Discriminatory Speech, Giant Bomb, The Gaming Community, And You

So if you’ve been perusing the forums over the past few days you no doubt know about Ryan’s recent blog post apologising for his use of homophobic language, and you may also be familiar with the slew of homophobic and racist slurs that have hit that comments section, as well as the discussion about whether such language is appropriate to use in general. In case you’re still wondering, it is not okay to use homophobic or racial slurs on this site in any capacity. It’s something we in the moderation team are being blunt about, but this is a message that we’ve tried to get across through the rules documentation, on the forums, and on Twitter, yet people still seem to be unaware of it.

I was somewhat in two minds about making this post because I didn’t want to start more hostile arguments like the ones we’ve seen on Ryan’s blog post, but I thought it was important that I made some kind of statement on this for two reasons: 1. I think it’s better for us to talk things through rather than there being an uncomfortable undercurrent of mistrust and misunderstanding over the issue, and 2. The moderation team obviously needs to do everything we can to get the message out about what is and is not okay on the forums.

What I’m Talking About

I thought we'd made this clear before but apparently not.

The really disheartening thing for me is I could understand that some people haven’t read the rules or have severely misinterpreted them, and thought that such language was okay on the site. That wouldn’t mean I thought it was okay or they wouldn’t be moderated, but I could at least understand it. I could also understand to a small degree how people also thought Ryan’s accidental use of a homophobic slur on the live stream made it okay for everyone to use it. What I find it much, much harder to understand is that even after Ryan said that such terms were hurtful and indefensible, and that they had no place on this site, that people still felt it was okay to post them.

The following are purely my thoughts and don’t reflect those of the Giant Bomb staff or moderation team, and I understand if you disagree with what I have to say, but please, if you do respond keep it calm and civil. I hate to have to say this but I think it’s been proven necessary by this point: I will delete your posts, I will send you warnings, I will suspend you, and I will lock down this thread, if it proves I have too. We cool? Okay.

Why It’s Not Alright

Sadly this is not a new issue for gamers.

The gaming community, or at least a certain portion of it, has long had an image of being exclusionary of certain groups, and being a rather sequestered and non-diverse group of people. To some degree I don’t think this reputation has been deserved, but it can’t be argued that social spaces like Xbox LIVE have become infamous for being awash with blatant sexism, racism, and homophobia, and that there are sizeable portions of the internet where the wild west anything-goes attitude has led to potentially offensive epithets getting thrown around like confetti. It seems almost every time this issue is brought up though, there’s a rather uncomfortable lack of understanding from the gaming community about why exactly this kind of behaviour is so wrong, and I think we all need to be a little more aware of the people around us. It’s the year 2012 and this kind of behaviour has to stop.

I’ve seen a lot of people complaining that it’s hypocritical of Giant Bomb to censor discriminatory language for being offensive, while openly allowing and using just about every other swear word under the sun, but do you really believe that saying “fuck” and using homophobic or racist slurs are the same thing? As Ryan said the words carry a lot of emotional baggage. You have to remember that when people have experienced their race or sexual orientation being attacked, these are the words they might well have come to associate that with. Heck, there are some people who’ve been bullied as children or throughout their lives with these words, it’s only natural that for them that they’ve come to carry the weight they have.

I’ve seen people on the forums saying that “They're just words” and “Context is important”, and while I agree with the latter to some degree, it’s obvious that for many people these aren't just words, and that regardless of context they do cause hurt and they do cause offense. If you believe they don't then I think you need to take a look around. How would you feel about using a homophobic slur towards or in the presence of a gay person? How would you feel about using a racial slur towards or in the presence of a person of that race? Just in the comments on Ryan’s post I saw people taking offense to such slurs, but even the act of taking offence some people seem to be attacking.

Taking Offence

You do not get to dictate how people react to things.

Taking offence to something is an emotional reaction, it’s involuntary. We can train ourselves to try and develop less extreme reactions to certain stimuli, but you do not get to say “Because your involuntary reaction to this thing is different than my involuntary reaction, you’re dumb/silly/wrong/immature”. Really, at the point you’re telling people that their emotional response to something is incorrect, you start getting into “thought crime” territory. We’re not even talking about people demanding to be treated differently (which I think they’d be perfectly within their rights to do), we’re just talking about the basic, largely uncontrollable human reaction of people to what they find offensive, and already users are speaking out about this being “incorrect”.

To those of you saying that people would have an easier time in life if they weren’t offended by this stuff, I agree with you, but again, this is not something people are entirely in control of, and that still doesn’t give you the right to use offensive language however and wherever you want. By the same logic anyone would be allowed to come up to you in the street and call you a worthless piece of shit that no one will ever love because, hey, you’d have a much better time if you weren’t offended by that, right? And no, “I’m a person of the race/sexual orientation this word targets” or “I have friends of the race/sexual orientation this word targets” are not excuses. Who you or your friends are has no bearing on the effect these words have on people, and you as an individual member of this social group, or a friend of a member of this social group, do not get to dictate what is and isn’t hurtful, it doesn’t work that way.

Stopping This Behaviour

Wouldn't we rather a Giant Bomb and an online environment without this kind of thing?

Often in these situations, those looking to prevent offence are accused of “just trying to be PC”, but censoring the use of these words doesn’t have to be about political correctness, sometimes it’s just about fostering an environment where people don’t have to risk feeling like crap to participate in discussion and where there aren’t unpleasant and needless tensions between people. You’re not robbed of your ability to talk about certain sexual orientations or races, or express your frustration, by these words being censored, but restricting the use of these words does lead to more welcoming and less hurtful communities.

