This is an opinion article. You are allowed to disagree. Let me know how you feel in the comments.
Today, I will be briefly discussing sourcing. As you can probably tell from the name of the site you are currently on, I believe that proper sourcing is extremely important. Sourcing let’s people know where quotes or information comes from. Even though it’s an integral part of the worldwide web, it is critically underused one. If more sites took reporting more seriously, then the gaming community could cut out a lot of the misinformation that exists in it.
So when reporting on something that you are trying to pass off as fact, you should source where that information comes from…even if it’s “assumed knowledge”. For example: everyone knows that Miyamoto hates Donkey Kong! Remember that quote? Well, if people actually looked for the quote, they would (hopefully) realize that it’s actually false information. A major part of being a responsible content creator means taking responsibility for the information you present to your audience. This information could be cut out of the narrative if people take it upon themselves to properly source quotes. When possible, look for the origins of statements, as things are often lost in context.
Another part of this is being responsible for the headlines you write as a content creator. Is the headline a good summary? Can it be taken the wrong way? This is something I’m still working on. A lot of the reasons people may believe Sakurai has lied in the past was because of the practice of people only reading headlines. Ironically enough, Is Sakurai a Liar? is probably the title I regret the most. The issue is that as much hate as clickbait gets, it’s effective. Con0rrr has a great video discussing the subject on his channel.
There is also a major difference between “the half-life of knowledge” and straight up bad research. A lot of times, “the half-life of knowledge” exists because the people responsible for information refuse to actually take responsibility for it. Fans deserve responsible content creators. Fans deserve the correct information. We just need to demand it.
Far too often I see journalists who are just copying and pasting from other sites without any kind of fact checking. Go to your favorite blog news website. Click on an article and play the “source game”. How many clicks does it take to get to the original source? A lot of the time it takes three, four clicks. Sites are often reporting on another site who is reporting the information presented by another site which was found by another team. Slowly, this can change the story and dilute the original meaning. So please check the original source as much as possible in order to get better information.
It doesn’t have to be like this. If sites followed the source train themselves and did a quick fact-check then we could cut out 99% of the misinformation that exists. Thankfully it’s been happening a lot less recently, but rumor reporting (in most of cases) is something that I’ve actively spoken out against in the past.
This isn’t limited to just news sites either. YouTube channels need to be responsible too. If a YouTube channel makes a fact video — ask for their sources. No one is the guaranteed, “gate keeper of knowledge”, and it’s foolish to assume that someone is going to be right 100% of the time. I’ve been wrong about stuff in the past. I try to own up to my mistakes and move on. This is why we painstakingly source all of our information on Source Gaming. If we are wrong about something, then it’s very easy to figure out why, offer corrections in the comments and fix the error. I strongly encourage everyone to start questioning information — even information we present here. Be inquisitive, pursuit knowledge, ask questions, grow as a human being.
In the end, what all this misinformation does is disappoint fans and makes them distrustful. The same exact situation happened when a user claimed false information about Smash 64 and Melee’s character development. It took almost three years before someone (me) to even overturn that information. People on the Internet lie. Stop believing them and do basic fact-checking.
The last point I’d like to make is the “source” link at the bottom of posts on most news blogs needs to disappear. The throw away “source” link is not proper attribution, it’s not proper sourcing. I mentioned this in An Appeal to the Community. I admit it — I don’t do a good job advertising Source Gaming and rely a lot of the word of mouth. However, the “source link” is why a lot of people don’t realize that all of the Smash information that came out in the past year was from our efforts. A lot of people don’t click on the “source link”, some people don’t realize there is still more to read. In newer translations I request news blogs to include an inline mention of Source Gaming and include a link within the actual article…and it’s already making a difference.
#SakuraiLive helped us gain a lot of followers. Major props to MyNintendoNews for including a link to our Twitter in their article. After they updated their article, we gained 20 followers in an hour, and their effort really helped spread the word about our live translations. This kind of mention takes literally almost no effort and can really makes a difference in helping channels and websites grow. Relax Alax mentioned our YouTube channel and we got a ton of subscribers the same day. It probably took thirty seconds of his time, and it was a huge boom to us. Now, we are eager to work with Relax Alax again. So give people a shout-out! Help them out by RTing their Twitter, or even mentioning it in the articles. It really does make a difference. If some content is good enough to be featured on your personal website, then it deserves to be respected in the same way you wish your own content to be treated on other websites.
This is getting long, so let me wrap this up: look at the sources for the first set of SmashTrivia. It’s insane how much information we’ve been responsible for. Most of the information cited in that article wasn’t known before we started properly sourcing stuff. I know I properly sound like I’m just patting myself on the back, but it’s a lot of effort. I want to see this kind of effort extended to other fanbases, and continued it in Smash. I’m not making money off Source Gaming, I’m not interested in gaining money off of ad revenue (there aren’t any ads on this site: if you want to support us, consider our Patreon). I want people to know where they can find the complete information and interact with the text. I want people to fact check us and tell us when we got things wrong. I want people to properly source.
If you are a content creator, I implore you to take responsibility for your role. If you are part of the “audience” then demand better practices. Check sources. Let those content creators know the absurdity of the “source train”, and demand that they give proper credit for those who deserve it. Otherwise, content creators will continue to take the easy way out, and the blame will continue to be shifted elsewhere.
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Mains: Yoshi (64), Game and Watch (Melee), Wario (Brawl), Wario/Pac-Man (Smash for 3DS/Wii U)