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r/Games subreddit shuts for April Fool's to highlight toxicity in game communities

"Now is the time to stymie the flow of regressive ideas and prevent them from ever becoming the norm."

It may be April Fool's day, but the moderators on r/Games are certainly not messing around, as the entire subreddit has been closed to call attention to toxicity within game communities.

In an extended post, the moderation team explained their decision to shut the subreddit was motivated by an increase in "vitriolic attacks between individuals" and "condescending, dismissive, vindictive and pessimistic attitudes" towards minority groups in gaming.

"In recent times, it's come to our attention that what has been intended to be a forum for the potential spread of knowledge and involvement in video games has instead become a battleground of conflicting ideas," the post begins. "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 humour is a set of very serious issues that affect all gaming enthusiasts.

"By showing disdain or outright rejecting minority and marginalized communities, we become more insular. In this, we lose out on the chance to not only show compassion to these people, but also the chance to grow our own community and diversify the demographics of those involved in it. Whether it's misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, racism or a host of other discriminatory practices, now is the time to stymie the flow of regressive ideas and prevent them from ever becoming the norm."

Later in the post, the mods added the problem isn't limited to Reddit, but explained "preventing the cultivation of bigotry means giving it no ground to go to".

"We must closely examine our own communities, in an effort to encourage acceptance and inclusion, to foster a healthy community in which we value empathy and respect."

r/Games is a hugely popular subreddit with over 1.7 million subscribers, and is one of the main forums for gaming communities on Reddit.

Along with the strong words, the moderators also included an imgur album showing many of the comments they have to deal with on a daily basis, which includes examples of transphobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, racism and misogyny, along with pro-paedophilia and pro-rape comments.

On a more positive note, the moderators also praised those in the community who "want to take care of each other", and encouraged more of this behaviour.

The post concludes with a list of LGBT+, POC, women's health and disability charities (including The Trevor Project, Race Forward and Planned Parenthood and AbleGamers respectively). For the full list, make sure to check out the post.

For now, users are unable to comment on the post itself or submit their own posts to the forum today. Tomorrow there will be a "meta thread for discussion when the sub reopens", which sounds ominous. Let's hope it stays positive.

It's a bold and frankly welcome move to highlight toxicity problems, and again feeds into the current discussion surrounding diversity in games and game communities. A recent study conducted by EA found the backlash against inclusion comes from a minority of players (with 56 per cent of players marking "further inclusion" in games towards diverse audiences as important, and only 13 per cent choosing "not important"). Something positive to think about there - and maybe the post will deter some from submitting hateful comments in future.