I’ll be honest, yesterday was one of those rare occasions where I felt genuinely ashamed of a considerable portion of the community. Some of you left friendly and accepting messages towards Ryan and that was wonderful to see, but some of you behaved in a way that seemed to lack understanding, or in a way I’d associate with the less likeable denizens of Xbox LIVE. Eventually that discussion will die down, but this isn’t the first time we’ve had to moderate discriminatory language on the site, it won’t be the last, and it definitely won’t be the last time a large group of people in the gaming community show that they think it’s okay to use this kind of language. I believe Giant Bomb is better than what we’ve seen since the lantern run, and a lot of people have already shown that they don’t believe racist and homophobic language is okay, I only hope that we can all reach some kind of understanding on this issue.

Duder, It’s Over

As always, thank you for reading and if there’s any feedback you want to give me, positive or negative, whether you think I’m right or wrong, don’t be afraid of sticking it in the comments section below.

-Gamer_152

Addendum

I want to preface this by saying that I’m very happy that this blog post has received so much attention, even if the comments section does seem to have devolved into a somewhat unlikeable mess. I couldn’t begin to try and respond to everyone individually but to everyone who has given me positive feedback, thank you, and to those who are disagreeing with me, I’ve come up with some answers to the most common responses I’m seeing here.

Posts That Contain Homophobic Slurs

I can’t believe I really have to say this, but the rules state this kind of language is not allowed, there’s a topic stuck to the top of the forums which says this kind of language is now allowed, Ryan said in his post that this kind of language is not allowed, and I explicitly state in the first paragraph of this post that it’s not allowed. There’s only so clear the mod team can make this, but I’ll give it another try: The use of homophobic or racist slurs on this site will get you moderated. We didn’t say “Only if it’s directed at a user”, we didn’t say “Unless it’s a joke”, it will get you moderated regardless of the context.

“But What About Context?/This is Just Political Correctness/They’re Just Words/Words Only Have Power If You Give Them Power”

There seem to be a surprising number of these posts. These are all issues that I’ve already tackled in the blog post. If you disagree with my conclusions on them or you just don’t want to read what I’ve written then that’s fine, but I feel like a lot of people here are making moot points and that doesn’t help anyone. Please, if you comment I recommend you read the post first.

“This Whole Ryan Situation Has Been Blown Way Out of Proportion”

Actually, this stopped being about Ryan a long time ago. Partly this is about the reaction to the Ryan situation though, and I didn’t think it would have to go this far, but a certain subset of the community made the issue this big. Despite repeated warnings against using discriminatory language, some community members continue using it, and until the message gets through I don’t see anything wrong with escalating our efforts to stop it.

This is about much more than even that though. It’s about homophobia and racism in the gaming community and even society as a whole. For an issue like that I don’t think a discussion of this scale is an over-reaction at all.

“If You Ban A Few Words Then You Have To Ban All The Words!”

I thought this would have been obvious but there’s a big difference between saying “poop” and the n-word. Different terms carry different baggage and degrees of offensiveness.

Addendum 2

I believe a lot of the things posted in the comments were not okay.

I regret to inform you that I’m locking this blog post. The comments have largely died down now, but this was meant to be a place of civil discussion, and yet throughout the lifetime of the comments section people have openly violated rules I’ve clearly stated in this post, and acted in a hostile manner to each other. I’m not going to risk this kind of behaviour continuing. If you have any questions or comments that are civil and don't violate the rules though, please feel free to talk to me in private.

As a bit of a side note, I understand that some of you took offence to the last point in my first addendum to this post (which I've since removed), and I can only apologise for any offence caused, but I stand by what I said. I don’t believe that the c-word is the exact same thing as racial and homophobic slurs. However, I do think it’s important to note that at no point did I say the term couldn’t be offensive, or even state that in general it was any less offensive than racial or homophobic slurs. I just stated that I don’t believe they are direct equivalents, don’t believe that they get the exact same use in modern society, and that in general Giant Bomb hadn’t expressed a big problem with the c-word, while at least a small number of users had with racial and homophobic slurs.

I understand the term is offensive to some, I’ve never advocated using it to insult people, those who do use it to insult other users will be moderated, and should the message ever come down from the staff that they don’t want it on the site any longer, I’ll be happy to help make sure it’s use in the community is completely discontinued. One thing I do find myself rather baffled over though, is the fact that many people making the argument that the c-word or racial and homophobic slurs were highly offensive or shouldn’t be used, openly used them themselves. When you’re spreading the use of the exact words you’re fighting against, that seems a little self-defeating.

Sadly, while I’m sure many of you were genuinely concerned about the use of the c-word, I at least felt as though some were trying to say it should be banned just for the sake of arguing against the mod team on an issue they didn’t like. At least for the moment, I’ve become somewhat soured on the Giant Bomb community as a whole, and this discussion has made me not want to talk controversial rules through with the community in the future. Normal moderator policy would have been to lay down the rules, say they’re not up for debate, and leave.

I don't like to think about what the staff would think if they saw some of the comments here.

While the rules still weren’t up for debate, I wanted to genuinely explain why I believe these rules are important, why I believe they’re a good thing, and try to address at least some of those who disagreed. This was met with users not reading the post, commenting, and then seeming to walk out while giving themselves a green flag to use homophobic and racist language, users putting words in my mouth, users treating me or other people like idiots for having a different opinion, users being outright hostile or insulting to each other, users throwing around racist and homophobic slurs as much as they liked, and in some cases users displaying a scary amount of ignorance.

