NeoGAF – Death of a Conversation

[Update: Vice speaks with Tyler Malka regarding the allegations.]

Imagine founding a small message board in 1999 as an extension of your site. Five years later, the moderators of the board decide to take over hosting and ownership due to issues with the ownership of your site. A year later, they shut you out. Over the next twelve years, two moderators are involved with pedophilia… Then the lead administrator abandons the site after specific accusations of sexual assault come to light.

For Gaming-Age, imagination isn’t needed. Tyler Malka, better known as EviLore in the online realm, was the topic of a #metoo post on Tuesday. Found by users of a related board, the post found its way to NeoGAF. Questions came up, and were deleted en masse. Moderators resigned, users asked for permanent bans, former staff commented negatively on Twitter.

Given the exposure NeoGAF has online, seeing slander come out about a user or staffer isn’t unusual–it’s typical. But this felt different. Between the two aforementioned moderators, Malka’s own bragging about sexually harassing a woman in a bar in Spain, and his posting photos of a forum user’s naked girlfriend on a troll-based offshoot of GAF in 2006–there’s a lot of smoke to indicate a fire. [Sites such as Kotaku] have contacted the accuser and cited the harassment, but write it off with NeoGAF’s penchant for kneejerk reaction and the accuser?s own brief (two month, maximum) relationship with Malka — [which isn?t unusual for victims of abuse.]

But in this case, as staff of Gaming-Age, it’s near impossible to take our history of interaction with the man through IRC, email, and his own self-documented history of harassment and behaviors and ignore the possibility that the accusations may be true.

Then again, Malka’s silence on the subject and concurrent offlining of NeoGAF speaks louder than any statement he or any other person can make in the wake of the serious accusations levied upon him.

Where do we go from here? Where do the users, of NeoGAF, who were administrated by–but not represented by–an accused serial abuser to go? Should Gaming-Age relaunch the forums in the wake of what’s transpired, or leave the users to build their own alternatives? How can anyone rebuild the trust, goodwill, and community that one man orchestrated the self-destruction of?

Where does that job even start?

Very real questions, all–but they come a very distant second place to our only current concern: the wellbeing and state of the alleged victims of Tyler Malka.

And with that, we try to take our first steps forward from the situation.