Posts Tagged ‘gaming community’

Warning: Contains Language,

 

I’ve been watching people, thinking of Orlando, of the recent shootings. It reminds me of a whole host of other national tragedies. People are always looking for someone to blame in the aftermath.

I’m part of many ‘communities’. Some in the meatspace and some here on the interwebs. I don’t always feel that I belong in some of them. Sometimes these communities appear to be at odds with one another. When that feels true and you don’t want to believe that community speaks for you. You forget that it goes both ways, that you’re a part of the community, one made up for individuals, and you speak for them too.

I play video games. I play a lot less than I used to, but I grew up playing games and when I was young many of my friends and I were definitely part of the gaming community. These days, most of the time I play I’m playing online with other humans, humans I don’t know and there’s no shortage of hate speech in that of the internet.

Here are a few things people have actually said in game to me (apologies, hate speech ahead).

Homophobic language is by far the most common:
“that’s such a gay ass move! Buncha faggots”

And I distinctly remember this charming request:
“can you fucking jews stop taking all my gold”

The worst of the stuff I see is a little less common, but it’s hardly an isolated incident. This is an actual transcript of a conversation I had with a teammate:

Player 1: God I hate you fucking niggers
Me: Dude, W T Fuck?!?!?! not ok!
P1: too bad its true, nigger.
Me /all: Report P1 hate speech, calling teammates “n**gers”.
P1 /all: ur all lazy and don’t do shit to help. Makes you niggers.
M3 /all: Muted reported

When this happens, there’s only so much I can do about it. It’s so common I’ve got a rote response to this kind of talk. I say it’s not appropriate. Sometimes I explain why (I say sometimes, because it’s often obvious or the person is beyond my help).  Sometimes I mute them and sometimes, if the person is on my team, I stop playing altogether “because I refuse to help bigots win at anything” I say. There are things that trump beating strangers on the internet at a game.

Sadly enough, doing this is more likely to result in my account being penalized for going AFK than anything else. At the end of the match I can report the incident and on the very rare occasion it does result in any action (the game notifies you if someone you reported is penalized) I get the small dopamine rush from foolishly thinking I did something to help. Most of the time I just have to shake it off and tell myself it’s just some asshole on the internet, pay no heed, don’t feed the trolls, but the thing is, ‘some assholes on the internet’ are a huge part of the problem.

At some point in our online lives, most of us learn to tune out certain groups of people. The Klan, The WBC, the Family Research Council, and other “fringe” groups, but it’s the everyday cruelties that’ll wear a person down.

No – it wasn’t that ONE guy saying faggot that made all those teenager kill themselves; not that one times someone all caps screamed racial slurs that got Dylan Roof to attack that church. It was that those were one of a thousand times they heard it, each one a brick dropped into a rowboat till it finally sinks. It takes a thousand of them or more and when they’re tossed in faster than you throw them out, when they keep hitting you faster than you can shake them off, that’s when people die. It’s not that one word, it’s the thousand that came before it and the thousand that will come after it.

And OUR community is a part of the problem. WE have to fix it. This is a community that is brought together by something that is supposed to be fun, games. It’s our job to make it a safe place for all people. Because every one of those words that happen on our games, on our screens, in our chat logs, those words are on us.