There were people who spread this topic, agreed with me, and sympathised with me, and to those people I am very, very grateful. There were also users who disagreed with me but managed to do so in a respectful way and I appreciate their input too. I don’t regret making this post and some people have made me feel fantastic about it, so thank you to them. But I walk away from this with the rather uneasy knowledge that a sizeable portion of Giant Bomb won’t be using discriminatory language because we tell them not to, they just won’t be using it because there’s a hard rule in place saying they can’t, and for a lot of people that’s not even stopping them.

People have said “Giant Bomb is just as bad as every other online community” and I still don’t believe that, nor does the thought that everywhere else is really messed up make me feel any better, but I didn’t quite realise we had this kind of deep-rooted problem to the extent that we seem to. All that remains now is to start moderating the users who have violated the rules here, and hope people can remember to not use these kinds of terms in the coming days. Until next time guys, I’ll see you on the boards and hope we never have to run into this kind of situation again.

-Gamer_152

591 Comments
594 Comments
Edited by Gamer_152

So if you’ve been perusing the forums over the past few days you no doubt know about Ryan’s recent blog post apologising for his use of homophobic language, and you may also be familiar with the slew of homophobic and racist slurs that have hit that comments section, as well as the discussion about whether such language is appropriate to use in general. In case you’re still wondering, it is not okay to use homophobic or racial slurs on this site in any capacity. It’s something we in the moderation team are being blunt about, but this is a message that we’ve tried to get across through the rules documentation, on the forums, and on Twitter, yet people still seem to be unaware of it.

I was somewhat in two minds about making this post because I didn’t want to start more hostile arguments like the ones we’ve seen on Ryan’s blog post, but I thought it was important that I made some kind of statement on this for two reasons: 1. I think it’s better for us to talk things through rather than there being an uncomfortable undercurrent of mistrust and misunderstanding over the issue, and 2. The moderation team obviously needs to do everything we can to get the message out about what is and is not okay on the forums.

What I’m Talking About

I thought we'd made this clear before but apparently not.

The really disheartening thing for me is I could understand that some people haven’t read the rules or have severely misinterpreted them, and thought that such language was okay on the site. That wouldn’t mean I thought it was okay or they wouldn’t be moderated, but I could at least understand it. I could also understand to a small degree how people also thought Ryan’s accidental use of a homophobic slur on the live stream made it okay for everyone to use it. What I find it much, much harder to understand is that even after Ryan said that such terms were hurtful and indefensible, and that they had no place on this site, that people still felt it was okay to post them.

The following are purely my thoughts and don’t reflect those of the Giant Bomb staff or moderation team, and I understand if you disagree with what I have to say, but please, if you do respond keep it calm and civil. I hate to have to say this but I think it’s been proven necessary by this point: I will delete your posts, I will send you warnings, I will suspend you, and I will lock down this thread, if it proves I have too. We cool? Okay.

Why It’s Not Alright

Sadly this is not a new issue for gamers.

The gaming community, or at least a certain portion of it, has long had an image of being exclusionary of certain groups, and being a rather sequestered and non-diverse group of people. To some degree I don’t think this reputation has been deserved, but it can’t be argued that social spaces like Xbox LIVE have become infamous for being awash with blatant sexism, racism, and homophobia, and that there are sizeable portions of the internet where the wild west anything-goes attitude has led to potentially offensive epithets getting thrown around like confetti. It seems almost every time this issue is brought up though, there’s a rather uncomfortable lack of understanding from the gaming community about why exactly this kind of behaviour is so wrong, and I think we all need to be a little more aware of the people around us. It’s the year 2012 and this kind of behaviour has to stop.

I’ve seen a lot of people complaining that it’s hypocritical of Giant Bomb to censor discriminatory language for being offensive, while openly allowing and using just about every other swear word under the sun, but do you really believe that saying “fuck” and using homophobic or racist slurs are the same thing? As Ryan said the words carry a lot of emotional baggage. You have to remember that when people have experienced their race or sexual orientation being attacked, these are the words they might well have come to associate that with. Heck, there are some people who’ve been bullied as children or throughout their lives with these words, it’s only natural that for them that they’ve come to carry the weight they have.

I’ve seen people on the forums saying that “They're just words” and “Context is important”, and while I agree with the latter to some degree, it’s obvious that for many people these aren't just words, and that regardless of context they do cause hurt and they do cause offense. If you believe they don't then I think you need to take a look around. How would you feel about using a homophobic slur towards or in the presence of a gay person? How would you feel about using a racial slur towards or in the presence of a person of that race? Just in the comments on Ryan’s post I saw people taking offense to such slurs, but even the act of taking offence some people seem to be attacking.

Taking Offence

You do not get to dictate how people react to things.

Taking offence to something is an emotional reaction, it’s involuntary. We can train ourselves to try and develop less extreme reactions to certain stimuli, but you do not get to say “Because your involuntary reaction to this thing is different than my involuntary reaction, you’re dumb/silly/wrong/immature”. Really, at the point you’re telling people that their emotional response to something is incorrect, you start getting into “thought crime” territory. We’re not even talking about people demanding to be treated differently (which I think they’d be perfectly within their rights to do), we’re just talking about the basic, largely uncontrollable human reaction of people to what they find offensive, and already users are speaking out about this being “incorrect”.

