This is NeoGAF’s IRC channel. (click here for large version)
BishopTL talked about the IRC group once or twice. As far as I know, this is the first time anyone has never gotten to see it up close. To walk you through what you’re seeing: the moderators can ban people from here, look at a user’s notes, and discuss a user’s post history all at a glance. They do it as a group, and they do it with their personal slant and bias.
As you can see by the picture, the NeoGAF Modbot plays an active role in all of this as well, operating as a servant created by Stumpokapow. As explained by a mod, it’s an IRC bot, a NeoGAF account in itself, and otherwise manually controlled by Stump directly. The primary function of it is to give NeoGAF moderation the ability to ban people on the go via their private IRC channel, much easier than doing the process manually. Other options for it allow automated raffles, notify mods when particular threads are made, and submit closing posts via the modbot prior to a thread being locked.
Let’s check if Stumpokapow is biased.
“His post history has a bunch of proxy-gator stuff. He says he’s not a gator. He works on Star Citizen. These sort of seem mutually exclusive,” said mod Stumpokapow.
He’s certainly not neutral.
Opiate himself shared some of the things NeoGAF management had access to when it came to user information, back in his days as a mod:
You have never been banned. You are not listed on any troublemaker lists. Your IP does not immediately appear to match any aliases. I can see what college you went to (Because of your listed email) and I see you are using Central Time Zone settings. I can see many other things as well, but as stated, the four I listed are by far the most useful for moderation purposes — I almost never look at the rest unless I have specific reason to suspect someone of something particularly nefarious (i.e. alternate accounts, viral marketer, etc).
The phrase “You’re either 100% with us, or you’re against us” doesn’t just apply to the NeoGAF forums in general. The concept of group think is not limited to the posters in the threads.
NeoGAF’s shadows are the moderators that cull the userbase and push it in different directions. They’ve subtly guided and twisted the games industry for the past decade now, and the media gets the occasional tug on their puppet strings to do a dance for the site. Boogie2988 will have scars from his war with NeoGAF, and JonTron too even if he doesn’t fully realize it.
Tyler, you’ve got two problems. The first one is you’ve lost control of your website. The passage of time has eroded the innocence of NeoGAF, and you’ve left with the byproduct of your moderator’s actions. The second problem is now everybody knows how your moderators operate.
The website that became famous for their insider leaks, just got a few leaks of their own.