Hyperspace Beacon: The sexual harassment problem in SWTOR

As most of our readers probably know, I consider myself a member of the roleplay community in Star Wars: The Old Republic. I have been a part of MMO roleplay communities since 2004, and there isn’t a lot that I haven’t seen. However, there is a problem in the online communities, in general, that I have been quiet about, but I feel that something needs to be said about it before it hits a breaking point. And the gamemasters of the SWTOR world are stretched too thin and have to take extreme action — an action that will likely limit those who are innocently trying to have fun. The problem is harassment against women.

In my community, we have some very strong women, and I don’t want to call them out because I don’t what to make them targets. But I do want to thank them for their effort, and I would like them to know that their extra work has not gone unnoticed.

I myself merely play female characters sometimes, and many times when I’m on those characters, people assume that I am a woman in real life. Although I know that my experience only scratches the surface of what a woman gamer goes through, even I can see that it’s a problem. So I would like to touch on what I’ve seen and why I see it as a growing issue.

Just standing there

Women, dress your characters how you like. There is a general thought, mostly among men, that says that a real woman isn’t going to dress her character in skimpy clothes and “parade” herself around the central hub, like Vaiken Station. I know for a fact that is not true. I can think of two very specific non-roleplayers who like their avatars to be sexy in SWTOR, and it’s not above them to walk around the station just to show off their outfits. Some of those outfits are very creative. And if a guy is allowed to wear a covert energy armor torso, then women, do what you like.

Now, I personally avoid dressing my female characters in any of the slave-girl outfits, not because I think it’s wrong — I just think it’s uncreative. If my character wears, for instance, the Slave Girl’s Bottoms, which are less than bikini bottoms, they will usually have a top that can be considered a dress with a mini-skirt. The Formal Militant’s Jacket is a good example of this. Couple that top with the Slave Girl’s Bottoms and a nice belt and you have a great-looking business suit.

But regardless of its creativity, no outfit on an avatar is an invitation to make unwanted sexual advances toward a woman. As I mentioned before, no one knows automagically that I am a man behind my female avatar. And on multiple occasions, I have stood on Vaiken Station around what I call the AFK rail, which is the railing around the middle ring overlooking the central bar. Then out of nowhere, I will get a whisper from a complete stranger that simply states, “*spank*.” What? Is that the internet equivalent of a wolf whistle or cat call?

The first time it happened, I seriously thought it was a friend of mine being goofy. I sent a whisper back asking if I knew him. However, I got no reply. It’s happened so many times now that it’s almost routine, and it’s rarely the same person, so I can’t just put the person on ignore. And to be honest, that’s far from the worst thing that’s happened.

Does this smell like chloroform to you?

Average roleplayers, like other regular gamers, are wonderful, stable human beings who like to create stories in a game universe. Most spend their time holding conversations or doing in-game activities as another character. Most are highly creative and some are geniuses at creating and portraying these characters that they’ve created. And yes, some of these creative people like to be sexually explicit or extraordinarily violent in the stories they tell. By no means do I think that’s wrong. What consenting adults do with their time is completely up to them (and none of my business).

But when there’s no consent? That’s a problem.

A few weeks back, I was an unwilling participant in a small incident that had one player screaming, “I will not take part in your rape fantasy!” Again, while standing at the AFK rail, I got a whisper that I will paraphrase: “You feel the muzzle of a blaster at the middle of your back and a sudden hand wrapping around your mouth with a cloth filled with chloroform.” I didn’t even know how to respond to that, but apparently, the next person did because she’s the one who shouted and even called him out by name.

Check yourself

I should make it clear that the incidents that I have mentioned are not the norm. Most people who attempt to make advances toward my characters are more polite and usually back off when I don’t reciprocate. But over and over, I hear stories about women and people playing female characters who have had to deal with stalkers, harassment, and just plain creeps when all they are trying to do is play a video game. And while men suffer harassment too, the nature and tenor of that harassment is usually very different, as I can myself attest.

As I said above, consenting adults are welcome to do what they like in their pretendy funtimes, but be careful who and how you approach each other. Just because someone wears the guild tag for Dark Rulers of the Bedroom (yes, that is a real guild with a hilariously wonderful name) doesn’t mean that she is there to fulfill your dark fantasies. It’s weird that I have to tell some people this: Approach avatars as if there is an actual human on the other side because there is. If you already do this? Great! Then I’m not talking to you, and thanks for being awesome! (It still doesn’t hurt to check yourself from time to time.)

If you happen to be a victim of online sexual harassment, I don’t have answers for you, but I do know some people who do. Dr. Lindsey Doe is a practicing sexologist who also has a YouTube channel talking about her practice, and specifically, she has a video about her personal experience with harassment that we can apply to gamers’ experiences online along with resources for victims.

Thank you for allowing me to get a little preachy this week. And I know that some people are going to believe that I am something that I’m not because I even broached this subject, but the truth is that I want everyone to have fun — just not at each others’ expense.

Every other week, Larry Everett jumps into his T-16 back home, rides through the hypergates of BioWare‘s Star Wars: The Old Republic, and posts his adventures in the Hyperspace Beacon. Drop him a holocom on Twitter @Shaddoe or send him a transmission at larry@massivelyop.com. Now strap yourself in, kid — we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

LEAVE A COMMENT

131 Comments on "Hyperspace Beacon: The sexual harassment problem in SWTOR"

Subscribe to:
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most liked
Reader
Fridolin Tremaine

Thank you very much for writing this article. To me it wasn’t preachy at all. It more pointed out existing problems.
OOC consent should always be given for in character actions.

It is good to see that those topics are being discussed and that consent and communication are being promoted.

Reader
Bart Karolczuk

As a MMO roleplayer I do too have some female toons in SWTOR. Maybe I got lucky but it never happened to me what’s described over here. But then again, I play on European servers. The only comment I ever got considering my toon’s gender was a compliment actually – somebody whispered me after group content run and said I must be a woman IRL as well because I was healing very good and in this player’s experience women are far better healers…
I did however receive a few racist whispers and comments over the years – my main is black human male powertech. All the douche bags (‘pro’ PvPers, racists, smartypants, etc.) are instantly joining my ignore list – I checked – it has no upper limit, feel free to use it.