To those of you saying that people would have an easier time in life if they weren’t offended by this stuff, I agree with you, but again, this is not something people are entirely in control of, and that still doesn’t give you the right to use offensive language however and wherever you want. By the same logic anyone would be allowed to come up to you in the street and call you a worthless piece of shit that no one will ever love because, hey, you’d have a much better time if you weren’t offended by that, right? And no, “I’m a person of the race/sexual orientation this word targets” or “I have friends of the race/sexual orientation this word targets” are not excuses. Who you or your friends are has no bearing on the effect these words have on people, and you as an individual member of this social group, or a friend of a member of this social group, do not get to dictate what is and isn’t hurtful, it doesn’t work that way.

Stopping This Behaviour

Wouldn't we rather a Giant Bomb and an online environment without this kind of thing?

Often in these situations, those looking to prevent offence are accused of “just trying to be PC”, but censoring the use of these words doesn’t have to be about political correctness, sometimes it’s just about fostering an environment where people don’t have to risk feeling like crap to participate in discussion and where there aren’t unpleasant and needless tensions between people. You’re not robbed of your ability to talk about certain sexual orientations or races, or express your frustration, by these words being censored, but restricting the use of these words does lead to more welcoming and less hurtful communities.

I’ll be honest, yesterday was one of those rare occasions where I felt genuinely ashamed of a considerable portion of the community. Some of you left friendly and accepting messages towards Ryan and that was wonderful to see, but some of you behaved in a way that seemed to lack understanding, or in a way I’d associate with the less likeable denizens of Xbox LIVE. Eventually that discussion will die down, but this isn’t the first time we’ve had to moderate discriminatory language on the site, it won’t be the last, and it definitely won’t be the last time a large group of people in the gaming community show that they think it’s okay to use this kind of language. I believe Giant Bomb is better than what we’ve seen since the lantern run, and a lot of people have already shown that they don’t believe racist and homophobic language is okay, I only hope that we can all reach some kind of understanding on this issue.

Duder, It’s Over

As always, thank you for reading and if there’s any feedback you want to give me, positive or negative, whether you think I’m right or wrong, don’t be afraid of sticking it in the comments section below.

-Gamer_152

Addendum

I want to preface this by saying that I’m very happy that this blog post has received so much attention, even if the comments section does seem to have devolved into a somewhat unlikeable mess. I couldn’t begin to try and respond to everyone individually but to everyone who has given me positive feedback, thank you, and to those who are disagreeing with me, I’ve come up with some answers to the most common responses I’m seeing here.

Posts That Contain Homophobic Slurs

I can’t believe I really have to say this, but the rules state this kind of language is not allowed, there’s a topic stuck to the top of the forums which says this kind of language is now allowed, Ryan said in his post that this kind of language is not allowed, and I explicitly state in the first paragraph of this post that it’s not allowed. There’s only so clear the mod team can make this, but I’ll give it another try: The use of homophobic or racist slurs on this site will get you moderated. We didn’t say “Only if it’s directed at a user”, we didn’t say “Unless it’s a joke”, it will get you moderated regardless of the context.

“But What About Context?/This is Just Political Correctness/They’re Just Words/Words Only Have Power If You Give Them Power”

There seem to be a surprising number of these posts. These are all issues that I’ve already tackled in the blog post. If you disagree with my conclusions on them or you just don’t want to read what I’ve written then that’s fine, but I feel like a lot of people here are making moot points and that doesn’t help anyone. Please, if you comment I recommend you read the post first.

“This Whole Ryan Situation Has Been Blown Way Out of Proportion”

Actually, this stopped being about Ryan a long time ago. Partly this is about the reaction to the Ryan situation though, and I didn’t think it would have to go this far, but a certain subset of the community made the issue this big. Despite repeated warnings against using discriminatory language, some community members continue using it, and until the message gets through I don’t see anything wrong with escalating our efforts to stop it.

This is about much more than even that though. It’s about homophobia and racism in the gaming community and even society as a whole. For an issue like that I don’t think a discussion of this scale is an over-reaction at all.

“If You Ban A Few Words Then You Have To Ban All The Words!”

I thought this would have been obvious but there’s a big difference between saying “poop” and the n-word. Different terms carry different baggage and degrees of offensiveness.

Addendum 2

I believe a lot of the things posted in the comments were not okay.

I regret to inform you that I’m locking this blog post. The comments have largely died down now, but this was meant to be a place of civil discussion, and yet throughout the lifetime of the comments section people have openly violated rules I’ve clearly stated in this post, and acted in a hostile manner to each other. I’m not going to risk this kind of behaviour continuing. If you have any questions or comments that are civil and don't violate the rules though, please feel free to talk to me in private.

As a bit of a side note, I understand that some of you took offence to the last point in my first addendum to this post (which I've since removed), and I can only apologise for any offence caused, but I stand by what I said. I don’t believe that the c-word is the exact same thing as racial and homophobic slurs. However, I do think it’s important to note that at no point did I say the term couldn’t be offensive, or even state that in general it was any less offensive than racial or homophobic slurs. I just stated that I don’t believe they are direct equivalents, don’t believe that they get the exact same use in modern society, and that in general Giant Bomb hadn’t expressed a big problem with the c-word, while at least a small number of users had with racial and homophobic slurs.

I understand the term is offensive to some, I’ve never advocated using it to insult people, those who do use it to insult other users will be moderated, and should the message ever come down from the staff that they don’t want it on the site any longer, I’ll be happy to help make sure it’s use in the community is completely discontinued. One thing I do find myself rather baffled over though, is the fact that many people making the argument that the c-word or racial and homophobic slurs were highly offensive or shouldn’t be used, openly used them themselves. When you’re spreading the use of the exact words you’re fighting against, that seems a little self-defeating.

