TechRaptor Ethics and Standards
We take our jobs seriously here, especially when it comes to giving our readers the best and most accurate information. We want to make sure that we can be trusted to bring our readers the best news, reviews, articles, and more – so we’ve revamped and republished our Ethics and Standards Guidelines. The TechRaptor Ethics and Standards Policies are applied to all writers, and will be enforced in all cases in order to maintain journalistic integrity.
TechRaptor extensively consulted the SPJ code of ethics while writing this and adapted the ideals espoused therein to fit our particular website. We strive at all times to live up to the ideals of ethical journalism promoting the sharing of accurate, fair, and thorough information.
TechRaptor Content (Reviews and Previews)
TechRaptor enlists authors who are interested in a genre or game to handle reviews of those specific genres or games. When working on a review, it is expected that the reviewer finish the game, though not necessarily collect all the collectibles and achievements. In games where there is no definitive main campaign or end mark, the reviewer is expected to play enough to have a solid grounding in the game - and will require editor approval to publish the review.
All reviews will be conducted with legally-obtained products, and we do not condone illegally downloading games or software. While TechRaptor may receive review copies (please see that section for how we handle those), companies cannot and are not expected to pay to get their product reviewed.
Review scores are determined by the author of the piece, with editors discussing it with them as needed. Please see our Review Score Policy for more information on how we score and work on reviews.
- The reviewer will finish the game if at all possible
- TechRaptor does not accept payments for reviews
TechRaptor does accept review copies from developers in order to review games for the site, and there are two ways in which this is handled:
1) Developers can email us ([email protected]) to request a review of their game. A writer is assigned and a code/copy is given.
2) Writer requests that they review a certain game, and an approved requester (PR Manager or other) reaches out to see if a copy of the game can be given.
In both cases, the writer is the one who is given the code/copy for review, and as such they are expected to follow all guidelines (see Reviews and Embargoes for more info) in their review. Should a writer fail to write the review, or leave the site without notice, TechRaptor will attempt to reassign the game to another staff member and possibly purchase a copy for them.
In the event that TechRaptor is given extra copies outside of the number needed to test multiplayer, they will be either given to another staff member for streaming or coverage, or used in community giveaways on the site or on Twitter.
Any items that are greater than $100 in value (Not including DLC/expansions or in-game currency for review) can only be kept at the discretion of the managing editor, otherwise they will be returned to TechRaptor. The item(s) will then be used for giveaways or internal use (videos, etc.) and will either be mailed to the managing editor or supervisor, or directly to winner(s) - paid for by TechRaptor.
- TechRaptor accepts and requests review copies
- When a review copy is obtained, assigned writer is expected to follow all guidelines to review
- Extra copies are re-purposed for streaming or used in giveaways
NDAs and Embargoes
Some products require a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) and/or release embargo when giving information or codes for products. TechRaptor will accept and follow any NDA's and embargoes that are laid out by developers and publishers - provided they do not request changes to the editorial process. Should the developer request we write an article a certain way due to an NDA or pre-release info, we will find a way to cover the game without those restrictions.
If an embargo or non-disclosure agreement would preclude us from talking about something until post-launch, we will not agree to it and instead disclose this fact to our readership and obtain the game through retail methods. If writers are able to obtain a game before Western release, the developer will be contacted before publishing a review.
- NDAs and embargoes laid out by developers will be followed
- If an agreement or embargo limits our editorial process, it will not be accepted
- If an agreement or embargo prevents us from covering the game day-of, the game will be obtained through a retailer in order to get a timely review up
Crowdfunding – Kickstarter, Patreon and Early Access
More and more companies are relying on crowdfunding and crowdsourcing to help get funds and feedback during their development process. TechRaptor has some rules on how our staff may take part in and interact with the developers during these processes. We will break it up by general platform, though there are numerous others that are comparable. The closest platforms are the ones listed; if you have questions about a particular platform please contact [email protected]
Kickstarter/IndieGoGo: Staff members are allowed limited participation in these campaigns and all such participation must be relayed to the Editorial staff and disclosed in any pieces discussing it. If a writer has backed a campaign at a level staff believes may compromise their judgment (such decisions are made on a case by case basis but normally entailing large donations), they will be barred from writing on that topic. In any case, at all times the fact that the writer has backed it will be disclosed to the reader.
