Greetings, readers! As I’m sure you are already aware, the recent harassment of gamers who happen to be female, gay, trans, or otherwise marginalized has been in the news. The attacks on people such as Anita Sarkeesian, Jennifer Hepler, Felicia Day, and others have made headlines and painted our gaming culture as something really disgusting. Headlines and big names aside, the average gamer who doesn’t fit into the “normal” gamer box often faces verbal beatdowns in the games themselves. There are many people who don’t want to play these games for fear of harassment, and there are others who don’t use voice chat in the game at all, hiding their true identity. Meanwhile, offensive words such as “rape,” or gay and racial slurs have become the norm.
So what can be done about this troubling trend? We know that not all gamers are assholes, but the assholes are the loudest. We can begin with ourselves, making a pledge to not use hurtful and bigoted language when we game. Such a pledge can be found at Gamers Against Bigotry.
As a gamer, I realize I contribute to an incredibly diverse social network of gamers around the world, and that my actions have the ability to impact others. In effort to make a positive impact, and to create a community that is welcoming to all, I pledge to not use bigoted language while gaming, online and otherwise.
Bigoted language includes, but is not limited to, slurs based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and disability.
I can hear what you’re saying already, dear readers. What’s a pledge really going to do to change the community? Not to worry! Gamers Against Bigotry has a plan.
Step 1: Gather Our Forces! Before we do anything, we have to amass a group of supporters to this cause – number to be reckoned with! The number of gamers who sign the pledge will show their support will give us an idea of the community sentiment.
Step 2: March On Developers! We tell developers we want concrete ways to deal with harassment and bigotry in games, and that the current muting/blocking/reporting systems aren’t working. Here’s a vid with examples of what will.
Step 3: Lock Up The Trolls! With better tools provided by game developers, we will be able to help shift gaming culture: providing incentives to those who deserve them, and taking away communication privileges from trolls who only use them to abuse.
Yes, we do value free speech. But the things that we say should still have consequences. They do in real life, and they should in our video game spaces as well. Head on over to Gamers Against Bigotry, sign the pledge, and lend your support. We deserve a great, fun gaming community where everyone is valued and welcome. Even the noobs.