Sadly, while I’m sure many of you were genuinely concerned about the use of the c-word, I at least felt as though some were trying to say it should be banned just for the sake of arguing against the mod team on an issue they didn’t like. At least for the moment, I’ve become somewhat soured on the Giant Bomb community as a whole, and this discussion has made me not want to talk controversial rules through with the community in the future. Normal moderator policy would have been to lay down the rules, say they’re not up for debate, and leave.

I don't like to think about what the staff would think if they saw some of the comments here.

While the rules still weren’t up for debate, I wanted to genuinely explain why I believe these rules are important, why I believe they’re a good thing, and try to address at least some of those who disagreed. This was met with users not reading the post, commenting, and then seeming to walk out while giving themselves a green flag to use homophobic and racist language, users putting words in my mouth, users treating me or other people like idiots for having a different opinion, users being outright hostile or insulting to each other, users throwing around racist and homophobic slurs as much as they liked, and in some cases users displaying a scary amount of ignorance.

There were people who spread this topic, agreed with me, and sympathised with me, and to those people I am very, very grateful. There were also users who disagreed with me but managed to do so in a respectful way and I appreciate their input too. I don’t regret making this post and some people have made me feel fantastic about it, so thank you to them. But I walk away from this with the rather uneasy knowledge that a sizeable portion of Giant Bomb won’t be using discriminatory language because we tell them not to, they just won’t be using it because there’s a hard rule in place saying they can’t, and for a lot of people that’s not even stopping them.

People have said “Giant Bomb is just as bad as every other online community” and I still don’t believe that, nor does the thought that everywhere else is really messed up make me feel any better, but I didn’t quite realise we had this kind of deep-rooted problem to the extent that we seem to. All that remains now is to start moderating the users who have violated the rules here, and hope people can remember to not use these kinds of terms in the coming days. Until next time guys, I’ll see you on the boards and hope we never have to run into this kind of situation again.

-Gamer_152

Moderator
Posted by CL60

Looking through that topic made me a sad panda. :(

Posted by Agrammon

@Gamer_152: It sucks that so many people think that it is a-okay to use discriminatory language. It also sucks you had to make another notice about it, which I think shows that a lot of people didn't read the rules, or just decided to ignore them.

Posted by Hizang

Great blog, hopefully the message will get through to those people this time. I'm starting to lean towards Norms idea of having to pass a test to get on to the internet.

Posted by Strife777

This is basically the same exact thing I thought. I probably wouldn't have been able to put it in clear words like that though. I completely agree with you, great post.

Edited by Manatassi

Its a little hard to expect many users to understand where the line is drawn considering how often the GB team themselves come out with a significant amount of racist stereotypes as "jokes" and perpetuate the whole attitude problem

Posted by Legend

I love how everyone starting from Ryan to the mods to the community are overeacting about this. Ryan had a slip of the tongue. The mods have always moderated such language and the rules about this have been in effect for a long time. The community rarely use this kind of language. There might have been some who did in Ryan's thread (which was unnecessary IMO since he already apologized) but that was no surprise considering the nature of the thread... This whole thing; it's just people overeacting all over the place..

Posted by Sweep

@Legend: I kind of felt the same way. However when you consider exacly how many comments we have had to delete, or users we have had to suspend, as a direct result of all this nonsense then you would agree that this thread was necessary.

Moderator
Posted by shivermetimbers

As I stated in Ryan's blog, I can understand being offended by something if he used the word to say some hateful message about the homosexual community, but I can't really understand why the word by itself would be considered offensive. This site uses the word "bitch" constantly, couldn't that offend women that use the site?

Posted by pyromagnestir

Sensitivity/empathy for other human beings seems to almost be a fault in some peoples eyes, from what I've seen the past few days, sadly. Maybe the internet just makes some people forget that there are other human beings on the other end of all the tubes and wires.

Posted by Matthew

@shivermetimbers: Double standards and emotions. Welcome them with open embrace.

Posted by Tylea002

Well, ho-lee-shit. This thing has exploded in a crazy way, to the point of where if people can get so angry about this, I'm shocked that this was the line. I agree it has baggage, and is an offensive word, but I had no idea that this would be the thing, with how much fucking offensive shit this site has embraced.

I guess the best analogy, for something that's nowhere near as big a deal, is spoilers. Everyone has different lines for what they consider a spoiler, and it doesn't take much effort from you to make sure you don't cross anyone's lines. Just be cool, guys. Don't be dicks.

Posted by SockemJetpack

Attention seekers seek attention. This will never ever change. People with social issues find these kinds of anonymous interactions comforting because they can say what they like and get the attention for it. It's the same as a neglected child getting in trouble on purpose so their parents will pay attention to them. They don't care if it's negative attention. They just like to be in the spotlight.

This is made even worse in this community because of how much we are exposed to the personalities of the guys who run this site and their complete lack of involvement with their own community. A perfect example would be the "That's a Thing" poster that's in their office elevator. That came from the forums. A user on the forums made that. Ryan posted a picture in his twitter showing the photo printed out and hung in the elevator along with a quote. Nowhere in that quote did he give credit to where it came from. He doesn't mention it came from the forums. He doesn't mention the user who made it. The twitter post was later reposted onto the thread where the picture came from. The user who made it replied to the post saying he was "so happy".

