Rock Paper Shotgun

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Rock Paper Shotgun
Rpslogo.png

Owner Kieron Gillen,
Alec Meer,
Jim Rossignol,
John Walker

Editor-in-Chief Unknown
Ethics Policy View on site
Boycotted? Yes

Rock, Paper, Shotgun (commonly abbreviated as RPS) is a UK-based PC gaming blog, written by Alec Meer, Jim Rossignol, Adam Smith, and John Walker. Former writers include Kieron Gillen[1] and Quintin Smith.[2] It was launched in July 2007.[3] In 2010 the website partnered with Eurogamer.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun participated in the Gamers are Dead campaign.

Pre GamerGate Controversies

Clickbait Article about Max Temkin and his response to a fake rape accusation

Background

Max Temkin, co-creator of the tabletop game Cards Against Humanity, was accused of rape by a woman who he had a brief relationship with while studying at college. The accusation was initially made to a third party on Facebook, and was followed up by the alleged victim, who identified herself as 'Magz', posting her story on Tumblr.[4] Temkin's response was to post on his own blog in his own defence,[5] denying that any rape or sexual assault occurred. The alleged crime was never reported and Temkin was never charged. No evidence has ever been produced to indicate the alleged assault took place. Temkin took no action against Magz. No tabletop game sites reported on this incident.

Controversial issue

In July 15, 2014, Rock, Paper, Shotgun's Robert Florence wrote an article [6] reporting on a rape accusation against Cards Against Humanity creator Max Temkin.

Similarly to Patricia Hernandez's article on Kotaku, Florence explicitly remained non-committed regarding Temkin's guilt, except to say that he believed in "the old innocent until proven guilty thing" and that "Witness testimony is, in fact, evidence." His article focused on the fact that this incident appeared to be under-reported in the gaming media, and more significantly, and that Temkin had misrepresented the element of consent in sexual interactions. Specifically, Florence stated that Temkin's response contained "irresponsible language" which "needs to be called out when we see it." This was in response to a short section from Temkin's post where Temkin suggested that the alleged victim "read something completely different [into the relationship] than I did into an awkward college hookup."

Role in GamerGate

Articles Attacking Gamers

  • One of the moderators, Anthile, of the Rock, Paper, Shotgun forums admits that pro-Gamergate content will get deleted:[7][8]
We neither ignore nor hide GG content. We simply delete it, just like we delete plenty of other unwelcome content. RPS is not neutral. How could they be? Was it not GG people who tried to get RPS blacklisted, wrote funny letters to their advertisers and spread lies and half-truths about contributors? I honestly don't know what you people expect. Why should we show any leniency to those who wish this place in ruins?
  • Some time around March 2016, Rock, Paper, Shotgun updated their ethics policy. Since thanks to Operation: Disrespectful Nod, RPS cannot afford losing any more advertising and money.[9][10]

Conflicts of Interest

Mitu Khandaker-Kokoris & Christine Love

On the 10th of October 2014, Cara Ellison mentioned Mitu Khandaker-Kokoris’s game, Redshirt, in an article[11] while Khandaker-Kokoris donates to Ellison via Patreon[12] with no disclaimer. In the same article, Ellison referenced multiple of Christina Love's games, stating: "(which I really should write about, though RPS cover her work enthusiastically)" while Love also donates to her Patreon[13] (again with no disclaimer).

Alec Meer, Rock, Paper, Shotgun's directer and editor since 2007,[14] published a short article about Redshit on November 13th, 2013. The article included links to webpages from which the game can be purchased and it's tone was generally positive.[15] No disclsoure was included regarding any relationship Meer had with Khandaker, even though she and Meer appear to have been friends prior to when the article was published. The two had been facebook friends since July 2010[16] and had gone together to see Uncaged Monkeys, a a science/comedy tour,[17] on May 16th, 2011.[18][19][20][21] On April 27th, 2011, Meer invited a group of people to a BBQ. Khandaker in response invited herself to the BBQ[22] with Meer approving.[23]

Gone Home

On 2 August 2013, RPS published an article by Cara Ellison on the game Gone Home.[24] the article did not contain disclosure regarding Ellisons's personal relationships with people involved in the making of the game. Ellison appears to have been friends with Steven Gaynor, Gone Home's director,[25] for some time before writing about his game. On 28 March, 2013, game writer Nick Breckon, who was at GDC at the time, twitted about having no plans for the time being. Ellison replied that she was near him and that Gaynor was with her.[26] When Ellison asked Breckon what he did he planned to do, he said he wanted to go Smuggler's Cove (a bar in San Francisco[27]). Alice Liang, another participant in the conversation, told Breckon and Ellison to meet her at Smuggler's Cove that night and asked Ellison to bring Gaynor along with her, a request to which Ellison complied.[28] Later that day, Ellison confirmed on twitter that she had been to Smuggler's Cove "with the [Steven Gaynor] fanclub."[29] On the next month Ellison and Gaynor became Facebook friends.[30] On 19 June, 2013, Ellison told Gaynor to come visit her in the UK, saying she will provide him with accommodations.[31] Further affectionate tweets were exchanged between the two on 28 July, 2013.[32][33]

