MegaMaster Musings

Anatomy of a Rumor
August 5, 2003

What is a rumor? What may surprise some people is that a rumor might not be just something whispered among friends. It could be something posted on an upstanding website as a genuine news article.

When I use the term “rumor” I am referring to a piece of information which has no official source. By “official” I mean someone who is definitely in the loop and can speak with authority. In the case of Mega Man rumors, that would usually be Capcom, but may also include third-party companies if they are involved in the development of the game or other item being discussed.

Why does this matter? There are a few reasons. For one, I am not a journalist, and so I personally never feel the need to be the “first” to post any tidbit of news. And secondly, I would rather be accurate than be first. Remember, just because it looks real doesn’t mean it is.

Case in point: There is actually at least one known trickster who makes a hobby out of playing the mass media for fools. He goes around making up all sorts of hoaxes and getting the news media to report them as if they are real. Many times the media has fallen for it hook, line, and sinker...only to have egg on their faces when they finally realize that it was all a hoax. The reason? The media outlets often don’t do their homework. If they see something that looks even remotely genuine, they jump on it. Online media is no exception.

So while you can believe most of what you read that sounds credible, remember that not everything is as it appears. Screen shots can be easily doctored, information can get mangled through the rumor mill, and misunderstandings can occur particularly when English speaking folks who can’t read Japanese nevertheless try to guess as to what a Japanese website is saying.

I will post a rumor if it is prevalent enough, but I always mark rumors as such until they are proven. Mailing me and saying “I know this is true, I saw it on website XYZ” won’t count for a hill of beans unless website XYZ happens to be Capcom’s or another official source.

And it’s not April 1.

- The MegaMaster