Patreon: Staff members are banned from using Patreon to back game creators, tech companies, game or tech journalists, and other similar fields. If a staff member is backing a Patreon in another field, they must disclose that to editorial staff and cannot discuss that company/item through their writing on TechRaptor. Additionally, if staff members have previously backed a Patreon for a project or person prior to coming on-board the site, they will disclose that fact along with when they began supporting it/them.
Early Access: While Early Access is used to help fund game development, we view it as separate since there is a product available. For most cases, Early Access is treated as a normal game, though evaluations will be previews - not reviews. Unlike other previews, Early Access will generally contain a judgement regarding whether or not it is worth buying in its current state. As in other previews and reviews, how we obtained the key will be disclosed in the article.
Often times during these campaigns developers are looking for feedback – be it on how their pitch is or what people think of their game in its current state. Our writers are encouraged to share their views on such things publicly.
- Kickstarter is fine at lower levels with disclosure
- Patreon is not fine for anyone in the industry
- Early Access does not count as crowdfunding, but Early Access previews also provide a ‘is it worth your money now’ evaluation
- Writers and staff may give feedback on games and pitches to the developers
TechRaptor Journalistic Practices
TechRaptor strives to seek the truth on all matters and report honestly and fairly. Special care is given to verify all information and utilize original sources whenever possible. TechRaptor aims to never distort the facts or misrepresent them in any way either by intention or omission of facts such as context, and in cases that such may occur, steps will be taken to remedy it as soon as possible. This will be disclosed to the readers so they may know what has occurred.
We shall seek out the subjects of news and ask them to respond to any criticisms or allegations. In the event that they do not respond, this will be reported in the relevant article. Should TechRaptor receive a response after the fact, it shall be updated to include said response. We shall seek viewpoints from all sides, even those we disagree with, and allow them to share their point of view. All opinions, commentary, and advocacy on matters will be labelled as such.
- Gather accurate information and report it
- Use original sources
- Do not distort information in any way
- Remedy errors and disclose the fact if they occur
- Reach out to those who are criticized or have allegations levied against them
- Give a voice to all
TechRaptor always aims to treat all people as respected human beings and to minimize harm done by reporting whenever possible without compromising the truth. This involves balancing the public need-to-know on issues with things such as potential harm or discomfort. The pursuit of truth is not a reason to be rude, inconsiderate, or arrogant. In some cases, legal access to information does not mean there are ethical reasons to publish it.
TechRaptor considers it especially important to contemplate the long-term implications of information provided. We strive to always stay up to date with the most accurate information available. In the case of reviews, or opinions, a writer’s views are their own and do not necessarily reflect the reviews or opinions of TechRaptor as a whole. If a review or opinion piece is found to have inaccurate information at the time of publication (information changed from a patch does not count) we will strive to make corrections as they are found – please see our review policy for more. Even if others publish it, we avoid sensationalized stories, instead aiming for accuracy and truth – lurid curiosity is not a reason to publish.
- Consider the human element and remember we are all people worthy of respect
- Access to information is not a reason to publish it
- Consider consequences of actions to others
- Avoid sensationalizing stories or indulging lurid curiosity
- Author’s opinions are their own
TechRaptor will never knowingly plagiarize documents, and instead seeks to attribute all documents to the original source. Ideally, this will be with a link, but there are times that it is not possible if it comes from a press release that isn’t posted online or some methods of communication. In those cases it will be stated where the information came from.