Ryan posts a blog where he apologizes. He made a mistake. He is human. Now with a blog post on the site that these users know for a fact that Ryan will be reading they are making comments that are deliberately offensive so he will recognize them in some way. Negatively? Doesn't matter to them.

Yeah maybe I'm just rambling and my words fall on deaf ears but fixing this is not a one way street or a quick spackle job. People in the community need to smarten up and perhaps people on staff should start becoming involved in their own community in such a way that positive comments and behavior is recognized in a positive way. It wouldn't take much. A post here a post there and then look at that... you're a member of the community and people would follow your example.

This isn't a big network. This isn't a monolithic site. This is a small tightknit community and those types of groups need leadership. Sorry about the rambles. I just need to say it.

Posted by ShaggE

I find it interesting considering Vinny singlehandedly made "cunt" a harmless catchphrase here, but I'm still glad to see Ryan make that post. A lesser person would have backpedaled like a madman.

Posted by adoggz

wow, things must be really bad right now. I'm glad I've been keeping away from this entire thing.

Posted by Brodehouse

It's just empowering a word. Actually, it just appears to be an easy out for judgement calls. An adult can tell if someone is being hateful or not by the context of the situation. A censor script cannot. We've decided to stop being adults and just assume that a single word is more important than the dozen before or after it. That's Goddamn foolishness. Empowering words over meanings, what a bag of piss.

The fact that this issue is so well-worn in western culture but this site pretends that it's a shocking new development baffles me.

Posted by Th3_James

@CL60 said:

Looking through that topic made me a sad panda. :(
Posted by dopplerganger

Having a gay sibling I find it disheartening when people try to justify slurs as being out of context when the word itself inherently holds such a hurtful history.

Posted by Hailinel

In a way, I'm glad that this happened, because this has forced Giant Bomb and the community to take a good, hard look at the language that's been spouted off here. This is a website that should be welcoming to all; not stuck in the mindset of a preadolescent shithead that has no idea how society at large functions. Unfortunately, this incident has brought out the latter in a lot of people.

Posted by TaliciaDragonsong

People need to start understanding they're on their own.
Just because you've seen a topic before, an article posted elsewhere, already know the song or just have any kind of problem with anyone...doesn't give you the right to be an ass about it.
 
Wish the forums would become more of a discussion thing again, instead of a "drop the first sentence you can think of in any topic" thing I see a lot of people doing.

Posted by Demoskinos

Thanks for posting this. People need to understand this is NOT okay to use.

Posted by Hailinel

@Brodehouse said:

It's just empowering a word. Actually, it just appears to be an easy out for judgement calls. An adult can tell if someone is being hateful or not by the context of the situation. A censor script cannot. We've decided to stop being adults and just assume that a single word is more important than the dozen before or after it. That's Goddamn foolishness. Empowering words over meanings, what a bag of piss. The fact that this issue is so well-worn in western culture but this site pretends that it's a shocking new development baffles me.

Did you understand a even single thing Gamer_152 said? A single goddamn thing?

Posted by TheSouthernDandy

Thanks for the thread Gamer. That apology thread has gotten insane, aside from a certain brilliant comic strip that come from the whole thing it's a whole lot of nonsense on both sides of the argument. I personally fall somewhere in the middle but I agree regardless of how you feel about words they don't have any place on here. That sorta stuff just poisons the community and there's enough douchebaggery rampant on the internet without adding that.

Posted by BrockNRolla

I sincerely wish all of this to have a serious effect on the community and its language.

I also have little faith that this will make any difference. Ignorance and stupidity tend to reign supreme on forums, sadly, this site included. That being said, I appreciate people who try to stand up to that kind of behavior, even if it does seem hopeless.

Posted by ThePickle

Can any mods make sense of why cunt is a perfectly fine thing to say but these words aren't? I can't believe we all have to tiptoe around this. We all know what the words are, we all know what they mean, and maybe they've been used to hurt you. But this isn't square one for stopping these words from being used.

Posted by Enigma777

Peace and love to all the chocolate thieves.

Posted by Jesna

Honestly his language didn't really bother me. What bothered me was that people on both sides of the "its just a word" debate used his apology as a means of pushing their own ideology on each other. It feels like all involved were taking advantage of his moment of weakness to yell at each other, and I think that is way more offensive than Ryan using a no-no word.

Posted by Canteu

Am I the only one who finds this entire situation hilarious?

Dude apologised. Case closed.

All these idiots taking it as a starting pistol have been moderated just like they would have been otherwise.

A lot of people need some lessons on how not to be a fuckwit, but sadly this is the internet.

Posted by sonic_hegehog

is a good blog. i get very offended some stereotypes when it comes to anime. Not allanime for children and jerks. many people grew up in asia, and anime is part of their culture.

Posted by Brodehouse
@dopplerganger
Having a gay sibling I find it disheartening when people try to justify slurs as being out of context when the word itself inherently holds such a hurtful history.
Words are not more important than meanings. Period. When Ryan said it did you think "he said that word, so obviously he hates all gay people". No, you didn't, because you're an adult and knew Goddamn better.

Has no one actually heard Carlin's treatise on language and context? Seriously?

Also, motherfuck the "I'm X" and "I know X" qualifiers. Is that implying that you wouldn't be able to understand the situation without your gay brother? People who aren't the X of the day aren't capable of empathizing or making an ethical judgement? That's nonsense.

