Gamers or Haters
by Garvenski on November 2, 2017 - 2:50pm
While playing “Call of Duty” on XBOX live, many verbal exchanges that gamers have with each other in the voice chat contain hate speech. The insults they throw at their peers, or sometimes even teammate, are often racist, homophobic or sexist. The vocabulary used in those conversations would shock most of the players’ parents. Some game makers were then forced to place countermeasures to eradicate the growing phenomenon. This type of conversation hasn’t only happened in the XBOX live battlefield but in all the voice and text chats of online games, including PlayStation, Riot games, Blizzard entertainment and many others.
Hate speech in online games exist since many years and is in part due to the anonymity provided by the in-game names that players use to identify themselves. In consequence, the companies established a system that allows players to report other abusive users. The companies, then, investigates and decide to either punish, ban or report to law enforcement the transgressing players. Microsoft as been very implicated in this matter since XBOX live services host 23 million users. Especially Stephen Toulouse, director of XBOX live services policy and enforcement (now former director). With the few millions of gamers online at any given time, the surveillance task falls on the players that report to the companies. Other features, like muting and blocking other users, are available when dealing with annoying players.
Joan Bertin, director of the National Coalition Against Censorship in New-York City, doesn’t approve actions to limit hate speech. They deem the responses of companies as being occasional, erratic and incomplete. From their point of view, hiding hate speech won’t make it go away.
Gamers have a shared opinion on the matter. Some other solutions, like having your real name as In-game name, but most of them have been rejected because of privacy issues. In my opinion, I don’t think that hate speech should be censored by the systems or the companies because players can always find different ways to harass other users. I think that what is said is often futile and doesn’t really impact the gamers because most of them are mature adults that won’t get riled up by some twelve-year old kids that call them names. However, they will report them if they become abusive. Another problem would be determining what and what not to censor. Some words are obvious bans but most of the vocabulary used in those conversations can have a completely different meaning in another context. I think that the reporting and blocking systems that are currently in place are working well enough because being reported scares most of the players and that they shouldn’t take away their freedom of speech. For me, the game is always some sort of escape route. Isn’t the game a place where we should have even more liberties than we have in real life?
“Hate speech corrodes online games”. NBC news. April 15 2010, http://www.nbcnews.com/id/36572021/ns/technology_and_science-games/t/hat....