In some cases, information pertaining to a story is taken offline for one of various reasons. In those cases, if possible, we will provide an archive link to sources within a story. This is the only time we will use archive links - when the original source is no longer available so that readers may verify the information themselves.
If you believe that anything on this site has been plagiarized please visit our contact us page and get in touch with staff so we may investigate and solve the issue as quickly as possible.
- TechRaptor will not knowingly plagiarize
- Original Sources are the prime source
- In cases where a link is not possible, explanation of the source will be provided
- Archives are only used if original source is no longer available for one reason or another
- We take this seriously – contact the staff if you see anything that you think is plagiarism
TechRaptor endeavors to keep all of our articles up-to-date with the most recent news that is out. In the current media landscape of the Internet, information travels faster than ever, and what was hot 20 minutes ago might no longer be accurate.
In light of this changing landscape, TechRaptor aims to find a ground generally between constantly changing what was written and providing the most accurate information. Depending on the circumstances, TechRaptor may either do a new article (typically linking to the old one), or update the article already written.
In the case of reviews, please check out the Review Policy for how review updates are handled – this section will deal with other articles we write.
When updating minor matters of copy, there will not be an update notice. These types of updates are any sort of spelling, grammar style mistakes that slip out, forgotten links, and rewording of phrases for clarification. Anything else will have a notice of updates.
Slightly larger updates, where information has come to us but does not substantially change or negate what was said, will similarly have an update at the bottom. These are typically updates in which the information expands on what was said, giving a clearer or larger picture but not changing the heart of the matter. Additionally, titles will be appended with the [Updated] tag at the front.
Large updates that change the tenor of the piece, are transformative in the type of information available, or are corrections of mistakes, will be prominently placed at the top of the article. These will also have the [Updated] tag at the front of the title.
Generally, in the latter two cases, if more than a short period of time has passed, we will send it out again to social media so that more people are exposed to the updated versions.
- TechRaptor aims to keep its information up-to-date and informative
- When updating articles, TechRaptor will disclose what was changed in at the very least a general sense
- If the update is correcting previous information or changes the nature of the story it will be placed at the top
- TechRaptor aims to make it public when stories have been updated
For TechRaptor to use an anonymous source, it must meet several criteria. First, the reason for anonymity must be out of fear for retribution or some other sort of harm if that source publicly released information with their name attached. Second, the anonymous source must have proprietary information that cannot be gathered elsewhere. Finally, the information must be vital to the news report and not merely contain speculation and/or opinion.
Further, the source’s motivations for anonymity must be assessed. If their reason fails to meet our standards, that of putting oneself at serious risk if coming forward publicly, we will not use the source. TechRaptor will also evaluate how the information was obtained in an attempt to further verify its accuracy. If unable to adequately explain where or how they have/obtained the information, we will not use the source.
Only in rare instances will TechRaptor go forward with one source for a report. The case may be that the source is a high-ranking member of some organization that we can verify, which would put that source in a position to have detailed and accurate information. The same can be said for those with plenty of experience in a field. That will still be extremely rare, and TechRaptor will still attempt to get multiple sources for furthering the information’s validity.
TechRaptor will also never use an anonymous source without 100% certainty of their identity, which we will keep private if the above criteria are met.
Within the article itself, TechRaptor will disclose the reason for anonymity, how the information and/or documents were obtained, and a general idea of where the source comes from. We will never just put “a source” but rather something like “a developer at Bethesda.”
TechRaptor will also pursue avenues to validate the information with our own investigation. We will never leave an article to just the word of a few sources without first looking more into related evidence first.
- Anonymous sources must meet several criteria before they are used
- TechRaptor will only use a solitary source in rare occasions
- A source’s identity will always be verified
- The article will have disclosures regarding how the information was obtained and the reason for anonymity
- There will always be a general idea where the source came from
- TechRaptor will pursue to validate the information independently before publication
TechRaptor runs advertising on the main website and its forums. Those ads are provided by the various ad networks that arrange advertising on the site. NSFW content, auto-play video, and sound ads are strictly prohibited, and if they are found, the ad network will be informed and asked to remove the offending ads.
