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Blizzard CEO Lays Gay Guild Issue To Rest 296

Posted by Zonk
from the our-bad-sorry dept.
Edge Online reports that Blizzard CEO Paul Sams has responded to the GLBT Guild issue that flared up in World of Warcraft a while back. From the article: "... he again characterized the earlier decision to prohibit mention of real-world subjects in recruiting for guilds as an 'unfortunate mistake,' which only came about because the initial comments weren't properly analyzed before sending a warning. 'It is expected and accepted that players will discuss a wide variety of topics, based on both the game world and the real world,' Sams says. 'Players are free to discuss personal characteristics if they wish, to include their sexual orientations and gender identities.'
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Blizzard CEO Lays Gay Guild Issue To Rest

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  • Eh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kyokugenryu (817869) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:27PM (#14892258)
    I agree with Blizz's previous statement of not having real world issues present in the game, such as a gay guild. I don't know what server they play on, but the amount of gay bashing and whatnot I see in barrens chats, I can only imagine how much arguing and whatnot would be caused by them boldly proclaiming they're gay in their guild title.
  • Re:Eh... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by funpet (836434) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:33PM (#14892337)
    They already have the real-world issue of gender present in the game. It would be inconsistent to allow players to discuss their character's gender (and even make gender a required in-game aspect of every character) without allowing players to discuss their character's sexual orientation.
  • Re:Eh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eric S. Smith (162) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:35PM (#14892363) Homepage
    I don't know what server they play on, but the amount of gay bashing and whatnot I see in barrens chats [...]

    If Blizzard will allow anti-gay sentiments to fly freely, surely they must allow pro-gay expressions as well.

    [...] I can only imagine how much arguing and whatnot would be caused by them boldly proclaiming they're gay in their guild title.

    But forbidding it is saying, "Stay in your closet, the bigots were here first," or something similarly silly. It amounts to choosing a side, in any case, and that's something that Blizzard seems to have decided against doing.

  • Re:Eh... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kyokugenryu (817869) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:36PM (#14892371)
    That's totally fine if you're discussing your character's sexual orientation, but when you're discussing your real world sexual orientation, that's beyond what the WoW world is supposed to be about, and from what I understand, they were doing this based on if you were gay in real life or not. If I made a gay Tauren, but wasn't gay in real life, would they deny me membership?
  • by Rei (128717) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:41PM (#14892430) Homepage
    And for that matter, they should be forbidden to discuss their race or their religion. Everyone should appear in the game as a straight, white Christian male. We need a pure WoW environment! Warcraft uber alles!!
  • thank you (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:41PM (#14892438)
    "Stay in your closet, the bigots were here first,"

    In less than 10 words you summed up the original problem. Maybe it was easy for you to write, but it expresses EXACTLY what the problem is and what people have spent hours trying to get their brains around.

    It's the bigots who are the problem here, and they should not be appeased. Maybe they shouldn't have done to them what I'd personally like to do to them, but they definitely should not be catered to.
  • Very true. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WidescreenFreak (830043) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:42PM (#14892442) Homepage Journal
    Definite agreement here. There must be responsibility on the part of any guild who would do such a thing. Honestly, how would any guild advertise something that goes against many people's societal norms and NOT expect to be targeted for it? I personally don't care as long as they don't pull an "in your face" attitude about their guild; but we all know, whether from experience or reading of others' experiences, that there are people out there who will cause problems anyway. Just being realistic here, folks.

    Blizzard did the right thing by backtracking the way they did, but that doesn't mean that guilds should go advertising thier "differences" given this Blizzard reversal. They'll just be trouble magnets for less scrupulous people, particularly those that can now hide behind the anonymity of the Internet. Sadly, I would not be surprised if there are guilds in formation now with the sole purpose of targeting any openly gay guild.

    What a wonderful world. :/
  • Perspective (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:43PM (#14892461)
    On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog [unc.edu] Unless, of course, you join a dog-friendly guild.
  • by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:46PM (#14892495) Homepage
    "I don't want to be exposed to GLBT chatter over PUBLIC CHANNELS. If they want to do it in the privacy of their guild, that's cool! But it should NOT be allowed in public channels."

    If you were referring to discussion about GLBT issues and discussion topics...that would be one thing...but what the hell is wrong with advertising that something is friendly to those people. Its the same as having an advert for any other type of guild. This wasn't "chatter"...it was a fairly succinct advert.

  • Re:"Gay Guild"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AoT (107216) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:47PM (#14892501) Homepage Journal
    I'm not gay and I would join a gay-friendly guild.

    You know why?

    Because I would be more comfortable in a guild that is accepting of gays.

    Why is this shit so hard for people to understand?
  • Re:Okay. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kyokugenryu (817869) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:50PM (#14892549)
    There's a HUGE difference between bringing it up in an appropriate situation and saying "WE'RE HERE! WE'RE QUEER!". If they were a guild with a standard name with members who all happened to be gay, I wouldn't care at ALL. NO ONE would. But if someone made a guild named the Ku Klux Klan and only recruited white supremacists now, would they have the same protection? I'd have to undoubtedly say yes, because if Blizzard is going to say the expression of your real world sexuality is fine, and naming a guild after a real-world advocacy group, then they can't say other groups can't do it as well.
  • Re:Huzzah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 88NoSoup4U88 (721233) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:52PM (#14892581)
    Er... an even -more- acceptible thing would have been if he said this right after the incident happened:
    Not after the accountants/PR people told him.
  • Re:Eh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ADRA (37398) on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:01PM (#14892673)
    Dude, seriously. Have you ever mentioned gender,age,work,family,personal angsts,etc..

    I don't know how you play, bug the guild I'm with is pretty tight on our own personal lives. None of this is 'in-game' appropriate by your standards because its not in character. The only place that should enforce in-game character is in RP realms that ironicly was the 'safe' place to talk about GBLT guilds when bliz first responded.

    It is inevitable that you will talk about your personal lives in game and as long as there is a chat function in game, you HAVE to expect a human being to talk about their real selves at least to some extent.

    About your own gandparent post about more discrimination, you're missing the point completely.
    1. I don't know of a single gay person that hates all straight people (they may exist, but are by far a minority), so if someone starts a 'gay' guild they're actually starting a gay-friendly guild. That means that they only allow in people that can accept their lifestyle.

    2. Being 'outed' in the game doesn't mean much considering there is a harrasment policy thats enforced. If you call a gay person a ---, whatever they can report you. If you know they're gay and you don't want to group with them, thats your right. Its an easy policy to appease.

    3. The ability to distinguish gay-tolerant vs. gay-bashers is the key to this whole issue from the get-go. If I was gay, I'd like to associate with people that don't think I'm going to burn in sinful hell. If you don't allow for channels of dialog to allow people to communicate, you could have a guy join a guild and become perfectly happy with it until one night, some drunk player starts spweing hate with the rest of your group joining in, then you realize, "Oh crap, these people hate -me-", so the common ground you thought you were forging with these people was an illusion. So, what do you do? Quit the guild and search for another one, hoping that they're more tolerant?

    I don't want to change people, though I wish they'd grow up. I want people to be given the opportunity to find a group of people that are tolerant to them, and the pre-article state of affairs left that ability to find that group unnecessarily restricting.
  • by Cy Sperling (960158) on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:21PM (#14892887)
    Many arguments keep bringing up the idea of keeping 'real world' issues out of the fantasy game. So, what if the character you are playing is gay? If one were to open a gay themed guild, requiring members to stay in character, is that then still a problem? I don't see how a fantasy game precludes any sense of character's sexual identity. It is patently ridiculous to think that all characters in a fantasy game must be straight and any deivation from this means people have slipped into 'real world' identity. How many straight guys play female characters and would jump at he chance to cyber with another female player? Role-playing is about assuming a character. I can see people being upset about players talking about 'real world' things in such a way that it breaks the game's illusion- but in that context you can't pick and choose which 'real-world' topics offend- they ALL should. But, if the character is played as gay wholly within the context of the game world, how is that a problem?
  • Re:"Gay Guild"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland @ y a hoo.com> on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:31PM (#14892998) Homepage Journal
    I perfer a guild that doesn't even care enough for sexual orientation to come into it at all.
  • by babydaddy (960332) on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:51PM (#14893174)
    That just means the majority of people are bigots, right? So if bigots are the majority, that makes it OK?
  • Re:Laid to rest? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:53PM (#14893198)
    this is a double edged sword and Blizzard have seen fit to blunt one side of it by saying people cant be offended by GLBT but can be offended by those against GLBT. That is unless they are perfectly fine with anti GLBT sentiments but that opens the flood gates in an entirely different set of arguments.

    People shouldn't be offended by the EXISTENCE of other people. Think about a guild that has a lot of black people in it. Your logic would say that it should then be fine to have anti-black guilds also.
  • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:54PM (#14893213)
    Heh heh. That freeedom thing is a real bitch, ain't it?

    Na, I think more people are just shocked it still exists in various places in the United States after 4 years of King George. :)

    But hey don't worry, he just established 'anther governement program' for a religious department in the Govt.

    Love the conservative Republican Ideals King George has, which are to 'stick his nose into everyone's lives, even circumventing states rights, and the ability to keep spending and increasing the size of the Government to the biggest in history.'

    Clinton's administration was at least being good Republicans, by reducing the size of government to the lowest it had been since the Kennedy Administration, and keeping their nose out of State's rights.

    I know this is a big sidetrack, and a bit tongue in cheeck, but can anyone define themselves anymore by a party?

    The Repulbicans are spending us to death, sticking their noses into state and persoanl rights, and the recent Democratic leaders did the opposite and are currently fighting the massive pork barrel projects in congress that Bush NEVER vetos. Strange...

    When I hear that the democrats don't have clear vision, I realize the republicans don't either, but they are more loyal to just walk in line with the party leaders for the sake of the party instead of having real internal debate. Both parties are screwed up right now, but it seems the Repulicans don't realize it or just go with the top down direction of the party to at least appear cohesive.

    I have people on both sides in congress I love, but they never reflect what their party tries to say they are.

  • by metamatic (202216) on Friday March 10, 2006 @04:03PM (#14893313) Homepage Journal
    Hey, Blizzard could have chosen to ban all the real-world stuff and ban all the Christian guilds. That would have been just as acceptable. Sounds like that's what you would have preferred, so why not lobby them?

    What was pissing people off was banning some real-world social preferences but not others.
  • by meadandale (605319) on Friday March 10, 2006 @04:10PM (#14893375)
    Lambda writes:

    Although Blizzard is well within its rights to insist that players avoid referring to other gamers in an "insulting manner," Blizzard cannot issue a blanket ban on any mention of sexual orientation or gender identity.


    I find it funny that Lambda thinks that they can tell Blizzard what it's own terms of service may be. Last time I checked, Blizzard was providing a subscription service. You don't like the terms? Stop paying them and go somewhere else. That's your right and your choice. They can be as discriminatory as they want and while it may piss some people off, that's their perogative.
  • by babydaddy (960332) on Friday March 10, 2006 @04:16PM (#14893443)
    Too many people are responding to this article in hysterics because Blizzard has changed its policy to revoke a ban on gay chat and overt sexual references in guild names and to allow descriptions of homosexual acts in public chat channels.

    That's not the case now, nor has it ever been. Blizzared never banned gay chat in public channels, only insulting references to sexuality. And descriptions of sexual acts always have been, and continue to be, forbidden. The policy has not changed.

    So before you have a freak out, you might want to read the posted policy. It's here:

    http://www.blizzard.com/support/wowgm/?id=agm01719 p [blizzard.com]
  • by Yosho (135835) on Friday March 10, 2006 @04:34PM (#14893641) Homepage
    What does the fact that the guild is gay have anything to do with that? Do you think straight people never molest children?
  • by meringuoid (568297) on Friday March 10, 2006 @04:37PM (#14893662)
    You don't like the terms? Stop paying them and go somewhere else. That's your right and your choice. They can be as discriminatory as they want and while it may piss some people off, that's their perogative.