Cyclone Jack
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Cyclone Jack

For me, I’ve played male and female characters since Everquest. While I don’t RP, I do try and make a character around a concept and think up a bit of backstory. As such, I’d say my characters’ gender split is close to 50%. Game time between the two probably aren’t as close as I gravitate towards some characters more than others, mechanically. In CoH my main was a female (by far the most time on any character in any MMO), and in WoW I played 2 characters fairly equally, one of each gender.
All that said, I can only recall of one time I was “harassed”, and that was in ESO’s pre-launch period of Morrowind. I have a Nord female based off of Skadi of Norse mythos, and some random kept whispering me about how sexy I was (in full armor, ofc) and trying to get me to join his group. I blocked them, teleported to a random area, and continued playing. It’s possible I’ve received other rude/crude/improper whispers in the past, but if I’m out and about doing quests, in combat, crafting, etc, I’m all but oblivious to the chat box. What annoys me more than anything are the blind invites. Blind inviters need to be insta-banned and blacklisted from the genre.
As for the chloroform person, if they want to perform non-consensual RP, just flip it back onto them. “Before the cloth reaches my mouth, my blaster is pulled and I shoot behind me, killing my attacker before they can react. I stare down at the lifeless body and give it a light kick in the head as I walk away.”

Reader
Nathan Aldana

..Im sorry, but if some rando asshole walks up to strangers and tries to roleplay using chloroform he honestly should get banned. Its not only creepy as shit but shows they have no itention of respecting boundaries with others if they dont even ask permission for that serious a roleplay situation.

Weilan
Reader
Weilan

It’s a game, relax, if you ignore the person they can’t do anything to you, you can also block them from whispering, so you just ignore them and they go away. They will just run around you for 5 minutes and then give up. Don’t try to turn a game into real life.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

I agree with you 100%, but just pointing out the obvious that chloroform is by definition an non-consent fantasy

Reader
thirtymil

It’s also not particularly good roleplay for Star Wars, where if you wanted to knock someone out you’d use the blaster set to stun, of course. Chloroform is anachronistic.

(Just for clarity I agree on the creepiness of it all.)

Reader
Pedge Jameson

SWTOR accidentally leaked their new expansion to you. “Knights of the Locker Room Talk”.

Reader
Fred Douglas

The SWTOR community in general is one of the worst I’ve seen, at least on Harbinger. I don’t have a reason for this, other than perhaps PvP sustains the endgame which draws a certain kind of person.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

I think it’s just Star Wars. The entire IP is based upon rebellion, outlaws, lawlessness beyond the control of centralized control, personal freedom and anarchy. It tends to attract and entirely different kind of person than, say, Star Trek, which is about world government, harmony, cooperation, diplomacy. Edit: yes about PvP.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

We must have been watching different Star Treks.

Reader
thirtymil

Kirk snogging aliens was totally about harmony and cooperation… :)

Reader
Pedge Jameson

There moving towards single player, and they all seem to behave like that old commercial of that gorilla beating a suitcase to death. Maybe they should shut the social part down completely as they don’t know how to use it.

Reader

I’m going to be a little different here and fess up.

I’ve been steadily playing MMORPGs since 1999 and I enjoy RP a great deal. I would be lying if I said I had not gotten into some “freaky” stuff on occasion. Even more so when I was aa impressionable teen.

Now, having said that. If something like that did go down. It was always consensual and thought through. There are guilds and forums where people lay out interests and bounce story ideas around. To me the hankypanky wasn’t a bit of fun if there wasn’t some context and story that lead to it.

Now, having said that… What is described above is none of that. Its creepy, not consensual and you likely will (and should) get your ass in trouble for it. Now what the punishment might be is a different matter. You are probably best off just using mute/block and being on your way. As banning someone in a F2P game is likely going to result in them showing back up on a new F2P account minutes later. Its not exactly something you can completely police.

It was way easier back in the golden era of MMOs for the community to police itself, because there were so few people on each server and nothing was F2P. There was something to really lose when you had to go buy another 30-60 dollar game and then come up with another CC to get your monthly stuff rolling again.

ceder
Reader
ceder

I don’t really even think of the swtor avatars as being that attractive really. So there really must be some desperation out there. Then again I’ve seen female taurens hit on in wow so…

But it also does remind me about how on some City of Heroes servers you couldn’t walk into the dance club with a female character without being spammed that sort of silliness.

For the rp that someone tried to do above, I’d’ve said “Unless you want a saarlak tonguing you for a 1000 years, I’d step off.” :P

Reader
Witches

On a lighter note, that third gif is just fantastic, perfect description of the article.

Reader
Seamus O'neill
Reader
Bruno Brito

“since they’re usually in it for booty, so they’re not much better than the harasser”

What the fuck…

Reader
nobleeinherjar

I was twelve years old when I discovered Ultima Online, and I learned even then that men and women have very different online experiences sometimes.
I’ve dealt with my fair share of harassment over my many years gaming, but some of my female friends have shared messages they’ve gotten from other players and they’re so much worse than anything I’ve ever received. Just vile, cringe-worthy, and very gender-specific insults.
When someone has sent me a message out of anger because I beat them in some online game, it’s because I was cheating. Just a big ol’ cheater. But for said female friends, it was so much worse than that. I don’t get it.
My bank alt in WoW was a female, and even in just the time it would sometimes take me to run back and forth from the bank to a shop to sell something, I’d get lewd whispers and advances. And I didn’t even dress her up provocatively.

failed_apathy
Reader
failed_apathy

lol dem SJWs and their crying amirite?? top kek sodium chloride

Maybe my reading comprehension is shit, but I don’t see where Larry suggests any “orwellian thought policing,” or anything close to it. Your comment here is ironically more akin to suggesting an Orwellian solution, if you’re able to be self-critical here.

The world is a complex place, and I suppose I can see why people need oversimplified binary paradigms to understand the world, but that’s kind of a self-insult to someone who I’m sure believes is an intelligent person, no? It’s not as simple as left vs. right, us vs. them, SJWs vs. whoever.

I don’t see Larry advocating some extreme measure, but that’s where your mind immediately went. “I disagree with Larry, so he must be on that other side. I’ll mentally distance him as far as possible by painting him as a radical extremist.”

You’re trying to dehumanize him (Orwellian SJW), again ironically, in the same way people often do online, which results in the very behavior he’s talking about.

And yes, bad things happen in the world, but advocating ignorance and silence isn’t a solution. Really, it’s more of a tacit approval. You remember history, right? I mean for christ sake, you name-drop Orwell here — you should understand what happens when “shut up and deal with it” becomes a normal way of life. Hell, you don’t even have to imagine it, because it exists on this planet.

To spell it out, Larry is really just encouraging people to stop treating each other like shit, kind of like you’re doing to an extent, and I am too, I suppose.

Does it feel good to treat people like this? I don’t think it does.