In the case where advertising space is sold directly to a company, the ads will be approved and run by TechRaptor in a way that can be tracked for statistics. Any advertising space purchased will not affect coverage or review scores and if a sponsored post is requested it will be labeled as such. For more on sponsored posts, see “Sponsorships”
- TechRaptor’s advertising is handled by ad networks
- If direct ad space is sold, it will not affect coverage or scores
TechRaptor does allow for sponsored articles and events. Such articles will be clearly outlined in the post with a tag of “Sponsored” on both the header image and as the listed author to ensure no confusion. No sponsored post will be accepted without these two criteria being agreed upon by the sponsor.
In all cases these articles must go through editorial and must be of value to the readership, and in many cases the articles will be written by a TechRaptor staff member. In cases where they do not meet the minimum standards for publishing we will refuse the sponsored post.
- We allow for sponsored posts but they will be labeled in image and author
- All Sponsored posts must pass through editorial
In order to create new and exciting content, as well as develop professional working relationships with people and companies in technology and gaming industries, TechRaptor staff will sometimes attend events around the world. At this time (April 2015), the limited budget of TechRaptor will sometimes help staff to pay for such events, but with approval of editorial and managerial staff - we may accept travel, lodging assistance, or meals paid for by the companies that we are working with so long as said arrangements are relevant to the stories we seek to cover. Having this flexibility allows TechRaptor and its staff to attend more events and meetings, as well as deliver more content throughout the year.
At this time, TechRaptor is able to sometimes help reimburse out-of-pocket expenses for staff members, but as we grow in both size and revenue, we plan to cover all expenses in the future.
If an event to be covered is a review event, TechRaptor will not accept any form of travel or accommodation. If we are to cover a review event, TechRaptor will pay for the staff member(s) to cover the event.
- TechRaptor regularly attends events such as conventions
- TechRaptor will accept travel or meals so long as the event being covered is relevant to the site, and is not a review event
- TechRaptor will help reimburse employees where it can
No staff member at TechRaptor is allowed to accept any personal gift from a developer, publisher, or PR agency that costs more than $60, nor are they allowed to take any form of cash. Should a gift greater than $60 be sent to a staff member, it becomes the property of TechRaptor, and management will determine whether said item(s) will be used in-house or for giveaways.
Any gifts that are sent to TechRaptor staff in an effort to sway coverage in any way will be denied, and should they reach the staff member, such gifts will immediately be given to the managing editor.
- Staff may not accept gifts greater than $60 in value
- Gifts valued at $60 or more are property of TechRaptor, to be used in community events or in-house
- Gifts given in an attempt to sway coverage will not go to the staff person assigned to the topic or review
TechRaptor affiliates links through a variety of methods with different sites and at least one affiliate linking network (VigLink). These links are automatically affiliated, and nothing other than clicks is tracked by TechRaptor.
Affiliate links are added to all outbound links, and reviews are not affected by the fact that a game or product can be affiliated. Note: TechRaptor may sometimes do deal-heavy articles that include affiliate links, and will be labeled as such within the banner picture.
- TechRaptor affiliates links across the website
- Affiliate links do not affect content or scores
- Special “Deal” articles with affiliate links may be posted from time to time
TechRaptor will sometimes conduct giveaways and contests on the website or social media. Giveaways will be done with keys or items or given to TechRaptor by staff, readers, or developers (extra codes and swag used for this purpose). For both website and social media giveaways, winners will be chosen with a random number generator.
- TechRaptor does giveaways with keys donated from various sources
- All winners are chosen at random
Currently, TechRaptor accepts donations from our readers. This is handled by PayPal, Patreon, or Gratipay, and will be used for furthering TechRaptor’s growth as well as writer payments and more.
