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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Slog Gold-Star Comment of the Day

Posted by on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Slog commenter balderdash eloquently calling out misogynist nerds for their chickenshit comments about sexism in gamer culture:


Some days, like today, I am just too tired to argue about this bullshit. On days like this, I especially appreciate people like balderdash.


Comments (48) RSS

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Misanthrope: if you agree the behavior is assholish, then you are concern trolling. Knock it off.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on November 29, 2012 at 12:05 AM · Report this
@misanthrope: How long ago were you a teenager? I'm 21. I'm pretty sure I still remember my high school experience, thank you.

Perhaps you think that teenage behavior is completely unchanging, but I happen to disagree. I went to a high school in a liberal town in California, and we honestly didn't have much of a bullying problem. And the reason is not just because the administration didn't tolerate it- they, after all, couldn't be everywhere at all times.

Ultimately, it was the intolerance for bullying from the other kids that made it socially unacceptable to be a bully. Sure, people were still assholes. People said stupid things. But you couldn't call some gay kid a faggot or physically intimidate him because you would be socially censured.

Where did kids in my hometown get the idea that expressing homophobia wasn't okay? From their liberal parents. The anti-homophobic culture of the town turned out to be the culture of my high school.

Essentially, what I'm getting at is that because it wasn't tolerated in my town at large, homophobia wasn't tolerated in my high school.

I don't know how to make this happen in the gamer community, but the answer isn't "Well, teenagers are always assholes." Teenagers won't say terrible things if it means that they can't play their games.
Posted by alguna_rubia on November 28, 2012 at 8:15 PM · Report this
@26: "@22 you seem to think I'm defending assholes behaving like assholes. I'm not. I'm saying teen males are major fucking assholes, generally."

You're embracing the status quo, so passively yes. You are.
Posted by stop making excuses for douchebaggery on November 28, 2012 at 5:17 PM · Report this
Bonefish 45
Misanthrope, here's the thing that you're missing: few people would argue that wagging your finger at a sexist teenage boy is going to miraculously turn him into a well-adjusted bastion of maturity overnight.

But one of the ways in which teenagers become mature as they become adults is that they are exposed to arguments and ideas that are counter to the obnoxious ones that they, being teenagers, currently hold. That exposure has to start somewhere, and it usually does start in their teens even if it takes them until their adulthood to actually learn from them. Oftentimes it takes the form of adults (or smarter teens) calling them out on their bullshit.

That being said, it may not be any MORE effective when the method of calling them out involves kicking them off of an online game, and hopefully they're not spending enough time gaming for it to make a real difference whether they're called out there or not. But at least the other players are rid of their bullshit in the meantime, so I don't see the problem there.
Posted by Bonefish on November 28, 2012 at 4:35 PM · Report this

It's OK to not like things. But don't be a dick about the things you don't like.
Posted by GermanSausage on November 28, 2012 at 3:18 PM · Report this
@42 We are mostly talking about oral statements not written ones, and a reporting system would work just fine. If a report is filed then a recording of the encounter would be sent to a mod who could review.

There will always be gray areas but it is really not that hard to set and enforce some standards on sexist, racist, or harassing behavior. If you want to use certain words or insults then you take the risk that the person you are saying them to will be offended and report you. Playing with your friends, say whatever the hell you want, playing with a person you have never met, act like a fucking grownup until you get to know them and know how they see this stuff.

I could careless about a 'chilling effect' on someone's speech in an online video game and the chance of some mistakes is not enough to outweigh the benefits. You can have an appeal system for that.

Censorship is perfectly fine and desirable in many contexts. Slog censors, bars censors, everybody censors.
Posted by giffy on November 28, 2012 at 2:16 PM · Report this
I never said it was a first amendment violation, only that it's censorship.

What's wrong with it? God, where to begin. First you've got to create a staff to monitor millions of comments. That's about as useful as people whose job it is to clean bathroom graffiti. Second, there's no way anyone reads all those comments, so it would have to rely entirely on a report feature. And that opens up huge amount of room for people abusing report features, which leads to drama and bullying of its own. There's the inherent problem of people being unable to read sarcasm on the internet. The chilling effect of having some asshole authoritarian figure reading what you're saying. The fact that moderators would be human beings, and capable of making mistakes, not to mention being abusive. The fact that what is and isn't sexist is subjective. Some people, for example, consider the word "bitch" to be sexist and should be banned. Should "bitch" be banned? How about "Son of a bitch?" If "cunt" is banned, why not "son of a bitch?" And "cocksucker?" Why, that's homophobic, right? I myself sure wouldn't want to pay for a service that bans "son of a bitch". So there'd be the drawback of reasonable people with principles not participating in the community.

