How To Quiet Gaming Bullies

Thanks to Jose in the comments section of yesterday’s post, here is a video with practical ideas of how the gaming community might use technological means to more efficiently and systematically quiet bullies:

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Bret Alan

    How do you quiet gaming bullies? Easy, you beat them.

    • Kate

      Actually, I object to that reasoning. If you extend it out like that, what you’re saying is that it’s on the bullied people’s shoulders to deal with it until they can beat the bullies. That means that a lot of new gamers would be discouraged and never play after being harassed when they started. Is that the culture you want to promote?

  • Marnie

    I love hearing people talk about productive ways to improve any community. I do wonder if the measures outlined would simply be used as harassment tools. If trolls routinely mute women or claim their guilds/clans are abusive just to silence them, won’t women just find themselves without a voice or declined a spot in clans and guilds?

    Unfortunately, the only way I can think of to manage abuse is to have real live people in charge of determining when abuse is happening. How often have people used DMCA claims to try to silence people and have their YouTube videos or blogs disabled? How often do people send cease and desist letters to prevent criticism online? Ultimately, jerks will use the tools available to silence people they are harassing. So I think these measures make sense but not if they are just automated measures. There should be clear policies about what is acceptable within a community and a checks and balance system in place to determine if someone is being abusive and if so, what measures should be enacted.

    • Daniel Fincke

      Ultimately, jerks will use the tools available to silence people they are harassing.

      Great point. It occurred to me after posting and I’ve been puzzling about it since.

    • Laurent Weppe

      Wasn’t it the point of the recently made available Miiverse? The commentary accompanying one of the penny arcade strips compared it to Disneyland: a place to have fun where the fun is is preserved via the expensive infrastructure of a quasi-police-state.

  • retro

    From the point of view of a teamwork oriented PC gamer –
    1) Speak up! Let them know their behaviour is unacceptable.
    2) If you are on a community/clan server call for an admin and report the player.
    3) Go to the community site and use the contact an admin section and detail your complaint there.
    4) Go to the game-server provider and report the problem there. They generally have anti-harrasment policies in place and can take action against clans/communities that aid and abet anti-social behaviour.

    Join a respectable gaming community/clan. Check their forums for clearly stated rules and expected behaviour. Try their server out a few times. How do they arbitrate complaints? Try communities like Tactical Gamer, Timeless Gaming, SectionSeven, Dead Friends, Monkey Gamers.

    Some slime-balls will always be slime-balls, others can learn decent behaviour. Muting the problem just hides it – it needs tackling head-on.

  • Patrick

    The first idea about auto mute is viable.

    The second is only viable if, in fact, people mostly do not respond to bullying IMs. I’m not sure this is true. It also relates only to one small part of the gaming communication network.

    Having to earn communication tools won’t happen because those tools are used in game for gameplay. This solution would make the game in question less playable, particularly for new players, and would literally hurt sales. It would also damage healthy interactions, like veteran players aiding new players. This one has enough negative externalities for the game companies that it is probably off the table.

    Guild reputation won’t do much. Guilds are often highly informal groups that are more easily abandoned than changed.

    Riot Games has a fairly healthy tribunal system that is an option, but it relies on a chat transcript to function, and would not work for most games.