An internet mainstay is dying. After another sexual misconduct incident, NeoGAF is nearing the end. The forum, which has existed since it launched in 1999 back as the Gaming-Age Forums, is surely drawing a close. And frankly, this could be for the absolute best. While NeoGAF has been an influential and informative hub for years, it has also been a hotbed of controversy and poor behavior. We don't need it. The downfall of this former pillar of the community could lead to better things.
First, a refresher of what has happened as of late. Tyler “Evilore” Malka was accused of sexual misconduct by a woman who said he got into her shower uninvited while she was bathing the weekend of October 21, 2017. This is not the first time Malka has been associated with such distasteful behavior, with another incident occurring in 2012 where he talked about sexually assaulting a woman while on a trip to Spain. There were also instances where Malka would ban accounts of people who called him out for his behavior or retaliate against people. This time, his despicable behavior wasn’t ignored. Mods resigned, people revolted, and NeoGAF essentially crashed and burned to the ground. The forum is back online now, but is a shell of its former self, and a statement issued by Malka that some (myself included) would consider narcissistic.
Not that any of this is surprising. While there were good people posting at NeoGAF, folks both in and out of the industry with insightful and interesting things to say, the forum was often tainted by less reputable members. In 2015, a mod named Opiate was removed for sexual misconduct and pedophilic behavior. In 2017, Christopher “Amir0x” was arrested for child pornography. You could regularly find homophobic, racist, and vile posts on the forum. Worse, there would be instances where mods would cover for one another, tolerate such behaviors, and indiscriminately ban users.
The good news is, we don’t need to worry about NeoGAF anymore. Partially, because it is now dead in the water. But also, because we outgrew it years ago. The only reason most people visited the forum was for industry insight and hot takes directly from those in the game industry. But, over the last few years, we’ve found so many better ways to get such information and interact with one another. Ways where there isn’t petty drama, it is possible to avoid toxic behaviors, and we can still get important information from major players.
Think about it. If you pop in Reddit on any given day, you may come across developers doing an IAMA where they are directly interacting with the people. (Though Reddit has its problems, just as NeoGAF did.) Already, some NeoGAF survivors have formed invitation-only Discords. This is a way to connect with the good people they liked, without worrying about harmful behaviors. And you can’t discount how much information comes from developers’ official Twitter and Facebook accounts now. Not to mention, Wario64 is a fantastic source of information on Twitter!
NeoGAF was a disaster. Time after time, we saw major incidents that involved abuses of power, inappropriate behavior, and different sorts of harassment. Yet, people were willing to sweep such things under the rug and ignore them because the forum was a mainstay where “industry insiders” congregated. Now, things have finally reached a point where people are willing to stand up, say no, and condemn problematic people and situations. There are other, better ways of conveying knowledge and enjoying a sense of community now. People aren’t condoning or ignoring it anymore.