Should TechRaptor determine that money was given to us by a developer in an effort to sway coverage for a game or product, we will make all efforts to return said donation in order to maintain professional distance from developers outside of sponsored posts.
- TechRaptor accepts donations
- Donations go towards the site and writers
- Donations made by developers for the purpose of swaying coverage are to be denied
Policy on Privacy
TechRaptor Staff Ethics and Standards
Conflicts of Interest/Relationships
TechRaptor staff members are expected to avoid any conflicts of interest, or in the event of a personal relationship, avoid coverage of a game or topic that said relationship might have an influence over. In regards to professional relationships, staff are expected to distance themselves from relationships that could alter their view on a product.
When it is deemed that the conflict of interest is minor, the staff member may continue as long as they publicly disclose the relationship. TechRaptor will never knowingly publish material where a discussion of conflict has occurred without publicly disclosing the nature of the conflict along with the material – even if that conflict is deemed inconsequential. When a conflict is deemed significant, another staff member will be assigned to the project.
Staff members interacting on Twitter or social media, or using a personal account to discuss a game or service is not considered a conflict of interest.
Any staff member who fails to disclose a conflict will be reprimanded accordingly.
- Staff are expected to avoid conflicts of interest
- Minor conflicts will be disclosed and if a major conflict arises, another staff person will be assigned to the conflicted project
- Staff members talking about games or products on their personal accounts is not the same as TechRaptor endorsing them
Social Media and Public Conduct
TechRaptor staff members are allowed and encouraged to have personal social media and public profiles, as well as use them as they wish. Any opinions shared on said profiles are those of the staff member and separate from TechRaptor.
However, TechRaptor staff is not to use said profiles for harassment, libel, or discriminatory speech. Should a staff member violate these standards, action will be taken in regard to their conduct. Should the behavior continue, TechRaptor reserves the right to remove that staff member.
TechRaptor is pro-diversity, pro-equality, and strongly against any form of harassment, discrimination, or racism.
- Staff are allowed and encouraged to have a social media presence
- Staff will be held accountable for their behavior should it contradict our public
Industry and Public Participation
Staff members are encouraged to be active members of the video game industry, whether that be through public appearances in person, on another website, on a YouTube channel, or anything else of that nature on behalf of TechRaptor. Should a staff member make an appearance in a public event, they are expected to follow the conduct guidelines and represent the site in a good way.
TechRaptor staff are allowed and encouraged to comment and post on sites such as Reddit, Digg, forums, and more. In doing so, they are not to break the posting rules of those sites in order to gain more traffic to posts, or for any other dubious motives. They are expected to be upstanding members of any communities they should participate in.
Staff are not allowed to participate in TechRaptor giveaways, but are allowed to participate in any that have no relation to the site.
- Staff are encouraged to appear on streams and in panels if asked
- Staff are to conduct themselves in a professional manner in these events
Yes, TechRaptor staff do indeed have a life outside of the site! As such, they have their own thoughts, feelings, blogs or YouTube channels - which means they will often share them and promote them outside of TechRaptor. With that said, those thoughts and opinions are not necessarily those of TechRaptor.
See the Social Media section for more information on acceptable conduct.
This Ethics Policy is under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, meaning that sites are welcome to use and edit our policy so long as proper attribution back to TechRaptor is given (link back to this policy with do-follow preferred). To see the details of this Creative Commons license, please visit this link.
In brief this means you can use it as long as you attribute Techraptor, make changes and adaptations as long as you clearly mark what is changed, and release said document under the same license.
Prior editions of our Ethics policy are also available under the same license, though you should link here.
If you’d like to use our policy, please email us at [email protected] and we’d be glad to give you any assistance you need, as well as add you to the list below of people using the policy.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
If you feel our ethics and standards lack information or rules, or are wrong in any way, feel free to use the Contact Us page to sort the issue out. We’re always looking to improve our practices!