As rich weirdo Elon Musk says, I think everyone just wants to “think about the future and not be sad.” That’s all this is, not some radical call to arms.

“And I know that some people are going to believe that I am something that I’m not because I even broached this subject, but the truth is that I want everyone to have fun — just not at each others’ expense.”

failed_apathy
Reader
failed_apathy

Okay, the comment I was replying to disappeared. Do what you will.

Reader
Max Sand

I got deleted, shocker. I’m saying that we have the tools, ignore and block and report, to deal with this on the spot right now. Think about this, if EVERYONE did that the bad actors would have no one left to harass.

Regardless I didn’t SAY he had some Orwellian solution, I asked what it should be. Because outside of blocking bad actors on a case by case basis, any other solution, a REAL solution not some empty platitude about “everyone be nice”, would be Orwellian. Everyone be nice sounds good in theory, but it doesn’t work. Also, if not crying about everyone who says a mean thing on the internet is “Tacit Approval”, then you are “Tacitly Approving” all kinds of horrible shit right now by not screaming about it from the rooftops. Guilt by inaction is Orwellian.

Reader
Max Sand

The Tacit Approval Theory is McCarthy-ism in practice. “Oh, you know of a communist(or harasser) and don’t actively stop them? You are also a communist(or harasser)”. That is Thought Police, Pre Crime and Guilt By Association rolled into one thing. I am more of a “Find the guilty party and punish them accordingly” guy, which the entire legal system of any country reading this is based on. Prove guilt, remove the bad actor. In the case of harassment, proving guilt is simple, did they hurt your feelings? If Yes, /Ignore to remove bad actor. I am not a fan of collectively indicting everyone else over the crimes of one.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Nobody is making a tacit approval -> guilt argument.

Reader
Loyal Patron
imayb1

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

It’s an old argument: do you react to someone who is doing wrong even if it’s not expicitly against the law? It is still wrong. Do we simply wait until someone makes a law for every minor thing or do we socially let that wrong-doer know his actions are not widely approved of?

Reader
Droniac

@imayb1
That old statement presupposes that there’s such a thing as (objective) good and evil. Two things that have never been quantified in a non-subjective manner.

The first part of your argument assumes that all laws are good. Yet, there are plenty of examples of very questionable laws.

The second part of your argument is a fallacy. You’re linking “what a society disapproves of” to “evil”. That’s the kind of thinking that starts mass persecutions and the like. It’s these kinds of arguments that lead, directly, to things like harassment of minorities. They, after all, do not conform with the majority, so we must let them know their actions/existence aren’t widely approved of, right?

Reader
Tiresias

What, exactly, compels someone like you to reveal to everyone on the internet that you’re a terrible human being?

Is that a common trait with social injustice warriors?

You’re ranting against a group of people who are seeking a solution to the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory problem. Have you considered that you are part and parcel of that problem? After all, your argument is little more than “people are terrible; deal with it”.

Check this out right here: they are actually trying to deal with it. They are openly discussing the problem and seeking solutions. They are calling attention to the matter and having a rather rational discussion about it.

And now here you are, interjecting yourself into a conversation when you have absolutely nothing constructive to add to it.

I bet you’re only happy when other people are miserable. You’re one of those people who signs up for a vegetarian meet-up group and brings hamburgers to the potluck just to see how many people you offend, aren’t you?

Edit: So, the post I was replying to was deleted, likely by a moderator. It was the stereotypical “There are assholes everywhere and there’s nothing you can do about it!” trope. I’m going to let the reply stand on it’s own, given how many social injustice warriors are flying around on this article, but I wouldn’t be offended if Bree found the reply unnecessary in light of her clean-up and removed it.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

I think the answer to your question is found in the very-underrated Eddie Murphy movie “The Golden Child”:

“the world will become hell”
“who would want such a thing?”
“those who want evil rather than good”

such people simply exist, just as evil does exist.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Alex Willis

I myself merely play female characters sometimes, and many times when I’m on those characters, people assume that I am a woman in real life.

The persistence of this phenomenon is deeply baffling. I find it hard to account for, beyond a kind of primate-like evolutionary hangover, the stupidity of which is almost too difficult to explain. Is “some things that look like things are not the same as the things they look like” too complicated? Is the fact that someone is playing a video game not sufficient evidence to suggest that they understand the perceptual divide between representation and identity? And when they choose to RP what is clearly their projected desire, it is the DEATH of immersion to me, because if it wasn’t clear from my female toon’s war-bedecked doom-queen visage, she is not exactly broadcasting “Come hither, ye basement-dwelling dweebs, and read my heaving bosoms your worst ero-poetry.” No, her battle-axe and chain mail is saying “bring me a tankard of beer and a cloth with which to wipe my gore-stained blade”.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

ROFL Alex, shame on you for not posting a choke-on-your-drink warning there. I had a good laugh at that one.

Brett
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Brett

I wish there was a different approach to ignoring, which is a terribly weak and ineffective solution. It forces you to actively engage directly with the aggressor and doesn’t deter them from continuing their behaviour unchecked against others or in the world around you. For example, it would be awesome if confirmed harassment flagged all characters on that account as invisible/silent to everyone else (goodbye, dungeons!) for a few weeks, at the very least.

Maybe the other thing that would help is disrupting the entrenched male-by-default culture in most gaming. Simple things like having at least half the NPCs be women, completely randomly by role, having outfits that don’t really transform between gender models, and so on would go a long way!

Reader
Loyal Patron
imayb1

Too bad ignore and block can’t prevent someone from physically following you, spouting stuff about you in regular chat all the while. Nor does it help when everyone around you doesn’t likewise set an offender on ignore and they decide to chime in– either for or against. Choosing not to engage with someone is fine, but it’s not guaranteed to work.

Reader
Jeremy Barnes

Every online game I have played has a policy against harassment that can be reported to their respective version of GM. If they continue such behavior after ignoring them then I would strongly recommend reporting them so they can be removed from the community.

Reader
Dug From The Earth

Curious how ignore causes you to “engage directly with the aggressor”? Clicking your mouse on the persons name in chat and selecting “ignore” is being seen as “directly engaging” perhaps?

Reader
Sally Bowls

Curious how ignore causes you to “engage directly with the aggressor”?

My experience is they are notified you ignored them. For many trolls, they get pleasure and a sense of accomplishment that they got to you. So yes, I think using ignore does slightly encourage and increase trolling. Not usually, but sometimes the ignore just means they switch to an alt. Still probably better than the alternative but yes this is engaging with and encouraging the jerk.

Reader
Dug From The Earth

So we are moving from protecting yourself, to denying the culprit of whatever pleasure they might be seeking? Seems like intentions are confused.

