Reddit’s r/Games shuts down to highlight discrimination in gaming

Reddit forum r/Games has shut down for the day in order to place a spotlight on “a growing, pervasive issue” that has affected the subreddit “and gaming communities as a whole.” The decision to close down r/Games on April Fool’s Day (though this isn’t an April Fool’s joke) comes as a result of its moderators wanting to highlight the bigotry that encircles the subreddit.

The post from r/Games’ moderators announcing the temporary closure, which has received over 10,000 upvotes after being published earlier today, addresses the bigotry posted to r/Games and also echoed by many in the wider community surrounding video games. “Though certain memes (such as “gamers rise up”) surrounding gaming are largely viewed as a humorous interpretation of a mindset, at the core of the humor is a set of very serious issues that affect all gaming enthusiasts,” the post reads. “By showing disdain or outright rejecting minority and marginalized communities, we become more insular.”

The team behind the subreddit included examples of the hateful comments they regularly moderate, revealing a number of racist, homophobic, and transphobic slurs posted to the site. The moderators expressed how they wanted to work with r/Games users to “be a more whole, accepting community” that focused solely on discussing video games together.

“At r/Games, our community is becoming increasingly responsible for perpetuating a significant amount of these combative and derogatory schools of thought. We remove those comments, we ban the perpetrators, but the issue still persists at a fundamental level: the notion that it’s okay or acceptable to ridicule and demonize traditionally disenfranchised and marginalized members in the gaming community,” the post reads. “This is not just an issue in r/Games or on Reddit alone; this is an issue deeply embedded in the ranging depths of the internet, frequently in communities that center around the discussion of games.”

The post included links to various charitable organizations, encouraging readers to provide assistance to charities focused on the LGBT+ community, POC-focused organizations, and women’s health charities. “These folks have made it their mission to represent and benefit those who still face their own challenges, obstacles and prejudices, and any assistance they can get is another step forward for their cause,” the post explains.

r/Games is the most popular games discussion subreddit on the site, boasting over 1.7 million subscribers at the time of this writing. Unlike subreddits such as r/Gaming, which is mainly image-focused, r/Games encourages game-related discussion between its users. As such, a significant portion of its userbase routinely descending into bigotry stifles the meaningful and inclusive conversations that its team is clearly targeting.

The moderation team has locked the post on r/Games, meaning that users are unable to comment on it. However, it has received plenty of Reddit Silver, Gold, and Platinum, the currencies used by Redditors in order to commend posts they agree with. All other posts on the subreddit have also been locked for the day, with the protest concluding on April 2.