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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Interview

Gamers Against Bigotry Campaign Aims To Curb Online Harassment


It’s been a rough month in the gamer community. The furor surrounding Anita Sarkeesian opened up the floodgates for endless discussions of gender in games and gamer culture — and that much, at least, is good. Even if we don’t all agree on the same points, the fact that lots of people are having conversations about it is a healthy thing. But I’ve been bothered. Not because there are people out there saying things I disagree with, or those who disagree with the things I say. That’s to be expected. No, what’s been bothering me is the vitriol. The people who think that disagreement is license for cruelty, or who are just cruel for no good reason at all. Online harassment is a well-established problem, but the casual hatred and bile being thrown around left me disheartened. To see this level of ugliness in a community that I love, one that is based around playing games with friends…it’s just wrong.

But encouragingly, there are folks out there trying to make a positive difference. Meet Sam Killermann, a gamer on a one-man mission to make our community a more welcoming place. In late June, he launched a site called Gamers Against Bigotry, which asks visitors to sign a pledge against using hateful language and identity-based slurs in-game. A few weeks after the site’s quiet debut, Killermann is now running an IndieGoGo campaign to raise the funds needed to make GAB a non-profit organization. I got in touch with him to learn more about the project, and to pick his brain about the issue at hand. 

Becky Chambers: One can safely assume that the people who sign the pledge aren’t the ones using bigoted language to begin with. How does putting your name on a list help to address the problem?

Sam Killermann: The pledge benefits folks who are already avoiding bigoted language in-game because it unites them and shows them they aren’t the only ones who feel the way they do. At times, and depending on the game you’re playing, it can feel like you’re the only one who is put off by the bigoted speech that’s tossed around in game chat. Every additional pledge is another person speaking up, publicly, that bigoted language isn’t okay. As our numbers grow, we’ll get a better sense of where the gaming community really stands on this stuff.

Also, while that assumption seems safe (and is certainly widely assumed), in the first two weeks it’s proved to be quite inaccurate. About a dozen of the pledgees have contacted me saying things like “I never realized doing this actually hurt people,” or “I just thought it was part of the culture, so I played along” and ended their messages with “but I’m going to try to stop now.” And those are just the gamers in those situations who have gone out of their way to get in touch with me. We can safely assume more signed with those sentiments and didn’t let me know (see what I did there?).

BC: On the GAB website, you specifically mention that swearing and getting angry is A-OK. The folks I’ve gamed with over the years all have mouths like sailors (as do I), and we talk our fair share of smack. We see cursing and giving each other a hard time as all in good fun, but that’s the same argument that a lot of people who use slurs in-game put forward. And to be fair, there are people who find four-letter words offensive. What’s the difference between garden variety profanity and identity-based insults? Why is it okay to accept one and not the other?

SK: Identity-based slurs are designed (and have been historically used) to make an individual feel worthless because of some perceived in-born deficiency that they had no control over, like having happened to be born a woman, or Black, or gay, or — brace yourself — a gay, Black, woman. They cut to the core of people and remind them that one permanent aspect (or more) of them is seen as bad, and no matter what they do, that will never change.

Garden variety profanity goes against the grain of society as a whole — it’s a social taboo, and using those words breaks an unwritten social law. They aren’t personal, they aren’t laced with a long history of violence and identity-based hatred, and they aren’t likely to push someone into a downward spiral leading to depression or worse.

To sum it up: profanity can be seen as offensive, but identity-based slurs are always just downright shitty.

BC: The usual counter-argument on this issue is that asking people to refrain from using slurs equates to censorship, or that it somehow impedes their freedom of speech. What’s your take on that?

SK: This idea of “freedom of speech” is a bit of an urban legend that is perpetuated when it’s convenient. Would you be free to walk into a grocery store and start yelling “I love killing n*****s because the only good n***** is a dead n*****”? (That’s a direct quote from the last time I played Call of Duty.) Absolutely not. If you were lucky, you’d be escorted out by a manager (and not a torch-bearing mob). Then why is that okay to do in a gaming lobby?

Further, you’d be thrown out of that same grocery store just for constantly yelling (even if you were yelling “I LOVE BABY CARROTS! OH SWEET GOD I LOVE BABY CARROTS!”), because it ruins the grocery shopping experience for everyone else.

It’s not a matter of infringing on free speech as much as it is a matter of infringing on a gamer’s ability to play games without being subject to identity-based, bigoted, hate speech. The ultimate question I urge people to ask themselves is “How would not having bigoted language present in gaming be a bad thing?”