Also, given the circumstance of this articles topic, these “Trolls” dont seem to be motivated to upset someone, but rather seem more intent on being rudely (and often pervertedly) forward and intrusive in hopes that the person will do the exact OPPOSITE of ignoring them IE: they hope the woman will play along, possibly happy and excited at the notion. In this circumstance, them finding out you ignored them, is a slap in their face.

Reader
Sally Bowls

My goal is to protect myself i.e. minimize my pain/annoyance/anger/sadness-re-people. Over the longer term, anything i can do to discourage the whatever-perjorative-noun-you-want-to-use is better for me. If the offenders are the clueless freaks of your example, then perhaps a visible ignore would work better. If the offenders are the typical MMO scum of my example, then perhaps a visible ignore does encourage them slightly, although I still do it. I just wish there was a silent ignore option.

Brett
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Brett

Yep!

Line
Reader
Line

Fucking hell, I had no idea that it was this bad in SWTOR.

And like everything else, don’t ignore it.
Openly tell them that they’re creepy, rude and disrespectful. Even when you’re not directly concerned, players should not let that happen; when you see something weird and uncomfortable in chat, make yourself heard.

That’s how it works in games, just as it works in real life.
Don’t let the bystander effect take over, or you’ll end up in bad situations one day.

And don’t hesitate to report – even though it’s unlikely that anyone gives a shit in those companies, just look at Twitter or Facebook…

Reader
thirtymil

So here’s a question for all the people saying ‘ignore is the answer’: if you saw someone (or were yourself) being sexual harassed in real life, would you ignore that too?

Because although I accept the internet operates to its own particular rules, at the end of the day it’s all just people, and people only change their behaviour when it’s actively condemned, not just ignored.

Reader
sfrees .

This is a silly comparison. In real life, if someone is accused of sexual harassment there could be serious consequences, so calling them out can be effective. Doing the same in a video game isn’t going to deter anyone bent on doing it because the repercussions, like the game and the effect are not real.

Reader
thirtymil

Well, there’s two parts to this – firstly, serious repercussions don’t stop anyone bent on doing something in real life either. It’ll deter the less committed, certainly, but if someone is hell-bent on doing something, they will.

Secondly, not all repercussions are immediately obvious. Human beings are social creatures by nature and there is a very clear link between peer pressure and behaviour. If everyone tells someone that what they’re doing is wrong, unless they’re sociopathic the chances are they’ll stop.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

How is getting banned from a game you’ve sunk money and time into not a real repercussion?

Reader
Seamus O'neill

Ignore and report. If you get enough people to report and make a ticket, they can’t ignore it.

Reader
Bruno Brito

Not that effective. They can still follow you, tea-bag you, you can be shy and end up enduring everything, etc etc.

Reader
jaif13

“in real life”

This has been what’s bothering me here…this is not real life. This is not, e.g., some large man with hiring power over a young, single-mom, making suggestive comments and leaving her with real fear about her livelihood. This is text on a screen, and it should be treated as such. At this level, I have to agree with “ignore is the answer”. I wish there weren’t so many rude people online, but that’s the reality.

One last thing to remember – yes, they don’t know who you are on the other side of the screen, but neither do you. When I feel offended, I like to imagine it’s some 13 year old punk with an adult’s vocabulary and a child’s judgment. Would I respond so strongly to that 13 year old in real life? No? Then take it in stride online.

It’s text on the screen – you have no idea what’s behind it.

-Jeff

Reader
Stropp

Most women experience some form of harassment regularly. It’s not all overt, the bum pinching, your-job-is-on-the-line-if-you-don’t-sleep-with-me mad-men kind of harassment that men believe constitutes harassment. Women have to put up with lascivious glances, wolf-whistles, suggestive comments, and plenty else besides. Some women don’t mind, but for others it’s a constant grind.

Why should they also have to endure that in a video game that is played for fun?

Reader
Loyal Patron
imayb1

It’s not always just “text on screen”. One random cat-call? Sure, ignore it. However, I have witnessed cases where ignoring someone escalates into text via whispers, in-game mail, whispers to friends or guildies and friends’ in-game mail, physical following, griefing, mob-training, stalking, bad-mouthing of the player’s reputation, forum posts, etc.

Where do you draw the line? I can tell you that most games do not offer protections for sexual harrassment. So again, one random cat-call is fine to ignore. A barrage of bad behavior needs to be reported and loudly decried.

Reader
jaif13

“So again, one random cat-call is fine to ignore. A barrage of bad behavior needs to be reported and loudly decried.”

We mostly agree on this. If people persist in being annoying beyond the ignore, reporting is certainly justified. I hesitate on the “loud”, because that can escalate and put the victim on a basically equal footing with the harasser.

-Jeff

miol
Reader
miol

On related recent news, Candy Crush’s company King withdraw from providing a location for a women-only games event about celebrating prominent industry women and for networking purposes called Gaming Ladies in Barcelona, as after targeted harassments and threats they couldn’t ensure the attendees’ safety in their offices.

At least meanwhile, the event organizers could find a new location for their 172 confirmed participants.

Reader
Chris Mc

I’m sure there’s way worse than the examples you gave, too. Just gotta ignore those folks. They will never go away. Always jerks in every game.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
agemyth 😩

In addition to other responses to the /ignore argument, muting someone who said something that made you feel uncomfortable or bad in some way does not undo the act that caused the bad feels to begin with.

I believe most online gaming veterans have developed a thick skin against general stuff jerks say or do. Even with that being the case there are some negative interactions that won’t magically be wiped from your memory with an ignore function.

Reader
sfrees .
Reader
Bruno Brito

“Exposing themselves”

So, you’re saying that a sensible person should never go out to buy groceries or play online games?

Reader
Seamus O'neill

You have to remember. You can try to mitigate this problem by creating a nice community and having everyone stick up for one another and you should, but at the end of the day it’s going to happen at some point or another. If you aren’t in place of mind where you can’t handle what a complete stranger is saying either via text or voice chat then maybe the online ESRB warning applies directly to you. It’s sad but a way to protect yourself from assholes is to create a party and just sit in that so you can’t hear people. At the end of the day there will always be jerks. This post is by no means saying that what assholes do is alright, or that you shouldn’t stick up for each other, more of a warning.

Reader
Chris Mc

People will say mean things to you in all aspects of life. It is good to toughen up to those, not let them ruin your day. Until we live in a 1984 society, that’s always going to be the case, and I hope we never do live in that society…

Just to add, I do fear that American society, at least, is raising a generation of adult children who feel they should be eternally sheltered. It’s not a good thing.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

well at least in the South there is still huntin’, fishin’, and football. (lol)

Line
Reader
Line

Harassment is ground for lawsuit.
That’s how it works.

