Indie Haven Seeking Writers (Not Just Straight White Guys) Laura Kate January 19, 2015 Archives 49 EDIT: We have changed the title from “Other Than” to “Not Just” to better reflect our intentions. Indie Haven is looking for talented writers to join our team as contributors. So, let’s get this out the way. We here at Indie Haven are pretty proud of our site staff’s history of diversity. At one point, almost two thirds of our staff were LGBT people. We like to pride ourself on being a welcome site for writers of all backgrounds. With a recent turn over of writers at the new year, we’ve swung back toward being a site dominated by straight cisgender white male writers. To be clear, we have absolutely zero problem with anyone who is straight, cisgender, white or male, we just don’t want that to be the default state of our site. So, while we’re currently accepting applications from anyone who wants to write for us, we particularly would love to bring on some more writers from diverse backgrounds. There’s a wealth of perspectives out there, we don’t want out site limited to just sharing one of them. We are in need of experienced game reviewers who can crank out pieces in a timely fashion, first and foremost. Indie Haven is also in need of news reporters, who are on top the of latest events making waves in the independent games scene. We aren’t going to sugar coat the fact that, as a volunteer driven site, we can’t pay you. However, we have a solid following with some large names in the industry, so it is chance to get published in a public forum and rapidly improved upon your skills by working with a great bunch of folks. We are a community here that regularly offers feedback, advice and training on how to be a games journalist. If you are interested, please contact us at email@example.com. If any writers want to know more about our site’s internal diversity practices, some of the backgrounds of our staff etc drop a line to LauraK@IndieHaven.com. SomePersonWriting So anyone who is straight, white, and male cannot write for this blog, even if they are more qualified or have more experience or can provide more for said blog than their non-straight, non-white, or non-male counterpart? Setting “mixed demographics” standards doesn’t help innovation, it stifles it. Bryan Rumsey This isn’t about qualifications or journalism experience but more about perspective and life experiences. Including people from diverse backgrounds can provide new outlooks or entirely new topics of discussion. I don’t see how including perspectives from different walks of life can hinder a publication at all, especially not in innovation. For instance, Joe Parlock wrote an eye opening article here about the representation of disability in gaming. As an ablebodied person I hadn’t realized that some disabilities are commonly misrepresented in games and thus would never have written about the topic. Spokker “As an ablebodied person I hadn’t realized that some disabilities are commonly misrepresented in games and thus would never have written about the topic.” Absolutely. And Fredrick Brennan wrote a fantastic article supporting eugenics that, in my opinion, sounds more authentic coming from him than a person who is not disabled like he is (and I mean really disabled not some made up mental problem). As a racist, male, cis-scum gamer, I absolutely get diversity of perspective, opinion, thought, whatever. My only problem with it is browbeating or shaming companies to fulfill YOUR particular vision (I use YOUR in the general sense, just so no one in confused). Now if only the leading social justice sites cared about diversity of opinion and thought. RatSupremacy Yep, because a straight white dude is super qualified to offer the perspective they’re interested in getting. It’s like why, for instance, a hairy giant dude is not qualified to be a catwalk model. amorphousmechanism > So anyone who is straight, white, and male cannot write for this blog, wrong. most of the people writing for this blog are straight cis white men, that’s the whole point Anthony The post specificly says that such people are allowed to apply, they simply want to get a variety of perspectives and not be solely straight white males. ” To be clear, we have absolutely zero problem with anyone who is straight, cisgender, white or male, we just don’t want that to be the default state of our site.” Directly from the article above. Spokker I support this 100%. When you are writing for an audience or otherwise targeting a certain demographic, this is absolutely appropriate. Do you expect a magazine that caters to black women to be run by white males? Should they hire a token white male just to serve some diversity quota? This isn’t a job like running a fork lift or manning the tech support desk where it doesn’t matter who fills the seat. You just follow the instructions and do what they tell you to do. Writing an article, however, has no instructions. It’s perfectly possible that a white guy knows more than any black woman at Essence magazine about weaves, but the company has to think about authenticity, and it’s going to sound more authentic coming from a black woman who you know lives that life. Just as well, I don’t think it would be authentic to see a woman hosting a fighting game tournament. I would probably accept that but I would have that initial suspicion until she proves she’s authentic, just like the owners of this site believes their readers need to see transgender non-white individuals talk about games to be viewed as authentic. I wouldn’t read this site (other than to comment on this issue so enjoy the hit), simply because I’m not into indie games any more than the average person, but I support this 100% in principle, but of course society is hypocritical about