BC: Tell me more about your gameplan for GAB if the IndieGoGo campaign is successful. I know that you’re raising money for a 501(c)3 non-profit application, as well as to keep the website running and to help get the word out. If GAB does become an official non-profit, what’s the next step?

SK: Our ultimate goal is to end bigotry in gaming, and there are a few paths we want to be able to take to that goal.

Getting the word out about the pledge to all gamers, and giving them a chance to decide whether or not they will sign, is crucial in understanding exactly where the community, as a whole, stands on this stuff (something we don’t truly have any idea of at the moment). If we can advertise the pledge through a variety of channels, we can increase the odds of that opportunity cropping up.

We also want to work with game developers to improve the current systems that prevent bigoted hate speech and promote a stronger gamer community. While working on this, we want to create outlets for GAB pledgees to form our own gaming community by making it easier to connect and play with other people who care enough about others to not degrade their identities.

And on the other path, we want to provide resources and opportunities to help educate the people who are currently the biggest offenders. I don’t believe that most people who use bigoted language in games are actually bigots. They are simply power-tripping on the amplification to their voice gaming gives them, and enabled by anonymity. If someone created something that helped people realize that their in-game behavior has real-world, seriously harmful effects, they might just reconsider. We can be the someone to create that something.

The problem is that all of these things take a significant amount of time and human effort and money. Several people have mentioned that they won’t donate unless the organization is a legit 501(c)3. I think that’s reasonable because actually filing the application and getting approved lends a lot of credibility to the organization, and also creates a system of accountability. All good things.

BC: Thanks for your time.

Find out more about Killerman’s project at the Gamers Against Bigotry website and his IndieGoGo campaign.

Becky Chambers is a freelance writer and a full-time geek. She blogs over at Other Scribbles.

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  • http://twitter.com/giapet gia manry

    Great info and genius idea. Pledging right now!

  • http://www.trredskies.com/ Doone Woodtac

    Great idea. I hope we get to see that roll call rack up to a million! I’ll have to write an article to help promote this idea. There’s so much positivity gamers in our position can feed into the community to help combat the negativity. Having a place where we can have visual confirmation that we’re not alone can be very empowering.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry guys, but this idea doesn’t even work on a basic cognitive level. I’m all for the idea of having a nice place to play, but there is no universal answer to this pretty minor issue, especially given how lax people are with protecting themselves with the already existant methods for doing so (blocking, banning, reporting, muting).

  • http://twitter.com/Tioliah Sarah

    It seems to be working at least on some level given the accounts that were mentioned of people expressly saying how they’re re-examining their behavior, and I guess every little bit helps :-)

    “The pledge benefits folks who are already avoiding bigoted language
    in-game because it unites them and shows them they aren’t the only ones
    who feel the way they do” – that’s also encouraging, if not necessarily solving the problem directly.

    As for it being a minor issue, perhaps in and of itself it is, but still a symptom of the sexism that remains in our wider culture today: perhaps some of those people who mentioned that they’re going to think more about their online gaming behavior might think more about their IRL behavior too and call out more douchebaggery when they see it. I dunno, I kinda think that’s worth it even though it’s not a “universal answer”, so I signed. Certainly won’t do any harm.

  • Anonymous

    Thing is, if younger gamers are exposed to bigotry it /can/ have a lasting negative impact outside of games (either for those who then think it’s ok to behave like that, or for those on the receiving end).  Calling out bigotry and bullies everywhere is the only way to bring about a cultural change across the board.

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s a very important issue in the gaming world, actually. Until someone takes a ACTIVE stand against the bigotry and sexism perpetuated in the culture, nothing will ever change. Blocking, banning, reporting and muting are _passive_ actions that, while they might help to create a better _personal_ environment, do little to change the actual social structure of the subculture. I know a lot of people, especially gamer women, who come away from encounters with gaming feeling depressed or angry/frustrated, not with the games, but with the people that play them. In the same way that street harassment can completely ruin someones day (or worse), in-game harassment -or even just the general atmosphere of verbal slurs- is 100% more aggressive (in a way that has nothing to do with actual competition) and threatening when you introduce or (either by participation or by passivity) condone bigotry and sexism. 

