trurusty asked:

Do you think it is acceptable for a journalist to monetarily support a person or organization of coverage without disclosing said conflict in the article?

caraellison:

Hmm. Well, I just bought Fallout: New Vegas, which technically supports the makers of that game. My intention is to write an article about it, covering its virtues and flaws. Should I disclose in that article that I bought the game? Or, should I retroactively disclose all the games that throughout my career I have received review codes of, enabling me to critique those games? I don’t think so. If a game developer bought me a cup of coffee because I didn’t have change, do I declare that £3 in anything I write about them? I mean, I am not sure how far it goes. What about MMOs? In order to participate in WoW you have to pay a subscription. So journalists have to pay that subscription to cover it. Is that… corrupt? As far as I see it Patreon is a subscription service to one person’s output. It doesn’t mean you have to like that output. So I don’t see why it’s conflict of interest for me.

I think what I’m saying is, if you pay BT monthly for a phone line that one day sounds fuzzy, when you turn in a ‘review’ of their service you are not really likely to be more or less harsh. You are just going to say the phone line is fuzzy and they should fix that.

I think it’s acceptable to declare whatever the fuck you like. I once, post-Doritosgate, declared in my copy that I ate a chicken samosa at an EA preview event, even though it is obviously unnecessary to declare a fucking samosa. It was edible. Its greasy innards nourished my underfed body. It didn’t change that their game ultimately sucked ass because it was only available as an always online service that didn’t work. 

The question is: how much does the readership want to police the behaviour of grown professionals and experts? How much does the readership want to bend us over before they realise we are professional adults who happen to have likes and also dislikes? Until we are so bored of writing lists of declarations that we let forum posters write reviews instead? They can do that anyway. There’s a whole wide internet to read if you don’t trust a website’s output.

I feel like Doritosgate illuminated one thing: that large publishers spend a lot of money paying for journalists to go to their preview events and had been doing it since games began. The better publications decided that yes, that was better disclosed. But Kotaku in particular has mostly stopped doing previews because it’s purely hype and nothing else, and they’re right. No one praises them for this, because it’s hip to hate Kotaku.

People on forums still talk about those days before Doritosgate as being ‘the good old days, when we still talked about games’. 

Yeah, because they flew us out there to talk about how good the games might be, and not how good they actually *are*.

I think what I am saying is, anything that gets what I am supposed to appraise to me faster is better and adds to my knowledge of what I am doing. I never want to go to a preview/PR event again. I want to play a fucking finished game and tell you about it. And if you want me to declare that I have a professional interest in games, here it is:

I LIKE GAMES. I BUY THEM. IT MAKES ME GOOD AT MY JOB.