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#1 Edited by andrebetoche (52 posts) -

Look at this latest example:

These Two Ubisoft Games Are Shutting Down, Here's When and Why

Ubisoft is pulling the plug on these two PC games.

If this isn't pure click-bait, I don't know what is. You know what I do when I see such titles? I don't click it. I open another tab, search for the mentioned news and read it on another non-click-baity website.

The words that get me the most are "these", "this", "here", "when", "why", "how", etc. The title is already a click-bait and yet you throw in those words to achieve the highest click-bait combination. You don't want to give away the news in the title? Ok, but don't treat us like idiot children. "These" in that sentence is COMPLETELY unnecessary. Same goes for the entire "here's when and why" part. The title would still be click-bait without them though.

Are these "articles" still written by Ed, or what was his name? Can't remember because I can't remember the last time I clicked on such titles.

Gamespot is still my main go-to game website, but these practices are getting utterly annoying.

EDIT: Yes, a lot of websites do it, but surely Gamespot can be a bit more professional than this.

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#2 Posted by Macutchi (6695 posts) -

@andrebetoche: so hang on, just to confirm, you are so irritated by the use of the word 'these' in an article title that you've felt the need to create a thread in the feedback forum to complain about it? and the inclusion of the word 'these' makes it a 'click bait' article?

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#3 Posted by SOedipus (11397 posts) -

@Macutchi said:

@andrebetoche: so hang on, just to confirm, you are so irritated by the use of the word 'these' in an article title that you've felt the need to create a thread in the feedback forum to complain about it? and the inclusion of the word 'these' makes it a 'click bait' article?

This is a fairly common complaint among users here and elsewhere on the net. It's a very frequent practice, so it's not just GameSpot that's guilty of using click-bait articles. However, it can come across as luring users and perhaps, fooling someone into clicking on an article that they would not have done if the writer had been a little more specific on the title. Said article may appear be more enticing without specifics and users are tricked into clicking it just for the ad revenue. In this case, I agree with the TC. How many users would click on an article about Ubisoft shutting down the servers for Ghost Recon Phantoms or The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot? Probably not as much. Hell, I never even heard of them, nor care for that matter.

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#4 Edited by andrebetoche (52 posts) -

@Macutchi said:

@andrebetoche: so hang on, just to confirm, you are so irritated by the use of the word 'these' in an article title that you've felt the need to create a thread in the feedback forum to complain about it? and the inclusion of the word 'these' makes it a 'click bait' article?

No, I meant that using those words with an already click-baity title makes it even worse. I edited my comment to reflect that.

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#5 Posted by pug987 (457 posts) -

I'm glad someone made a thread about that article. Gamespot should know that their readers don't appreciate being treated like idiots.

I just went and read the rest of the headlines on the recent news section and most of them are all pretty informative about the respective article without intentionally withholding information or click baiting. So the mentioned headline is a bit of an irregularity but it's not the first time I've seen such on Gamespot.

This:

James Bond Director in Talks to Adapt This Classic Roald Dahl Book -- Report

Oscar-winner Sam Mendes is reportedly in "early talks" to develop a live-action version of this 1996 stop-motion movie.

comes close.

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#6 Edited by Macutchi (6695 posts) -

@SOedipus: ah ok, got ya. thanks for the clarification. makes sense now

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#7 Posted by suicidesn0wman (7490 posts) -

@andrebetoche: I don't mind clicking them since I still have their ads blocked. I feel the same though, and if I didn't have a few friends on here I'd probably have moved on a long time ago. This site is dying because the people running the show don't know how to respect their users, won't be long now before every article is a slideshow and only gets clicks via celebrity retweets and shares on facebook.

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#8 Posted by Byshop (19558 posts) -

I get that when you run a website that contains articles, you need people to click on those articles in order to measure traffic and understand which articles are popular and that you should write more of. The only time it gets on my nerves is when the title that got me to click on the article is misleading (something like a gameplay video that contains next to no gameplay or mention of an upcoming release date and then it turns out to be something vague like "summer 2018"). Fortunately, I don't encounter that much of the latter on GS.

-Byshop

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#9 Posted by justinhaywald (935 posts) -

Hey guys, I'm GameSpot's Managing Editor Justin! I don't write much of the content you see on the site (sometimes I do things like this interview with Rick and Morty's creator Justin Roiland), but I oversee the teams who write it. I think over the last few years there's been a "Buzzfeedification" of content across the Internet. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, there's a lot of change--even old, traditional brands like the New York Times have become more bloggy (and in very rare cases clickbaity) with the way they frame headlines and content. Our job at GameSpot is to keep you, our audience, informed and entertained. But when we write content that pushes people away, we're not doing our job very well. Buzzfeed headlines are made for social media, primarily to get people to click on a single article, and then close it and return back to Twitter or Facebook. I won't lie and say our primary goal is NOT to get you to click on every story on the site. I would love it if every person on this thread every single thing we wrote every day.