Sarah Elmaleh, who voiced Katie (Gone Home's playable character),[25][34] has been friends with Ellison since as early as 26 April 2012, as on that day Ellison herself called Elmaleh a friend of hers.[35] Cara would continue to express affection toward Elmaleh afterwards,[36] and even offered Elmaleh to do voiceover work for her studio on 12 October 2012.[37]

Moreover, Steve Gaynor started donating to Ellison's Patreon on 6 January 2014.[38] In September 2014, RPS published another article by Ellison on Gone Home;[39] no disclosure was included regarding Ellsions's friendship with Elmaleh and Gaynor, nor did it mention the financial support provided by Gaynor to Ellison. For information about other articles by Ellison on Gone Home that were published on websites other than RPS, see the relevant section in our article about Ellison.

Philippa Warr and Terry Cavanagh

On 5 January 2015[40] and 27 February 2015[41] Rock, Paper, Shotgun published favourable articles by their writer Philippa Warr about games by Terry Cavanagh. Numerous tweets between May and November 2013 show a close personal relationship between Philippa Warr and Terry Cavanagh, including details of meet-ups and going to restaurants together.[42]. Warr failed to disclose this conflict of interest in the aforementioned articles.

Previously, on 27 January 2014 Warr covered a copyright dispute between Cavanagh and Tunecore, giving more representation to Cavanagh's point of view.[43]

Nina Freeman

From 4 April 2013 to 28 July 2014, numerous tweets between Ellison and Freeman show close personal conversations and references to meeting up with each other.[44] Between 11 April and 4 August 2014, Ellison published three favourable articles about Nina Freeman and her games; two for Rock, Paper, Shotgun[45][46] and one for Kotaku.[47] She failed to disclose their personal relationship in all three articles.

Trivia

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a Steam curator/group: http://store.steampowered.com/curator/33526-Rock-Paper-Shotgun/

References

  1. Half-Life: On Turning 35 And Leaving RPS
  2. Announcing: Quindependence Day
  3. RPS Announces Partnership With Eurogamer
  4. Humanity Against Sexual Assault: Truth
  5. Maxistentialism
  6. Cardboard Children: Cards Against Humanity
  7. How to Solve the Problem That's GG (RPS forum/archive) -[1]
  8. GG is Growing... (KiA/Archive) -[2]
  9. RPS Updates Their Ethics Policy - [3]
  10. [4]
  11. RPS Feature: S.EXE: VA-11 HALL-A
  12. Kokoris Patreon
  13. Christina Love Patreon archive
  14. Alec Meer's LinkedIn
  15. By Riker’s Beard! Redshirt Beams Down At Last
  16. https://archive.is/T5Yt9
  17. https://archive.is/NUCNp
  18. https://archive.is/HsYtr
  19. https://archive.is/YALww
  20. https://archive.is/KRU6M
  21. https://archive.is/BCrOa
  22. https://archive.is/expLh
  23. https://archive.is/Fdpbk
  24. Riot, Girl: Gone Home To Launch On 15th August
  25. a b Gone Home at the Internet Movie Database.
  26. https://archive.today/UT7oy
  27. https://archive.today/vHZRb
  28. https://archive.today/opmMk
  29. https://archive.today/MHi6D
  30. https://archive.today/VChRN
  31. https://archive.today/tsNQK#selection-1901.1-1901.57
  32. https://archive.today/3nThJ
  33. https://archive.today/ihSvN
  34. Kaitlin Greenbriar article on the Gone Home wiki
  35. https://archive.today/K1qt8#selection-1051.56-1061.40
  36. https://archive.today/ntp6a#selection-1035.0-1041.74
  37. https://archive.today/LLmqt
  38. https://archive.today/JJyna
  39. https://archive.today/dd4Vp
  40. https://archive.is/4tlTB
  41. https://archive.today/BuFRX
  42. http://pastebin.com/3RkXLAGk (archived version)
  43. https://archive.today/m1TvS
  44. http://pastebin.com/38siyjje
  45. https://archive.today/FgLfP
  46. https://archive.today/qQuX7
  47. https://archive.today/hOJuu