[Staff AMA - July 21] Menashe Kestenbaum/RavMenace

Nekro

Totally Wholesome Magical Girl
Staff member
Robot
Feb 14, 2020
446
533
93
Here's the thread for the staff AMA for the CEO of Enthusiast Gaming (our parent company), himself, Menashe Kestenbaum.

Better known as RavMenace to our Twitch audience, Menashe Kestenbaum began his blogging career on the IGN forums, then as the founder of NintendoEnthusiast.com, and is now the CEO of Enthusiast Gaming, who heads up operations for the entire network including sites like this one and Escapist, PC Invasion, TheSimsResource and the other literal 100+ websites in the EG Network Family. Yup, our semi-corporate overlord is willing to answer any questions that you’re willing to throw his way. If you ever had anything you want to ask the new boss-man himself, this is the one.

Feel free to ask him anything when we unlock this thread on July 21 at 5PM EST.
 

Zalno

Dude who shouts "NYEH!"
Jun 8, 2020
58
54
18
I've got a few questions, if that's alright:

Jim Sterling has recently gone public about Defy Media preventing him from publishing a review of Assassin’s Creed Unity onto The Escapist due to his criticism of its monetization practices because they didn’t want his review to tarnish their sponsorship opportunities with Ubisoft. Being the new owner of The Escapist, is that policy still present on that website? Is it present on any of your subsidiary websites?

On a related topic, (and you’re probably not the person who can answer this, but I’m curious) when it comes to video content, what is your policy for compensating various creators? I ask because, back in 2011, there was a dispute between Extra Credits and then parent company The Escapist. It was revealed that, amongst other things, content creators who worked on the site were not actually paid for their contributions during first 6 months. This led to a number of people leaving the site and made it very unattractive to future content creators to this day. Is this policy still in effect too?

We’ve had a wave of abuse allegations from numerous game publishers and developers over the last several months. Do you believe that game journalism websites like Destructoid should hold the game industry to account for things like said companies abusing its employees (be it crunch periods, sexual abuse, harassment, discrimination, etc), or do you think they should solely focus on spreading awareness for game announcements, trailers, reviews, and other game marketing materials?

Finally, how valuable do you believe working relations with game publishers are to your business? If every game company chose to stop providing games and other gaming-related items for free, do you believe you’ll still be able to provide content?
 

ZombieCorps

Member
May 10, 2020
20
32
13
twitch.tv
A couple of warm up questions and then we're coming with a hard ball, ready?

1. What do you like most about me?
2. Do these pants make my ass look big?
2a. Good big or ew big?
3. When are you going to play Warframe with us on PC?

Last one. We're getting philosophical up in here:
Who the fuck is Menashe Kestenbaum, really?
 

RavMenace

Destructoid Staff
Staff member
Robot
Apr 26, 2020
19
13
3
I've got a few questions, if that's alright:

Jim Sterling has recently gone public about Defy Media preventing him from publishing a review of Assassin’s Creed Unity onto The Escapist due to his criticism of its monetization practices because they didn’t want his review to tarnish their sponsorship opportunities with Ubisoft. Being the new owner of The Escapist, is that policy still present on that website? Is it present on any of your subsidiary websites?

On a related topic, (and you’re probably not the person who can answer this, but I’m curious) when it comes to video content, what is your policy for compensating various creators? I ask because, back in 2011, there was a dispute between Extra Credits and then parent company The Escapist. It was revealed that, amongst other things, content creators who worked on the site were not actually paid for their contributions during first 6 months. This led to a number of people leaving the site and made it very unattractive to future content creators to this day. Is this policy still in effect too?

We’ve had a wave of abuse allegations from numerous game publishers and developers over the last several months. Do you believe that game journalism websites like Destructoid should hold the game industry to account for things like said companies abusing its employees (be it crunch periods, sexual abuse, harassment, discrimination, etc), or do you think they should solely focus on spreading awareness for game announcements, trailers, reviews, and other game marketing materials?

Finally, how valuable do you believe working relations with game publishers are to your business? If every game company chose to stop providing games and other gaming-related items for free, do you believe you’ll still be able to provide content?
1. We have a strict church and state policy with any of the sites we own. The editorial reviews team and the sales team cannot talk. If the sales team sells a sponsored post, there are only a handful of people able to work on that from within the content team (usually Niero or Sebastian) and it has to be labeled very obviously 'Sponsored Post" and we usually make them do a giveaway.

If a game publisher or developer were to ever try and interfere with a review score or our journalistic integrity with the threat of pulling revenue, I'd personally tell them to royally fuck off!

2. No, that sounds pretty ridiculous. How is anyone supposed to attract and retain good talent if they won't pay them for 6 months? We have around 280 people on payroll every month! (when we started in 2015 we had around 5 people) That said, forum moderators are usually volunteers and not 'paid staff'. Maybe it's time to change that

3. We've got an internal list of around 700 or so fan-made gaming sites that we track, including many of our own. Each of them have a different focus to help them distinguish themselves and have their own flavors and communities. Some are "gaming stats" or achievement sites, others strategy guides and wikis, others gaming forums, others gaming reviews, and others news/deeper editorial sites. I believe a site that focuses on stats or strategy guides don't necessarily have to change gears and create a new focus to tackle the hard conversations. And they may not be the best mouthpieces to do investigative journalism like that of Jason Schreier. However, those who do make it their focus to analyze the inner workings of the gaming industry and the culture at gaming developers and publishers should absolutely talk about it and try to be a force for good.