I could go on. Yes, sexists are bad people. So are, IMO, people who encourage pointless censorship.
Posted by GermanSausage on November 28, 2012 at 1:58 PM · Report this
@40 Such as?

And yes that is exactly what I am saying. You have no right to demand that other people let you use their property for your speech. I have no idea where people got this dumbass idea that they can impose upon others in that way.

If someone was in my house or business and saying a bunch of offensive thinks I would kick their ass out without a bit of remorse or second thought.
Posted by giffy on November 28, 2012 at 1:39 PM · Report this
You're asking XBoxLive to delete comments and/or ban the user because you don't like the contents of their comments.

That's pretty much the textbook definition of censorship.

Though it's true, it's not a violation of the 1st amendment, if that's what you were trying to stay. Still, it comes with a host of problems.
Posted by GermanSausage on November 28, 2012 at 12:54 PM · Report this
@38 You're wrong. Youth suicide is down, as it youth homicide…

Bullying is not getting worse, but we are paying more attention to it. It's like autism. The rates have not gone up, but we've gotten better at identifying it.

And who is talking about feel good measures? Ban the fuckers. Or punish them. Do that enough and they'll stop.
Posted by giffy on November 28, 2012 at 12:36 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 38
@37 When I see that bullying, assholism, and suicide rates actually go down because of feel good measures that don't inhibit people's actions, I'll actually say that these are do good measures instead of feel good hand wringing. That's, if I see it though. From what I've seen, its only gotten worse. And, then there's the collateral damage of punishing the kids who are actually just defending themselves. At least that's what I saw in action.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on November 28, 2012 at 10:28 AM · Report this
@34 Right, and with schools do we throw our hands up and ignore the problem or do we do what we can to make things better?

Shockingly, people do get that even with some better policy and rules this shit will not completely go away. It will however be less and that is better.

@35 When talking about government yes, the government should not censor speech, but that is not the same thing as XBL doing it.
Posted by giffy on November 28, 2012 at 9:49 AM · Report this
I rarely play in multiplayer. And when I do, on games that where my RT friends aren't playing it, I go on GameFaqs and start a post saying "Hey, I've got this game and want to play with others, but I'm not interested in listening to the racist, homophobic, sexist bullshit. Who's with me?" And soon I have tons of players to play with who, like me, are interested in civil discourse while shooting midgets in the face. Clean, wholesome fun for all!

Now, that does nothing to solve the endemic problem most female players and designers face. That's going to be a long, hard row to hoe. But we'll get there. Best thing to do, along with making this issue more visible, is just let the trolls play with trolls. Block them from your friend's list, punt them from your sessions, and encourage friends to do the same. I have one friend still in college who has the severe misfortune (in this case) of being young, hot, asian, and a gamer. The shit this poor girl has to listen to disgusts me. All she wants to do is relax after a long day of classes, volunteering, and working as an RA is shoot some people in peace and quiet. Is that really too much to ask?
Posted by NateMan on November 28, 2012 at 8:42 AM · Report this
There are a lot of things you can do about hate speech. The best thing being to ignore it. Censorship causes more problems than it solves.
Posted by GermanSausage on November 28, 2012 at 8:32 AM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 34
@28 I knew many MANY teenagers who would have gotten pissed instead of stopping and brooding. And doubled up on their actions later. But, maybe that's just the people I knew.

I mean, really, if an adult tells a teenager to stop smoking because they're being an asshole, it doesn't get the teenager to stop smoking. Or, drinking. Or to get their grades up. Really, if every teenager brooded upon being corrected, there wouldn't be nearly as much troubled youth. They'd all just brood. Not saying that I wouldn't say shit to them, but it won't change shit. At all.

@30 Oh, yeah, teenagers act with such respect in school. That's why there is absolutely no bullying. And, no suicides due to bullying. Yeah, you know what? I don't know of a single instance of a school where teenagers behave like humans across the board. When you find one, let me know. I'd like to witness this. Not to mention a public place where there are no adults watching.