It’s not something to ignore, it’s something to be dealt with by the judiciary.
And if the law can’t protect you, well, you can always have a gun.

I fucking hope that we’ll have a society of people that don’t let themselves being intimated by assholes.
But of course, you need a strong and effective state for that.
40 years of propaganda and traitors running parts of the government certainly doesn’t help.

wandris
Reader
wandris

How is this even a problem? Every female avatar is automatically assumed to be a male, becasue it usually is. You are not implicitly attached to any identity or sex. I get some may be uncomfortable around the vulgar antics of a largely male crowd but I do not think this would be any different than a man caught in the midst of a female crowd. I suppose if you go around advertising your a female you will no doubt attract the attention of some degenerate scumbag, this is the internet after all, so shouldn’t it be obvious to not paint a target on yourself? I really do not see this issue here, you got blocks and any harassment can be addressed by whoever moderates the game.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Rottenrotny

It’s pixels. Mere text on a screen.
Put them on ignore and move on.

Reader
Dug From The Earth

Sounds like you are in support of people growing a skin thick enough to push past things like this in life (or at least in a video game) without it being something that leaves you crumpled and sobbing on the floor.

Ironically enough, society these days seems to be pushing for the exact opposite.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Rottenrotny

I don’t support harassment, but yeah people should get thicker skin.
Stick and stones and whatnot.
If they’re real asses report them.

I’m just not one of those optimistic (naive) people who think that all of human society is going to be everyone holding hands and signing one day. Not gonna happen. Humans are tribal and warlike and I don’t see that going away any time soon so I’m just gonna ignore the people that annoy me.

Reader
Bruno Brito

I agree with you on one account, but remember, that a counter action like ignore/reacting will end up sometimes having bad repercussions. Harassers aren’t known for being well composed and limited in their advances.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

my 2 cents… 1) report inappropriate texts/PMs to the game moderators. They generally take them seriously. 2) my only issues have occurred in a PvP environment. I’ve never been killed by a female player or even a female avatar. I have, though, been completely convinced I was being preyed upon for being a girl.

People diss Second Life because they have been told that it’s just a sex game. While that element certainly exists (among thousands of other features), I’ve never ever experienced harassment in that game.

“Men” are not the problem. There are men who are absolute paladins. Who will lay down their lives for you. Honorable, saintly creatures. There are also men that your mother warned you about. The ones who will hurt you if nobody is watching. Those tend to gravitate to PvP games. That’s just my opinion. This is part of why I hate PvP in MMOs. It attracts some bad characters.

Reader
be rational

“I’ve never been killed by a female player or even a female avatar.”

I find it very unlikely you’ve never been killed by a female or female avatar. I suppose it’s possible if you don’t pvp much but you should also consider that some ladies play male avatars and how would you know then? I feel like you are generalizing that women don’t pvp and that’s just bad logic.

Reader
Pedge Jameson

“report inappropriate texts/PMs to the game moderators. They generally take them seriously.” You aren’t talking about SWTOR are you? Don’t make me post my Richard Dreyfuss cackle laugh again.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Tandor

“Just because someone wears the guild tag for Dark Rulers of the Bedroom (yes, that is a real guild with a hilariously wonderful name) doesn’t mean that she is there to fulfill your dark fantasies.”

No indeed, and I wouldn’t for a moment condone any form of harassment, sexual or otherwise, but as a guild name it’s going to attract more unwanted attention than another more traditional name, isn’t it?

In more general terms, I have played a broadly equal mix of male and female characters in many MMORPGs over a period of 20 years or so, and have never received any sexual approach or other form of harrassment. The worst I’ve experienced is players who haven’t taken kindly to my declining their spammed invites to join their guild or group but that’s always easily dealt with by /ignore.

Then again, most of these issues come down to a simple point of maturity and a lot of the community aspects of MMOs depend on the servers you play on. It undoubtedly helps that I don’t play on PvP servers (or PvP anyway) and it may also help that I play on EU servers, people often talk about different community maturity levels as between the EU and NA servers. Certainly I’ve chatted with a lot of NA players over the years who have told me that’s the reason they prefer to play on EU servers.

Reader
sfrees .

If someone in an mmo bothers you and you do not immediately click their name and ignore them, youre troll bait. If they create a new account to harass you, bioware would be forced to do something before the issue goes viral. There is no threat of physical violence in a video game and there is always a way to instantly get out of a situation that you don’t like.

The world is full of jerks, and that will never change. When people make a big deal out of minor annoyances they are just giving the jerks power. Trollbait.

I know it can suck to be on the receiving end of abuse, but I can always log out. I can’t count the times I have received messages like: “how does it feel to get your sh!t pushed in f@ggot?” After losing a PvP fight. I clicked ignore and went on enjoying the game.
If you can give proof of an example of sustained sexual harassment in an MMO where the victim did not engage the troll, I’ll admit I’m wrong and apologize. Pv P griefing doesn’t count.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

“When people make a big deal out of minor annoyances they are just giving the jerks power.”

No. When people don’t call out shitty behavior, they are passively reinforcing the exact same asshole “culture of permissiveness” that convinces peeps that shitty behavior is something they should do (and will get away with) in the first place. And that gives the jerks power.

Your first move is to /ignore to protect yourself when you’re the target, yes. But that can’t always be everyone’s only move or nothing gets better.

Reader
Sushi Maru

Why do you think things need to “get better”. Very serious question here. Who is to say what “better” is in a lot of these cases? Human behavior cannot be changed, and although laws can be put into place to dissuade behavior, it is a slippery slope in an attempt to limit freedoms and put controls into place based on what a subset of individuals deems correct behavior.

Game developers can ban people for “being jerks” if the criteria for such a thing is baked into the EULA. Other than that, if being a jerk a what someone wants to be in a video game, that person should have the freedom to be one.

Reader
Stropp

Being a jerk in real life has consequences. So why doesn’t being a jerk in a game have consequences as well?

There seems to be an attitude that because it’s a game then there’s nothing wrong with treating other players like crap by harassing them, sexually or otherwise.

I’d argue the opposite. The other players are the developers customers too, and the devs have a responsibility to ensure that their game spaces are safe spaces in much the same way as any real world public venue has a responsibility to ensure that it is a safe space. (Bars and clubs have security/bouncers for this reason.)