representation. Some Guy Is “Indiehaven” targeting s specific audience, or do they just want to talk about indie games? What if I build a site that talks about cars, but I want to openly exclude Mexican writers? Would you be cool with that? Spokker Are you building a site about lowriders? Anthony If you already had a staff that was almost exclusively Mexican writers and wanted to seek some diversity that would be understandable as well. Although I feel like you are talking about having a site that is mostly white guys and excluding hispanic applicants which no is not the same thing as what is happening here both because they are not seeking to exclude white straight male applicants and they are already primarily composed of such. Stormbringer There are too many white men invested in games because they were not discouraged from playing games, especially during the period of the 80s and 90s when games left a huge impression on a lot of young people’s minds. For every non-trans-woman I run into who does technical/activist things around video games I run into four or five trans-lesbians. That right there says that the estimated population of 1/200 people (of all sexes) is probably more than the number of young girls who weren’t discouraged from playing games. There are just too many white guys competing for one part. Sorry. MessyLessy This is embarassing to read. Trivago Guy I will be filing an official report with the EEOC. Better lawyer up. HURRRRRRRRR “we’re against discrimination except for this one demographic” Durrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Emil Odin Hoff Tjore How the fuck is this not discrimination? Political correctnes gone mad. Anthony Because they want a variety of opinions and specifically state they straight white guys are still welcome to apply. They are just trying to encourage people who aren’t those things to also apply. Emil Odin Hoff Tjore “To be clear, we have absolutely zero problem with anyone who is straight, cisgender, white or male, we just don’t want that to be the default state of our site.” What if they had said this about homosexuals, women or black people? People would be outraged. Anthony If you are talking about another organization that is mostly straight white men saying that about those groups then you have a false equivalency. If, however it was an organization that was mostly run by people who belong to one or more of those groups looking to diversify their volunteer base, no that wouldn’t be an outrage. Eric Mundine Do you have to provide a DNA test or do they just judge your skin color by a photo? Also, for a fun game replace “white” with “black”, “gay” or “Jewish” and then see how long this website stays up Anthony No because they are still accepting white applicants, they are just trying to encourage other people to apply Tau So much kneejerk in the comments. Point out to me where it even says “NO STRAIGHT WHITE GUYS ALLOWED”? “So, while we’re currently accepting applications from anyone who wants to write for us, we particularly would love to bring on some more writers from diverse backgrounds. There’s a wealth of perspectives out there, we don’t want out site limited to just sharing one of them.” CURRENTLY ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FROM *ANYONE*. indie haven is just LOOKING for more diversity. How about you read the article next time instead of screaming and crying and kicking your feet at anything that doesn’t immediately cater to your privileged little selves? Eric Mundine It’s in the title of the article, champ Tau “Seeking not *JUST* straight white guys” still not seein’ it. but then i presume you saw the article title and skipped to the comments to vent your SEETHING MALE OUTRAGE SweetTinyChild “Indie Haven Seeking Writers (Other Than Straight White Guys)” Other than = Anything but = Not Reading is fundamental. Tau except you…. literally just rewrote the article title to suit yourself? “Indie Haven Seeking Writers (Not Just Straight White Guys)” if you’re gonna try to argue with me, don’t *outright falsify* your information. Anthony I’m on your side of the argument Tau, but the title does say other than, not “not just”. That shouldn’t really matter too much though for anyone who actually read the article instead of simply responding to the title. Tau uh…? Anthony Interesting, possibly some A/B testing going on by the site? A lot of sites do that with titles. This is what I see: http://prntscr.com/5utvnv Possibly feeds into the arguments that people aren’t seeing the same title. SweetTinyChild “EDIT: We have changed the title from “Other Than” to “Not Just” to better reflect our intentions.” Right beneath the title. Bryan Rumsey Unless you are seeing a different title than I, I am seeing “not just”. Anthony I am seeing other than I guess they are trying different titles and seeing which gets more clicks? SweetTinyChild Hi. Go read the edit. Looks l’m not the one rewriting titles. One could interpret that as some sort of acknowledgment that the original title was jacked up. Go figure. Anthony The url http://indiehaven.com/indie-haven-seeking-writers-other-than-straight-white-guys/ does not contain the edit text while the url http://indiehaven.com/indie-haven-seeking-writers-not-just-straight-white-guys/ does. This is probably going to be source of even greater confusion. Tau “We’re currently accepting applications from anyone who wants to write for us” You understand what ‘Anyone’ means, right? Anthony the article title is showing differently for different people. Speaking of reading being fundamental however the body of the article states that they are not excluding applications from straight white guys, they are just trying to encourage other people to apply. Anthony If you read the article however, you