Perhaps I have an even lower regard for teenagers than you guys do. Which is why I don't play games with open servers and listening on headsets much. I find it more than obnoxious.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on November 28, 2012 at 8:30 AM · Report this
Rotten666 33
Ok this is like the 5th time someone has used the word "craven" on the slog in the last week. I know everyone loves the game of thrones and whatnot, but cut it the fuck out.
Posted by Rotten666 on November 28, 2012 at 7:51 AM · Report this
@30 Right on. This "boys will be boys" argument is weak.

There's nothing that can stop hate speech? Nothing? BS. This is a leadership issue.
Posted by Not acceptable on November 28, 2012 at 7:10 AM · Report this
femwanderluster 31
@4: "My point is that sex and objectification isn't going to go away by nagging it into non-existence."

"Nagging," eh? "Nagging it into non-existence."

Pretty sure your entire sentence is the misogynist's definition of feminism.
Posted by femwanderluster on November 28, 2012 at 6:07 AM · Report this
@26 No, you're just making excuses for them.

Yes, I get that many teenage boys are assholes. Used to be one in fact. But that does not mean that adults are simply powerless to set up and enforce rules. Nor does the fact that rules would not be 100% effective mean we should not try.

I really don't get why in almost every other area of life people get that better, while maybe not perfect, is still better, but when it comes to sexism either you solve the whole problem in one go or you might as well not try.

While the nature of teenagers is unlikely to change soon, we can at the very least not let them define the culture of online gaming. We can and should force them to behave with basic human respect just like we do in school or in other public places. Will that solve the problem of sexism, no, but it certainly will make gaming a better experience for women, and for the majority of men who are not asshole teenagers.
Posted by giffy on November 28, 2012 at 5:53 AM · Report this
emma's bee 29
Balderdash @28: you are so right on that one. Over Thanksgiving, my sweet but sometimes a little too smartass16-year-old nephew made a comment about hating the Black Friday shopping frenzy so much he'd like to kick shoppers in the shins. My brother and I pointed out what an asshole, not to mention criminal, move that would be on people who probably were a lot worse off than he. A couple days later, nephew brought it up as an example of how people think he's a not-very-cool person. Obviously, he'd been brooding about it.
Posted by emma's bee on November 28, 2012 at 3:41 AM · Report this
balderdash 28
@TheMisanthrope, I don't know how long it's been since you were a teenager, but if there's one thing I remember about being one, it's that I was just unbelievably thin-skinned and impressionable. I never happened to find myself in the situation, but I know if I'd been, say, spewing a stream of misogynist invective that I just really hadn't thought through and didn't entirely understand, and someone - say, some adult who understood why what I was saying was unacceptable and wasn't a complete spineless shut-in - had stopped me and said, "Dude, that is not cool, and you sound like an asshole child when you say it," I would have stopped like I'd been scalded and spent the next week sulking and entirely reconsidering my worldview.

It doesn't take much to influence teens. They may or may not be mental trashheaps by default, but if the adults who interact with them actually act like adults, they can definitely clean up the joint, and come the fuck on: standing up to shit-talking teens is a low goddamn bar to clear in terms of courage and social conscience. It is literally the least you can do, and that was my point.
Posted by balderdash on November 28, 2012 at 12:36 AM · Report this
balderdash 27
Oh, hey, I pop back on Slog to see if anybody read my comment, and what do you know?

Thanks, Cienna! I'm glad my occasional rageposts are worth something, sometimes.
Posted by balderdash on November 28, 2012 at 12:11 AM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 26
@22 you seem to think I'm defending assholes behaving like assholes. I'm not. I'm saying teen males are major fucking assholes, generally. Especially privileged ones who play online. Teen males have been and will always be dicks. All of Romeo's cousins? Dicks. Juliet's? Dicks. And they killed people! This really isn't a news flash.

Most of the games such as Halo and Gears of War etc are aggression outlets for many gamers. Unfortunately, venting and thinking "I should not be a dick" are relatively exclusive thought patterns. Sorry. And especially to a teenager.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on November 28, 2012 at 12:10 AM · Report this
Unregistered User 25
Goddammit I spent 10 minutes making a plot for a shitty ass post by Goldy and all I got was ignored.