That's not going to happen, but what we can work towards is making sure you enjoy the things you read and watch. GameSpot does occasionally have headlines I'm not entirely happy with. I don't review every article before it goes up on the site, but I work to instill the same "audience-first" approach in our writers for all of the content we create. When I see a headline I don't like, I talk to our writers, and we discuss why that was probably not a good idea and how we can avoid it in the future.

Now, before I go to far into the weeds, I do want to make a distinction between clickbait headlines and headlines that have a curiosity gap. I HATE clickbait headlines. I'm ashamed every time I click on one (because I know exactly what I'm getting into), and I know that we've made the mistake of using them on GameSpot before. A clickbait headline is something that misleads you into clicking it by withholding key information that, if you knew, would make you avoid the article entirely. When an article says, "You Won't Believe How This Man Lost 300 pounds in Just Two Weeks" and then it's an article about eating right and exercising, that's clickbait. I both believe that's how the person lost weight, and if I knew that's what the article was about, I wouldn't have clicked on it. "These articles cheat my time, or they lead to single-image galleries filled with nothing but ads, and with an additional ad after every third picture.

However, a headline is supposed to grab your attention and make you want to read more, and the reason headlines like that tend to work is because of a "curiousity gap." The story presents enough info so that you know what you're getting into, but not so much that you feel like the headline is the entire story. "New Mass Effect Coming to PS4 on Oct 25" -- that's a bad headline. You might click on the story to jump to the comments and start yelling about how excited you are, but why would you read that article? We'd likely write "New Mass Effect Coming in October." If you care about Mass Effect, you'll want to engage and learn more (and hopefully we have some cool other details besides just the date). However, if that story were about a MOBILE version of Mass Effect, I'd call it click-bait. If you're on GameSpot and you see a headline about a "new Mass Effect," you expect a full console/PC game. I think anything less would be misleading, and that's why if that were a detail, we'd be sure to include it in the headline as well.

For the headline that started this thread, while I don't think it's clickbait, I agree 100% that it's not a good headline. "These Two Ubisoft Games Are Shutting Down, Here's When and Why." Ubisoft has a huge stable of games, and this is a story about two of them you probably don't care about. If I was glancing through headlines, I might even imagine it was about Assassin's Creed--and that's not fair to you as a reader.

Our writers will make mistakes, and we're always trying to both be better writers and serve you with content that you like and that aligns with your interests. I want you to hold us accountable. When you see something you don't like, let us know in the comments, DM us on the site, and/or send an email to news (at) gamespot.com. We're listening. You might not always agree with why we do things the way we do, but we'll always be open with why we do those things. GameSpot's traffic and visitors continue to grow month-on-month and year-on-year, and to continue doing that, we will always evolve the way we approach content. But we wouldn't be anywhere without you, our readers. You're the heart of GameSpot, and in the end, we're here to make cool stuff for you!

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#10 Edited by suicidesn0wman (7490 posts) -

@justinhaywald said:

A clickbait headline is something that misleads you into clicking it by withholding key information that, if you knew, would make you avoid the article entirely.

How about when a writer misleads you into clicking on the article by adding information that was not in the original source? i.e. Eddies new article about Playstation Neo, in which the source never mentioned Playstation Neo? How many users clicked on the article With Neo Coming, PS4 Continues to "Push the Boundaries," Exec Says hoping to glean some new information on the Neo, only to find absolutely no new information on Neo. Even worse, Kaz never mentioned Neo in his speech, and neither did the website Eddie sourced.

You use examples that are blatant in their use of clickbait and primarily target a very wide audience(not to mention are constantly displaying in your Taboola ads). But this is just as bad when you craft a misleading headline towards a targeted audience. I don't care if there was intent to do this or not, the end result is all that matters. Either this was done intentionally to get more people to click, or someone wasn't using their head and just happened to create yet another clickbait title.

We're listening.

If you were really listening you'd notice that there's always people bitching about the quality of the articles here. It used to be a running joke around here that people who clicked on an article written by Eddie had gotten 'Makuched'. People still refer to him as the Master'click'bater, and there's almost always a comment saying "I knew who wrote this before I clicked". I don't know about you but if I were the brunt of all the jokes around here I'd be pretty upset and make an effort to change that.

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#11 Edited by andrebetoche (52 posts) -

@justinhaywald said:

Now, before I go to far into the weeds, I do want to make a distinction between clickbait headlines and headlines that have a curiosity gap.

I don't care what the definition is. To me, the writer is clearly trying to bait clicks with such titles.

