Cloud Imperium says ‘there’s NO place for racism in the Star Citizen community’

Studio bans backers for racist chat

    
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Several members of the Star Citizen community messed around and found out. The story begins with a plea to CIG to introduce a profanity filter to the game’s general chat in order to battle back against hate speech and profanity. “A simple filter to catch the worst and often illegal explicit language should go without saying,” reads the post. “I think we need optional language filters.”

Predictably, this elicited several responses that equated adding chat filters to policing speech or would be tantamount to wider censorship. This leads to a Star Citizen organization known as Mandalorian Armed Forces (MAF), several of whom were found tossing flagrantly racist language around in-game and in Discord (links are NSFW due to aforementioned racist bile).

As of yesterday, it would appear that those members of MAF got their just desserts as CIG completely eliminated the backer accounts of several players who were part of the org, including those whose names were caught in screenshots. The action has been almost universally lauded by players and followers, with the OP of the banned names thread writing, “With the shots fired, those people should now go back into hiding and keep their opinions for themselves.”

With that said, the matter is not entirely quelled, as one player is asking CIG whether this isolated incident will be a moment for the company to do better or just ignore the matter, which has predictably elicited some unfortunate replies, but it also brought forth one of the devs:

“First and foremost, there’s NO place for racism in the Star Citizen community. We have a zero-tolerance policy and take these types of reports very seriously. To be even more candid, behaving in such manner is a quick way to get yourself removed from the community entirely.”

It should be noted that there are currently no announced plans for the profanity filter that was asked for from the off.

sources: Reddit (1, 2, 3), official forums thanks to Cotic and Mothb for the tip!
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MothballShow

Wait. So this whole time the solution to racism and hate speech was “walk it off?”

Grow a thicker skin? It’s the internet after all?

Everyone! This individual just solved all of our social problems, and the answer was right in front of us this whole time!

Realtalk: Words have meaning, and CIG showed those words have consequences. Ignoring those words is only giving permission to racists to continue their behavior.

Edit: It looks like the comment I replied to was removed. I still stand by my words to anyone who’s crying “Censorship!” or “Freedom of speech!” or various whataboutism rebuttals to the notion that racism should not be allowed in public spaces.

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FailingToComply

I loaded into SC yesterday – at one of the mining stations. I’m wearing my snazzy purple Star Kitten armour. I go to a ship terminal, and hear someone with an American southern accent on the proximity voice chat behind me saying “Hey buddy, some fag has wrote shit on your armor, says kitty or something, want me to get a rag and wipe that pussy shit off there??”

So yeah – racists, homophobes, bigots and fuckwits – every game has them.

Star_Kitten_Damon_Helmet_showcase.jpg
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laelgon

Every time a patch manages to turn back on local voice chat, the first time I realize it is pretty much always from someone yelling slurs. Unfortunately this game is like most, where the best way to enjoy it is to disable basically all interactions with the general playerbase and stick to private comms.

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MothballShow

One can hope CIG’s actions over the past 48 hours are not a one-off situation, and that they keep monitoring incidents to reprimand bad actors.

It might even be a smart move for them to put together a public-facing team to handle these things, so they can nip this type of behavior in the bud to shape the community culture before the game launches. That would go a long way toward improving perception to the larger gaming audience.

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Rndomuser

Chat filters are wrong solution. People who enjoy insulting others will find different ways to do so to bypass such filters, including by using other common words in an insulting way or forcefully attaching different meaning to them. The right solution is to add tools to make reporting obvious homophobia/racism and other trolling easier and add enough customer support people to react faster to those reports.

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Bruno Brito

Chat filters aren’t the “wrong” solution. They’re just a remedy, but they should absolutely exist.

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Rndomuser

They are not a remedy for anything. I can make insulting comments about anyone’s ethnicity or gender without using any words that will be on any developer’s default chat blacklist, and I can keep changing those, especially if I know that chat filters exist and people can add any word to those. That is especially true for other languages where, for example, I can insult someone’s gender by using same exact word that is also used very commonly to define the specific bird, so if someone will block this word that is used in negative context – it will also stay blocked even if someone else will use it in a positive context, making it hard for people without malicious intent to communicate with people who will add those words to chat filter’s blacklist. I can do the same when it comes to ethnicity (I don’t want to use specific examples).

It’s not a remedy for anything and is absolutely the wrong solution for the issue. The much better way to deal with such trolls (while waiting for customer support to ban them after your report) is to just block that person completely.

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Bruno Brito

They are not a remedy for anything. I can make insulting comments about anyone’s ethnicity or gender without using any words that will be on any developer’s default chat blacklist, and I can keep changing those, especially if I know that chat filters exist and people can add any word to those.

And on this same thread, Arktouros and others are complimenting BDO’s system.

It’s not a remedy for anything according to you. For me, it absolutely is, and having it coupled with a good GM team is great.

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Lethality

Removing chat — voice and text — and moving it to an opt-in through gameplay thing.

No one should be able to see what you type without somehow explicitly agreeing with you to see it.

That means no global or wide area chat… that means very close proximity, or entering into an agreement not unlike trading.

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Ardra Diva

chat filters are good. trolls are real.