Reader
Robin ALISON

Ignoring gets you rid of one person. Permanently, but the thing is, it won’t stop others to do so, and it won’t stop them to do the same to other people.

Basically, not ignoring, is indeed, close to idiotic, but ignoring is far from a viable solution to the problem.

Reader
sfrees .

The one ignore at a time approach is the only way to manage misbehavior in any online environment. If you guys think publicly shaming people who mistreat others like this will reform them, think again. There is no culture of permissiveness in MMOs that I have seen. Just isolated jerks who tend to clock together in some cases.
I’m always puzzled when I see arguments that word needs to be spread that this behavior is wrong and unacceptable. Everyone already knows it’s wrong, but those who behave this way do not care and usually enjoy being edgy and offensive and no amount of prioritization will ever make them stop.

If they cross a line they get banned, but in the mean time they should be ignored one click at a time. Every time someone receives the “hey baby can I get sum fuk” whisper and instantly ignores the player in the other end is a small victory. And each time someone replies to the mouth breather with a clearly offended and (to said mouth breather) satisfying response we all lose.
Short of assigning every internet user some kind of ID and cross referencing harassment reports across platforms and games so offenders could be subjected to a broadbased ban from web based services, there is nothing we can do but ignore them one person at a time.

I know there is a small movement that actually wants an invasive and draconian system like this and I hope it never happens.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

There’s a huge difference between saying to the people around you, “Hey guys, that behavior isn’t OK, stoppit” and actual “public shaming” — several studios got in on the act of public shaming exploiters in the last few years, and I don’t think that’s effective or wise. Ditto with RealID type systems; most people who study harassment will tell you such systems help harassers, not victims. Peeps who want cross-referencing like this are well-meaning law-and-order types who don’t understand it doesn’t work.

If I can quote myself here: “What sticks with me from Riot’s many years discussing its findings is that a lot of toxic players exhibiting toxic behavior have no idea what they are doing is toxic. As a microcosm of toxicity in the real world and online, the competitive gaming culture has been laced with bullying, name-calling, and cruelty for decades. Folks who grow up on that think it’s normal and acceptable, and they bring it into games with them until someone in authority tells them, point-blank: Dude, it’s not normal, it’s not OK, and there are repercussions for acting this way.” The overall culture (and typical lack of studio backbone) is what allows the wackadoodle faux-P-er with his chloroform tells to think he’s safe to hunt victims when he shouldn’t be. And it’s why Riot’s countermeasures always involve reform for the trolls.

Reader
Robin ALISON

Exactly. This article is also aimed for the studio to take it into consideration, because they are the ones that can actually eliminate the problem.

Reader
Sally Bowls

Re your quote of yourself: QFT. +1

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Ashfyn Ninegold

Using the ignore function literally ignores the problem. And why use it? Because you don’t want those kind of messages. You’re annoyed by them. It’s one thing to ignore a player in chat who’s spamming, it’s another to ignore someone clearly looking for sexual satisfaction from his interaction with you. Those people should be reported. If it goes nowhere, fine. But if its the tenth time the same account’s been reported, then you’ve contributed to getting rid of a pernicious player.

Reader
Robin ALISON

I’d like to point out that I am against harassment and I do not doubt of it.
But I thought it was much more sparse in its frequency.

First of all, let me point that I, mostly, play exclusively play female character, because they “take less space on the screen” due to their usual smaller constitution (legitly, it’s for a clearer field of view), but I’m a man.
That being said, since there’s usually no way to distinguish a male player fro ma female player when they both have a female avatar, that means I’m very much exposed to harassment.

Even though women can get harassed on vocal servers or such, the issue being pointed here is the fleet whisper harassment.

But I, of my own experience, am not harassed. I wouldn’t say at all because *maybe* someone tried something monthes ago. But it’s actually nothing.
And I should be as exposed to this as anyone playing a female character, being on the AFK bay waiting for PvP to tag for long durations.

I can’t say and deny that the problem exists, it must be true because there is harassment towards women in every aspect of the society.

But I wonder how I don’t experience it. Not that I particularily ask, but maybe because my “behavior” doesn’t attract them. Not saying women should keep low profile or whatever, but I legitly wonder what makes me “unattractive” to harassment.

I’d like to end by giving my support to those who experience the harassment, because it’s painful (probably far less than IRL, but still, not something you want when you play a video game).

Reader
BDJ

No one should ever be harassed. EVER. I will tell you about my experiences as a guild leader from wow vanilla though 4 years ago when I gave up leading.

The “harassees” , a good bit of the time, bring it on themselves, in my experience anyways. When you join a guild and are around less than a week ,but act like an attention whore , attention is what you are going to get.

Being a female doesn’t mean you have to type “hey babe” or “teehee”. You don’t have to be boisterous and draw attention on comms. It’s almost like the first thing females do when they join guilds is to make sure everyone and their grandfather who fought in the civil war knows that they are females. It got so bad that I stopped allowing females in our guild. The drama was too much.

On the flip side, we did have a female in another guild in I think it was Rift. She acted like every other member. She let it be known up front she was here to game and not find a need to date. She got along just fine.

Twitch streamers have their tits hanging out for subs and donations. Yet they are constantly moderating out people who say nice tits. If you don’t want the vulgar flattery, put your tits away. Simple.

Of course some guys are going to be thirsty. You can’t change that but u can help your cause by not asking for attention.

Again. I’m speaking from my experiences as a GM.

Reader
Bruno Brito

So, you control yourself because others can’t?

Sounds like my childhood. I was constantly beaten and sent to the school psychologist to which the rethoric was: “If you ignore it, people will stop”

It didn’t work. I wasn’t capable of ignoring beatings nor i had the coolheadedness. Why did I have to change because the school wouldn’t SCHOOL the imbeciles beating me?

So, i did what any sensible person would do. I grabbed a chair in a fit of rage and bashed one of the idiots against the wall. Over and over again.

It was one of the best feelings in my life. That i fought back and destroyed the bully. He went down.

Of course, i got beaten again that same time by the rest of them and ended up expelled but i don’t regret a thing.

I am NOT controlling myself in a situation where others aren’t. Never again. I’ll do what i think it’s right. I’m NOT. NEVER. EVER. AGAIN. trying to change myself because others do wrongdoings to me.

That’s what harassment does. It makes people want to bash others peoples heads off.

People should never be harassed. Tits in or tits out. Period.

Reader
Witches

Completely disagree with this, it’s like some of the male twitch users never go outside, anything that isn’t a loose fitting turtleneck falls within showing boobs.

