We here at SuperNerdLand understand how important it is for us to have the trust of our audience, as well operate at the highest standards that we are capable of. We make a promise to you, our readers and viewers, to always strive for excellence and to provide content you know you can trust.
You need not go to journalism school, or take complex courses, to understand and value ethical practices. Good standards are something you can always work on regardless of background.
In our promise to you, we have adopted this Code of Ethics. It has been adapted for our use from the Association for Food Journalist Code of Ethics. We feel that if an association dedicated to covering something as subjective as taste in food can have a set of standards in place to protect the consumer and audience, then so can we.
These are our five core principles:
1. We take pride in our work, and respect the work of others.
(1) Our content producers will publish under a single pseudonym or their real name, and make their contact information available to the general public.
(2) Content producers should use their bylines only in conjunction with material that they have produced. Content producers should not attach their names to reprinted press releases or articles provided by publicists.
(3) Content producers do not plagiarize content. Material from other sources should be credited, and actively hyperlinked if presented online.
(4) Originators of unique information or opinions should be acknowledged in any work indebted to them, and the source material actively hyperlinked if presented online.
(5) Content producers should always honor copyright laws, including those pertaining to videos and photographs.
(6) To assure accuracy, press releases and material from other sources should be substantiated. Secondhand information, such as rumors published by a competing publication, should not be presented as fact.
(7) Factual errors should be corrected promptly and prominently.
(8) Expression of opinion, editorials and articles devoted to the writer’s own views should be clearly labeled as such and thus easily distinguished from news reports.
(9) This entry used to contain a Golden Rule provision. Due to misunderstandings of what it means to “be treated like you would yourself,” we have decided to make a change. Being an jerk is being a jerk, and people are free to make their own opinion from that. But being a jerk online is not an unethical action upon itself. We will hold facts stated to truthfulness, but opinions stated by our contributors are theirs alone.
2. We do not abuse our positions.
(1) Content producers should not flaunt their titles in hopes of securing favors for themselves, their friends or their relatives. Favors could include pre-release items; desirable consideration; party invitations or free games, movies, comics, books, etc.
(2) Content producers should not accept gifts with a commercial value, whether sent to them directly or distributed at an event. Gifts should be returned to the sender or donated to charity. Review events themselves are viewed as gifts and will be avoided.
(3) Content producers should very carefully weigh invitations to participate in media dinners and other invitation-only events at which attendees will be feted with food and drink. It is worth remembering that only the most financially-fit organizations are situated to host such affairs, and journalists risk creating the perception of bias by participating in them.
(4) Content producers should refuse samples or free copies of games, other software, hardware, or any other product which they don’t intend to evaluate for publication.
(5) Content producers should not sell or otherwise profit from samples or free copies they receive in the course of their work.
(6) Content producers attending events for personal pleasure should not use their position to gain access, discounted or free admission.
3. We avoid conflicts of interest.
(1) We are committed to the absolute separation of editorial responsibilities and advertising interests. If an article or publication receives sponsorship, it must be clearly noted.
(2) Content producers should not make deals in exchange for access, special treatment or discounts. They should not vet story angles with publicists, allow sources to preview coverage or make promises concerning story placement.
(3) Content producers should not enter commercially-sponsored contests promoting specific products.
(4) Content producers should not write about or cover organizations which employ them, or with which they are politically or financially involved.
4. We recognize and respect diversity.
(1) While pure objectivity is impossible, content producers should aim to acknowledge and examine competing points of view.
(2) Content producers should present opposing viewpoints fairly and accurately.
(3) Content producers should avoid perpetuating stereotypes and prejudices.
(4) With the previous in mind, social media spaces are not the same site publication. Contributors social media profiles shall be treated as their own spaces, with the ability to post their opinions even if they do not align with SuperNerdLand. Factualness shall be expected, but opinions expressed are the contributors own.
5. We are committed to total transparency in our work.
(1) If content producers accept anything for free, including a game title or product sample, it must be acknowledged in coverage of the item or experience.
(2) If content producers cover current or former employers, co-workers, friends or relatives, the relationship must be disclosed.
(3) If content producers suspect they received special treatment in the course of reporting a story, they should share their suspicions with their readers.
6. We aim to minimize harm and protect sources
(1) Content producers will aim to minimize harm when reporting on events and issues, in our reviews and impressions, and other coverage. This means ensuring we are as factual as possible when publishing, correcting errors in a timely fashion, and respecting our sources and subjects privacy.
(2) Content producers will always weigh whether the need for information to be public is more than the harm that information being public may incur. They will also respect the fact that private people have a right to control information about themselves more so than public figures or people who seek power, influence or attention. They will weigh the consequences of broadcasting personal information thusly.
(3) Content producers will weigh use of anonymous sourcing. We strive to always fully attribute quotes and claims, but there maybe times that use of an anonymous source is necessary when covering an issue or event. Content producers will explain why anonymity was granted when the information is deemed relevant and necessary to coverage.
(4) When using anonymous sources, content producers will work to protect the identity of the source. SuperNerdLand and staff will never reveal anonymous sources used, except in cases of court order or grand jury.
(5) All communication under SuperNerdLand emails, social network private messages, phone or VOIP calls, and postal correspondence are confidential and will never be used outside of SuperNerdLand with out permission.
If content producers, editorial staff or management are found to not be upholding these standards then disciplinary action will occur, up to and including removal from the site.
(Updated 04/29/2015: Updated Section 2, Line 2 to Read: Content producers should not accept gifts with a commercial value, whether sent to them directly or distributed at an event. Gifts should be returned to the sender or donated to charity.)
(Update 05/27/2015: Updated Section 2, Line 2 to add: Review events themselves are viewed as gifts and will be avoided.)
(Update 05/28/2015: Added Section 6: We aim to minimize harm and protect sources. Added “If content producers, editorial staff or management are found to not be upholding these standards then disciplinary action will occur, up to and including removal from the site.”)
(Update 6/10/2015: Updated Section 1, Line 9 to clarify: Content producers should take the golden rule into consideration here. “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.”)
(Update 11/04/2017: Updated Section 1, Line 9. Added Section 4, Line 4)