Nukezilla’s Ethical Guidelines
We feel it’s important to have a written down record of our ethics. This document is the best current version of those principals, and are made public to keep both staff and the wider community aware.
Integrity of Coverage
Compliance With Embargos
Generally, we will try to comply with embargos when requested by an industry representative, AND when the embargo is generally applicable to all reviewing sites. This is limited until the release date for the product/beta/game being reviewed; after public release, there is no further reason to comply with the embargo. In situations where embargos are applied in a discriminatory fashion (for instance, to encourage exclusives), it will be the decision of the Industry Liaison Project Manager (see: How The Nukezilla Council Operates for role description) as to whether to comply with the embargo or to release coverage anyway.
In situations where an embargo is broken early by another site, the ILPM, EiC or appropriate section Editor or Project Manager may decide to break the embargo as well; however until that decision is made (or the embargo requester lifts the embargo) we will continue to comply with the embargo. Typically we will comply if it is just one site, or a low-traffic site, which breaks the embargo; however if the information becomes widely available at heavily trafficked sites, there will be no reason to continue to comply.
Where possible it will be made known if Nukezilla has complied with an embargo if it has changed the way we have reported on an event, game or other such product.
Requests From Industry Representatives
Special requests from industry representatives for coverage will be handled on a case by case basis. In general, we will only specially review something if we would have given it coverage anyway, or if upon hearing about the game we would like to review it (this mainly applies to “indie” games, or games from smaller developers, where the first time Nukezilla becomes aware of the game is when we are sent a free copy).
It will not be standard policy to provide industry representatives with advance copies of coverage for review; except as necessary for fact checking or to confirm quotations. It will likewise not be standard policy to edit coverage on request; except when necessary for corrections, or to provide an update of further information to an article. Exceptions to these two rules will be determined by the Ombudsman/ILPM.
Situations where an industry representative requests changes or special coverage on an article should be reported to the Reviews Editor, Ombudsman/Industry Liaison, and EiC; it is also encouraged, but not necessary, to discuss them at Nukezilla Council meetings.
Any changes made after publication, due to contact with somebody outside of Nukezilla, should be noted in an update at the end, or within the body of, the article detailing what changed and who suggested it.
Conflicts of Interest
All conflicts of interest MUST be disclosed in advance; authors that believe they may have a conflict of interest should consult with the Ombudsman/ILPM and Reviews Editor/Project Manager to see whether their conflict is significant enough that the author should not cover the piece. When possible, conflicted authors should attempt to find another author on staff to do the coverage. If this is not possible or not feasible, and the conflict is deemed minor, a disclosure of the conflict MUST be included in the article. Furthermore, any article potentially involving a conflict should be reviewed by at least TWO editors.
Whether or not the conflict is deemed minor can only be determined using common sense. If there is any doubt the decision should be referred to the ILPM or suitable section Editor.
Any review in which a free copy or reduced price copy was provided should have a disclaimer identifying this fact. Any review in which the author received payment from someone other than Nukezilla for their work MUST be identified to the Ombudsman/Industry Liaison, Reviews Editor, EiC, and should be reviewed by at least TWO editors.
Any coverage of a game/studio in which the author is a member should include a disclaimer identifying this relationship.
Negative coverage is part of our jobs, and we should strive to be honest, fair, and accurate in our reporting. That said, we should not shy away from negative coverage where warranted. Negative reviews will be treated like any other review; however if the author in his/her judgment believes that the review will be controversial, it should be reviewed by a second editor.
Furthermore, editors reviewing articles that are particularly negative should take extra care to ensure that criticisms are fair and that we are not beating up on the subject beyond what is warranted. Remember, our purpose is to provide information and coverage; while we can have a “point” to our coverage, there is a line to be drawn between having a point of view, and eviscerating a subject just to be an arse.
Personal Information Policy
Personal information, such as phone numbers, contact information, private (e.g. non-publicly available) email addresses, and other such personal information will not be released except as required by law, or by decision of the Nukezilla Council, or EiC. Linking to said information is acceptable when the linked site is heavily trafficked/popular, or if the information is not intended to be used in a negative fashion.
The intent behind this policy is not to drive traffic to sites who are temporarily “famous” for some sort of negative reason. In addition, we are not going to contribute to harassment campaigns against these sites. However, if the information is already widely available it’s OK for us to link to that information as those sites are getting enough visibility already — we’re not breaking any new ground.