My experience with females in games is pretty much the same as my experience with males, quiet ones, loud ones, nice ones, weird ones, pvp ones , pve ones, the only thing females have in common is being females and the way they seem to scare/upset some males when their gender is revealed.

Zander
Reader
Zander

My question is, why is an issue in some games and not others? In Guildwars 2, the 17-24 yr old male gamer meta is a female human, skimpy skirt, exposed under boob top and Tanaka flower hair. So everyone assumes they are dudes. When sitting in large groups, waiting for a boss for instance, anyone being obnoxious usually gets shut down by players around them, if not blocked. Likewise in WvW chat or voip. While there is sexually referred banter, (yes, the ladies do it too) the map will usually tell them off or they get kicked/banned from voip.

I roleplay attractive females a lot and rarely get harassed. My block list is extensive none the less from years of blocking. It works for me.

Reader
Bruno Brito

Probably because GW2 is extremely inclusive. The game itself gives you lots of characters from very different walks of life. Exposing people to the fact that different people exist and it’s all right is a good way of making them concious about not being an asshole.

It got worse with the F2P tho, but the original community is nice enough to keep things at check.

Don’t go to Maguuma.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

I suspect in general the type of gameplay, nature of the storylines and hardcoded NPCs, and attitude of the developers helps shape playerbases and communities more than we’d like to admit, whether we’re talking GW2 on one end of the spectrum or EVE on the other. I would have liked to think Star Wars was one of the better ones, but SWTOR is a thing apart.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

In Guildwars 2, the 17-24 yr old male gamer meta is a female human, skimpy skirt, exposed under boob top and Tanaka flower hair.

I may be too old for that, but you’re telling me that outside of that I’m part of the meta without even knowing it? Damnit, my inner hipster is disappointed!

Mewmew
Reader
Mewmew

When I was young naive and very ignorant, I personally would be the target. Me, the person behind the character, and not just an Erotic Role Play incident. They normally are very sneaky about it though. They come in pretending to be your friend and are very polite and normal, slowly getting more information out of you over time as you trust them more. It’s not as simple as an overt role play advance. Once they finally start to make their moves they’ve got all your different contact info (remember I’m talking about when I was a child, I was 8 years old when this kind of stuff started, and my Parents never really wondered or worried what I was doing on the Internet they just thought I was playing games and talking to friends I knew.
I was scared I’d lose the Internet completely for good if I told them what was happening).

Sometimes they pretend to be another girl, often they pretend to be someone else your age, but there’s a serious thing happening towards young girls that most guys don’t ever hear or know about. Yes, it does happen to some boys as well and is just as bad when it does, though it doesn’t happen as often.

A lot of this happens on games for younger people, because that’s where these type of people go to look for their prey.

There are horrible things happening but it’s far worse than people hoping to do erotic role play. No offense or anything, I appreciate what you’re saying and how you’re trying to understand and see what female players have to go through. This is actually the mild end of what a lot of us deal with though.

I do sort of disagree with you about the clothes people wear on their avatars though, specifically in a role play situation on a video game what you’re wearing can sometimes tell others what you are interested in role playing (though let’s be honest, it’s normally not role playing that you’re being chloroformed and dragged back to someones room). That’s a pretty big debate issue that has a lot of technicalities and specifics and can’t really be covered in a short paragraph here about it. Maybe we’ll talk about it another time in another article :D

Reader
Melissa McDonald

Chris Hansen approves of your message.

Reader
Pedge Jameson

Why don’t you have a /sit over there.
Shit they still don’t have an emote for that, never mind.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
BalsBigBrother

I just want to point out that this type of /tell isn’t exclusive to female avatars. Over my time in mmos I have had some disturbing and graphic tells sent to me in a similar vein when I have been playing male avatars, some persistently over the course of a week or so (that one was reported to a gm and eventually actioned,) .

Some folks see the relative anonymity in an mmo as an absence of responsibility for the acts of their avatar and words they type in games. Until folks are reminded that isn’t the case I suspect we will continue to see this sort of behaviour, sadly. :-(

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Tandor

Agreed. The internet generally would be a far better place without the anonymity – it’s that which drives all that is bad about the internet in my view, which is a shame as there is so much about the internet that is good.

wandris
Reader
wandris

Yeah taking away anonymity would be great. Make being targeted and harassed about 100x more effective. Making your reputation/life more vulnerable to attack. IF you happen to do something foolish it could follow you the rest of your life. No thanks. Anonymity may be misused, but for the most part it is one of the greatest defences.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Tandor

The whole point about removing anonymity is that it would make you think twice before doing something foolish, and it would also make you think twice before reacting to others’ foolish actions.

Freedom always involves taking responsibility, but the internet is the exception to that. People use the freedom of the internet and their anonymity removes the need for any responsibility on their part.

Reader
Kala Mona

“The whole point about removing anonymity is that it would make you think twice before doing something foolish”

Having an identity doesn’t stop people from behaving like that, just look at Facebook.

wandris
Reader
wandris

Sometimes it takes actually saying something out loud or doing something to realize it is wrong, foolish or misguided. It is a level of freedom that human society does not always offer. Why risk potential consequences by supporting or testing an unpopular opinion? I suppose that I see value in the internet being both a bad and a good place with few if any serious consequences to social conduct. It is a purer form of existence, with fewer rules, and less taint of political correctness and morality. It is not always a simple matter to know what is right in life without the wrong things to define what is right or true. The freedom of the internet that comes with anonymity, offers definition in abundance with nobody getting seriously hurt in the process. Human history is a few thousand years of bloody tales of slaughter and great misdeeds. If there is anything that will break this pattern it might just be the internet.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Tandor

Plenty of people are hurt in many different ways as a result of the anonymity of the internet. Not everyone can remain anonymous, public figures for example have to be open about their identity on social media yet receive abuse and harassment from those who hide behind anonymity. A massive part of the internet is concerned with crime and terrorism etc, all handled through anonymity.

Your conclusion is frankly absurd given the spread of cyber crime and cyber warfare. The internet offers many great things, but the end of slaughter and great misdeeds isn’t one of them!

wandris
Reader
wandris

It may be a naive hope that the internet may help in some way to put an end to the historically escalating cycle of mass destruction and human conflict, but the only people who will be able to say for sure will be in the centuries to come with the luxury of hindsight and analysis. Cyber warfare is just a new dimension of electronic warfare which is nothing new. Acts of war will still be acts of war no matter what form they take or where they take place. The potential in the internet as I see it lay in the social implications which long term effects are beyond calculation at this point.

