglevision_dl

 
 

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