The following is an opinion post. You are allowed to disagree.
When I originally wrote this post, a user posted two images they reportedly found on the Japanese Mario Maker website. These images are two versions of Daisy, one in her sports outfit and one in her princess garb. Shortly after, the news was reported on various websites and the rumor has been spread around. It’s now confirmed fake, but I would like to argue why sites shouldn’t report on these kinds of rumors in the first place.
The issue from the start? There was no source, and the “rumor” belonged in the trash. I even questioned the rumor’s status on Twitter before it was confirmed to be fake.
The user on Twitter was obviously biased towards Daisy with both their account name, display name and icon all referencing the beloved princess of Sarasaland. Looking over their account, they had no history of hacking, and their link as proof was extremely dubious. The site has 8 different character icons on it, and the user is claiming that there are 2 additional icons for just Daisy. Obviously, this had no basis in reality. Yet, blogs were reporting on it, people made videos on it, and here I am discussing the issue.
This needs to stop. Now.
I’m sure a lot of you will say, “it’s okay! They are posting it under the ‘rumor’ tag, so no harm done!”. Let me explain why sites and other content creators need to stop reporting on obviously fake rumors.
Fake rumors hurt the community and fans
When this rumor does not come to light it will hurt the fans of Daisy. They have been mislead but not only the person who created this rumor, but other content creators who are propagating the misinformation.
People also tend to believe these fake rumors. Down the line, it will be even more difficult to tell people that no, Daisy never had a costume in Super Mario Maker. No, it wasn’t cut. Some person on the Internet lied to you. I know this first hand, as I constantly have to tell people that when I explain that no, Pit wasn’t planned for Smash 64. No, he wasn’t cut. Some guy on the Internet lied to you. When false information like this becomes known it’s a lot harder to unlearn it.
Fake rumors are fluff content
99.99% of the rumors are just wishlists written in a way to get people to read them– something that this Daisy user actually admitted to. If you wish to publish wishlists on your site, then just accept fan submissions. Do not go under the guise that you are “reporting” on a “rumor”, when basic fact-checking or inquiry has been thrown out the window. Stop wasting your reader’s time and eyeballs and be more productive with the power to reach millions of people.
Reporting on fake rumors creates more fake rumors
The exposure of fake rumors incentives other liars to create fake rumors as they know people will read it. In this sense, people who create fake rumors are content creators. Being a content creator myself, I know there is nothing better than people actually consuming your content. However, encouraging this kind of behavior needs to stop as it damages the community, information and is frankly a waste of everyone’s time.
Fake rumors make it difficult to decipher true information
Fake rumors adds a lot of unnecessary “noise”, and makes it difficult to notice true rumors/ leaks because of all the fake ones. Arguably, no one would have believed Cloud even if he was leaked, and multiple people did (one person on GameFaqs, another on NeoGaf), but everyone just chalked it up as fake information partly because there was so much of it already.
Aftermath and obligations
If a site, or YouTuber reports on fake rumors, at the very least they have an obligation to update the original post to inform new readers that it’s misinformation. The best thing to do would be to have a dialogue, and make a new post/ include the corrected information as part of a different post. When newspapers get something wrong they often have a little blurb in future issues informing their readers of their mistake. I think we as content creators need to do the same thing.
I know this is a losing battle, and I doubt I will make much difference. There’s too much of a rush to be “the first” with content creators; but I strongly believe consumers need to take a more active role in the content they consume or else they will be constantly lied to. The need for proper sourcing is something that I think needs to be done if we want to continue to elevate video games as ‘not just a hobby’ but as a productive part of everyday life.
If you want more information on how to “bust” leaks, read this post.
Do you agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments!