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Sanitizing Expression In Virtual Worlds 516

Posted by Zonk
from the speak-and-be-heard dept.
1up has a piece looking back at the GLBT guild mixup that happened earlier this year in World of Warcraft. From the article: "'... last summer a friend introduced me to WOW, and I really liked it, though I didn't care for remarks many of the players made, like the fact that everything is apparently so gay when it's bad. So I decided to create my own guild, which would be GLBT friendly.' Sometimes singing, other times slogging her way through WOW's exacting echelons to a formidable level 60, Andrews had big endgame plans for her developing guild--until January 12, 2006, that is, when a note from publisher Blizzard blinkered everything."
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Sanitizing Expression In Virtual Worlds

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  • Oh man (Score:3, Funny)

    by OverlordQ (264228) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:44PM (#15123926) Journal
    Until January 12, 2006, that is, when a note from publisher Blizzard blinkered everything.

    Yea I hate it when things blink . . . I always seem to blink things up . . . Oh yea, well blink you too.

  • The issue with MMORPG's is that there is NO END, ever, to the game. You can literally play forever and the more time you put in the harder it is to quit because you have to acknowledge all the time you've wasted playing it. Blizzard has finally found a way to get people to end their addiction; homophobic account and guild deletions. :) Now the GLBT community will can free of the burden of MMORPG addiction.
    • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:55PM (#15124074) Journal
      But they're still not free from their addiction to Gay Bacon Lettuce & Tomato sandwiches.
  • This is funny because I was talking about it only a year ago -- will we see private property rights exist in cyberspace?

    I firmly believe that the ability to speak is a protected right directly protected by the right to personal property. I don't believe we need a government to protect our right to speech on our own land. I also believe we can censor whoever we want, as long as we're on our own land. Once we step onto their land, they have the power to control speech.

    Most of the time the GLBT folks anger
    • by indifferent children (842621) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:57PM (#15124097)
      If I want to sit around in my home, my restaurant, or my office

      Your home is private property, but when you open your restaurant to the public, it becomes a 'public accomodation', and is not private property. This was an issue with a case against the Boy Scouts of America. They were sued because they discriminate against homosexuals. The courts ruled that the Boy Scouts were a private club, not a public accomodation, and that they were free to discriminate.

      Some bars and restautants are also run as private clubs (playboy clubs (defunct), bottle clubs, etc). Most are public accomodations, with restricted 'property rights'.

      Also, if you hire a person to work in your business, you are bound by labor laws. This includes not creating a 'hostile work environment' and other EEOC restrictions. If you don't like it, don't hire people in America.

      • Penn and Teller's BS just did an episode on them (season four premiere)

        Not much to say other than they treat themselves as a public accomodation when they feel like it (such as, utilizing our tax dollars to support the groups) and as a private club when they want to (creating environments of intolerance and the like)

        Pretty interesting show, particularly the Mormons "hijacking" the BSA in the 70s.

        • Re: Boy Scouts (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DarkSarin (651985)
          The interesting thing about the BSA wrt the 'Mormons' (please, say LDS church, it is more accurate) is that now the BSA is in a position where the LDS church and the Catholic church compose the majority of its members. To allow homosexual leaders would instantly alienate both of these groups. The LDS church has recently introduced and modified several programs that would, should the BSA choose or be forced to allow homosexual leaders, allow the church to instantly abandon the BSA wholesale.

          Such a move on
    • Of course, its still blizzards land, so you really can't say anything. You should take your speach somewhere else. Now in a game like second life where you buy land. I guess theoretically it would be a different legal standard wouldn't it?
    • by _RidG_ (603552) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:06PM (#15124215)
      I firmly believe that the ability to speak is a protected right directly protected by the right to personal property. I don't believe we need a government to protect our right to speech on our own land.

      Control over property does not give you absolute right of speech within its borders. To pull out the old Supreme Court analogy, by your logic, if you owned a theater, that would give you permission to attend a crowded performance, yell "Fire!" and watch the havoc unfold. That is absolutely ridiculous.

      I also believe we can censor whoever we want, as long as we're on our own land.

      Sure thing. I'll throw out another analogy. You are a restaurant owner who happens to actively dislike black people. You own the restaurant, and it is your "own land." Does it follow that you can "censor" - e.g., deny access, refuse service, etc. - black people from going to your restaurant? (Hint - read the 1964 Civil Rights Act.)

      I'm not anti-gay, anti-lesbian, anti-transgendered, but I am pro-freedom.

      Please understand that you being pro-freedom necessarily implies that other people have the right to enjoy their freedoms as well, such as freedom from your asshatted bigotry.
      • I detected no asshatted bigotry in his statement. You are projecting an attitude on him that's extremely negative when his actual statements were much less negative. This is an ad-hominem attack and is a debating technique to use when you don't have anything more solid.

        Also, hauling out the 1964 Civil Rights Act as a defense is kind of silly, because the original poster would probably site that as an example of a broken law. That basically represents an argument by appealing to authority, and is also a

    • by kisrael (134664) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:07PM (#15124222) Homepage
      Now the GLBT folks are mad because they created their own private property, and the "big government" in the game said NO. This is even funnier now because the group that has historically been known to work against individual rights is now being hampered by their own policies.

      Err, it's not that funny. I think for as much as they've "historically been known to work against individual rights" they've been more known to be working FOR individual rights, namely, that no one from "big government" to anyone else should dictate who they fall in love with or what kind of sex they choose to have and with whom.

      Seriously, the person who complained about a guild listing itself as "GLBT-friendly" was being a total ass, and the complaint have been treated accordingly. These guys weren't looking to ban players who casually throw around term "that's so gay", just trying to politely and fairly discretely advertise their group in a coded language to other people who might feel likewise.

    • In order to be as you say you are, pro-freedom, you have to understand what freedom really is. You basically advocate personal anarchy with your views. And as I have explained to many anarchists and libertarians that when people have to be afraid in their everyday lives about certain sentiments negatively affecting them just because of the way they live their lives and when there is no governing authority to protect them...then they aren't truly free. Being free isn't about having the liberty to make someon
      • And as I have explained to many anarchists and libertarians that when people have to be afraid in their everyday lives about certain sentiments negatively affecting them just because of the way they live their lives and when there is no governing authority to protect them...then they aren't truly free.

        The problem is that more often than not the entity you have to be afraid of IS the governing authority. Allowing the government to protect us only works if the government is made of better people than the citi
    • So let's consider the following.

      New neighbor moves in across the street from Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith immediately detests this family, and wants them gone. He puts up a large sign in his yard that reads "To the Jones family: You are not welcome here. Get the fuck out of our neighborhood and go back to whatever cesspool you crawled out of." When their children are outside, he stands (on his own property, mind you,) and calls across the street to them, telling them that their parents are horrible, horrible

      • It is a civil matter. They can sue.

        Other than indecent exposure (still civil, iirc) though I'm not sure anything is technically "wrong". In bad taste, but not against the law. That's the way it is supposed to be though. You have the freedom to express yourself through appropriate channels
  • Wait.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by realmolo (574068) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:50PM (#15124017)
    So, there are people that play WoW that *aren't* homosexual? I don't believe it.
     
    ;)
  • Stop that! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:51PM (#15124030)
    > So I decided to create my own guild, which would be GLBT friendly.' Sometimes singing, other times slogging her way through WOW's exacting echelons to a formidable level 60, Andrews had big endgame plans for her developing guild--until January 12, 2006, that is, when a note from publisher Blizzard blinkered everything."

    Sometimes singing? Andrews? Her?

    "Stop that! Stop that! You're not going into a song while I'm here. Now listen, lass. In twenty levels, you're getting married to a girl whose Tauren father pwns the biggest tracts of open land in all of Kalimdor!"

  • by sc0ttyb (833038) * on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:52PM (#15124042)
    If players would form/join guilds based on the player's skill or helpfulness or other such ways that directly affect gameplay, then we wouldn't be having this problem.

    Ultimately, who cares? If people weren't such dicks and played the game without resorting to "omg u r a fag gtfo" then people wouldn't feel the need to make these guilds.

    Of course, even then it wouldn't go away entirely, as people would form guilds just to try to be different.

    My guild consists of men and women of differing ages, races, nationalities, and sexual orientations (really - I'm not joking), and we all have fun and just play the damn game. We don't care if one of our members is gay because IT DOESN'T MATTER. It doesn't give you a stat bonus, it doesn't make you a better player, so who cares?

    I say leave the politics out of the game and just HAVE FUN!
    • "If people weren't such dicks and played the game without resorting to "omg u r a fag gtfo" then people wouldn't feel the need to make these guilds."

      If people ahd thicker skins, it wouldn't be an issue either.
    • by Yosho (135835) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:01PM (#15124151) Homepage
      The thing is, not everybody plays MMORPGs will the sole desire of leveling up. A lot of people play for the social aspect, and nobody wants to hang around somebody who has you, no matter how good that person may be. If your goal isn't to gain XP faster than anybody else, it makes a lot of sense to join a group of people you like rather than a group of good players.
    • My guild consists of men and women of differing ages, races, nationalities, and sexual orientations (really - I'm not joking), and we all have fun and just play the damn game. We don't care if one of our members is gay because IT DOESN'T MATTER. It doesn't give you a stat bonus, it doesn't make you a better player, so who cares?

      I'm a programmer. As such, I like to spend time with other programmers - I tend to get on better with them, if only because I have more in common with them. I don't play MMOGs, but

  • by Gannoc (210256) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:59PM (#15124128)

    Our guild doesn't care if you're gay, straight, black, white, democrat, or republican. It just has no place it the game.

    However, all the jews are losing 50 DKP tomorrow for killing our Lord and savior. Sorry, but if you nail the son of God to a 2x4, you're not going to get that epic chest piece.

  • um (Score:2, Informative)

    You can turn off all the chat channels in the game. I leave them all off. That way I don't have to hear about Chuck Norris...and how gay he is.
  • Sex & Violence (Score:4, Interesting)

    by f97tosc (578893) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:10PM (#15124245)
    I am amazed by how much fuzz anything related to sexuality is generating. For crying out loud, you are playing a game in which the basic premise, like in most other games, is to kill and plunder. There are no moral problems with this because you are Good and they are Bad. But if someone say "gay", or starts an LBGT guild - then what an outrage. No more is the game good "family" entertainment, no indeed, it needs to be cleaned up, the little ones need to be protected.

    Tor
  • The problem here is not about free speech, free speech is only free in public, in private you have to obide by what the owners of the private area tell you.

    The problem is that Blizzard does not correctly enforce their own policies. This person wanted to create a non-hostile environment for people that get offended by terms like 'man thats gay', or 'shut up fag'. Blizzard's own policies go against that type of speech in the first place, but it would seem impossible to effectivly enforce somthing like that
    • Even as a private owner, if you are a Public Accomendation certia rules apply t o you.

      I would even say they were not morally wrong. Just enforcing a rule. If I had been starting a GBLT hatefull group, I am sure I woul;d have been banned for a couple of days. I am also sure they wouldn't change there stance like they did with this person.
  • If someone wants to make a private, enclosed community that's non-discriminatory ("GBLT-friendly" != "GBLT-only,") then why not let them? Why all of the backlash from some /. posters? I thought we were better than this.
  • by jonathantu (957890) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:31PM (#15124500)
    I think it's fair to say that there are WOW male players whose avatars are female, and vice versa. Some of these roleplay. What if someone wanted to roleplay as a gay character? Is that not allowed, and why not? The article mentions that there have been gay MMORPGers for years and they've dealt with this shit, mainly by ignoring it and having a good time anyway - however, they shouldn't have to ignore it. What's wrong with them wanting to belond to an organization where they know they won't have to endure insulting language coming from their supposed 'mates'? Using the word gay as a pejorative is widespread; trolls use it, I occasionally use it and you might use it as well. It's almost impossible not to blurt it out if you grew up in the American education system where it's as entrenched as tater tots and pop quizzes. I understand that. It goes beyond 'just' the word gay, however; it's a seemingly unending wave of dialogue that can only be described as "homophobic" at best and "hate speech" at worst. The argument that it should be kept out of the game because this is supposed to be entertainment is invalid; if game only dialogue were allowed then there'd just be the raid leader screaming and everyone bickering over loot. The fact is that our everyday lives creep into this game as part of the natural draw of MMORPGs: social interaction, not isolation. If you want to keep it game only then don't allow for any player-to-player communication or play Elder Scrolls. Reading any guild's message board will lead you to the conclusion that people enjoy interacting on all levels: WOW has become a big part of some of these people's lives and the mixing of personal and "WOW" life is pretty common from what I've seen. It's silly to say that discussion of one's sexual orientation in a non-insulting manner is not allowed. It's even sillier to say that discussion of one's personal life ought to be left outside of the game, because then you'd have to ban sob stories of boy/girlfriends and bitching about the domestic situation and that's not gonna happen. Just as marriage doesn't seem to be a very sacred institution in America, WOW is permeated throughout with the often banal, sometimes amusing and always personal accounts of one's real life. Why limit that to heterosexuals? Shouldn't gay men and women, and the transgendered, and whatever other group you want to throw in there be just as miserable as the rest of us? Finally, to address that tired old issue: it's a GLBT friendly guild, not a GLBT only guild.
  • by RexRhino (769423) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:46PM (#15124639)
    So what happens when the "Jesus Freaks" guild attacks the "Rainbow Guild"? If it was the "Black Dragons" attacking the "Iron Tigers" or something like that, the Iron Tigers would understand it is a game and all in fun. But are the "Rainbow Guild" going to complain that they are being discriminated against by the "Jesus Freaks" guild? What happens if the "Bowman of Allah" attack and kill the "Jesus Freaks"? Are the "Jesus Freaks" gonna get in a big huff and cry about it? What happens when the "Republican Ogre League" attacks the "Democrat Swordsmen"? Doesn't anyone see how the whole thing could become a mess really quick?

    It is not discriminating against anyone to not allow real world affiliations in a game. Because a game involves violence, you want the victims and perpetrators of violence to be completly fictional groups. If you have real life affiliations like Sex, Race, Religion, Sexual Preference, and it is going to cause all kinds of problems.

    I realize that nowadays, politically correct posturing trumps common sense, and so people are going to cry that they are being discriminated against because they can't create a Gay, Bi, Lesbian, Transexual clan... and the threats of lawsuits will probably give them their way. But demanding to be allowed to make a GLBT guild, when all other real world affiliations are banned, is just stupid. GLBT are not discriminated from playing the game, or from starting clans, but they are (or where) banned from bringing real world issues into a totally fantasy escapist game.
  • by Jtheletter (686279) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:56PM (#15124748)
    Do people who consider themselves 'gay' and use that term to describe themselves even realize that the original meaning of the word simply meant "happy"? It was gradually taken over by other uses and now it is generally accepted as meaning 'homosexual' and to many people it means 'male homosexual' exclusively.

    There are parts of the country where soda is referred to as 'pop' but that doesn't mean people are asking you for a grandparent or a punch in the jaw when they say "give me a pop". In the same way in my encounters with people saying "that's totally gay" they don't mean "that's totally homosexual" or "I hate that in the same way I hate homosexuals" they in fact mean it as "that's totally stupid/absurd/odd". It is an ALTERNATE SLANG MEANING that has been appropriated by a subset of the culture, just as homosexuals and society re-appropriated the word 'gay' itself about a generation or two ago.

    In New England we say 'wicked' to mean 'very', e.g. "The new console is wicked cool". However in this usage it has nothing to do with being evil. In some places in NY people use 'mad' the same way New Englanders use wicked, but they don't mean angry in any way. A word can have two different and unrelated meanings!

    To be offended by an alternate use of a word you happen to associate with is silly when it's patently not being used offensively. Could it be used offensively? Has it been? Yes. But this is not one of those examples. And in the case of the word gay itself the argument even becomes hypocrtical since gay already had a different meaning which has been appropriated by today's culture to mean something completely different. Language evolves, and slang is simply a genetic mutation of language, often here today gone tomorrow. If you can't get over that then you're taking yourself way too seriously and need to find a better battle to fight.

  • Oh wow... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tink2000 (524407) on Friday April 14, 2006 @12:11AM (#15127523) Homepage Journal
    That real chick in the picture (they never really say who she is, but it's implied it's the person who started the guild) is HAWT. Holy crap, my brain hurts. /would hit it //even if her knees were like knives ///what do you mean, "this isn't Fark"?

Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau

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