2490 gamers, developers and journalists sign open letter supporting inclusion in the gaming community

Sydney Gamer's League SGL 7

By on September 3, 2014 at 8:01 am

The past few weeks have been an absolute quagmire of rage and hostility in the gaming community, and while some stood up for decency, there has also been a lot of silence on the matter.

Thanks to an effort started by Andreas Zecher of Spaces of Play however, some of the biggest names in gaming have endorsed an open letter opposing “hateful, harassing speech”, and supporting the rights of everyone – regardless their gender, ethnicity, religion, disability or sexual orientation – to be a part of the gaming community. Which I think, regardless of anything else, we can all agree is the way to a healthy and happy environment.

The letter has been signed by developers like Harvey Smith, Clint Hocking, Tim Schafer, Cliff Bleszinski and Neil Druckmann and other people from major companies like EA, Blizzard, Sony, Ubisoft, Microsoft, Bioware and Nintendo. And that’s not even mentioning the scores of indie developers, games journalists and critics, and gamers from across the globe.

We believe that everyone, no matter what gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or disability has the right to play games, criticize games and make games without getting harassed or threatened. It is the diversity of our community that allows games to flourish.

If you see threats of violence or harm in comments on Steam, YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, Facebook or reddit, please take a minute to report them on the respective sites.

If you see hateful, harassing speech, take a public stand against it and make the gaming community a more enjoyable space to be in.

The letter reached 2490 names in length before Zecher cut it off, oddly just shy of 2500. If you’d like to see the letter in full and the complete list of people who signed it, you can do so >right here. Obviously nobody is expecting an open letter and a list of names to change everything overnight, but it’s great to see people coming out in support of equality and a positive community.

39 comments (Leave your own)

Love the tags. This is good to see, I think after the recent issues that Tim mentioned in his now infamous editorial last week a lot of the silent majority who ignored the problems and just wrote it off as COD kiddies being rude online have started to realize its more than just some immature 12 year olds and its time to speak up.

Although the cry baby posts from everyone threatening to quit gaming/reading game news sites will be annoying… We won’t miss you by the way!

 

Amusingly I’ve found that the 12yr olds are usually only annoying cos their balls haven’t dropped. The most racist/hateful speech has nigh on always come from the middle aged to older player who should know better.

Personally I thought Tim’s “Infamous” Editorial was a good read :)

 

It’s about time something was done and people start speaking out against this shit! – I’ve just come back to WOW after a 7 year break and my wife ,(who’s never played MMO’s before), decided she wanted to try it out and play with me ,which is great,But the fact I had to warn her Not to let on she is female because of the harassment she would receive is fucked up!
People shouldn’t have to hide who they are just because some immature wanker thinks it’s fun ,the people that do this kind of thing should be stepped on as soon as they start their crap!

 

I have to admit reading Tim’s editorial initially I had to grit my teeth a little. It felt like a “you’re free to have an opinion as long as it’s mine” deal and kind of rubbed me the wrong way. That said, after some thought I kind of think if you can’t voice an opinion, either for or against, in a calm, civilized manner, without name calling or threats, then possibly you don’t deserve to have an opinion. So I could understand what would happen to that particular editorial and it sounds like a very wise decision on Tim’s part to lock the comments.

At any rate I’m betting this whole situation will change the face of gaming rather radically, and hopefully for the better. If it means people can critique a game or critique somebody’s opinion without having to then run for the nearest bomb shelter for fear of safety then that’s a good thing. If developers decide to represent all people in their games better then that’s a good thing. I guess we’ll see what happens. As long as we can eventually just all get back to playing and enjoying games again I’ll be a happy camper indeed.

 
masternick13

This stuff would be funny if it wasn’t so stupid but this is just coming from a gamer and all gamers hate everybody apparently so my opinion is wrong.

 

I always thought it quite sad that the internet that brings the world together essentially just divides it all up again as well. The racist, sexists and dsicriminatory stuff obviously long predates the internet, I guess this stuff just pours out when anonymity is provided.

I remember the old days of gaming where essentially multiplayer interaction meant you were in the same room as your opponent and any discussion between the opponents was mostly banter and bs talk with a great deal of laughs shared.

As was said earlier it’s not 12 year olds spewing this stuff out now, it’s the high teens and young fellas out there spewing out this vitriol – those 12 year olds of past gaming crap have to age too!

I didn’t even see Tim’s other article, I missed a dust up of some sorts it seems.