I care about some ubi titles and I'd like to read more details, if they are the ones I care about, but the title is vague and is trying to force me to click. I wouldn't like to needlessly waste time by opening an article that is about things I don't care about.

When JFK was shot, newspaper titles weren't "some very important government official dead". They usually read "KENNEDY DEAD". Clear and informative. They had integrity back then.

I don't know what you do, but you need to get Ed under control. I avoid his possible articles like a plague, which actually aren't that hard to recognize, given his insulting-to-intellect titles. I'm sorry, but that's how I see it.

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#12 Edited by nepu7supastar7 (5066 posts) -

@andrebetoche:

The last one that got me was,

"See why Hollywood refuses to hire John Heder."

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#13 Posted by Hvac0120 (2038 posts) -

@justinhaywald: i don't believe your team is putting much effort into fixing the issue. As you may have seen, I have created a similar thread that complains not only about the headlines but the content of the articles themselves.

GameSpot seems to be leaning toward the "social media"/trending topics method of attracting readers to the site in a bad way.

I'd be happier if there was a separation between the "Buzzfeed"/"Click-bait" and the real journalistic news GameSpot used to provide. But at this point I can't think of much of anything in the news section that is journalistic. It's all Buzzfeed.

I get it. There's slow times of the year. But does GameSpot have to have news every day? If so, your in big trouble for the long run because the only way to fill in the gaps is with bloat/fluff/buzzfeed/click-bait.

Misleading and bait-y headlines are just the start of issues I've had lately with the news section of this site. I'm really missing the staff that was let go over the past couple years (that I still follow on social media and other sites).

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#14 Posted by elheber (2895 posts) -

Does this mean you'll also start using sexually suggestive and pseudo-gross thumbnails? I mean, if the largest consideration is if it improves the chances of an article being read, this seems like the end game. Just, like a shot of Laura Croft's armpit zoomed-in or something.

That said, GS and Justin Haywald, I'll admit that I've noticed the headlines are better than when I first started complaining about them. There's a few turds out there, but for the most part they're descriptive of the content. When the entire article fits on a headline, such as a simple release date announcement, then it really isn't worth a 500-word article. And if this is the case, then the headline should at least describe what the other 440 words are about.

I don't know what the solution is. But if the news is that Rocket League sold another million copies and you DON'T just want to put that in the headline, then maybe it doesn't deserve an article.

I'm happy with most of the work you guys do here. I wake up to your website. You guys may not change your policy on this, but it's still important we give you this feedback so you can weight it against your analytics.

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#15 Posted by Hvac0120 (2038 posts) -

Again Eddie's articles on front "news" page of GameSpot.com. 2 different articles to tell the same story. Neither article was necessary when all of the PS4 Slim and Pro announcements could have (arguably) gone into a single article. Also; Eddie has pulled info from an outside source and written a meaningless article on GameSpot. Why not just post a link to the actual interview from the other source? Eddie added nothing to the conversation.

PS4 Pro Won't Feature a 4K Bur-Ray drive

http://www.gamespot.com/articles/ps4-pro-wont-feature-a-4k-blu-ray-drive/1100-6443388/

Why PS4 Doesn't Have a 4K Blu-Ray player

www.gamespot.http://www.gamespot.com/articles/why-ps4-pro-doesnt-have-a-4k-blu-ray-player/1100-6443411/

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#16 Posted by digitaldame (5401 posts) -

@killered3: @elheber: @Hvac0120: @andrebetoche:

I feel like the important takeaway is the following:

Our writers will make mistakes, and we're always trying to both be better writers and serve you with content that you like and that aligns with your interests. I want you to hold us accountable. When you see something you don't like, let us know in the comments, DM us on the site, and/or send an email to news@gamespot.com (which is the email that is sent to the news team).

You can also reach out to support@gamespot.com to get ahold of the Community Manager (me) to then alert the news team if you feel perhaps you need to be super vigilant about your feelings regarding a particular headline.

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#17 Posted by Blabadon (33030 posts) -

I feel like if you guys were listening, Eddie would be out of a job.

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#19 Posted by andrebetoche (52 posts) -

Oh, boy. It's really bad when IGN's article title is not a click-bait and gamespot's is.

GameSpot:

Iceland Isn't in FIFA 17 Despite Incredible Euro 2016 Run and Here's Why

The tiny nation made a memorable run at the tournament, but the team won't be in the newest FIFA game.

IGN:

Iceland Not in FIFA 17 Due to Low Offer by EA

Iceland's football association says the offer by EA was not enough.

Now tell me it isn't so.

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#20 Posted by Cloud_imperium (14922 posts) -

Yeah, game journalism is going downhill. I don't visit front page anymore. Just forums.

