Polygon

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Polygon
Polylogo.png
Website https://www.polygon.com/
Parent Company Vox Media
Owner Christopher Grant
Editor-in-Chief Christopher Grant
Ethics Policy Archive as of Jan. 2015
Boycotted? Yes

Polygon is an American Games Media website that publishes articles detailing news, culture, reviews, and opinion pieces, as well as frequently creating videos, about video games. It launched as Vox Media's third property on October 24, 2012. The site was built over the course of ten months, and its 16-person founding staff included former editors-in-chief of gaming sites Joystiq, Kotaku and The Escapist. Vox also produced a documentary series about the founding of the site, which Microsoft funded to the tune of over $750k,[1] while the estimated cost was only 10% of that.[2]

Many Polygon writers took part in the GameJournoPros mailing list, as well as participated in the "Gamers are Dead" blitz.

Pre-GamerGate Controversies

Conflict of Interest in the Gone Home Review

On August 15, 2013, Danielle Riendeau[3] reviewed Fullbright Company’s Gone Home, giving the game a 10/10 score stating that it was “a quiet triumph in storytelling” [4]

Danielle, Chris Remo[5] and Steve Gaynor[6] had a friendship that dated back to at least 2011 publically. This was confirmed via a podcast hosted by members of the Fullbright team, Idle Thumbs,[7] in which she admitted to being friends with Chris Remo since he had been working at Irrational Games.

This relationship wasn't disclosed during the review. When this was pointed out on the comment section of said review, Phillip Kollar, Polygon's Deputy Reviews Editor, responded with this:

I don’t think Danielle guesting on one episode of a podcast that one of the game’s developers is also sometimes on is the same thing as “having ties to the developer.” Danielle can respond to herself here, but I think the podcast was even recorded after she had finished the game. I feel confident that didn’t have any sort of bearing.
— Phillip Kollar[8]

From this statement we can gather that Kollar didn't know that she had confirmed in the podcast that she had a longstanding friendship with Fullbright Company's staff just 2 and a half minutes into the podcast, nor the exact date the podcast was recorded.

Conflict of Interest between Ben Kuchera and Zoe Quinn

On March 19, 2014, Ben Kuchera, senior editor at Polygon, published an interview with Zoe Quinn that focused on the harassment she claims to have received from Wizardchan and overall portrayed her in a positive light.[9] It was brought to the gaming community’s attention that Ben had been giving Zoe Quinn money via Patreon since January 6, 2014,[10] which proves that he had covered Quinn while providing her regular monetary support, something that was not disclosed in the interview. It has also been revealed that Philip Kollar, a deputy review editor at Polygon,[11] had been giving money to Zoe's Patreon account since January 9, 2014,[12] before Kuchera's interview with Quinn was published.

Role In GamerGate

Public Ethics Policy Modification

On August 28, 2014, Chris Grant, Polygon's Editor in Chief, released a blog post on Polygon detailing various issues that were brought to his attention in the lead-up to GamerGate in regards to disclosure.[13] In the blog post, he states that he does not believe donating to a Patreon constitutes a possible conflict of interest. However, he decided to require the disclosure of these relationships anyway, having it disclosed under the staff member’s byline as well as on their respective staff pages. This was retroactive, as the disclosure was added to older articles. This coincided with an update to their ethics policies, now covering Patreon, which stated the new disclosure policy:

  • Staff must publish on their staff pages to which Patreons they contribute.
  • Staff will have to disclose their relationships with developers they're covering.

Gamers are Dead

On August 28, 2014, Polygon contributed to the "Gamers are Dead" media blitz, adding an opinion piece by Chris Plante, Senior Editor at The Verge as well as a member of GameJournoPros.[14] In the article, Plante talks about the Polytron hacking incident, a LizardSquad bomb threat, the harassment of Anita Sarkeesian, and a SWATing incident that occurred live on Twitch.tv, implying these incidents were provoked by a "side of the movement" when in reality they were isolated incidents unrelated to GamerGate.