(but seriously this is more important because WTF gamers come the fuck on)
Posted by Unregistered User on November 27, 2012 at 11:46 PM · Report this
I too know nothing of gamer culture but that "worthless simpering twits" paints an awesome picture.
Posted by natalie on November 27, 2012 at 9:55 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 23
@2 You don't really have to do all that much besides "Don't be a dick." The only thing you might want to do is stick up for them when they're being needlessly targeted.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on November 27, 2012 at 9:50 PM · Report this
@12 Same here.

@18 I don't think anyone is under the delusion that this is not a long fight. In fact it is one that has been going on since long before we were born. Many of the victories that have been achieved were once thought near impossible too.

And OK, sure all of them should do the same thing. Or at least the major ones. Look I am sure some kids will set up their own servers or go to ones that allow them to be idiots. No one will care.

Being respectful to 50% of the population while using a public service that belongs to someone else is not too much to ask. It really really isn't.

And no, this is not the same thing as shit people say around their friends. This is actually one of the lessons most people learn as they grow up. Calling my good friend, who I know well, a dirty whore because she got laid last night is a whole lot different than calling a stranger I have never met a dirty whore because she is a woman who beat me at a video game. See the difference? Most people do.
Posted by giffy on November 27, 2012 at 9:48 PM · Report this
JonnoN 21
"Where the fuck are they going to go?"

This place called The Internet. Oh god, please keep them corralled on XBL! Adults use Steam :)
Posted by JonnoN on November 27, 2012 at 9:34 PM · Report this
@19, awesome. If people hate baseball they shouldn't care if it is integrated either, right?
Posted by Spike1382 on November 27, 2012 at 9:27 PM · Report this
I hate video games and all people who call themselves "gamers", regardless of sex.
Posted by matt! on November 27, 2012 at 8:31 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 18
@6 oh. Yeah. I've seen such a drop in shopping experiences at Box Stores. Educating consumers only matters once you get the consumers to care. Training a consumer is far more difficult than training a company.

And, the gaming population could go to Playstation. Or to PC. Or to Steam's platform. Playstation doesn't have nearly the centralized online gaming experience Xbox has, and leaves the policing to the games. Also, please note the ridiculousness of the woman's claim as XBL has already been trying to police this type of offensiveness with only minor success so far. The XBL Account Cancellation forum is really good for the lulz.

@15 you don't know that many teenagers. Many have said that kind of sexist stuff or worse in the presence of females and the females still went out with them. Teen talk without the Other around is worse. You won't be able to stop it since its traditional. It's like dogs humping for dominance.

@17 You're right. But the vast majority of the OL sexism is from the under 21 set. They have the most aggression to get out generally.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on November 27, 2012 at 8:28 PM · Report this
@4: "Half of the sexism/racism/homophobia/etc offensive shit comes from teenagers or younger."

Stop fucking lying. This shit occurs, still, in twenty to fortysomethings.
Posted by denying it doesn't change reality on November 27, 2012 at 7:45 PM · Report this
"nerd culture" in general is a terrible thing. There are great elements and great people, but these fucking male alpha nerds are the worst and they're coddled by "one of the guys" girls and weaker nerds.
Posted by good on geekgirlcon on November 27, 2012 at 7:43 PM · Report this
@4: If it were just teenagers, I might agree with you. But with all the posts I've seen lately? There tends to be some asshole who actually works in the gaming industry quoted saying something sexist, women going to gamer conventions and being treated badly by adult men, etc.

Also, even if it were just teenagers... they don't say that to girls at school because it's not tolerated. They don't play games just to be able to insult women; they presumably play games because they like games. Maybe if sexism really wasn't tolerated, they'd stop spewing sexist bullshit all over the games.
Posted by alguna_rubia on November 27, 2012 at 7:31 PM · Report this

Imagine playing games with people who post comments on youtube.
Posted by GermanSausage on November 27, 2012 at 7:18 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 13

I've played thousands of hours of Unreal Tournament II and 3.

But I never felt I was part of a "gamer culture". I guess because UT was more like a pickup game of basketball, rather than being a Scientologist.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on November 27, 2012 at 7:08 PM · Report this
emor 12

Some games really are a lot of fun. Fortunately you don't have participate in "gamer culture" to enjoy them. Personally, I checked out of the "culture" in the early '00s (when I went to college and discovered things that were way more fun) but I still boot up a notably excellent game or two nowadays.
Posted by emor on November 27, 2012 at 7:03 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 11
China Mafia-Style Hack Attack Drives California Firm to Brink

In between, the hackers assailed Solid Oak’s computer systems, shutting down web and e-mail servers, spying on an employee with her webcam, and gaining access to sensitive files in a battle that caused company revenues to tumble and brought it within a hair’s breadth of collapse.