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#21 Posted by PIXEL8 (203 posts) -

Stop posting political articles. Eddie Makuchs article about Palmer Lucky endorsing Trimp should be removed from the site. It has nothing to do with game journalism and political agendas don't belong on game sites. Fire Eddie Makuch.

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#22 Posted by suicidesn0wman (7490 posts) -

@pixel8: So many of the 'journalists' here do this, do you really think Eddie is entirely the problem or is he just the face of a much bigger problem here? There's so much push to get ads on our screens and in our content that it's fairly obvious, at least in my opinion, that these problems are most likely business decisions that were made way above the head of anyone who is employed by GameSpot.

Sad to see this place like this but as I've said before, if we want a better gaming site, we're going to have to make it ourselves, this place is too far gone.

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#23 Posted by Gelugon_baat (23986 posts) -

The lot of you should learn to pick up news from third-hand sources. For example, you can follow the talk shows, e.g. The Lobby and Giant Bomb's Bomb-cast, or the various audio recordings out there. You learn things a lot slower than other people, but at least other people have filtered the bullshit out for you.

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#24 Edited by andrebetoche (52 posts) -

@justinhaywald: I want to see you defending this: https://www.gamespot.com/articles/zelda-breath-of-the-wild-patch-out-now-heres-what-/1100-6449299/

Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Patch Out Now, Here's What It Does

it's unclear what exactly this newest patch does.

Can you do it with a straight face?

Do you know what I think? I think that nowadays gamepot knowingly and deliberately posts deceptive titles and simply have zero respect for their readers. After all, it's all about clicks. Integrity can go suck a lollipop.

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#25 Posted by SOedipus (11397 posts) -

@andrebetoche:.....omg.

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#26 Edited by justinhaywald (935 posts) -

@andrebetoche: As I've said before, in this same thread, "Our writers will make mistakes, and we're always trying to both be better writers and serve you with content that you like and that aligns with your interests. I want you to hold us accountable."

I think attacking Eddie directly is still ridiculous, and it completely ignores all of the amazing work he does each and every day. However, I do agree that that one, specific Zelda article had a bad headline. Nintendo's explanation for what's in the patch notes was not enough information, and it definitely didn't serve the people who were looking for more concrete specifics. I think we usually do a great job of letting you know how much (or how little) content is going to be in a story, and that Zelda story didn't quite meet those standards. Because of that, it's been changed to more accurately reflect what we learned (not much).

But as always, I appreciate all constructive criticism.

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#27 Edited by p1p3dream (1508 posts) -

@Gelugon_baat: Dude, give me a break.

@andrebetoche: And also just for the sake of not being a witch hunt, while there are plenty of things I don't like on gamespot- the whole "HATING EDDIE" thing is pretty silly and frankly in my eyes it's bullying. There is no need to Bully Eddie just because you saw some other guy do it. Call out shit that matters.

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#28 Edited by andrebetoche (52 posts) -

"Call Of Duty: WW2 Features These Two NFL Players"

Would you please, PLEASE, stop using redundant words like "these", "this", etc. in the titles. Extremely amateurish.

They are classic click-bait words that add zero information and have zero purpose. That title up there would still make sense without "these" and would not be a click-bait as a plus.

I haven't opened the article on purpose, because of the click-bait title, but just a guess, it was written by eddie.

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#29 Edited by uninspiredcup (32769 posts) -

1 year on rather than examine and rectify complaints it's gotten significantly worse.

Articles are all but given up, condensed into single paragraphs littered across multiple (30+) pages who's only intent is to get clicks, not inform. An infomercial. Basically. And these themselves are duplicated multiple times over.

Terrible buzz-feed level "Top 10 bla pop-culture lol".

Abysmal.

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#30 Edited by andrebetoche (52 posts) -

Another example:

"Valve Has Removed Almost 200 Games From Steam And Here's Why"

It is as if you're assuming we are all 10 year olds. What's the point of the "and here's why" part?! How is this even remotely ok when it comes to writing?!

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#31 Posted by Litchie (23706 posts) -

Just wanted to say I agree with the majority of your users. Your articles are mostly terrible and very clickbaity. It sucks, it's very annoying and it has now gotten to the point I don't click your articles at all. Please fix this.

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#32 Edited by KMP (379 posts) -

@justinhaywald: do you still appreciate all constructive criticism?

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#33 Posted by Zilched (39 posts) -

Not only are the articles click-bait, but to add insult to injury all the videos and pictures used in them also place a hovering ad that obstructs the view and requires you to click to remove... it's not enough to put 30 ads on the page every click, you have to go 'in-your-face' with pop-ups on all the content... Gamespot has gone to hell.

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#34 Posted by KMP (379 posts) -

@justinhaywald: hey buddy, how's constructive criticism treating you?