As for public figures being targeted? That is sort of my point, as soon as you get rid of anonymity you make yourself vulnerable to a multitude of attacks. Anonymity is the greatest defense anyone has right now. For every public figure there are a million people protected. You can disappear if you need to, and it probably will not require upsetting your entire life or living arrangements to do it, you just take up a new identity and kill off the old one.

Most cases I can think of of serious harm being done via the internet involve the lack of anonymity or exposure. It opens people up to serious harassment, danger and stalking.

Cybercrime? Criminals have always had a degree of anonymity against their victims at least until they get caught. On the internet though you probably are not going to get shot or stabbed when they try to rob you at least.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Tandor

“As for public figures being targeted? That is sort of my point, as soon as you get rid of anonymity you make yourself vulnerable to a multitude of attacks.”

My point being that the attacks are only carried out due to the perpetrators benefiting from anonymity. How many of those issuing rape and death threats etc to public figures through social media are doing so in their real name? How many do you think would do so if they had to use their real name?

However, we’ve moved well away from player harassment in computer games, so I guess we’ll need to agree to disagree on the wider aspects!

wandris
Reader
wandris

Before the internet such campaigns of harassment and attack could be perpetrated anonymously and they could still be today. Can you honestly see any scenario where anonymity is actually eliminated on the internet? The only thing such an attempt would accomplish is make 99% of people out there vulnerable while determined foes are even more capable of targeting victims who now have far less chance of protecting themselves becasue they no longer have anonymity.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Tandor

Anonymity won’t be totally removed, no, but in places it will be and more generally where it isn’t practical the worst aspects of the internet will lead to more widespread censorship China-style. We see that already with the UK government’s proposed control of porn sites to protect children (which it will fail to do of course) and which in itself involves the removal of anonymity. We’ll also see it in due course with the continued expansion of telemetry and the responses that will be necessary to deal with foreign government interference. (and in respect of which the US will be at the forefront of such measures under the guise of homeland security). So no, anonymity won’t be totally removed but Western Governments will begin to move in that direction alongside greater censorship of the internet.

I personally prefer greater transparency and personal responsibility to the loss of freedoms through greater censorship and other government restrictions.

wandris
Reader
wandris

The harder and faster world government’s push towards increased control the faster they will lose it. VPN, ToR, and general encryption is on its way to becoming the norm. The demand for personal security has never been higher, and the number one way to achieve personal security is anonymity. Perhaps the only defense against foreign interference will be national firewalls, but I do not see anything stopping intra-national anonymity anytime soon, and any attempts will not last against new technological methods of circumvention. We are actually headed towards a time where anonymity is becoming stronger and more prevalent, not less. While people have been anonymous to each other they have in general not been towards their ISP and governments for the most part. This is changing as awareness increases and countermeasures become more available and easier to use.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Alex Js.

If you happen to be a victim of online sexual harassment, I don’t have answers for you

Oh, the answer is very simple: most online games (including SWTOR, as far as I know) have an “ignore” function, which works pretty good for, well, ignoring unwanted advances, all without creating needless drama. Can also report them too, although old MMORPG games which are basically on “life support” (I think SWTOR can be safely included into this category) don’t have many customer support personnel reading the reports so most likely those reports will simply be ignored…

But yea, “ignore/block” works great so don’t be afraid to use that (no such thing as “impolite/rude” when it comes to using that), both in games and in things like social media (Twitter/FB/e-mail/whatever).

Reader
Bruno Brito

No. It doesn’t.

I don’t know about you, but i got followed and teabagged for hours to come when i ignored some imbecile. It’s irritating to say the least. Reporting isn’t fast enough.

Reader
Dug From The Earth

It doesnt really come as a shock that a mostly anonymous community has people misbehaving like this. While it makes ponder if I should be ashamed that im part of the same species that would treat others this way, it also makes me realize that its that diversity which can also lead to some really great people that help counter balance things.

My advice. Dont be hesitant with the ignore function. Thats one thing that people in real life dont have at there disposal (unfortunately).

Reader
Blippedy Blop

What a load of tosh, making a mountain out of a molehill. If there was ever a genuine threat, or concern with a pm received, you can send a ticket. This is ridiculous. If you don’t like something someone is sending, put it on ignore, problem solved. Because, sure, this is the equivalent of getting set upon by the Dothraki Horde. What next, one in 5 avatars are sexually assaulted?

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Paragon Lost

Until game developers actually invest in enforcing TOS policies, monitoring the game etc, you won’t see a change in this. What you’re typically told when someone is being harassing, whether it’s sexual nature or not is to simply put them on your ignore list or open a ticket.

That is what I’ve seen as the norm for the past fifteen plus years, it was better before that. Figure I’ve been playing online rpgs and other multi-player games for the past twenty five plus years and I really have seen it all.

Anyhow back to my point, we won’t see a serious change until game developers actually spend the money and invest in monitoring and enforcing TOS policies. Which isn’t going to happen, all I see is push back when it’s brought up.

Reader
starbuck1771

This is a two part problem. This stuff happens to everyone not just women in games. Problem number one is enforcement because most of the games these days do not have enough GM’s to enforce every violation of the rules immediately. Problem number two is that a lot of the players choose not report said violations (Enablers) or have no idea how to file a report. However there are some games where such behavior is allowed. Also most MMO’s are rated T or M due to the fact that such interactions occur and you are warned about it. So you need a thick spine otherwise you take your chances.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Paragon Lost

Agreed. It’s part of why I said that until game developers actually invest in enforcing it things won’t really change. It’s hard for them to invest in something that isn’t something that drives profit.

You see the same thing in corporate culture, logistics concerns are frequently ignored or criticised by operations. Operations makes profit happen, so they see the value. Logistics, whether it’s HR or those areas that make sure your company keeps within federal regulations (Compliance) are seen as hindrances.

You see the same thing in regards to IT, you need computers, software, support, security and training and yet corporations don’t see the profit margin in investing in good IT. (most of them) So we see data breaches, bad practices, employee willful ignorance etc.

Tying this back to mmo game developers. They just don’t see the investment as worthy. It sucks up money and they don’t see it as a profitable return. Which I feel is short sighted and foolish because I feel that they are costing themselves money in the long run.

This isn’t even getting into the whole debate about it just being a good thing to do. To want to protect your customers/players, to basically be ethical and make sure no one is being harassed. Which should always be a factor but I’ve seen how well that flies in our nation, in the military and in the corporate world.

Reader
Jay Power

Pretty sure that well supported games like FFXIV with a good GM team will nip this kind of stuff in the bud if it gets reported. But, yeah, use the ignore function. If you know someone is stalking you or persistently using alts to keep at you, then report them to a GM.

wpDiscuz