Saturday, 10 December 2011

A Word on Independence

Something that's always amused me is the way that some people on the lower end of the esports ladder try to get up a few rungs.  Plenty have tried to criticise others in the impotent hope that someone will remove the criticised from their position (usually another writer, commentator or website) and replace them with the critic and plenty more will do it in future.  I have seen dozens of these in my time, and have probably been guilty of doing it myself.  Usually, they are around 18 years old and are the same kind of person who thinks that leaving "clever" comments on other people's articles or forums is a high calling in life.  Usually, they grow out of it and/or disappear into the ether.

And, so, by that token, we have esportsetc, a website which I had never heard of until they decided to attack ESFI World.  As targets go, ESFI is an interesting one.  We're not so big as to frighten off critics, but we're just about big enough to be seen as worth the effort.  We're definitely up-and-coming, though, and our place in the collective esports conciousness appears to be growing.

So what exactly has drawn the furore of this pair of angry young men?  ESFI's claim of independence, apparently, which is sort of vaguely mentioned on the 'about' page - hardly something we rub in people's faces.  Never the less, esportsetc took umbrage with this claim and decided it might boost their hits if they attacked us.

First up, they decided to go after the fact that we have an advert for Complexity on our home page.  Fair enough, it's pretty hard to be unbiased while advertising one of the major teams in esports.  Except, uh, wait... we don't have an advert for Complexity, we have an advert for Creative which happens to have a picture of Complexity's Jason Lake.  Independence in journalism is fairly important, but so is basic fact-checking.  On top of that, the fact that Cadred yesterday published an article with an advert to donate to a team IN THE ARTICLE was somehow overlooked by these guardians of proper journalism.

Alright, so that didn't quite work out.  How about the fact that a lot of ESFI's staff work elsewhere in esports as well?  Okay, you got us.  Well, you got us, and just about every single esports media outlet there.  Not only did esportsetc plainly ignore dozens of other such discrepancies, they didn't even get a complete list of the ones at ESFI.  I'm kinda miffed that my prior work at SK, ESL, GotFrag and Clanbase went unnoticed, for example.  And not just me, there are plenty of others on the ESFI staff who have worked for other esports entities that were strangely omitted.  That's some pretty excellent research - top notch journalism!

Also, this just in: esports writers don't suddenly appear from nowhere!  As amazing as it may seem, almost every esports writer I can name has worked for some team or league at one time or another.  On esports etc's own 'about' page, the head honcho is described as "working in e-sports," but he doesn't feel the need to disclose where exactly... meanwhile, he publishes a "news story" which decries the fact that ESFI doesn't diclose the same information.  Something about glass houses?

I could go on.  The fact is that even traditional media is not remotely objective.  Maybe we should do a bit more to make our other interests clear, but ESFI absolutely is not the only entity in this position.  Rakaka - the site that etc modelled themselves on - has staff from a variety of other places, and their big boss man is one of the main figures behind Dreamhack.  Hell, one of the heads of played as a standin for mTw; how can he write impartially about them ever again?  I guess that when you're so busy writing poorly thought-out attacks you probably don't have time to do any research or criticise more than one site.

And, look, even if ESFI is somewhat biased (actual evidence of this, in articles, is oddly absent from these attacks, by the way), it's surely better to have a somewhat objective news outlet than to rely on team sites and league sites, isn't it?  The way esports works, that is the only alternative.  SK did a pretty good job of being impartial, but it was never ideal - the same goes for Team Liquid.  I'm sure that esportsetc don't think that that alternative is better, so one can only assume that this is a cheap stunt to try and get hits by attacking a site which is actually relevant.  I wouldn't mind, but don't have the nerve to go harping on about standards of journalism if you're just going to attack another site with badly-researched, factually innaccurate nonsense.  Oh, and you spelt "truly" wrong on your 'about' page.

But then again, maybe we should be flattered that we're worthy of such an attack.


  1. >But then again, maybe we should be flattered that we're worthy of such an attack.

    Of course you should. With prominence comes oversight. <3

  2. "Usually, they are around 18 years old and are the same kind of person who thinks that leaving "clever" comments on other people's articles or forums is a high calling in life."

    Boom, nailed it.

  3. You've got my number man, what can I say...

    If you really were sincere in the "Character Flaws" piece you should come write on esports etc. It would solve every problem you pointed out.

    Even I don't need to know who you are. Double blind anonymity, sort of. Make a throwaway email, use a proxy when'd just be another pseudonymous writer, both to me and the public.

    No more need to play mr. nice guy...