Ben Kuchera's attempt to suppress discussion of the Zoe Quinn Scandal

On September 17, 2014, Breitbart with the help of an informant, leaked the GameJournoPros private e-mails. Among the leaked e-mail threads was one that Ben Kuchera sent to Greg Tito on August 19, 2014.[15]

In these emails, Ben Kuchera and Jason Schreier of Kotaku pressured Greg Tito at The Escapist to shut down any discussion regarding the Zoe Quinn Scandal on The Escapist forums. After Tito refuses to shut down the forum thread, citing his belief in healthy discussion, Kuchera and Schreier turn more aggressive towards Tito, with Kuchera accusing Tito of enabling harassment.[16]

Ben Kuchera and other journalists also pressured and dogpiled Ryan Smith when he asked about the double standard regarding the coverage of other similar "personal cases" and questioned them for releasing articles about Quinn's claims on being harassed that lacked the investigations confirming their veracity.[17] [18] [19]

Brian Crecente

On September 5, Brian Crecente, who was absent during the Quinnspiracy events as well as the launching of GamerGate proper; wrote a blog post on his Subcathoin blog about his thoughts on the subject, including a Storify that detailed a conversation he had with Owen Good in which they give their opinion on patronage, as well as the need for standards in journalism.[20]

Polygon has yet to address the collusion discovered from GameJournoPros

GameJournoPros Members

These are the gaming journalists that work (and have previously worked) for Polygon and were part of the GameJournoPros Google mailing list.

Additional

https://medium.com/@EthicsAuditor/polygons-ethics-statement-a-review-14a09b21ae1

https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/2m16oi/polygon_accepted_750000_from_microsoft_to_create/

https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/2jy59e/more_corruption_at_polygon_gone_home_nepotism/

Trivia

Polygon has a Steam group: https://steamcommunity.com/groups/polynauts

And a Steam Curator: http://store.steampowered.com/curator/6857159-Polygon-Favorites/

See Also

Ben Kuchera

Brendan Keough

GameJournoPros

Operation Disrespectful Nod

References

  1. https://archive.today/Lrfhm
  2. https://archive.today/zST2S IMDB Estimated cost
  3. https://archive.today/Pfb4G About - Polygon
  4. https://archive.today/H227E Gone Home review: Living Room
  5. https://archive.today/i2Gc4 Twitter- Danielle Riendeau & Chris Remo
  6. https://twitter.com/Danielleri/status/221479069525618689 Twitter- Danielle and Fullbright
  7. https://www.idlethumbs.net/idlethumbs/episodes/a-simple-litter Idle Thumbs Episode 118
  8. http://www.polygon.com/2013/8/15/4620172/gone-home-review-if-these-walls-could-talk#178609837 Polygon- Gone Home Review: Phillip Kollar's statement (No archive)
  9. https://archive.today/iuDHi Polygon - Developer Zoe Quinn offers real-world advice, support for dealing with online harassment
  10. https://archive.li/kLRaf
  11. https://archive.today/Pfb4G About - Polygon
  12. https://archive.today/EsMUY Philip Kollar's Patreon
  13. https://archive.today/zM90P On Patreon support- Polygon
  14. https://archive.today/rkvO8 Polygon - An awful week to care about video games
  15. http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/09/17/Exposed-the-secret-mailing-list-of-the-gaming-journalism-elite Exposed secret mailing list of the gaming journalism elite
  16. http://yiannopoulos.net/2014/09/19/gamejournopros-zoe-quinn-email-dump/ GameJournoPros: Zoe Quinn email dump - Breitbart
  17. http://yiannopoulos.net/2014/09/19/gamejournopros-zoe-quinn-email-dump/ GameJournoPros: Zoe Quinn email dump - Breitbart
  18. https://archive.today/j7OVb Reporter Apologizes For Crude Sexual Comments To Female Game Developer
  19. https://archive.today/1bFrY Snapchat CEO 'mortified' by leaked e-mails
  20. https://storify.com/crecenteb/ethics Ethics (with tweets) - crecenteb