I Facebook’d or something like that.

I voluntarily logged into my Facebook account this morning, so I decided to give it a little bit of celebration with a good ol’ fashioned Facebook post:

Notifying everyone that voluntarily I logged into Facebook and wasn’t annoyed with somethi—oh wait. I’m getting pop-ups telling me what Public means.

JUST LET ME IRONICALLY POST TO FACEBOOK IN PEACE, FACEBOOK.

And then, just before I fully arrived at the realization that I could start posting things onto my Facebook account again, I came to my senses:

I might actually start looking for this button. If I can find it, I might actually push it.

On promoting things with Reddit: don’t.

OnGamers was banned from the entirety of Reddit yesterday due to being systematically identified as spammers, defined by Reddit administration and algorithms. The blog’s entire domain was banned from being submitted for link posts as well as members of its staff shadowbanned, which removes public visibility of contributions made by the accounts unless a moderator approves it. 1

bcdm_journalism_redditImmediately, the staff of the website started making the case that they weren’t spammers and that they would be appealing the decision made by the Reddit administrators. Damage control like this is fine. It’s expected when you’ve basically been accused of being a spammer. As a journalist, you try to clear your name because it affects your credibility.

This is the damage control that I mean:

That all seems well and good. It’s the right message to send out. It’s a temporary problem with Reddit. Reddit is a weird place, right? Surely the application of a little bit of misdirection with some little white lies and the whole thing will blow over before the weekend.

At this point, everything that happens happens behind the closed doors of Reddit administration. Anyone can speculate that CBSi is attempting to get Reddit to overturn its blogspam ban, and that’s probably happening, but the last absolute facts that we’ll ever receive about this situation were published by r/starcraft moderator CandyManCan. The takeaway from the post is the following blurb:

The reasons behind the ban are unknown, but these types of bans have only ever been issued for vote manipulation of reddit.

But what exactly counts as vote manipulation? Here’s how the Reddit FAQ page describes vote manipulation:

Besides spam, the other big no-no is to try to manipulate voting by any means: manual, mechanical, or otherwise. We’re not going to post an exhaustive list of forbidden tactics (lest we give people ideas), but some major ones are:

  • Don’t use shill or multiple accounts, voting services, or any other software to increase votes for submissions
  • Don’t ask other users to vote on certain posts, either on reddit itself or anywhere else (through Twitter, Facebook, IM programs, IRC, etc.)
  • Don’t be part of a “voting clique” or “vote ring”

A voting clique is a group of people who send links to their submissions around via message, IM, or any other means, with the expectation of “you guys vote for my stuff and I’ll vote for yours.” A “vote ring” is a group of people who agree to vote on certain things together, either a specific submission, a user, a domain, or anything like that. Upvote each submission or content for the value of the information in it, a variety of things that you think are interesting and will benefit the community.

Let’s theory craft a bit.

Let’s stipulate that the above rules could be applied to an entity and anyone associated with that entity in the same way that the guidelines above apply to an individual user. With that consideration, the actions of certain OnGamers staff could have very well tipped off Reddit’s vote manipulation detectors. The scripts don’t take into consideration that Slasher has a six-year-old account that’s been active—the only thing that matters is what tips off the indicators.

While there is plenty of folks rushing to the defense of the OnGamers staff being indiscriminately banned, there is this pseudo-acknowledgment spreading around that surely they’re breaking the self-promotion rules. 2 They must be doing something that Reddit feels should be stopped when so much of their publicly scannable traffic comes from there. 3

XavierMendel, a moderator for r/games, commented on the fine line between spamming and promoting (emphasis added): 4

Howdy! Domain bans are largely for vote manipulation, but that’s not the case here. This ban was almost certainly handed out not due to the votes on the content (though it could’ve happened), but due to the scale of the organization and efficiency by which the domain was submitted by a small group of people.

People always point to Slasher to say that we’re two-faced with the self promotion rules, and from their point of view they’re right. However, knowing the situation and knowing that he’s making an effort to get a better ratio (and doing so; his ratio has dropped from ~86% to under 30% in the past couple months), you can see that he’s not a spammer.

I have little doubt when it comes to him and the domain getting unbanned, however, I have major doubt that it won’t end there. Some accounts banned by this wave were at a 100% ratio over a long period of time. 100% isn’t an anomaly, it isn’t something you can shake off or fix too easily.

I don’t know what the admins are thinking right now, but I doubt whatever they’re thinking will please everyone. And honestly, that’s the way it should be.

While acknowledging that the statements he makes about the causes of the entire action are not fact, I’m going to assume that a moderator of r/games has a little bit of experience with exactly this scenario.

What can OnGamers do at this point, though? The damage has been done and while it seems that there might be a chance that these bans could be rescinded, what’s to say that we’ll be having this conversation all over again in a few weeks or months? If not about OnGamers, perhaps another esports personality?

A lesson to be learned, here: don’t post your own content to Reddit. Just don’t. Please. No. Don’t do it because of the self-promotion rules if you don’t agree with them, but because your content gains a little bit of legitimacy every time it’s shared by someone else. That’s the best thing about other people sharing your content–and it’s always been that way.

However, if you absolutely must promote your corporately subsidized news site on Reddit, why not give advertising a shot?

Facebook takes promising future away from gaming for just $2b USD.

It all started with a simple text I received last night. “What did Facebook buy?”

Facebook

Facebook to Acquire Oculus — Facebook today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Oculus VR, Inc., the leader in immersive virtual reality technology, for a total of about $2 billion. This includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock (valued at $1.6 billion…

If I wasn’t in a church building at a band practice, I would have said a few things inside of a church that I would regret. Ultimately, Facebook spent $2b USD on a company leading the charge on modern virtual reality implementation, called Oculus VR. All for the sake of “getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow.”

The $2b USD buying price sounds like a blocker buy-out price to prevent Oculus VR from being picked up by a peripheral company or multiplying its valuation by taking in more venture capital funds. However, Zuck’s comments sound like that they’re looking to right a wrong they made that allowed so many games and services to operate through Facebook—to take a page from the Apple playbook of completely locking down the system and turning the Oculus Rift’s final retail product into the Facebook VR app marketplace vector.

Internet cool guy keekerdc has found a series of tweets from a certain well-known mobile developer who has already pulled the plug on any potential Oculus VR port that was picked up by the CEO of peripheral company Razer who then offered to “help out.”

Razer’s nonexistent VR product isn’t the only way out. Sony has been teasing its own VR headset that will eventually be deployed to the PlayStation 4. CCP Games’ dogfighting simulator originally designed for the Oculus Rift, Valkyrie, announced just this last week that they would also be developing the game for Sony’s Project Morpheus.

I’d imagine that there will be plenty of game developers following CCP’s lead and announcing development for Sony’s VR headset in the coming weeks after the Facebook acquisition.

The reaction to a post made by Oculous founder Palmer Luckey in /r/oculus was met with some pretty negative reactions, but this particular comment by /u/AlexHD concisely explains gamers’ hesitation with the Facebook acquisition.

> By Gamers for Gamers
Was the original Kickstarter pitch. But now it’s
> We believe virtual reality will be heavily defined by social experiences
What a shame.

Perhaps there was a little miscommunication involved at Facebook HQ about a question from Zuck…