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Gamasutra's Policy For Writers

[Last updated Monday, August 24, 2015 v1.5.]

Mission: Gamasutra's mission is to inform, empower, and inspire our game developer readership. We do this through journalism, as well as criticism, and also by providing game developers a prominent platform to discuss all matters related to the art and business of making video games via our comment and blogging system.

Policy

Gamasutra strives to maintain the highest-possible ethical standards in its staff writing – just as it does in all business activities. Whatever platform we use – print, online, mobile, social media, video – we strive to deliver the complete, unvarnished truth as best we understand it at the time of writing.

Gamasutra staff writers treat everyone they interview in a professional manner. They do not pay for interviews or confidential material – thus encouraging the recipient to falsify or sensationalize information. They do not promise favorable coverage to those who agree to be interviewed. They only make inquiries into someone's personal life if it has a direct bearing on a story of professional interest.

Under no circumstances should writers bribe public officials or private professionals for information. This is illegal in most jurisdictions.

Nor must writers plagiarize the material of others – whether words or images. This represents a breach of copyright in many jurisdictions, and would represent a fundamental breach of trust and integrity.

In normal circumstances, writers should not give "copy approval" to interviewees. If interviewees are concerned that the facts of a story might be misconstrued, these can be checked in advance of publication, without submitting the actual text of the story to the subject.

Like all UBM employees, writers must obey the law at all times.

Writers should not record interviews or private conversations without the consent of all parties involved.

Gamasutra staff writers should pay their own way to events – including travel, accommodation, and sustenance. This is the best way to preserve our neutrality. Where it is unavoidable to accept a source's hospitality (on an organized press trip, for example), this is stated in writing at the bottom of the article in question - it should be made clear at the outset that the covering of any expenses will not influence our coverage.

We compete ferociously with our rivals, but we are open and fair. If journalists use material published by competitors, they attribute it.

Gamasutra staff writers sometimes receive free games or other minor promotional items. We will note these instances in content where this is relevant information to the reader, in order to avoid perceived conflict of interest.

Gamasutra writers will strive to avoid covering individuals or projects to which they are personally contributing funding via the Patreon platform. However, if a scenario arises where such a situation is unavoidable, the relationship will be clearly stated in the story.

All sponsored content on Gamasutra shall be clearly labeled as such.

While our sales department is made aware of our editorial calendar in order to seek special sponsorship opportunities, no control over editorial content or planning is given to advertisers. Writers do not publish stories with the intent of pleasing advertisers.

As a subsidiary of UBM, we are sibling organizations of various businesses, including Game Developers Conference and its associated events. When material is presented on Gamasutra discussing these events, it will be labeled with clear wording such as "EVENT NAME and Gamasutra are sibling organizations under UBM Tech."

Gamasutra writers understand that journalism is a discipline of verification, and our journalistic process reflects that ideal. Accuracy is paramount.

In the case of mistakes in news reporting, our journalists and editors shall correct and acknowledge these errors in a fashion that's clear to the reader - generally with a square bracket [UPDATE...] note.

Gamasutra writers shall identify sources clearly, and use anonymous sources only when unavoidable (e.g. when a source might be harmed in some way if their name is revealed).

Gamasutra writers will strive to make transparent our journalistic processes.

Gamasutra subscribes to the view expressed by the US Society of Professional Journalists, which states in its own Code of Ethics, extrapolated on for this document: "Public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialities strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility."

User-Generated Content and Comments

Gamasutra staff writers aren't the only ones who put content on our sites, of course. We invite the community we serve to contribute, and our readers (game developers) contribute the majority of the new content on Gamasutra in any given day. The content provided by our community has 'blogs' clearly mentioned in the URL and a disclaimer at the top of each story.

When readers blog or comment on the site, they have to adhere to our guidelines for blogs and comments:

Blogging guidelines

Gamasutra Blogs are intended solely for articles about game development by and for game developers. That means everyone from members of triple-A studios to indie developers, garage creators, and students -- as long as all your posts are about the art and business of making games.

Feel free to repost content from your own personal blog, and note that Gamasutra makes no claim to ownership of user-submitted materials. We just want to highlight great writing about game-making. That said, you may not post material you did not write, or that you do not have full permission to reprint. Also, please no teaser-link posts -- reprint your blog post in its entirety. Feel free to link back to your site, however.

While the Gamasutra staff will be monitoring content posted to the blogs, please refrain from posting inappropriate content that will later be removed. Use your best judgment, and please steer clear of pornographic images or excessive profanity; the line should be pretty clear in most cases! In addition, we would ask that your blog does not wholly advertise products or services at the exclusivity of anything else. Our goal is absolutely not to modify or censor material, but illegal or highly objectionable content will be necessarily excised.

Feel free to format your posts, but don't make them too visually outrageous -- too many colors and font sizes will just make things harder to read! Also, please note that your images should be no more than 610 pixels wide.

All blog accounts must be individual accounts. We do not allow company accounts. Further, each blog post must be posted by its author, under his or her name. In cases where multiple authors contribute to one post, one should post and credit the others within the post's body. Read more about Gamasutra blogging here.

Comment Guidelines

The following guidelines are true for comments on both the news and blogs area of Gamasutra:

Be thoughtful and constructive. This rule is number one because it’s the most important. We don’t just want comment threads full of inside jokes and snarky, “me-too” bashing of the subject at hand. Every comment should be thought-out and truly add something to the discussion.

Stay on topic. This can get a bit fluid as a thread that starts on one topic evolves into related tangents, but there are limits. For example, a story about Sony bringing PlayStation 2 game downloads to the PS3 is not necessarily the place to write about how the Dreamcast was the best system ever and should have sold better than the PS2 in the first place. If you are inspired by a thread to write about a totally different topic, take it over to the blogs and we'd love to see discussion start there.

Keep things respectful. That means no ethnic slurs or ad hominem personal attacks. Criticizing a person’s work or ideas is OK (“Mario is overrated because it’s not that great a gameplay leap”). Criticizing someone personally or irrationally is not OK (“Mario is overrated because I hate Shigeru Miyamoto.”) Excessive use of profanity or vulgarity, especially in referring to fellow developers or commenters, is prohibited.

Use your full, real name (first and last) when posting. As an extension of this, don’t misrepresent yourself or your position in the industry through your posts, and don’t use more than one account to post on the site. We also encourage you to use a real picture when posting, although other avatars are also permitted.

No posting irrelevant links. This includes commercial spam, links to offensive material, and purely self-promotional links that don’t apply to the topic thread. One exception: A single link to your personal web site is permitted as a signature.

Unwanted comments. Gamasutra's staff members reserve the right to remove comments (individually) or ban users (an entire account). If we feel you are not contributing meaningfully to conversation on Gamasutra, we will exercise this right - although generally after at least one warning if you are an established site user, and only as a last resort. If your comments were deleted or you were banned and you feel this was an error, or you wish to discuss it with Gamasutra staff, please email us at support@gamasutra.com. Read more about commenting on Gamasutra here.
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