 

Funnily enough, there is also a gamer petition
http://www.change.org/p/the-gaming-industry-please-stop-the-hate

All because of a few hundred trolls. 4Chan must be fairly gleeful by now.

 

http://games.on.net/2014/08/readers-threatened-by-equality-not-welcome/

I think it’s partially the anonymity but also I think that, in our current society such behavior is repressed due to it being frowned upon. If the person’s standing in front of you, you just grit your teeth and imagine saying/doing nasty things. On a forum that person isn’t standing in front of you so the repression plug is gone, out it all gushes.

I kind of like the biblical take on it myself, which goes along the lines “you have heard it said ‘do not kill’ but I say to you if you think to yourself ‘idiot’ then you’ve committed murder in your heart.” Or something like that. In other words, not only does the outward abuse of other people need to stop but people need to change their attitudes too. It’s not easy, changing a mind is a hard thing to do. (I’m particularly stubborn) But it has to happen, or situations like the whole thing against Zoe Quinn will just keep repeating itself.

cryptorph,

Signed.

 

I want equality and all too but I’m not taken by all this. I bet after 6 months everything will return back to how it was.

Careless teenagers, socially challenged individuals, those who want to vent, those who feel protected and anonymous, those heavily racist / sexist who wants to express it without much consequence will always lurk on the internet regardless of gaming.

But hopefully I’m wrong and a permanent shift for the better will happen.

 

They could use the death penalty for parents who buy their kids over rated games.

That would solve many gaming community based problems.

 
Nasty Wet Smear

How can anyone exclude someone from a hobby? If a homosexual woman of colour wants to play video games, she’s a gamer, no matter what any number of idiots say or do.

I doubt this will change anything at all. The kind of people who are stupid enough to hate someone for their race, sex or preference of where they put their genitals don’t care about who writes a letter to whom or what web page threatens to ban them for what. That’s the essence of being an idiot…

Still, maybe it’ll be nice for the media to be able to report that not all gamers are slur screaming nut jobs. :)

I also decry Tim’s “My opinion or none” post. I happen to agree with his opinion overall, despite a few different approaches to how to present it, however I don’t feel that demanding everyone else agree or go away is right. Certainly it won’t change anyone’s mind. Still, everyone does things their own way. I don’t run Internode of GON, so I don’t get to tell him what to write about.

Otherwise we’d have more stories about Cheesecake and Nudity!

 

I’m glad to have the opportunity here to say how much I appreciated Tim’s earlier article. I hope it stays at the top of the GoN page for a very long time.

 

What is being said in the open letter seems more or less a given, does anybody among us willingly stand against equality?

Despite what is happening and what comes from it just remember that even though you think your opinion is the right one it doesn’t exclude you from being a bigot. It is becoming painful that “straight white males” are being broadly targeted as the cause of the problem.

Judging someone on their race and gender is called sexism and racism, no matter if it’s the majority or not.

Be kind to each other.

 

kastor: What is being said in the open letter seems more or less a given, does anybody among us willingly stand against equality?

Based on some of the things we’ve had to delete/PM’s received, Yes. Yes they do.

 

cryptorph:
Funnily enough, there is also a gamer petition
http://www.change.org/p/the-gaming-industry-please-stop-the-hate

All because of a few hundred trolls. 4Chan must be fairly gleeful by now.

What? 4Chan?

Take a look at the hashtag #DescribeAGamerIn4Words (or something like that). Look at the all the shitty articles written between 28-29th about “how gamers are dead.”

Look at what happened to the TYFC campaign :/

You are ready to blame _all_ the boards of “4chan” for no reason.

nastywetsmear,

I concur.

 

deathmist,

I must admit I hadn’t followed the TFYC thing. Actually found an interesting article on the whole gamergate thing:

http://sparkingtruth.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/gamergate-the-biggest-gaming-scandal-that-nobodys-talking-about/

 

vcatkiller,

That’s a pretty nice find. It pretty much voices my discontent.

Also, Christina H. Sommers articulates some of the current problems quite well in some of her videos and tweets (as much as 140 characters will let you)

 
masternick13

Why doesn’t games.on.net mention The Fine Young Capitalists?

 

“The past few weeks have been an absolute quagmire of rage and hostility in the gaming community”
Boy am I glad I live in a bubble, from the little whiffs I’ve read of it sounds pretty stupid.
The dude who commented that his wife might be abused for being female in a game, maaaan. This is really what happens? I don’t see any of it because generally I mute everyone (when not playing tf2). I’m glad I’m not that retarded.

 

masternick13,

I don’t know who everyone who signed the letter is, I just listed names I recognise.

 
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