Hearthstone and Witch Hunts

Jan 30, 2016

Recently there has been a large amount of issues regarding drama going on in the Hearthstone subreddit. As has been established by fairly everyone who spoke on the issue, because the official Hearthstone forums are full of unbacked anger and lack moderation, it is entirely useless. This forced r/hearthstone to take on the role of forums in all aspects, rather than simply being a place where people laugh at funny gifs. This means that all dissenting ideas and developer requests are mingled in with the typical funny stories and videos found normally on Reddit.
The moderators realised this early on and put in a very strict set of rules to keep the forum as an orderly place. One of these rules, the second one in fact, was that content must be related to Hearthtone directly, not just through a streamer as the connection. There was another rule that was called “Personal Attacks, Witch-Hunting” and specifically stated “Do not encourage others to target individuals or groups in any negative way”. Now, if you are unaware, a witch hunt is when a member of the community points at another member and proclaims that they have done something wrong. It was banned largely due to the fact that these types of accusations have the potential to ruin lives and careers, and that people online aren’t particularly well-known for their accurate research abilities.
In the last few weeks, there has been a lot of aggression and accusations floating around, primarily directed towards a popular streamer: Massan. He was accused by several members of the community of view-botting (using bots to boost his twitch numbers) and many people came out with pseudo-proof of his guilt. The moderators did their job and dutifully deleted the threads, but there was often some delay between time of post and time of deletion. The community seemed very sure of his guilt and brought these posts to the front page often before they were deleted, prompting one post from a user titled: “This subreddit’s censorship about Hearthstone drama needs to go,” posted by user Joagga. In it he voices the opinion that many users had voiced, that it was time for the rules to change. The post immediately hit the top of the front page, clearly representing the desires of the subreddit majority.

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The moderators replied quickly, stating that they had been thinking of changing the rules for a while, and posted new rules within the day. The new rules changed rule two to allow users to post about “the Hearthstone-related career of a community member”. They also added a new rule called Accusations, which states “An accusation against another person’s or organization’s integrity or business practice is only allowed if the accuser has sufficient evidence”. While they had previously stated that accusations were entirely barred, now they state that they are allowed if evidence is provided, and they deem the evidence to be sufficient. Many users were satisfied with this, with a few exceptions. The loudest naysayer against the rule change was another popular streamer and owner of Tempo Storm, Reynad.

Andrey ‘Reynad’ Yanyuk, Hearthstone professional and founder of Tempo Storm.

It should be noted that Andrey ‘Reynad’ Yanyuk comes from the Magic the Gathering scene, where accusations of cheating dominate the scene every other week, as is the nature of physical card games. His argument, as he eloquently (extremely profanely) explained in his video, is that these witch hunts simply ruin lives. As he said: “Is Massan guilty? Probably. But someone down the line won’t be.” He is of the opinion that even if four out of five people accused are guilty, it’s not worth exposing four cheaters if you destroy one innocent person’s life in the meantime. It is worth noting that although there has been a lot of circumstantial evidence of Massan’s guilt, nothing concrete has appeared.
Internet accusations causing serious issues is an often told story nowadays, with a situation popping up recently regarding a 62 year old man being accused of being a pedophile. All it took was a slight resemblance, a similar game, and one misguided vigilante to have thousands believing that this innocent old man was a hardened criminal. Luckily this situation was resolved fairly quickly, as the actually pedophile ended up still being in jail, and the video accusing the man was deleted. However, there are many cases in which the resolution was not so swift, and careers and lives have been ruined over misplaced aggression online.
As of now the moderators at r/Hearthstone have changed the rules and made them official, meaning that the arguments of Reynad and others have not swayed their minds. Whether or not it is right to allow these posts, it should definitely be kept in mind that not everything you see or read online is true, and that seeking vengeance against perceived wrongs can land both parties in an unpleasant situation. Hopefully the mods know what they are doing and are able to keep things running smoothly and drama-free.

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Stephen has a degree in English from Brock University. He grew up playing video games and card games, always having an affection for strategy. He picked up League of Legends in early Season One and has since achieved Diamond rank multiple times. He also picked up Hearthstone in Beta and has since achieved Legend consistently. When he isn’t reading, writing, or gaming, he’s probably watching other people game.
What do you think?

ayy lmao









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