The Halo subreddit is locked down for the weekend ahead of Halo Infinite‘s Dec. 8 launch because some people on the internet don’t know how to be chill and rational with their feelings.
It all started after Microsoft and developer 343 Industries partially launched Halo Infinite on Nov. 15, making a so-called «beta» version of the game’s completely free to play multiplayer mode available three weeks early. But a limited spread of game modes, uneven performance, and the design realities of Halo’s shift into free-to-play left a vocal segment of the fan community unhappy.
As the outcry intensified and turned openly hostile toward both the subreddit’s community and the team at 343, moderators, or mods, stepped in. That led to a Saturday evening post imposing a «temporary r/Halo lockdown,» which bars users from adding any posts until the lockdown is lifted on Monday.
«On all sides this has absolutely gone on long enough and spiraled out of control,» r/Halo mod -343-Guilty-Spark- wrote. «The amount of toxicity on the sub from both sides has made it impossible for people to have civil discussions, which is what the mod team strives for regardless of opinion. Some users on the sub have even been responsible for doxxing and death threats.»
The lockdown was imposed «so people can hopefully settle down a bit and we can hit the reset button before [Infinite‘s] launch.» The explanation ends with a sharp reminder that passionate fans in any gaming community would do well to internalize: «At the end of the day this is a video game and this level of vitriol is unwarranted.»
The lockdown is unusual only insofar as it’s not a common practice among gaming community-oriented subreddits. But maybe this is a tool that should be wielded more frequently, and r/Halo’s mod team is operating ahead of the curve.
«On all sides this has absolutely gone on long enough and spiraled out of control.»
Reddit is a valuable destination for fans and creators alike because, like so many other social media examples, it knocks down the walls that traditionally exist between a large groups of consumers and the people behind the products they’re interested in. At its best, a thriving subreddit is a place for the kind of thoughtful discussion and respectful disagreement that content creators can turn to for constructive feedback.
Gaming communities on Reddit can be a little weird sometimes, though. It’s likely due to the mix of deeply invested players and the anything-goes mindset that exists on many subreddits. While most subs have basic rules of decorum, the lines are often hazy and marked by exceptions.
As someone who plays or has played lots of extremely online and socially oriented games, I’m no stranger to riled-up subreddits. Offensive behavior is often shut down at the individual level so the conversations can carry on. But hostile behavior in these spaces has a way of cascading. So when a community fixates on one particular issue or set of issues, the most toxic voices become a sort of hydra: Cut one off and a bunch of others spring into action.
There are no easy fixes in these situations. Hostile behavior needs to be shut down, but doing that can feel like an exercise in futility once the anger spins out of control. This particular situation is especially wild because the blowback feels so out of sync with reality since, by many accounts, Halo Infinite is off to a very strong start. (It’s been my go-to game for the past 20 days.)
So the r/Halo mods made the smart choice here and went for the nuclear option: Everyone’s on a timeout. The frustrations with Infinite likely won’t have abated by Monday, when the lockdown is set to end, but the cooling off period at least gives every member of the subreddit a chance to step back and reflect.
Honestly, it’s a great idea. The tribal disputes that spring up in video game communities are a toxic, destructive force. Subreddit moderators across the space should follow r/Halo’s lead and embrace the nuclear option when anger boils over.