    And I think what we allow in-game in the gaming culture has a direct affect on how people are treated in the subculture as a whole, both online and IRL. In a world where gaming is becoming an increasingly popular activity and it’s accessibility to demographics never before considered (like women and POC) is increasing (marginally), it’s important to start taking action to help build the subculture that we want to participate and play in, rather than just try to ignore the grime of hatred that seems to be the norm right now.

    The first step to changing a culture is by recognizing that you are not alone in that desire. In this manner, I think GAB is a great idea as a first stepping stone. It is not the end all or be all answer to changing the gaming culture to be more inclusive, but it’s where things need to start, by recognizing that the desire to end an atmosphere of accepted bigotry and sexism isn’t just the wish of one or two gamers, but a large movement by many gamers towards a subculture that is more accessible to everyone, not just straight white male gamers.

  • Anonymous

    “It seems to be working at least on some level given the accounts that were mentioned of people expressly saying how they’re re-examining their behavior, and I guess every little bit helps”

    LOL, a lot of people talk nonsense, especially when it requires no actual change. Hey Sarah, guess what? I’m going to go out tomorrow & get magical super powers from a magical meteorite… Saying something is easier then following through on something… Especially when there is no one around to police it.

    “As for it being a minor issue, perhaps in and of itself it is, but still a symptom of the sexism that remains in our wider culture today:”

    No it really isn’t. Trolling exists because it is fun as hell to troll someone. Its always been fun, it will always be fun: even in a universe where fun does not exist, trolling is fun. Its why people do it: Because its fun to be us versus you.

    “so I signed. Certainly won’t do any harm”

    Sure, but by the same measure, it also can’t do any good. Its essentially just lazy hacktivism. Its the pretense of doing something simple like typing your name & the pretense that you some how contributed, rather then taking a hard look at the way the world really is & actually contributing. Because by this time next week no one will remember this petition… Because thats the way the internet is: That which can be done without effort, will be forgotten with just as little effort.

  • Anonymous

    “I think it’s a very important issue in the gaming world, actually. Until someone takes a ACTIVE stand against the bigotry and sexism perpetuated in the culture, nothing will ever change. Blocking, banning, reporting and muting are _passive_ actions that, while they might help to create a better _personal_ environment, do little to change the actual social structure of the subculture”

    /double facepalm. I think you might have it backwards. The blocking & reporting is the active defense, the signing of a pretend petition is the inactive faux defense, of lazy hacktivism/slacktivism.

    Lets put it this way: Oh lets not throw people in jail for doing the wrong thing, lets get 1, 000 people without a criminal record to sign a piece of paper saying they won’t commit crimes, to be inforced by no one.

    Do you not see how that concept fails at even the most rudimentary cognitive level?

    The blocking, muting & reporting is the consequence of an action. A group of people saying they won’t do it is the sharing circle of asanine non-action. It literally achieves nothing.

    As for the idea that this has anything to do with sexism, i’m here to inform you that sexism hasn’t got a single thing to do with it. We don’t get targetted because we are female, we get targetted because we make such easy targets. An why do we make such easy targets? Because of logic like that which you espoused above. The same trolls that will target any one of us, will also target literally anyone else, regardless of gender if given even the slightest cause. The only difference is that guys are more likely to trash talk right on back, where as we have a tendency to just complain.

    As for how they target us, thats not sexism either. They target us in such a fashion because its succesful. Thats why ignore & block features exist in multiplayer games. Because troll derive there enjoyment out of peoples reaction: Take that away & they quickly lose interest…. decimiate them a half dozen times, specifically going out of your way to target them & watch as the mouthing off turns into “stop fucking killing me.”

    When we enter a gaming arena, we leave our gender at the door… At least we are meant to. But to many of us think we deserve a free pass because of it (going so far as to advertise it in our name)

    You want to have less trolling in in video games, thats an admirable cause… thinking that signing a petition is doing anything to achieve that cause however is simply ludicrious.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/5ZXIEGCAFZ4F7LBI6QTTN3YJCY Ashe

    And I thought I was pessimistic. 

  • http://samuelkillermann.com/ Samuel Killermann

    The already existant methods folks have for “protecting themselves” aren’t effective.  One of the goals of the campaign is to fix that.

    Have you watched this video?  http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/harassment 

    Do you think the suggestions they are making to game developers would help?

    And while the pledge isn’t a “universal answer,” it’s not meant to be — it’s meant to be a solid first step. 

  • http://samuelkillermann.com/ Samuel Killermann

    “Personal responsibility starts with us.”  

