What She Said

Sanya’s latest blog post deserves as wide an audience as possible: It Gets Better, And It Begins With Us

seriously, if you work with game communities, read it, k? thx bye

Reading hard? Here’s the gist:

Help me, fellow mods and CMs. (And help me, players, by reporting and not responding when you see it.) We’ve got to stop tolerating homophobia in our communities. I’m not saying we have to go and get gay married. You don’t even have to support an agenda of any kind. All you have to do is say that you will not permit one of your customers to call another one of your customers a faggot.

Here is my pledge:

If you’re young and LGBT, I want you to know that gaming is getting better. In any community that I run, you will not be called names if you choose to be open about your identity and orientation. I will not allow the use of homophobic slurs, either at you or near you. I will not work for an employer who does not have my back on this. My forums are a safe place where you are not “other.” You are not alone. You are, always and forever, one of us.



14 thoughts on “What She Said

  1. Victor Barreiro Jr. says:

    Definitely a great announcement. Plus, I don’t have to hear the teenagers or adults screaming profanities to high heavens if their game isn’t going as well as it should.

  2. Richard Bartle says:

    There was a talk by Swedish researcher Jenny Sunden at the Digital Games Research Association conference in 2009 that analysed the behaviour of members of an all-gay guild in WoW (http://www.digra.org/dl/db/09287.40551.pdf). It’s interesting in a number of ways, not least because its central thesis (that groups of gay players strive to be transgressive, ie. not to play how they are “expected” to play) seems to suggest that you can’t design content specifically for a gay audience because they’d simply transgress it.

    I mention this paper for two reasons. Firstly, the (gay) players seem to be fine with using homophobic slurs among themselves, because such slurs are intended ironically and act as an assertion of kinship. Secondly, it seems that the derogatory use of the word “gay” by non-gay players is part of the glue that binds the community together: it forces the (gay) players to see themselves as outsiders, which enables the transgressive play that they embrace.

    What this means is that if you want to police homophobia, you have to make sure that what you’re policing is indeed homophobia and not a reflection of homophilia. Also, if you police it too well, you undermine one of the pillars supporting the transgressive play that (at least one guild of) gay players so enjoy.

    I’m not saying you shouldn’t do either of these things, I’m just saying that as with so many other policies that target particular real-world demographics, before you implement them you really need to speak to those demographics to get their feedback.


    • TottWriter says:

      This is true, but a lot of the time, people who are shunned by a portion of the population fall back on this form of camaraderie because they have to. For unrelated reasons, I was in a similar position at school; one of the unpopular kids, I hung around with other unpopular kids and we often used to jokingly refer to ourselves as “freaks” because that was what the cliques called us and we were turning it back. 

      Now that I am an adult and better able to choose who I interact with, do I refer to myself as a freak? Of course not. Nor do I feel a particular need to identify myself as alternative, or different. I enjoy being a part of “everyone” and not hiving to define who I am all the time and let that choose who I talk to and interact with. 

      I’m not saying for one minute that I think all members of the LGBT will feel that way, and that you shouldn’t leave that niche available for people who want it, but in my experience, once those barriers fall away people don’t feel the same need to turn former insults into clan marks. They are free to find friends from all areas of a community, often based on closer common ground than their sexual orientation being “different”.

  3. Sdf says:

    While we are at it, let’s tackle such progressive ideas like rape and abortion. But why stop there? Community managers shouldn’t tolerate discussions about climate change either. We already have management onboard for goose stepping through forum moderation when it involves the corporate interests, it’s really not that big of a leap to go from passively manipulating people to taking a more proactive approach. Maybe we can get some federal subsidies for our next online service.

    • I don’t think the article suggests that we shouldn’t talk about controversial or sensitive subjects. It it more asking the community not to tolerate homophobic behaviour – calling somone a “faggot” is not comparable to talking about global warming. Feel free to talk about gay rights, I imagine it would be acceptable to shout out against them if you present your case in a reasonable manner.

      What is not acceptable is homophobic slurs, just as racist, sexist ageist etc slurs are unnacceptable.

  4. dartwick says:

    cry more

    Seriously I think everyone is turning into a bunch of namby pampy babies.

    Now Im completely against saying mean things to gays on the basis of them being gays, same goes for women, minorities , majorities etc.

    But its going to far when you cant make any sort of reference because it might be taken as an inferred pejorative by by someone completely uninvolved.

  5. gx1080 says:

    Uh huh. If people can’t call each other faggots on the server space of your forum and social media, they will do it somewere else. “The Uncensored X game forum”.

    So yeah. Also, what Richard Bartle said.

  6. Mist says:

    Seems pointless.  Censorship is the least effective method of stopping anyone from doing anything.

  7. Klaitu says:

    This post has a lot more to do with “OMG, look at me gay people, I’m defending you.. like me LIKE ME!!!” than it actually has to do with anything substantial.

    • mox says:

      You obviously don’t know anything about Sanya then.  She’s many things, but “like me LIKE ME!!!” is definitely not one of them.

  8. JeremyT says:

    I’m with you Klaitu. I think it’s a good sentiment, but it’s completely unenforceable unless you want to spend more money on forum cops and GMs than on your actual game.
    Look, a lot of people hate homosexuals. Such people are assholes. But it so happens that most of these people have money, and many of them like playing videogames. You can’t just wish them away; they’re always going to be around, and you won’t change who they are with behavior policy. If anything, that will make them even more obnoxious.

    The best thing you can do to avoid these guys is to create a game that doesn’t appeal to assholes. And no, I have no idea how you’d actually do that, short of creating a game that doesn’t appeal to *anybody*.

  9. Xaldin says:

    I agree with the concept that people are turning into a bunch of pansies. Oh my some stranger, some where in the world used a slur about my sexual orientation. Hell they use that slur even if you aren’t that orientation. Its just white noise. Suck it the hell up.

  10. wowzolo says:

    I think Sanya is a bit over reacting (maybe not depend on situation).  I think many people don’t even know what those word means and all they know is that it is a bad word that can be used when they are angry. 

    I was surprised when I read Iliad and it refer to someone as “the bastard son of xxx”, why a classic try to insult someone.  Did a google search and then I know what a bastard is.

    Of course now I know fagxx word has something to do with gay.

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