Controversial subreddit r/KotakuInAction was temporarily shut down by its own creator late Thursday. Redditor david-me made the decision saying the community “became infested with racism and sexism” over the years.
In a lengthy explanation posted to r/Drama, david-me said that users began circumventing the subreddit’s minimalist rules as moderators began “wrestling with how to control hate speech.”
After GamerGate, communities popped up on both 8chan and Kiwi Farms, david-me explained. They felt r/KotakuInAction had morphed from a “monster” into a “virus.” The subreddit’s creator said he “really wanted to close the sub” but ultimately felt scared to do so, fearing backlash from the subreddit’s GamerGate supporters.
“KiA is one of the many cancerous growths that have infiltrated Reddit,” david-me wrote. “The mods are good at what they do, but they are moderating over a sub that should not exist.”
But the controversy didn’t end with david-me’s shuttering, and neither did KiA. After david-me closed the sub for nearly an hour, a Reddit admin restored r/KotakuInAction’s mod team and locked david-me out. His actions are currently under investigation by Reddit, according to Motherboard. One of the subreddit’s former moderators, u/TheHat2, has made a post on r/KotakuInAction disagreeing with david-me’s story.
“There wasn’t a need to codify what counted as ‘hate speech,’ because we didn’t really have an issue with that in the beginning,” TheHat2 wrote. “We didn’t realize GamerGate was going to blow up as much as it did, and honestly, we thought it was just gonna blow over in a couple of weeks, or a month, tops.”
The KotakuInAction subreddit was made shortly after GamerGate began in 2014, and it has been a controversial center piece since then. More recently, the site is known for its antagonism toward both the press and left-leaning politics in gaming and beyond.
The Washington Post has referred to GamerGate as “an Internet culture war” split between “independent game-makers and critics, many of them women,” against “a motley alliance of vitriolic naysayers.” Over the years, GamerGate has targeted many women online, including indie developer Zoe Quinn, former Nintendo employee Alison Rapp, and feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian.
Last week, Guild Wars 2 developers AreaNet fired their own writer, Jessica Price, for confronting a critic. It was a controversy that revived the conversation about GamerGate and the way women in games receive more harassment from strangers and penalizing from the industry.
“We are better than this,” david-me wrote in his explanation post. “I should have been better than this. Just look at the comment history of any users history. The hate is spread by very few, but very often. Overwhelmingly so.”