    Yeah! Right on! And the same goes for Alabama bus services, right? If you don't like the seating arrangements, then go take a cab!

    Fuckwit.

  • by JofCoRe (315438) on Friday March 10, 2006 @04:39PM (#14893683) Journal
    If they want to do it in the privacy of their guild, that's cool! But it should NOT be allowed in public channels.

    Heh, that sounds like the people that complain about gay pride parades. "I dont' care if they're gay, but why do they have to parade it around all the time?!?!?!?"

    Heh, I'll tell you why: Because these people have been shunned and ousted from society from so long, and they're sick of it. They're proud of who they are, and they want to be able to express themselves and their way of life freely the same way that the rest of the world does...

    Your comment almost sounds like you think that homosexuals should all just stay in the closet...
  • Re:Okay. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by quantax (12175) on Friday March 10, 2006 @04:42PM (#14893721) Homepage
    I'd have to undoubtedly say yes, because if Blizzard is going to say the expression of your real world sexuality is fine, and naming a guild after a real-world advocacy group, then they can't say other groups can't do it as well.

    I find it interesting that you draw a link between an advocacy group such as the KKK whom actively goes out and tries to persuade others of their own beliefs and a gay-friendly guild (note that gay-friendly != gay-only) whom actively play a video game; just because a minority group of individuals meets up does not mean they are advocating anything. Where as the KKK is an establish advocacy group who makes no secret of their views and as such, if someone were to start a real KKK guild on WoW, clearly they would be an extension of that advocacy group and thus inappropriate.

    Now if the National GLBT Organization were to start a WoW guild, yes, this would be an gay-rights advocacy group, but note how this is not the case with the guild in question. I rather doubt this group goes around shouting pro-gay slogans on public channels; no, they probably talk to each other within their gay-friendly group about life, the universe and everything with little concern for promoting anything beyond civility to each other. No agendas, no secret meetings, its a friggen guild on WoW who's members are not hostile towards gays. If this is advocacy at work, then clearly all real-life related guilds on WoW, ranging from Christian to Muslim to Furries to Koreans are all advocacy groups by their very existence and should be immediately banned under the same rules.

    That is the crux of the issue at heart: disparate responses to different real-life groups. The rules that Blizzard applied to this gay-friendly guild also apply to religious guilds but you don't see them banning those. So, if you want to take your position, then be sure whos getting thrown out with the bath water.

    That banning all these guilds would be retarded from a business & PR perspective is another story altogether.
  • Pizza (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 10, 2006 @05:11PM (#14893996)
    Any of you every go out to eat? You know, something reasonable, not fast food but not too pricey either...

    Imagine two, clearly gay men, enjoying a pepperoni pizza with mushrooms at this restaurant. They are polite and respectful. All of a sudden, and completely out of the blue, a fellow at another table turns and starts screaming hellfire at them, faggot this and homo that; threatens to kill them perhaps? Who do you think that manager is going to ask to leave?
  • Oddly enough... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by voteforkerry78 (819720) on Friday March 10, 2006 @05:17PM (#14894046)
    ...the entire fantasy genre is built upon racism.
  • by vp0ng (751157) on Friday March 10, 2006 @05:19PM (#14894065)
    --> 8 year old gets recruited to STRAIGHT guild, recieves inappropirate chat/tells in game, parents take a screenshot and hand over to a lawyer. Blizz gets sued for enabling child molestation. Parents and child walk away with millions. Your argument doesn't stand up.
  • by ArtDent (83554) on Friday March 10, 2006 @05:43PM (#14894292)
    I find it funny that you think that California law can't tell Blizzard what it's terms of service may be.

    According to Lambda's letter to Blizzard, "Discrimination against LGBT individuals in the provision of public accommodations is clearly prohibited by California law. Id., see also, Cal. Civ. Code 51 et seq. It has been so for more than fifty years. Stouman v. Reilly, 234 P.2d 969 (Cal. 1951)."

