Better Gamers for a Better Community

Great post from Doone regarding the act of silence perpetuating a certain set of ideals within gaming culture that are rather destructive and exclusionary. It goes on to say the silence in the face if such things may be equal to or worse than the act itself since silence us an act of complicity, of support for a certain ideal by virtue of not standing against it.

#Sexism #Reblog #GamingCulture

XP Chronicles

How can so much abuse happen within the gaming community even as we know so many good people? We all like to think that bigots and trolls are a loud minority, but what can we say about that silent majority? Are they not facilitators and complicit in the abuse due to their silence? Men are especially silent on these matters and that makes matters worse sense men tend to dole out the most abuse. Men have to do more to break the silence.

I’d say it’s been 50/50 split between men being decent human beings to indecent. But of the good half, I’d say the majority are silent bystanders. I’ve seen them defend their silence with terrible excuses while a fellow gamer is attacked in some way. The problem is two-fold then: it’s the abusers and then it’s those who silently allow it to happen. Our complicity through silence is…

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5 thoughts on “Better Gamers for a Better Community

  1. He’s 100% right and I endorse everything he says. I do wonder what MMOs people are playing, though, if they aren’t already seeing this happen.

    Firstly, I’d say that in regard to almost every -ism the MMOs I play currently are way, way better than the ones I was playing when I started the hobby. In 1999-2003 I remember homophobia and racism being, if not common, then certainly not uncommon and they were not always challenged (although racism would usually start a huge slanging match on both sides). For a good while now those incidents have been a lot rarer and almost never go unchallenged.

    One striking thing I’ve noticed in recent years is the growth of “LBGT Friendly” guilds. In all the MMOs I’ve played regularly over the last year or two guilds have been recruiting in general channels using that as one of their calling cards and I have hardly ever seen it cause any pushback from bigots. In contrast, when I was playing EQ maybe 10 or so years back there was one (just one) guild I was aware of that professed to be LBGT friendly (not sure that was the term in use back then though) and they got constant grief in chat every time they recruited.

    So, I do think things have improved a lot. The areas I still see regular issues with are sexism and the use of the terms “retard” and “rape”- there’s far too much of both of those. Again, though, I’d say they are challenged more often than not, although if I blocked every Commander that used the word “rape” figuratively (something I do routinely in PvE) I’d be playing WvW in silence. I just wish they’d find another metaphor for “we killed a lot of the enemy and took all their stuff”.

    Of course my sense that things have improved may very well say more about the type of MMOs I choose to play and the content I do within them. While I do challenge behavior I find unacceptable I also move away from it. It was very definitely one of the reasons I stopped playing WoW, for example.

    • You should do an article about the change you’ve witnessed in MMOs. I didn’t start MMOs until 2003 (though I spent a helluva lotta time on Battlenet) and I honestly don’t see a discernable differnce — except with the diversity of guilds. You’re spot on about that.

      But it’s nice to point out the great things good people are doing, too. It helps pushback and give sorely needed positive reinforcement. It’d be a really interesting article to do on the growth of guild diversity and/or the decreasing presence of bigotry in MMOs. You’ve got far more years of that under your belt than I do, so you could do it some justice I think 🙂

      • Well, only four years! Not that much. The real problem though is how subjective it is. My memory tells me it’s got better but I play different MMOs and in a different way. I definitely feel it’s improved, just like I would say society in general has improved (I was a teenager in the 1970s and honestly, what passed for polite smalltalk then would get you arrested today – quite literally in some cases).

        Also, I have changed a lot in how I react, and not always for the better. I mentioned in a comment only the other day how I now let things slide in game that ten years ago I would have kicked up a fuss about, and that was talking about actual content, not things players say. The same is true of my real-life reactions now compared to what I would have said in my teens and twenties. It happens to most people (not all) as they age. The positive view is that we mellow. The negative is that we let our standards drop.

        Then there’s the matter of degree. When things were worse (as I saw it) I used to be more likely to speak up. As time moves on I’m more likely to think “Oh, that’s a bit off” and then compare it n my mind to how it used to be and decide “I guess it’s not *that* bad”. And then there’s convenience. The games provide a lot of means to sidestep the issue altogether. Increasingly. I’ve seen the /ignore button as the correct response. I do think that’s something of a supportable position on the “starving of oxygen” principle but it’s also an easy out, and anyway, as MMOs have become more solo-friendly and/or together-apart it’s become increasingly easy to just switch off from what other players are saying and, indeed, to switch off what they are saying.

        So I’m not at all sure I’m in any position to write authoritatively on this topic but I’ll give it some thought. I thank you for reminding me that saying nothing at all is never an option, though. And I think you’re the first MMO blogger I’ve ever seen quote Baudrillard. Not that I’m convinced that a post-structuralist approach is going to clarify anything for anyone!

        Hmm. Bears some thinking about, this does.

      • I appreciate the candor:) I can definitely relate to the changes youve seen in yourself over time, because I see them now too, much more than ever before. Your experiences are authoritative. Lived experience is some of the most important information to have when learning about this kind of thing. I think many of us would be interested in your experience of the MMO community and how you’ve seen these developments over time.

    • I’m terrible as well with using certain offensive words. Retard for instance seems to be in my regular vocabulary and until recently I was using rape as a pvp descriptive. They’re words with such impact and are used because of it, not as an insult to those demographics but it does tend to adopt certain aspects of it’s interpretation from the words past. I still find it awkward trying to think of a word as forceful as it to describe a certain pvp situation but don’t use it regardless.

      I’ve noticed the similar changes as well in regards to the level of hatred directed towards those alternative groups like the LGBT guilds. At first they were attacked and ridiculed and now it’s an accepted part of gaming. It might not appeal to some but I’m glad it’s there.

      It seems the sexism debate is now in the same place as those earlier issues but the defence against it seems that much more aggressive, defensive and ingrained. I’m not sure why this is compared to other social issues. What this does is also make silence the more attractive option, this is our free time after all, a time to unwind and when trying to fight these social injustices gets you an extremely abusive reaction it is often better to avoid it. silence is part of the problem but then, I understand why it is a valid choice.

      Right now I don’t believe it is the gamers first job upon playing games to create a safe space, that should be the primary concern of developers. They are the ones creating the rules and regulations of the system, what is and isn’t appropriate so it is up to them to shape discourse around there game and in gaming culture. It’s a cop out placing such things on the gamers themselves when they hold very limited ways of changing, enforcing or even standing up to such overt discriminatory behaviour.

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