    Great point.  We agree, and that’s why we created this movement :)

  • Anonymous

    its not pessimisim, its realism. Prepare for the worst, while hoping for the best.

  • Anonymous

    But the methods already in place are effective. The only time they aren’t effective is when PEOPLE DONT USE THEM.

    As for developers helping, i say no it doesn’t help. It sounds like it should help, but it doesn’t & it doesn’t for the same reason the current set of in built devices don’t work: BECAUSE PEOPLE DON’ T USE THEM!

    A device is only as useful as the people who use it. An automated system does not work; take the notes without replies system. I am constantly sending people notes on websites like deviantart that are completely one sided, usually “here is that thing you were looking for the other week” or “please check the FAQ, because this piece breaks the rules & i don’t want to report it.”

    We already have the tools to put troll users onto mute, its our responsibility to do it. Not anyone elses responsibility to do it for us.

    So what we need is less of us complaining & more of us just doing it. We need to stop playing the vicitm & just get on with our gaming.

  • Anonymous

    By my understanding, the tools gamers have for this sort of thing are blocking, reporting, and muting other people. Firstly, I’m unsure if people who are muted are /aware/ of being muted, so it becomes useless in teaching offenders why what they’re doing is bad. Blocking usually doesn’t let you give them a reason, and they’ll likely assume it’s because of their swearing in general or something, and think “Haters gonna’ hate.” Reporting them /might/ help – it depends on the moderator, who may or may not tell them why it was wrong to use the slur(s).

    Ideally, people should inform the offender(s) of their mistake(s) and report them if they continue anyway.

    The petition seems to be to educate people and encourage them to speak up against bigotry.

  • Anonymous

    “By my understanding, the tools gamers have for this sort of thing are blocking, reporting, and muting other people. Firstly, I’m unsure if people who are muted are /aware/ of being muted, so it becomes useless in teaching offenders why what they’re doing is bad”

    It doesn’t matter if they are aware or not. If you are not aware of what they are saying because you’ve muted them & then you go on with what your doing you literally can’t hear them to respond. Usually at that point the person will get even more vocal & more people mute them until its just one guy/girl yelling into the darkness, all alone.

    Even if only you mute him/her, this troll can no longer affect YOUR gaming experience. Whatever he opr she does after that doesn’t make any difference, to your gaming experience.

    Enough people do this, the message becomes pretty clear, pretty quick.

    “Blocking usually doesn’t let you give them a reason, and they’ll likely assume it’s because of their swearing in general or something, and think “Haters gonna’ hate”

    Again, it doesn’t matter. Kick them out & they are out. They go to someone elses server & they get kicked out again, eventually they will moderate there behaviour. Because there isn’t a person alive who is trolling that is not aware that they are trolling.

    An again, once they’re kicked out it doesn’t make any difference to your gaming experience. Because there are always going to be trolls, regardless of how many of these hacktivism attempts people make.

    Ideally, people should inform the offender(s) of their mistake(s) and report them if they continue anyway.

    The petition seems to be to educate people and encourage them to speak up against bigotry.”

    /double facepalm. No you don’t. I’m really trying to make this as simple as possible: People who troll like this are not trolling accidentally… They know they are trolling & the main reason to troll is to get a response. Telling someone you are offended & please moderate your language is just chumming the shark infested waters. Its literally the response they want. Ignore, Mute, Block, Report, Kick & move on: its really very VERY simple.

  • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

    Let me put it this way: we can keep bandaging ourselves, but eventually we have to take the knife out of the trolls’ hands if we want to stop having to patch up our wounds. We have to treat both the symptoms and the root cause of the affliction.

    I don’t think anyone’s advocating that we get rid of the existing tools (i.e. muting/blocking/reporting) or stop using them. And you’re right: trolls are gonna troll. But there are so many spaces where trolling is implicitly condoned. The idea is to encourage the people who operate those spaces – people who aren’t trolls themselves – to condemn such behaviour, thereby taking away the trolls’ power. A single petition probably won’t accomplish that. But a concerted campaign of awareness and education can.

  • Anonymous

    “Let me put it this way: we can keep bandaging ourselves, but eventually we have to take the knife out of the trolls’ hands if we want to stop having to patch up our wounds. We have to treat both the symptoms and the root cause of the affliction.”

    Except only one of the proposed methods achieves that result. The other is not even a balm to the burn that is trolling.