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mars omg

indeed !

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CMDR_Cotic

It’s good they came down hard on this overt case. I do wish they would do something about ingame chat though, there has been too much homophobia and racism for way too long now.

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Chaos Squad

You forgot to credit sanguineSecret and Chaos Squad for finding these dirtbags out!

#ChaosSquad

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Sleepy

“There’s no place for racism in the Star Citizen community…

…our great-value virtual space ships are available to everyone, regardless of race, creed, gender identity or marmite preference!”

Seriously though, good slap-down. No messing around with suspensions or other rubbish, just nuked their asses. Sleepy approves.

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Greaterdivinity

Seems like a universal win across the board, here. Good job CIG, you did good.

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Loopy

Predictably, this elicited several responses that equated adding chat filters to policing speech or would be tantamount to wider censorship.

Ah yes, “mah rights!” crowd. If there is one sure way to trigger Americans it’s to threaten their “rights” to free speech.

I wonder when they’ll realize what that concept actually means..

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Hikari Kenzaki

People have long since forgotten that the Constitution was intended as a defense against the government, not a weapon against its people.

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Ken from Chicago

Exactly. Businesses have long had the right to refuse someone service, as long as it wasn’t one sexist, racist, nationalist or any of the EEOC protected statuses. No shirt, no shoes, no service. Clubs have the velvet rope. Restaurants can have dress codes, no suit, no tie, no service.

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Paragon Lost

Related, when you see folks threatening violence over having to have their kids vaccinated or wear masks, it seems they’ve forgotten that we’ve always had to have kids get vaccinated before attending public school. The whole public health mandate.

It amazes me how many steps backward into stupidity that we’ve taken as country in recent years.

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Joe Blobers

Correct and social media, politics lying all day long, fake news by troll because they can do it without consequences. Soon deep fake will indistinguishable from reality… Solution: spend more budget on education rather than more weapons.

Ernost
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Ernost

Solution: spend more budget on education rather than more weapons.

Your comment reminded me of this gem from 2012.

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Bryan Correll

It doesn’t mean anything at all since CIG is based in the UK, which does NOT have constitutionally protected free speech. Some expression that would be protected in the US (notably ‘hate’* speech) is literally illegal there and subject to fines and even imprisonment.

* I in no way condone racist, sexist, etc. speech, but hate speech laws can result in some serious misuse. For example, in 2019 a woman was arrested for quoting a rap lyric on her Instagram page. She was sentence to a £585 fine and curfew with a friggin’ ankle monitor. The conviction was later overturned, but the fact that something like this was ever considered a valid reason for prosecution seems absurd to me. But then, I’m one of those silly Americans.

Edit: The private platform thing is entirely valid though anyway. If CIG wanted to prohibit players from discussing penguins, they could. I can’t imagine why unless Chris Roberts has a phobia of animals that look like little butlers, though.

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traja

Every country has limits on free speech, even the US. For example death threats are not protected. What those limits are is a question of freedom of speech but it is silly to pretend that the US is somehow the only place where the concept exists.

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Bryan Correll

Very, very few countries have free speech as ingrained into society as the US. To be illegal in the US speech pretty much has to be a direct call for actual violence. People in the US often fall into the trap of thinking that something we consider so basic is not universal.

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MassivelyMacD
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traja

The US is one of the countries where you are the least likely to be prosecuted by the state as an individual for what you said publicly. You can still be prosecuted for it though so we are talking about degrees of freedom and not absolutes. We do talk about freedom of speech in Europe as well and countries here do claim to have it and politicians argue over what it means.

Also practical outcomes are different from laws that govern speech. For example in the US you can be fired for anything that you said publicly if your employer doesn’t like it. In many EU countries the employer is likely to have to justify that reasoning to a judge.

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CMDR_Cotic

Their base is not in in the UK, it’s Los Angeles. They just have studios elsewhere.

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Ken from Chicago

Yes, CIG does have studios in England, Germany and Canada but their HQ is in Los Angeles.

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Bryan Correll

My mistake then. But then I have to question their reference to “often illegal explicit language.” Because in the USA for speech to be illegal it has to be so threatening that they should be reporting it to authorities, not just banning it.

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Ken from Chicago

They aren’t the police. Besides, few companies want reports splattered over the news that their customers threatened folks by using actual illegal speech.

Ah, the request for a “simple” language filter against “illegal” speech. That’s a might tricky. Even lawyers,. politicians and lawmakers have tripped up over what speech is legal or not. It’s ye olde what is “porn” vs “art”?

Congress has been trying to get social networks to filters speech and keep tripping up over the First Amendment, at least here in the US.

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FailingToComply

Aside from the fact that CIG isn’t HQd in the UK, the UK does have “everyone has the right to freedom of expression”, as part of the Human Rights Act. You do not, however, havea right to hate speech, which is defined as: “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour that causes, or is likely to cause, another person harassment, alarm or distress”. This law has been revised over the years to include language that is deemed to incite “racial and religious hatred”, as well as “hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation” and language that “encourages terrorism”

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MassivelyMacD

I find it interesting that it is almost always the crowd which has no problems taking away the rights of others who feel suppressed when they are limited in issuing their lies and hatred.