Web admin may not need to bother somebody's squirrel to stop the on-going positive feedback, "Horror games feed on fear" https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EmotionEater
Gamers have been requesting an exclusion searching function to sieve thru games. It may be true "most of us are sick of all these horror games", but the statement "horror (or any other tag) games are flooding itch.io" may not be true. As of today (Nov 2023), there're total 840,133 games online, 42516 of them are tagged horror. That's around 5% only.
The last day filter https://itch.io/games/last-day shows a similar results. 38/554 = 7%.
The https://itch.io/games/newest page today supports this finding, 3 out of latest 36 games are horror games. Shown below is stats provided by 3rd party userscript https://greasyfork.org/en/scripts/464588-e-itch-io-exclude-tag-may-2023.
Then why do many feel https://itch.io/games is unusable?
It's not that they swore strange oath to not pick a genre, it's just that a number of gamers are interested in playing random popular but diverse games, but those shown under "Popular tab" are underwhelmingly lacking variety. That page by default shows all games of all times, sorted by popularity. Gamers browsing popular games usually go thru the first few pages only to be disappointed by the sheer amount of games of same genre (and possibly badly scared and disgusted by the cover arts).
Shown below is the result of today's first page, there are 34 horror games out of 36 (hidden by userscript), effectively turning our beloved itch.io into witch.io if you think of how many casual gamers world-wide are joining the 34/36 lottery at any moment.
In the meantime, bored gamers often choose to try out a random free game on the first page, presumably an exciting one like one with a gory cover art. It may be good if that page could stop encouraging the positive feedback on popularity because the current default display order does not account for on-shelf time.
Do you have a time machine? (an assumption, not based on real analysis)
Should the page open "Popular" tab by default? What do you think?
Side note: Sensing a recent vibe of discouragement, I'd like to reiterate the unwavering gratitude that I think many of us here have, to Leafo (thank you for this marvelous indie haven), moderator No Time To Play (exceptional patient and support) and other unnamed itch.io heroes. Despite the variations in manner and etiquette, I believe everyone willing to take time leaving comment here has good intention. Thank you all.