Here's the laughable part... if Ryan says 'effeminate', there's no issue. When it means the exact same thing. If 'faggy' and 'effeminate' have the same meaning, how is one bad and one good? The answer is that neither have any value beyond the context of the discussion. Any rational person knows it to be true.
Posted by Fallen189

Bear in mind you're on a videogame website, with a demographic of 18-34 males, which makes up almost the entirety of the user base (except for some incredibly old guys), it's obvious that the comments and reactions are going to be trashy and ignorant. What do you expect? Of course the mod team is going to cover everything up, because heavens forbid a higher up uses the word "fag". I think this has been blown pretty out of proportion by a lot of people.

Was he right to use the word? No, not really. Do we need hundreds of people apologising on behalf of a grown man, despite he's already made his stance clear?

Posted by BrockNRolla

I am completely appalled at the defense force that seems to come out every time someone uses homophobic or racial slurs. "They're just words," "You have to look at the context," "He didn't mean anything hateful."

Bullshit. It largely doesn't matter how the words are used. It doesn't matter if you find them offensive. You do not live in a vacuum where the world reflects your thoughts and opinions. Using words like "Faggot" or any other slur are inappropriate. There are a whole lot of people out there who would be offended. There isn't a constructive way to use those words. They aren't empowering anyone. The words are meant to convey hatred. If you are using them to do that, then you've used the word appropriately. Otherwise you're just being an ignorant asshole with no care at all for those around you.

We need not use such words. We just don't need to. It isn't a matter of censorship, its a matter of decency. Take two-seconds to just think about how your words might effect someone. Try to caring about someone other than yourself. And if you say something hurtful, apologize. Simple as that.

Edited by spartanlolz92

im sorry but i think alot of people need to realize that alot of the timme when people use those words its out of anger or frustration yeah you shouldnt do it but to get upset over a simple word is stupid.

ive been called a cracker and crippled do i give a damn no words only have meaning if you assign meaning to them. life is a very mean and nasty place you just gotta learn to rise to meet it

people will always say crap and until people learn to ignore it its gonna keep affecting them.besides the a**holes stop using those words if they dont think it can hurt you.

im not condoning the words its just i think a better solution is to not to give them such power.

Edited by Dylabaloo

Never knew "that word who shall not be named" was such a taboo, over where live it's about as harmless as a "Fuck". Hell its even in this delightful Christmas song:

Although I will respect the terms and agreement I made with this website, and continue to not be a dick.

@dopplerganger said:

Having a gay sibling I find it disheartening when people try to justify slurs as being out of context when the word itself inherently holds such a hurtful history.

People saying this word will never change, as long as they know it will hurt your feelings. What you can change is your reaction, all that people that use this word want is your delicious reaction.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@CL60 said:

Looking through that topic made me a sad panda. :(

Christ, this may be the one time I get to use this in a relevant context:

Posted by Brodehouse
@Hailinel

@Brodehouse said:

It's just empowering a word. Actually, it just appears to be an easy out for judgement calls. An adult can tell if someone is being hateful or not by the context of the situation. A censor script cannot. We've decided to stop being adults and just assume that a single word is more important than the dozen before or after it. That's Goddamn foolishness. Empowering words over meanings, what a bag of piss. The fact that this issue is so well-worn in western culture but this site pretends that it's a shocking new development baffles me.

Did you understand a even single thing Gamer_152 said? A single goddamn thing?

Yes, I did. The rule was always "don't be a dick". That's a rule that makes sense. But separating words outside of meaning is something a script would do. "Don't be a dick". You can be a complete racist without uttering any slurs, you can be perfectly neutral while doing the opposite. Saying that "in these cases, context doesn't matter" is wrong, I'm sorry, but it's wrong. Context is all that matters, otherwise Kanye West is Grand Wizard of the KKK.
Posted by johnbakosh

9/11 was to Operation Iraqi Freedom

As

Giantbombers slurring is to __________

(CBSi censorship of all swearing)

Posted by Jeffsekai

Cunt. Amirightguys?

Edited by Animasta

@Brodehouse said:

@Hailinel

@Brodehouse said:

It's just empowering a word. Actually, it just appears to be an easy out for judgement calls. An adult can tell if someone is being hateful or not by the context of the situation. A censor script cannot. We've decided to stop being adults and just assume that a single word is more important than the dozen before or after it. That's Goddamn foolishness. Empowering words over meanings, what a bag of piss. The fact that this issue is so well-worn in western culture but this site pretends that it's a shocking new development baffles me.

Did you understand a even single thing Gamer_152 said? A single goddamn thing?

Yes, I did. The rule was always "don't be a dick". That's a rule that makes sense. But separating words outside of meaning is something a script would do. "Don't be a dick". You can be a complete racist without uttering any slurs, you can be perfectly neutral while doing the opposite. Saying that "in these cases, context doesn't matter" is wrong, I'm sorry, but it's wrong. Context is all that matters, otherwise Kanye West is Grand Wizard of the KKK.

it's still not your right to tell people to stop being offended, it's not your word to reclaim, and it doesn't impact you so you have no idea how hateful it can be; even a completely innocuous use.

also context is not magic

Posted by Brodehouse
@BrockNRolla

I am completely appalled at the defense force that seems to come out every time someone uses homophobic or racial slurs. "They're just words," "You have to look at the context," "He didn't mean anything hateful."