4. I don't think the content is related to the relationship with the publisher at all. It's great for a reviewer to get their game a few days early and all, but it's not necessary. If they stopped shipping games early, the same content would be created. Chris Carter would still play the game around the clock like a maniac and beat it before anyone else made it through a quarter of the game. 99% of the content our sites create has no tie in with a relationship to a publisher.
 
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RavMenace

Destructoid Staff
Staff member
Robot
Apr 26, 2020
19
13
3
A couple of warm up questions and then we're coming with a hard ball, ready?

1. What do you like most about me?
2. Do these pants make my ass look big?
2a. Good big or ew big?
3. When are you going to play Warframe with us on PC?

Last one. We're getting philosophical up in here:
Who the fuck is Menashe Kestenbaum, really?
1. Your deep voice and your love of Warframe
2. It can't look any bigger than they already do
2a. Like, really really good big. I'm practically hitting on you
3. Switch all the way!!

4. I'm still figuring that part out. I'll let you know once I find an answer
 

Nekro

Totally Wholesome Magical Girl
Staff member
Robot
Feb 14, 2020
446
533
93
What's the one achievement that you've been most proud of in your time as Enthusiast's CEO?
 
  • Mr. Destructoid
Reactions: EricWeichhart

Wes Tacos

BonerLord
Staff member
Robot
Apr 15, 2020
23
32
13
What's your favorite non-human smell? Favorite human smell? That is, favorite smell originating from a human body, and favorite smell from a non-human source. [Flip those, and you know what I mean.]
 

Zalno

Dude who shouts "NYEH!"
Jun 8, 2020
58
54
18
3. We've got an internal list of around 700 or so fan-made gaming sites that we track, including many of our own. Each of them have a different focus to help them distinguish themselves and have their own flavors and communities. Some are "gaming stats" or achievement sites, others strategy guides and wikis, others gaming forums, others gaming reviews, and others news/deeper editorial sites. I believe a site that focuses on stats or strategy guides don't necessarily have to change gears and create a new focus to tackle the hard conversations. And they may not be the best mouthpieces to do investigative journalism like that of Jason Schreier. However, those who do make it their focus to analyze the inner workings of the gaming industry and the culture at gaming developers and publishers should absolutely talk about it and try to be a force for good.
Perhaps my question was a bit too broad, so let me rephrase that. Do you believe that Destructoid, a gaming news website, should cover and discuss rampant abuses publishers have inflicted upon its employees? Yes or no?
 

EricWeichhart

Kidnapped my Mr. Destructoid. Send cooks!
Staff member
Robot
Apr 15, 2020
10
6
3
1. What type of games do you like to play?
2. What is your favorite console?
3. Do you have any recommendations from The Hive's menu?
4. Is there any gaming moment that changed your life?
5. How do you pronounce Menashe? Because of my Spanish speaking side, I just noticed I have been doing it wrong
6. Shigeru Miyamoto decides to visit EG. What is the first thing you would show?
7. Sometimes, do you wish you had more time to play videogames?
8. What is your favorite site from the network? Why is it Destructoid?
9. Were you expecting more professional questions in this ama?
10. Did I ask too many questions?
 
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RavMenace

Destructoid Staff
Staff member
Robot
Apr 26, 2020
19
13
3
Perhaps my question was a bit too broad, so let me rephrase that. Do you believe that Destructoid, a gaming news website, should cover and discuss rampant abuses publishers have inflicted upon its employees? Yes or no?
I don't micro-manage the Editors in Chief at each site. I trust their judgement and leave them to their own devices for the most part and answer those editorial decisions better than I could. But if you're just asking me for my personal opinion - yes, I believe it warrants coverage and attention. It's an important topic
 
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RavMenace

Destructoid Staff
Staff member
Robot
Apr 26, 2020
19
13
3
Someone asked what I wanted so uh

If you could be soup, what soup would you be and why?
Oh, there are so many good soups. This one is so hard. French onion? Cream of mushroom/potato? Minestrone? Mushroom Barley? Ugh, so hard.

I'll stick a classic: noodle soup
 

CeeJay

Destructoid Staff
Staff member
Robot
Apr 26, 2020
4
1
3
Next year Destructoid will celebrate its 15th anniversary. What do you see this site being when it celebrates its 20th?
 

Torchman

Mecha Lord of Dtoid
Staff member
Robot
Apr 15, 2020
26
35
13
Favorite game?
Games you’d like to see appear on the twitch stream?
 

vxxy

Huggable Mascot Character
May 11, 2020
66
60
18
Arendale
I’ve heard you love JRPGs. What are some of your favorites? All-time or recent is welcome.