will see that this is not the case. Vittorio Pedroni >lie and say you’re gay >get the job Spokker You have to kiss a man, provided at no cost to you, at the interview, though. Anthony Is it a cute guy? Is that “test” only for the straight people pretending or does everyone get it? James Kay I guess as a white male I shouldn’t even apply for this job. At least professional sites/businesses will let you apply and then let you down easy (and not tell you you didn’t get the job because of their minority quotas). Stormbringer At least? So you’d rather be mislead and have your time wasted. I swear sometimes, human psychology must have a switch somewhere that can be flung to make it run backwards. Little Wins, LLC Hey Laura, Some friendly business advice from lilwins at the Philly Game Forge. You’ve got a couple things going on here that you should be aware of. Job postings, hiring, and employment needs to adhere to the EEOC. The way you’ve framed this conversation, “Indie Haven Seeking Writers (Other Than Straight White Guys)” does not appear to follow equal opportunity guidelines. I think anyone reading this will get what you are trying to say, that you want a diverse range of candidates to apply. And if that’s what you intend, that’s how it should be written, with a positive and inclusive context instead of a negative and exclusive context. I doubt you would have lead this conversation with “Indie Haven Seeking Writers (Other than Asians)” or “Indie Haven Seeking Writers (Other than women)”. That said, since you are not providing compensation, and presumably won’t be providing W-2 or 1099 status to your writers, you are not actually hiring anyone. You may fall outside of the Equal Opportunity guidelines. You should consult a lawyer to find out where that line actually stands with volunteers. You should also speak to a business insurance provider to discuss your hiring process and what coverage you should carry for your circumstances. The point is, employment should be taken with great respect and responsibility, and always framed in a positive, inclusive context. You cover games that don’t get coverage, and as a reader and indie dev, I’d love to see that continue for a long time to come. Good luck in your search. J Stormbringer When you are hiring writing staff it’s no different from casting actors in a movie. There is no law anywhere that says once a movie exceeds 15 parts all roles must go to the “most qualified” actor. These aren’t cogs in a machine “jobs”. Sorry. Kenneth Cypret Normally I am a huge proponent of simply hiring the best person for the job, regardless of race, sex, religion, ect, ect, ect. However in this case, I have a hard time being too upset about a small website with a specific focus trying to recruit a diverse, unpaid, writing staff. All that being said. A bit more tact should be used in the future. No need to stir up unneeded controversy. One person mentioned EEOC. I’m not an expert at all, other than I have done a bit of hiring in my life. My thinking is that EEOC only covers paid employment or when a person is receiving some sort of specific benefits (on the job training, health insurance, ect). But it could violate local anti-discrimination laws that are being passed in the US and other places. Spokker It also depends on how many employees the business has. I think if you have under 15 employees this stuff doesn’t apply to you. jswft I’m so sick of being told I’m a terrible person because I was born white & male, two things completely out of my control. Anthony No one here is telling you you are a terrible person. You’re projecting Stormbringer I wonder why this post has 38 comments and most posts here have 0? I wonder is iH the only website covering indie/DIY games to the exclusion of all else? Because it’s the only one I know of. I also wonder if iH is a UK website in particular? Do you welcome people from outside of GB? Or are you staying where you have a potential brick-and-mortar home base? I definitely appreciate the what we in the US call “progressive media” bent of the site. It makes me feel like as long it maintains that character I will always be comfortable with it, and it will naturally turn anti social progress types away (social progress and cooperation will be required for DIY games to amount to something new.) PS: That said. Websites like escapistmagazine.com have really bad rules around what can be said in the forums, which essentially function as comments there. Superficially the rules appear designed to broadly force people to “not offend others” but the end result is you can’t have an adult conversation, where one party can just say that’s enough and let the other side down recognizing that people are different like you would offline. Rather than asking (and thereby fostering) people to be adult and not take offense and show out, it places the onus on everyone to reach some kind of mythical lowest common denominator of inoffensiveness and the end result is everyone gets banned eventually, almost always good people, and the only people that remain are sticklers for the rules that practice manipulating the system setup by the “rules” which no one should even have to read in the first place. I think this website has a good chance of being a good place to host a healthy burgeoning inclusive DIY games scene that will stretch to infinity. Maybe there are other good candidates too, but I haven’t heard of any. Generally speaking rules of engagement should be commensurate with the modern pro-autonomy nation state, and objectively clear like bodies of law. If they look like vague police-state/corporate rules something is wrong. J.g. Alt Hello, Do you review fiction or just games? It would be ironic for you to review my fiction Too Many White Men…J.G. Alt.