Bullshit. It largely doesn't matter how the words are used. It doesn't matter if you find them offensive. You do not live in a vacuum where the world reflects your thoughts and opinions. Using words like "Faggot" or any other slur are inappropriate. There are a whole lot of people out there who would be offended. There isn't a constructive way to use those words. They aren't empowering anyone. The words are meant to convey hatred. If you are using them to do that, then you've used the word appropriately. Otherwise you're just being an ignorant asshole with no care at all for those around you.

We need not use such words. We just don't need to. It isn't a matter of censorship, its a matter of decency. Take two-seconds to just think about how your words might effect someone. Try to caring about someone other than yourself. And if you say something hurtful, apologize. Simple as that.

Context ALWAYS MATTERS. It's the only thing that takes language from noises to communication. Words are worthless without context. You can get mad, offended, whatever, but when you say that context is worthless you are leaving the realm of rationality. Straight up. Context is EVERYTHING.
Posted by Animasta

also mod you're pretty dope, my opinion of the GB moderation team has risen

Posted by LordAndrew

I think people might have had an easier time understanding if it wasn't considered A-OK to casually utter the word "cunt", one of the most shocking and offensive words available today. Where is the line drawn?

Posted by Animasta

@LordAndrew said:

I think people might have had an easier time understanding if it wasn't considered A-OK to casually utter the word "cunt", one of the most shocking and offensive words available today. Where is the line drawn?

yeah c*** should not be okay either

Posted by Hailinel

@Brodehouse said:

@BrockNRolla

I am completely appalled at the defense force that seems to come out every time someone uses homophobic or racial slurs. "They're just words," "You have to look at the context," "He didn't mean anything hateful."

Bullshit. It largely doesn't matter how the words are used. It doesn't matter if you find them offensive. You do not live in a vacuum where the world reflects your thoughts and opinions. Using words like "Faggot" or any other slur are inappropriate. There are a whole lot of people out there who would be offended. There isn't a constructive way to use those words. They aren't empowering anyone. The words are meant to convey hatred. If you are using them to do that, then you've used the word appropriately. Otherwise you're just being an ignorant asshole with no care at all for those around you.

We need not use such words. We just don't need to. It isn't a matter of censorship, its a matter of decency. Take two-seconds to just think about how your words might effect someone. Try to caring about someone other than yourself. And if you say something hurtful, apologize. Simple as that.

Context ALWAYS MATTERS. It's the only thing that takes language from noises to communication. Words are worthless without context. You can get mad, offended, whatever, but when you say that context is worthless you are leaving the realm of rationality. Straight up. Context is EVERYTHING.

So if I called you a racial or homophobic slur, it's all right for me to do so as long as I can claim you didn't understand the context behind my usage of the word?

Because that's fucking stupid.

Posted by ZombiePie

@LordAndrew said:

I think people might have had an easier time understanding if it wasn't considered A-OK to casually utter the word "cunt", one of the most shocking and offensive words available today. Where is the line drawn?

The line gets drawn when the staff say that they don't want users posting that word on the forums. That's happened with the homophobic slur that Ryan said, but it has not happened to the C-word.

Moderator
Posted by ThePickle

@ZombiePie said:

@LordAndrew said:

I think people might have had an easier time understanding if it wasn't considered A-OK to casually utter the word "cunt", one of the most shocking and offensive words available today. Where is the line drawn?

The line gets drawn when the staff say that they don't want users posting that word on the forums. That's happened with the homophobic slur that Ryan said, but it has not happened to the C-word.

But it's possible that cunt offends people just as much as the words in question. It's as offensive as the other words, and targets a much larger group of people (I am to understand females make up about 50% of our population). Why the double standard?

Edited by Undeadpool

I am CONSTANTLY amused/saddened (I'm a complex guy) by how the people who complain the loudest about being "censored" are the ones who the words are never about. "Oh really, straight, white, Christian/atheist, male? YOU don't find these words offensive?!?!" It's not because you're some higher social being, it's because they're not FOR you.

@ShaggE said:

I find it interesting considering Vinny singlehandedly made "cunt" a harmless catchphrase here, but I'm still glad to see Ryan make that post. A lesser person would have backpedaled like a madman.

He wasn't referring to someone specifically. I'm pretty sure you could bring that up in a conversation, but if it was directed at another user you'd likely be moderated with extreme prejudice.

Posted by Dagbiker

I like this community, and the ability to be treated as adults, but that ability comes with responsibility. Too often i will see people show ignorance of the rules. I'm not saying I'm not guilty of this my self.

Posted by gamefreak9

I didn't watch the show so I have no idea how he used the term but I believe I heard Ryan say the words "that's gay" before. I dno if its necessarily intrinsic-ly negative use of the word. It would be if the word "suck" disappeared and it was still used. So the word is merely extrinsic-ly negative since its used as synonym for sucking which isn't at all illogical. So you should not really feel offended unless the word "suck" also offends you... but yeah this is probably too much thought for your average Joe so sticking to not using also works.

Posted by frythefly

@ThePickle said:

Can any mods make sense of why cunt is a perfectly fine thing to say but these words aren't? I can't believe we all have to tiptoe around this. We all know what the words are, we all know what they mean, and maybe they've been used to hurt you. But this isn't square one for stopping these words from being used.

Did you listen to the bombcast ep where the c-word incident occured? When Vinny dropped it, the bombcrew reacted with silence. The giant bomb community on the other hand ... Language is a living thing. Words are born, words die (or better: Meanings are born and die). The speakers decide what the wordstock of their language comprises. You may know the meanings of words, but you can make them obsolete by just not using them. Think of it as a small step towards a more empathetic world for future generations.