    It would appear that Blizzard's lawyers didn't find this particularly funny.
  • Re:Eh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ebyrob (165903) on Friday March 10, 2006 @05:48PM (#14894337) Homepage
    ---

    What is that really though? Is it self-censorship to avoid saying "fag"? Or is it a meta-cussword representing any nasty thing you could imagine. If it's the latter it's actually a lot more offensive than just spelling something out (like fag). (This is similar to the fact that fear of the unknown is often much worse than fear of something concrete.)

    Of course, maybe it makes sense you'd be offended by the unknown obsenities your mind conjuers in the dark even if no wordly word can achieve such an end. Or, maybe you think the OP just needs to pull a plug out...
  • by C10H14N2 (640033) on Friday March 10, 2006 @06:00PM (#14894442)
    "It was about people making targets of themselves."

    Methinks it was more about people targeting them.

    I mean, if a raging horde of violent heterosexual male rapists burst through the doors of the local YWCA, I doubt it would fly to say "well, honestly, if they didn't so blatantly advertise that there was nothing but women in there. I mean, that's just inciting this kind of thing."
  • by thesandtiger (819476) on Friday March 10, 2006 @06:03PM (#14894465)
    Considering that homosexuals make up a disproportionately small percentage of child molesters, I'd say that an 8-year old is safer in a "gay friendly" guild than in a straight one.

    Honestly, if one looks at the statistics, I'd be much more frightened of leaving my child with straight people than gay.
  • by JesusPancakes (941204) <jesusNO@SPAMcinci.rr.com> on Friday March 10, 2006 @06:27PM (#14894642) Homepage
    What, are you fucking stupid?

    It's protection of players' rights. There is no ban on what you say in private chat (whether guild, party, raid, or whispers) to another friend. In fact, when I play with my roommate, I'll call him a useless nigger faggot in a whisper or while we're questing together.

    But if somebody calls me a dirty sand nigger faggot cunt twat boy in public chat, then that is NOT allowed. I'm not gay, but if I were, I'd expect to be able to play without hearing slurs about people like me and incitements to violence, or any other derogatory comments, in the PUBLIC chat. Because, you know, children play these games too.

    If someone has a GLBT guild, the only thing that could 'offend' a homophobe would be the fact that the guild exists at all. And if you can't stand to see the name of a guild with "GLBT", "Gay", or whatever in it, maybe you should just... get over it. But no one is forcing you to listen to what they have to say.

    But if a gay person sees a guild called "Fag Haters", they're going to feel 1) uncomfortable 2) unaccepted 3) like they don't belong. You might be offended by the word gay, but at least it doesn't imply that the person hates you.

    So really, Blizzard is forbidding players to make other players feel like they're hated.

    It's this bullshit anti-gay right-wing nonsense all over the place. Homophobes are 'offended' by the fact that gay people exist, and they think to make it fair, they should make signs that say "Gays Burn In Hell". They are NOT equal, they are NOT even closely related. One is simply "Look, this is what I am, if you don't like me then go away" whereas the other is "I believe you're going to burn in hell and that you don't deserve the rights I have." There's a HUGE fucking difference.
  • Re:Okay. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AoT (107216) on Friday March 10, 2006 @08:18PM (#14895511) Homepage Journal
    We're talking about it because they went and said something along the lines of "hey, we don't mind gay people in our guild and won't be assholes to them."

    Except they said it as "GLTB-friendly"

    And, god forbid, they made sure people knew this, in public.

    The nerve.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 10, 2006 @08:40PM (#14895636)
    Yes.

    What, you thought Hitler was an aberation? Hitler was a man, and men still today agree with Hitler. Those men are organizing.
  • Re:Huzzah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mattcelt (454751) on Friday March 10, 2006 @08:48PM (#14895678)
    Doesn't take much. Just a little integrity.

    Riiiight. You know as well as I do that for most major corporations, a "little" integrity isn't much in the same way that a "little" neutron star isn't heavy.

[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month. -- Wernher von Braun

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