    “I don’t think anyone’s advocating that we get rid of the existing tools (i.e. muting/blocking/reporting) or stop using them”

    Merve, for people to STOP using the tools, people would have to first START to use the tools. An people don’t… instead they rage quit & then go online to complain, blowing up a sitatuion that could have been easily eradicated with those tools, up into some giant epedemic. An then people advocate a useless form of social marxism as the solution.

    “The idea is to encourage the people who operate those spaces – people who aren’t trolls themselves – to condemn such behaviour, thereby taking away the trolls’ power”

    Except it doesn’t do that. I don’t know how many times these needs to be said: Condoning there actions is just adding more trolling voices & thats a response & a response to ones actions is what a troll wants.

    Troll = wants repsonse
    condemn such behaviour = the response that the troll wants

    “A single petition probably won’t accomplish that”

    Except that his is not the first such petition, nor will it be the last. Getting people who aren’t trolls to sign this, is like getting non rapists, to sign a petition against rape, or a group of non car thieves to sign a petition against stealiong of cars. Its pointless noise.

    “But a concerted campaign of awareness and education can.”

    Sure, but the people who need to be educated are not the trolls, who frankly don’t give two frells for your educational prospects. The education needs to start with a personal responsibility for people who have to put up with trolls.

    Because lets be honest, educating people to try and stop trolling now, is like the anti-drinking providence clubs in the states in the 1920′s… Almost 100 years later & the problems still exist. Because education doesn’t make one iota of difference if its got no teeth & this doesn’t.

  • Anonymous

    “Let me put it this way: we can keep bandaging ourselves, but eventually we have to take the knife out of the trolls’ hands if we want to stop having to patch up our wounds. We have to treat both the symptoms and the root cause of the affliction.”

    Except only one of the proposed methods achieves that result. The other is not even a balm to the burn that is trolling.

    “I don’t think anyone’s advocating that we get rid of the existing tools (i.e. muting/blocking/reporting) or stop using them”

    Merve, for people to STOP using the tools, people would have to first START to use the tools. An people don’t… instead they rage quit & then go online to complain, blowing up a sitatuion that could have been easily eradicated with those tools, up into some giant epedemic. An then people advocate a useless form of social marxism as the solution.

    “The idea is to encourage the people who operate those spaces – people who aren’t trolls themselves – to condemn such behaviour, thereby taking away the trolls’ power”

    Except it doesn’t do that. I don’t know how many times these needs to be said: Condoning there actions is just adding more trolling voices & thats a response & a response to ones actions is what a troll wants.

    Troll = wants repsonse
    condemn such behaviour = the response that the troll wants

    “A single petition probably won’t accomplish that”

    Except that his is not the first such petition, nor will it be the last. Getting people who aren’t trolls to sign this, is like getting non rapists, to sign a petition against rape, or a group of non car thieves to sign a petition against stealiong of cars. Its pointless noise.

    “But a concerted campaign of awareness and education can.”

    Sure, but the people who need to be educated are not the trolls, who frankly don’t give two frells for your educational prospects. The education needs to start with a personal responsibility for people who have to put up with trolls.

    Because lets be honest, educating people to try and stop trolling now, is like the anti-drinking providence clubs in the states in the 1920′s… Almost 100 years later & the problems still exist. Because education doesn’t make one iota of difference if its got no teeth & this doesn’t.

  • Anonymous

    Can’t like this more than once, so here’s a post.

  • http://twitter.com/BreeBrouwer Bree B./Woman Friday


    It doesn’t matter if they are aware or not.” …. ”
    Ideally, people should inform the offender(s) of their mistake(s) and report them if they continue anyway.”

    You just contradicted your own thoughts. Do you think that it doesn’t matter if bigotist-language users are offended, or do you really think they should be informed?  Everything you have written up to this point implies you DO think that actions should be taken against such people, through reporting/blocking.  

    You simply seem to disagree with the TYPE of action Killerman’s presenting.  That is fine.  You have the right to disagree.  However, telling the rest of us that what we’re doing is pointless only backs up the mentality that bigotry cannot be stopped, thereby making the gaming culture worse.

    As mentioned before by several people, every little bit helps.  If we want to sign this petition and take action against bigotry one way, we are free to do so.  You are free to press your buttons and report people.  Let’s not make this worse than it is simply because we approach this issue differently.

  • Anonymous

    “Ideally, people should inform the offender(s) of their mistake(s) and report them if they continue anyway.”

    Except that its NO MISTAKE. The troll knows what they are doing when they troll, because they set out to troll. Its not like they go online & say “oops, i’ve slipped & fallen into some bigotry, oh well, looks like i’ll have to accidentally spend the next 6 hours trolling people.”

