On Jan. 29, 2013 - the Toronto Star wrote this article
(since modified) about David Gallant's game "I Get This Call Every Day".
The reporter somehow learned David worked for the CRA,
"interviewed" David, provoked the minster of finance (David's boss),
then portrayed the game as an attack on the taxpayer.
Thanks entirely to this article, and general ignorance of games, David was promptly fired.
If David had written a short story, directed a movie, or did some stand-up about his boring job he'd still be employed.
In fact, he'd be celebrated. i.e. Dilbert, The Office, Office Space
In another medium, David would appear in the Star's arts section and be defended from "necessary corrective action."
In fact, the threat from the government would BE the story.
Did I just say censorship? Whoops!
In another medium...
... reporters would choose their words more carefully
... the game would be the focus, and not just a vehicle for another agenda
... the reporter would have played the game before doing the interview.
David was fired because he expressed himself using a game.
While creating this response to the first article, I noticed that it kept changing, and changing, and changing.
Dead horse time: I highly doubt an indie musician/poet/artist would be subject to these changes.
In new versions of the first article, lines were removed that painted David badly.
The new version (print) of the second article is radically different from the first.
Since this print version is the latest, why has the Star not synced with their site?
The paranoid might conclude the Star fears the reaction of the gaming community (which typically doesn't read print)
If different versions of Star articles is common practice, they've got larger problems.
I've detailed every change below, including images of every version of every article.
Latest Details - click to zoom all images
2012-01-31 The Toronto Star likely preparing another article
The same reporter is now asking
Ricky Lima of
Toronto Thumbs to contact her.
When a reporter becomes part of the story, does the Star usually let that reporter keep reporting on it?
Update: Ricky contacted the Star reporter FIRST and she was replying to him.
As a result, there's nothing to indicate the Toronto Star is preparing another article about David.
2012-01-31 The Toronto Star changes physical edition of the second article (v3.0)
Article completely rewritten making it impossible to compare exact changes
Title changed from "Revenue Canada worker fired for his online customer service game" to "Game over for taxman's irked worker"
Removed self serving quote from original article "Gallant does not appear to be too devastated by what's happened."
Downplays the fact most of the information in the article comes from tweets.
i.e. The fact David is not communicating with the Star moved from the 2nd paragraph until the end.
Added "Many tweeters lambasted the Star, blaming it for Gallant losing his job and suggesting the reporter did not play the game (She did)."
As this site makes clear, it's more than just "tweeters" that blame the Star.
Subtle attempt to diminish opposition is pathetic.
In the same vein, reporter uses "(She did)" and not the less professional, but way more accurate "(I did)".
"Taxpayers" returns, but in reference to Gallant's job and not the game.
Refers to the CRA as "everyone's least favourite federal department". You can guess where this is going.
2012-01-30 The Toronto Star writes second article (v2.0)
Title: "Revenue Canada worker fired for his online customer service game"
Don't have a snapshot of v1.0 of this article.
v2.0 might just be removal of game screenshot... might.
Taxpayer angle completely removed. Player now "[listens] to a conversation between an unprepared, annoying caller".
Unlike the first article, there's no mention the caller is a taxpayer.
"Gallant does not appear to be too devastated by what's happened."
Reporter now offering self serving opinion based on Tweets she's read.
2012-01-30 The Toronto Star changes online edition of the original article (v4.0)
First sentence removed "The frustration and, yes, loathing many people feel for the taxman may be mutual"
URL changed (~11:30am) - I wrongly concluded they removed the article. Old URL leads to the Star's home page. New URL worked, but broken since 3:00pm
These might be explained by technical issues... might.
All user Comments removed (~11:00am)- Can't add new comments
"he's an edgy gamer guy" kept (removed from print edition)
2012-01-30 The Toronto Star changes physical edition of the original article (v3.0)
Title changed from "Tax department employee creates online game to vent his frustration with taxpayers" to "Your call is utterly annoying to us"
"he's an edgy gamer guy" removed
2012-01-29 The Toronto Star's original article (v2.0)
The reporter added a taxpayer angle that doesn't exist in the game:
"Tax department employee creates online game to vent his frustration with taxpayers"
"The job involves answering calls from taxpayers"
"... [taxpayers] can be annoying and stupid."
"... [taxpayer] comes across as dense and snippy"
The reporter then contacted National Revenue Minister Gail Shea for comment:
"offensive and completely unacceptable"
"investigate urgently to ensure no confidential taxpayer information was compromised"
Unlike everyone involved, I played the game.
No confidential taxpayer information was compromised.
Wondering why the ministry even thought that was the case.
Don't have a snapshot of v1.0 of this article (before Star updated).
I do have this v1.0 snapshot - 11:05am from Metro News.
It's "By Staff, Torstar News Service", and extremely similar aside from the wildly wrong title "Tax agency employee goes online to vent frustrations".
In this version, a CRA spokesperson replied "no comment". Gail Shea was not yet not amused.
Untrustwothy live version of Metro v1.0
If you read just one followup article about this debacle, make it this one.
Not only did Daniel Kaszor play and review the game, but he offers some great insight (some of which I totally disagree with).
If the Star's reporter understood games like Daniel, you wouldn't be reading this.
Since this comes from "Torstar News Service", it's almost identical to the Star's article.
Skip it and read the first comment by Corparate_Idiots (last on page) - it's amazing.
The staff originally embellished the article with pictures of tweets from David, but those were replaced with awkward text.
Worth noting that this title was the 3rd attempt. "Revenue Canada worker fired for his online rant" and "Revenue Canada worker fired after making tax video game"
were replaced after David twittered both were incorrect. Unsure why they didn't stick with the original title, unsure if David noticed yesterday's title.
like the Toronto Star, I'm continually updating this page.
unlike the Toronto Star, every change is available for you to read
Current 2013-01-31 7:35pm
- Added GiantBomb & CBC to "Feelings Expressed Elsewhere"
- Updated the summary to include the revelation the reporter uncovered the CRA connection (David didn't reveal it)
- Improved the formatting and added a touch of colour
- Added print version of Star's second article. Detailed differrences between it and the online version.
- Added "The Changing Star" section
- Added a bullet to "2012-01-30 The Toronto Star writes second article (v2.0)" noting lack of Taxpayer
- Improved overall text to ensure reporter was consistently referred to as reporter and not writer.
- Added this update log.
- Added more links to "Feelings Expressed Elsewhere"
- Changed summary text from "David was fired due to a combination of sensationalist reporting and general ignorance about games." to "Thanks to this sensationalist reporting, and general ignorance of games, David was promptly fired."