NeoGAF, which went offline over the weekend following allegations of sexual assault against its founder, returned late last night with a statement about the matter and the forum’s direction going forward. It did not appear to be well received.
Tyler Malka, known as Evilore on the site, denied the “allegation of sexual misconduct” made against him by an ex-partner. A subsequent message from NeoGAF’s decimated moderation team said the forum’s off-topic boards would be deactivated for a time to refocus NeoGAF’s discussion to video gaming, away from political topics.
Numerous reactions to this statement accused Malka of shutting down discourse as a way to protect himself. As the forum returned, users flooded it with new threads referencing the claims against Malka either openly, obliquely or satirically. For example, this thread, just this morning (warning, slightly nsfw image at the link), which references the nature of the sexual misconduct allegation against Malka.
Much of that appeared to have been dealt with by moderators this morning; the threads were locked by moderators and users banned, though more continue to trickle in. As the controversy unfolded over the weekend, many users wrote “suicide posts” with the intention of being banned, as a form of protest.
One user, who was not banned, offered this reaction this morning.
Yea, this is unacceptable, the getting rid of Off-Topic and later restricting what can be discussed is a poor response.
The spirit of what made GAF worth visiting is dead here.
Another recent reaction, also not banned:
Your solution to people being upset about the sexual assault accusations against you is to shut down the entire side of the site that discussed these types of issues and ban political/social threads?
You are a coward.
Malka began his statement with a categorial denial of the allegations against him. “[T]he individual making the accusation isn’t credible,” he said at the beginning of the statement, “the story doesn’t reconcile logically with the facts, and there’s plenty of evidence and witnesses to corroborate that.”
He went on to describe how he became aware of the pending accusation, his slow response to it, and the mass departure of moderators over the weekend, seen as a protest against Malka and the allegations he faced. Malka characterized most of the walkouts as due to “stress and harassment,” and that some mods had “hit their emotional limit,” because users were coming after them, personally, as agents of NeoGAF.
“Since that whole mess, lasting from Friday morning through Saturday, before we formally went offline for maintenance and repair and restructure, we’ve just been trying to figure out the best course of action for NeoGAF going forward,” Malka said.
A subsequent message by a moderator noted that “Over the years, moderators changed from simply people who made sure discussion stay civil into personalities.” Because of that, they became targets for harassment and invective from the community. “This shouldn’t be happening to them. We’ve taken action to protect these people by making moderation anonymous,” the moderator said.