    “You simply seem to disagree with the TYPE of action Killerman’s presenting.”

    Because Killerman is not proposing an action, he’s proposing the pretense of an action. An no bigotry will never ever be stopped. There has never ever, in the history of the world ever been any form of social ill that has been eradicated through education. We are still stuck with exactly the same social ills now that we were stuck with 4,000 years ago. Bigotry is not going anywhere, so the best you can hope for is to eradicate the worst culprits from your particular game with a judicious use of the already existant built in features.

  • Anonymous

    Okay, k_w_p, you’ve had your say.  Can you go rain on someone else’s parade now?  I’m not clear why you’re so emotionally invested in wanting others to not try to find a better solution to bigotry, but we’re still going to try, whether you like it or not.

    As Killermann has said, it’s largely a matter of starting off by expressing solidarity.  Once we have enough people to get noticed by game developers, we can hopefully get some better tools for dealing with trolls.

    Personally, I don’t have much hope that a petition will cause trolls to stop trolling on their own, but I do believe that a petition can get developers to acknowledge that their responsibility is to provide a fairly safe and fun playing experience for their customers.

    For instance, they can make it easier to deal with trolls when the admin of a server is not present, perhaps institute karma that can punish trolls when their profile’s “points” dip below a certain level, and they can make the tools easy and quick to use.

    I would also like to see gamers running servers with {GAB} tags which let others know that they will take a serious stand against bigotry.  Sometimes it simply requires people to take a collective stand first and work out the solutions afterwards.

    As someone who hates bullies in any and all forms, I donated to the IndieGoGo campaign, and I signed the petition, but most importantly this campaign has strengthened my resolve to find ways to defeat abusive online behavior — both as a player, and also as someone who is currently designing a multiplayer game.

  • Anonymous

    Generally trolls are specifically looking for people to be angry at them, not just any response. Being polite about it doesn’t really satisfy them, and if they continue (which is probable if they /are/ trolls) then they can be reported/blocked/muted/etc.

    You seem to be assuming that everyone who uses bigoted language must be either a troll looking to make people angry or a true bigot. This isn’t true – a few years back I was using “retarded” to mean “stupid”, “annoying”, or “bad” without even thinking much about it. If someone had actually told me that they were offended, I would have abruptly stopped.

    Besides, blocking someone is an annoyed response in a troll’s book, and probably constitutes a victory anyway.

  • http://twitter.com/BreeBrouwer Bree B./Woman Friday

    You completely ignored my point that you contradicted yourself above.  Also, with your definition of “troll” I have a feeling you want attention in the way you have been defensively responding to almost every single person’s post thus far.

  • Anonymous

    “Personally, I don’t have much hope that a petition will cause trolls to stop trolling on their own, but I do believe that a petition can get developers to acknowledge that their responsibility is to provide a fairly safe and fun playing experience for their customers”

    They already do this CWalois: They have provided people with rules, reporting features, blocking features, ignore features & the ability to mute people.

    There is literally nothing left for developers to do: If you don’t use the tools provided, then the tools can’t work.

  • Anonymous

    “a few years back I was using “retarded” to mean “stupid”, “annoying”, or “bad” without even thinking much about it. If someone had actually told me that they were offended, I would have abruptly stopped.”

    Um, retard does mean stupid, annoying & bad. Technically it means to cause, to move or proceed slowly; delay or impeding. A slowing down or hindering of progress; a delay.

    The term retard as a slang term is a rather new invention. Kind of like how i can say; “Wow, that effort was completely impotent” & it has nothing to do with sexual disfunction.

    “Besides, blocking someone is an annoyed response in a troll’s book, and probably constitutes a victory anyway.”

    Surte, but theres nothing that troll can do about it, because they’ve been blocked. Once blocked it makes no difference to your play experience. The most the troll can do is rant & rave & then be blocked by everyone else. Or to put it differently: Stick and stone may break my bones, but once i’ve muted this troll he can rant & rave until he’s blue in the face, i can’t hear him.

  • http://taste-is-sweet.livejournal.com/ Taste_is_Sweet

    I would like to add to this excellent rebuttal that the other problem in deciding that female gamers are ‘asking for special treatment’ just by admitting they’re female is that any ‘gender neutral’ name isn’t–it’s assumed to belong to a male. (Just like my avatar picture here defaults to a man.) Allowing the assumption that male gamers are a) the default and b) *should* be the default, and that it’s your fault if you are targeted for not wanting to be perceived as a male, not only doesn’t prevent the bigotry in gaming culture as you mention, it also has the larger fault of aiding and abetting the general misogynist culture of most of the world (if not all of the world) as a whole.

