As Kotaku UK's news editor, I spend my mornings finding news to write about and report. Sometimes it comes from emails sent by publishers, sometimes it's from tips provided by sources, and sometimes I find news by souring various subreddits. However, there's one subreddit I won't be checking for news for a day or so, and that's /r/Games.
The Games subreddit is one of the larger video game communities on reddit, with over 1.7 million subscribed users. At the time of writing this post early on a Monday morning, there's around 8,400 people online attempting to read gaming posts. However, there has not been a new post in the community in almost ten hours, which is very deliberate.
As explained in this post, the Games subreddit is closed for April Fools Day. It's not closed as a goof, but to make a serious point. The community has a real problem with discrimination, and toxic behaviour, and the mods want to both highlight and combat that. Here's part of the message from the mods:
Unfortunately, this inflammatory content is not an infrequent occurrence. The condescending, dismissive, vindictive and pessimistic attitudes we see in our day to day activity is troubling, especially when those interactions involve harassing or outright targeting regularly discriminated communities. It’s not uncommon for us to see the real issues surrounding these communities be trivialized, derided out of ignorance, or worse, for the sake of entertainment.
To that end, we want to show you, the community, what we mean by “what we see”. These are some of the more awful comments we see regarding transphobia, homophobia, islamophobia, racism, misogyny, pro-pedophilia/pro-rape, and vitriolic personal attacks against other users. These kinds of comments occur on a daily basis. We’ve compiled an entire album of examples of the horrible things people say on this subreddit. From bigotry to vitriol, this album merely scratches the surface of the magnitude of the problem.
[...] Preventing the cultivation of bigotry means giving it no ground to go to, and as a whole leave only space for those who would respectfully participate. 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.
The post goes on to highlight the massive good the community can do when it comes together, the importance of improving things for minority groups, and sharing links to charities they feel should be supported.
For a community as large as this to use a day often set aside for humour and goofs to instead highlight a serious issue in their community is one of the most positive uses of April Fools Day we have seen in gaming, and we just hope that it leads to some positive change.