The rise of online communities has changed the way we consume and interact with media, especially in the gaming world. One such community that gained notoriety in the gaming world is KotakuInAction, a subreddit that was created during the height of the GamerGate controversy. The subreddit gained a reputation for being a pro-GamerGate community that advocated for free speech and pushed back against what they saw as political correctness in gaming.
The creator of KotakuInAction, who remains anonymous, spoke about his motivations for creating the subreddit in a 2018 interview with Polygon. He claimed that he wanted to create a space where people could discuss gaming and the media without fear of censorship or being labeled as sexist or racist. However, the subreddit quickly became a breeding ground for controversy and outrage.
One of the most significant controversies surrounding KotakuInAction was its stance on J.K. Rowling and her views on transgender people. The subreddit's members were vocal about their support for the author, who has been accused of being a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist). The subreddit r/GamingCircleJerk called out the upcoming game Hogwarts Legacy and Rowling's TERF views, leading to a heated discussion on KotakuInAction about free speech and cancel culture.
Despite the controversies, KotakuInAction remained a popular community on Reddit, with over 100,000 subscribers at its peak. The subreddit was known for its strong stance on free speech and its criticism of the gaming media. From adventure titles like God of War to indies like Night in the Woods, Redditors have been vocal about which games' dialogue has the most political correctness, and KotakuInAction was seen as a place where people could express those opinions.
However, KotakuInAction's popularity eventually led to its downfall. The subreddit became a breeding ground for hate speech and harassment, with members targeting individuals and communities they disagreed with. At least three subreddits banned Reddit users if they posted anything in the GamerGate subreddit, including KotakuInAction.
In 2018, the creator of KotakuInAction announced that he was shutting down the subreddit due to a lack of interest and his own personal beliefs. However, a Reddit employee stepped in to save the community, citing the importance of free speech and diversity of opinion on the platform. The subreddit continues to exist today, although it has lost much of its influence and popularity.
KotakuInAction's legacy is a complicated one, with some seeing it as a champion of free speech and others as a platform for hate speech and harassment. The community's stance on J.K. Rowling and her TERF views is just one example of the controversies that have surrounded the subreddit. The Last of Us Part II, a game that has been praised for its storytelling and representation of marginalized communities, was also a source of controversy on KotakuInAction. IGN writer Jonathon Dornbush, who called the game a "masterpiece" in his review, joined developer Naughty Dog, leading to accusations of bias and collusion.
Reddit has taken action against hate speech this week, with the banning of the India-focused r/Chodi discussion forum and the quarantining of the China-focused r/China_irl subreddit. The actions come as Reddit continues to grapple with the role it plays in promoting and policing online communities. The history of KotakuInAction serves as a cautionary tale for those who seek to create online communities: free speech is important, but it must be balanced with responsibility and respect for others.