    Just as with the website discussed in this article, nothing will change unless we change it. And things need to change; not just among gamers but everywhere.

  • http://twitter.com/tinstargames Steve Darlington

    Hey guys, we has the same idea, with a slightly different focus! (And I’m also available for interview :D) 
    http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/150672?c=activity&a=154593

  • http://profiles.google.com/kitfoxtrot Christopher LaHaise

    Unfortunately, they were hacked, and lost all the pledges.  Please consider returning and pledging once more!  Also, they’re $200 short of their indiegogo goal, and have only 10 days left!

  • http://twitter.com/Tioliah Sarah

    “LOL, a lot of people talk nonsense, especially when it requires no
    actual change. Hey Sarah, guess what? I’m going to go out tomorrow &
    get magical super powers from a magical meteorite… Saying something
    is easier then following through on something… Especially when there
    is no one around to police it.”

    Really? People went out of their way to to lie about saying this made them re-think their behaviour? One extra second of thought, “hey, maybe my ‘fun’ trolling is going to contribute to making someone else’s gaming experience worse, and I don’t think I really want to do that…” IS easy. Don’t know where magical meteorites entered into it. You’re right, there is no policing here, so that’s why this is about gamers taking the responsibility to themselves be more mindful of their behavior and how it could be negatively impacting others needlessly.

    “No it really isn’t. Trolling exists because it is fun as hell to troll
    someone. Its always been fun, it will always be fun: even in a universe
    where fun does not exist, trolling is fun. Its why people do it: Because
    its fun to be us versus you.”

    So your “fun” trumps someone else feeling persistently harassed, ridiculed, humiliated, etc? There’s a difference between healthy, respectful competition (us vs. you) and going out of your way to make someone else feel like shit. Really, do you think doing this (http://fatuglyorslutty.com/) sort of thing to other people is fun? If so, then you can stop reading here. We fundamentally disagree so let’s just leave it at that.

    “Sure, but by the same measure, it also can’t do any good. Its
    essentially just lazy hacktivism. Its the pretense of doing something
    simple like typing your name & the pretense that you some how
    contributed, rather then taking a hard look at the way the world really
    is & actually contributing. Because by this time next week no one
    will remember this petition… Because thats the way the internet is:
    That which can be done without effort, will be forgotten with just as
    little effort.”

    I do see the way the world is, and there’s plenty about it I think sucks. This is one area I felt like contributing to, and you can rain on the parade all you like with the pessimism, but nothing ever changed by staying quiet and just accepting “the way the world really is”. Change is effected in many ways, some more active than others. I can understand where you’re coming from re. this feeling like a futile effort given how simple just signing an online pledge is. That’s kind of the point, though. This really is as simple as saying explicitly, “I choose not to behave this way, I think this is a problem, here’s why, let’s discuss how to make things better” because even that is enough to get you cyber-lynched, as it were, by trolls and haters. We can’t even TALK about this, let alone organize more active projects, without it generating all kinds of nastiness in response!

    And it’s one week later, and this hasn’t been forgotten. Someone felt put off by this project enough to vandalize the pledge collection! I’m not forgetting this either, I’m going to keep watching this to see where it goes and continue contributing where I can to this and similar projects both on- and offline. That’s my choice, I’m not saying it has to be yours too, but I hope you can at least see where I’m coming from. I’m a gamer, I like gaming, and I’m sure you are/do too. Gaming is fun, and should be for everyone.

    Peace,
    Tioliah

  • Anonymous

    “Really? People went out of their way to to lie about saying this made them re-think their behaviour?”

    Not lying, just not helpful… Its like me signing a piece of paper saying i wont steal cars & then saying “wow that really made me rethink my stance on car theft.” The fact that i’ve never stolen a car in my life & hadn’t intended to, doesn’t change the fact that i thought about not stealing a car after signing this piece of paper.

    “You’re right, there is no policing here, so that’s why this is about gamers taking the responsibility to themselves.”

    Like i said to someone else, signing this piece of digital paper doesn’t make you any better at that then someone who hasn’t signed it. It literally opens up no more avenues of actions then someone who has not signed it… Which makes it a moot action, of no consequence… like all slacktivism.