Looks like the Long Arm of the Law is closing in guys...any last words?…
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on November 27, 2012 at 6:58 PM · Report this
TVDinner 10
Yeah, thumbs up, balderdash, giffy, soupytwist et al. I have long skimmed past these threads, because they're so soul-deadening. Thanks for fighting the good fight.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on November 27, 2012 at 6:50 PM · Report this
biffp 9
The stickman app is all I know of gamer culture. I'm not sure if it allows you to draw a lady person. Going to have to try.
Posted by biffp on November 27, 2012 at 6:34 PM · Report this
Lissa 8
Oh Cienna, I know. The beat you cover on Slog can be an awful grim grind on a woman's soul. It is good that there are people like balderdash in the world.
Posted by Lissa on November 27, 2012 at 6:30 PM · Report this
I happily know nothing of so called "gamer culture" and, if that thread is any example, hope it remains so.
Posted by tkc on November 27, 2012 at 6:26 PM · Report this
@4 Wouldn't making an issue of it, and encouraging people not to support companies that promote it, help "to prove that non-sexism sells just as good if not better than sexism to the powers that be"?

How else to do you change buying patterns but by "educating" consumers about their choices?

More stringent rules would not cost XBL half its users. Where the fuck are they going to go? They might lose a few but the vast majority will quickly adjust and stop doing it because their desire to play games will outweigh their righteous indignation at not being able to call women whores. People are not that fucking helpless and unable to adjust or change.

They'll be plenty of whining though, because nobody whines like a dude who experiences some minor restriction on a made up right.

Posted by giffy on November 27, 2012 at 6:13 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 5
P.S. If the sexism in the gaming industry changes, that'd be crow I'd gladly swallow. As long as they keep having hot shirtless guys in kilts killing people.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on November 27, 2012 at 5:52 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 4
Wow. What a load of cluelessness.

Half of the sexism/racism/homophobia/etc offensive shit comes from teenagers or younger. This anti-sexism promotions isn't going to change that. Talking about it isn't going to change that. Should it change? Hell yes. But asking online shittalking to change is like asking teenagers not to fuck.

There's a reason there are adults only and gay only servers on WoW. 12-18 have the biggest potty mouths I've ever heard, myself included. They're in it for shock value. Shock still sells. And they're the ones buying. See 4chan.

The other half of sexism, the institutionalized shit like booth babes, should be phased out. The problem is that it sells. Look at Fox News' news babes. Or MSNBC's lunchtime crew of C-cup and Crystal Ball and Tormé. If sex and objectification didn't sell, those assholes wouldn't be on tv. Hell, even God of War is objectification of the male body.

My point is that sex and objectification isn't going to go away by nagging it into non-existence. You have to prove that non-sexism sells just as good if not better than sexism to the powers that be.

If XBL gets hardcore and not token gestures about it, then they'll probably lose half their clientele. But, that's my prediction. What do I know? I'm playing things like Metroidvania still.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on November 27, 2012 at 5:48 PM · Report this
I feel like the word "craven" is really making a comeback lately. It's a fun one.
Posted by G g on November 27, 2012 at 5:46 PM · Report this
Hover Dog 2
For my part, at least, I'm trying to share this info around. I work in the game industry, and I understand that we have a gender problem (or at least, I see the results of that gender problem - I've yet to work at a studio with greater than a 10% female population), but I'm not sure what I can do about it. I've shared this article around, but is that it?

I try not to be sexist, but I also feel like if I go out of my way to create a 'welcoming environment' for female coworkers, that becomes a sort of noble sexism that otherizes them. So I try to just be respectful - as respectful as I am to any coworker - and stay aware of the issue. Not sure what else to do.
Posted by Hover Dog on November 27, 2012 at 5:33 PM · Report this
Mary P. Traverse 1
I totally ditto Cienna! Thanks, balderdash, for being awesome.
Posted by Mary P. Traverse on November 27, 2012 at 5:06 PM · Report this

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