There's been a lot of reading already regarding the minor controversy of my first Community Interview being Front Paged, And I really, really don't want to add thousands of words to it, as I am apt to do, but I have to provide some clarity on my part. Now and going forward.
I am a writer for several websites and, on occasion, a magazine. I write about videogames, film and Pro-wrestling (less of the latter) In those capacities I have also been editor of others' work, a live-show reporter, a premiere attendee, a social-media moderator and an interviewer. That's just me disclaiming that I've had work featured elsewhere, so I have zero interest in writing controversial HOT GOSSIP just to make a name for myself. I love Destructoid and it would be wonderful to be writer here, but I'm not gonna get there by purposefully shit-stirring about the staff, am I? Website controversy is a long, drawn-out affair with no winner. We all lose.
Chances are you know I love Destructoid and many of its community members. You also may know that I'm fascinated by people and what makes them tick. I thought it would be great to put all of the above together and pick up the Community Interviews. I even considered asking for this role before it was restarted by Strider, but thought I would be turned down as an unknown quantity.
I recently reached out to Strider about getting the keys, after I noticed he had mentioned how busy his life had become. I was stoked when he said they were mine to continue, telling me that everyone previously brought their own personal style, and so I was to continue with them how I pleased.
I decided to make them long-form conversations, rather than straight Q&A's, and immediately set out writing a few stock questions that everyone would be asked, regardless of who they were. One of them was:
"To love something it to know its faults, What's wrong with Destructoid?"
As all interviewees so far will tell you, this question is immediately followed with the disclaimer: "Everybody will be asked this, but you don't have to answer" This is so people don't feel singled out with a difficult question, nor will they feel an answer is demanded (Everyone I interview gets a stock disclaimer beforehand, saying I will remove anything they say, at any time they ask, for whatever reason)
After the interview with Gaj was done, we sat and chatted at length about one particular answer, we took on board what was being said, who it was about, and what could result from printing it, some alterations were made, and then I went ahead with it. It wasn't a decision taken lightly, nor was it a case of punching out a flippant remark to cause shit.
As I've said time and again, I'm doing this because I want community members to have their moments, on a site that prides itself on the freedom to express itself (both its members and its staff) I have zero interest in going out of my way to make anybody look bad, but I also want interviewees to feel that this is their moment to air any discontent. Another interviewee took the opportunity to comment on the jokey 'themed days' which lots of people take part in, as being repetitive and distracting.
Even for something so minor, he thought he would catch flak for that, but he still felt that was his opportunity to get it off his chest, and he took it.
(I know knocking frikkin' jokey posts isn't on the same level as offending a person, but my point is that he went with an opinion that he thought could of seen shade thrown at him, as he felt secure that the moment was right to air that particular greivance)
I do the Community Interviews to showcase the colourful personalities of the site, learn a little about the surprises behind the avatars. Asking them about their hopes, gaming history, plans for the future and struggles. Regarding the site, I ask about their reasons for staying, the friends they've made, favourite memories and, amongst all this positivity, allow them to comment on things that may be cause them annoyance. The majority of the chatter however, is about how amazing it is to be here:
Tomorrow's interview features the line:
"These are the friends I've been looking for my entire life."
Just take in the weight of that comment.
Toxic? Mean-spirited? The interviews are OVERWHELMINGLY positive, to the point that I'm concerned they are TOO positive. I don't want them to come across as a back-slapping circle-jerk, how do you win when the one negative answer causes furore? How will people react on the day I ask about a hot button topic? What if I (God forbid) choose to challenge that topic? Interviews, like all discussions, involve walking on ice, but even when it cracks (and it will crack) I still try to outweigh it with happier talk and commentary.
I have no interest in purposefully making anyone look bad. That isn't what this site is about. No aspect of the interviews are written with the intention of causing trouble, only with the intention of giving people the microphone for 3,000 odd words. (I promise, after tomorrow, I'll try to get that figure down, I just hate presenting people's words to me out of context)
I want to ask people to be cool with Gaj (you are anyway, I'm just saying) he fucking loves Destructoid. Gaj was just being respecftul toward myself by being honest with his answers, which is what I want everybody to be. I specifically chose him as the first Interviewee because I thought he deserved it, his contribution to the community and its frolics is beyond reproach.
Finally, The editorial staff of Destructoid absolutely made the right decision in FP'ing the interview. Firstly, it shows a respect for Gaj's right to express his thoughts. Secondly, it shows a respect toward the readers to understand that it is Gaj's opinion, even though some naturally won't. Thirdly, and this is one people seem miss, it shows Dtoid's unwavering confidence in both Jed and Jon, and the site's self-assurance that it even allowed the frontpage to feature negatory comments toward it's staff. Thanks for promoting my work and for your daily efforts keeping the site constantly updated.
Thanks to you for taking the time to read this. To those who have enjoyed the output thus far, your support means everything to me in a task that takes hours of time, inbetween other assignments and reel lyfe work. To those who are upset at this event, well, I hope we can be cool, and find some common ground elsewhere down the line. I have no interest in making enemies. Life is hard enough.
If anyone wants to speak with me on this matter, please PM me, I promise to get back to you when I can.
Although it seems odd to end with this, I kinda can't go without saying it; I hope you all have a fun, happy and safe festive season.