    “So your “fun” trumps someone else feeling persistently harassed, ridiculed, humiliated, etc?”

    If you are trolling, this is your very definition of fun.

    “This is one area I felt like contributing to, and you can rain on the parade all you like with the pessimism.”

    Except as has been pointed out, you aren’t contributing. Having signed this piece of digital paper has in no way at all, even in a metaphorical way contributed. Because as has already been pointed out you having signed this opens no further channels then someone who didn’t read this. Nor does it gift you with the ability to make the troll stop trolling. So in no way is that contributing… Thats not pessimism, its just stating demonstratable fact, also called being a realist.

    “This really is as simple as saying explicitly, “I choose not to behave this way, I think this is a problem, here’s why, let’s discuss how to make things better”

    Excpet it isn’t. Its more like saying “i have never stolen a car, but i recognise that car theft is a problem, so i from this day foreward will take a stand against car theft, but not stealing cars.”

    Its a moot, useless stance that has no way of stopping anything at all.

    “because even that is enough to get you cyber-lynched, as it were, by trolls and haters.”

    An what you just did there was an appeal to motive: By characterising everyone who disagrees with your position as a lynch mob of trolls, you are trying to discredit the people, rather then there opposing view. DONT DO THAT. Its intellectually dishonest & is extremely disingenious.

    “And it’s one week later, and this hasn’t been forgotten. Someone felt put off by this project enough to vandalize the pledge collection!”

    HA! I know you probably don’t think thats funny, but it really is. Thats what happens when people ask for money so you can set yourself up as a self declared police force for gaming (especially given how the things they are demanding from developers already exist in games)… Someone will come and kick your feet out from under you, just to show you that all your signatures means nothing. Sorry if that sounds dickish, but it really does go to show how little those signatures meant in the end.

  • http://twitter.com/RobinCook RobinCook

    You misunderstand, dude. The vandalism was not intended to convey the “meaninglessness” of this project. If the person felt it were meaningless, that person would ignore it. But obviously, people like this person and yourself are offended and threatened by projects like this, hence the hostile response. Your response does not to prove that it is meaningless; instead, it proves the exact opposite. PS: speaking out against “bigotry,” sir, is not being a “police force.” The way you use these terms, I’m reminded of a certain saying from Inigo Montoya.

  • Kyle

    The elephant in the room nobody sees is that morality in developed countries especially America have declined a lot since the 1980s.

    Actually the problems were creeping up in the turn of the century with the way schools changed teaching methods AND many respected people said so but the methods brought to schools were implanted by University Professors who didn’t like America and either didn’t have children of their own OR sent their child to private boarding schools.

    if you stood up to them they will discredit you in any way possible with their BS (Bull Shit) and PHD (Piled Higher and Deeper) degrees as long as they keep their cushy jobs with their solid retirement pensions where they are paid for life as if they were working there.

    As a result

    Now we have low morale among kids growing up in schools *unless you are lucky and you’re child is either in a private school with better staff and materials or a small town school far from the crimes of cities.
    Over the decades our children have been growing up in a polluted/toxic school system and we are now seeing the results.

    The Federal Government plays wack-a-mole to fix our schools but whatever problems they fix two or three more sets of problems crop up because they don’t dig into the roots and pull them out one by one.

    It’s like killing weeds with fertilizer and not pulling them out by the roots so they just keep coming right on back till you kill the source.

    Do you like it?

  • Kyle

    I forgot to mention that these kids that are with the corrupt schools then log into X Box or PlayStation with their friends and talk trash because their friends do it all the time.

    I bet the trash talkers are mostly city kids since their peers talk trash 24/7 so they don’t either realize or care about the negative consequences.

    These kids like John who is the leader of his gang does not want to lose his popularity with his friends so he quietly says “Pfft” to moral values and choose popularity vs doing what’s right and this is the end result.

    Not to mention John has both Mom and Dad working jobs so he grew up at a daycare which does not teach moral values the same way a parent can and when he got too old for DayCare he just grew up playing games his whole life and posting shit on FaceBook to get a reaction out of people while laughing at all the fighting he created and he drinks a lot using his fake ID his friends created so he is not in his right state of mind.

    Don’t even get me started when he begins to drive!!!

    When enough people say “Pfft” to morality it creates a negative energy field which acts as a vacuum sucking more energy in like a black hole getting bigger until a major changes collapses the black hole of negative thoughts/energy.