The popular r/Games subreddit shut down last night for April Fool's Day, but not for a prank. Rather, the r/Games moderation team took the opportunity to raise awareness about bigotry to its 1.7 million subscribers.
In a post titled, "Not April Fool's," the r/Games mods issued a joint post to talk about the disturbing trend of bigoted comments the team has been dealing with on the subreddit. It is currently the only new post on the r/Games subreddit, and it begins with the following paragraph:
"This April Fool's, we decided to take things a little more seriously and shed some light on a growing, pervasive issue that has affected the community of r/Games and gaming communities as a whole. 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... 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."
The r/Games mods say that "inflammatory content is not an infrequent occurrence," and as mods they're the ones responsible with cleaning up the subreddit by taking down comments and banning the worst offenders. In an effort to share what the mod team sees on a regular basis, they've compiled albums (which we will not be linking here) of the kind of discriminatory comments that they see and deal with.
The mods are calling for the subreddit's users to rise up against discrimination, and even list several LGBTQ+, people of color, and women charities for users to contribute to. The mod team also says there will be a meta thread regarding today's April Fool's post tomorrow when the subreddit opens up again.
The actions of the subreddit has been praised on social media like Twitter. Some question whether it was the right call to choose to highlight these important issues on April Fool's when there's a chance that this could appear as a joke. But Kotaku UK's Laura Kate Dale made the point that April Fool's is actually a big day for the r/Games subreddit which gets a lot of eyeballs from readers trying to navigate the jokes and gags game companies make for April Fool's.
We will check back in tomorrow to see how the r/Games community responds to the moderators' post.