Intro to Pt8: Challenge


Trigger warning: this chapter deals with nearly every PTSD/anxiety trigger. This is not an overstatement. I tried make it easy to skip certain sections, should readers wish. Please let me know if I've missed anything (and my sincere apologies, if I did).


- 1% of the internet, constantly.”

-Helen Lewis

“Don’t be a dick.”

-Internet Proverb


(3/7/14) So. Well. Where to start? 

Posting this section of In Play - in its entirety - has been a nagging compulsion for a few weeks now. Last night I finally decided to give in. 

I'd been working pretty nonstop (GDC, yaknow?) and wanted a couple salubrious rounds of League of Legends. I wanted to relax. In League my visible name is, "Hawtgrrlirl," a big advertisement that there's a 'hot girl' playing. It's not true, I'm a young white guy, but as an academic working in games for the last decade, it's made for a lot of valuable conversation-starters. And not so valuable ones. I answer player inquiries in at least an entertaining fashion, which may or may not typically include mention of my luxurious beard. 

Last night, three games in a row, players did a lot more than inquire. My nonexistent vagina was scrutinized in some of the most violent, excruciatingly sexual language I've ever seen. And yo, I can dumpster-mouth with the best (or worst, if you prefer). But this? These gamers were talking to a total stranger. This wasn't a fucking comedy tour. All these people knew about me was that I'd chosen to point at my actual person and call it the attractive variant of female. 

And I had absolutely zero power, in that situation. Whether in the pre-game banter, or the games themselves, my teams brought me every brand of verbal and actual in-game abuse. Because they thought it was funny to treat a woman that way. 

Meanwhile, in every one of those games, there were silent people. In one game, when I spoke up, a silent person decided it was time to chime in. They told me to shut up and let the troll have his way with me. Because if a troll doesn't feel utterly in control, as League players know well, the troll may decide to leave the game, feed, or find even more abusive ways of causing you to lose (and this is ranked, dammit, this can damage your standing in ways that take hours upon hours to fix). 

Just shut your mouth, and let the troll have his way with you.


You think your ranked score is worth that? 

Riot, you're a big enough game that YOU NEED TO FIX THIS. You've done a lot. You've made some of the best strides of any similar online game. But don't just give us the illusion of improving the community. You need to make your tools real enough, and responsive enough, that we are protected from racially charged, homophobic, sexually violent, and other abusive trolling. We need to know that both our mechanical progress, and that the emotional atmosphere is safe from the whims of some racist highschooler. You then need to be unafraid to MEANINGFULLY punish players. You need to give us tools to report these pieces of human garbage in every area of the game (that INCLUDES champion selection). 

Gamers, you are smart enough that YOU NEED TO FIX THIS. The language of oppression does not belong in games. The only people who don't deserve to feel safe in games, are the arrogant, selfish ogres who seek to make other people feel unsafe in games. 

I'm not advocating we all have paper-thin resistances to BS. I'm saying that at the threshold of hate speech, at the point where the talk in-game, every game, literally breaks the federal law of the United States (and is directed at utterly random individuals) that anyone who does not speak up, anyone who does not immediately call out trolling, is an enemy of fun. 

I had a couple paragraphs about how calling out your friends, on trolling, would do them a lot of good.

It surely could, except I'm done caring about the well-being of a troll. 

I care about the people targeted by a troll's shitty campaigns of bullying and psychological torture. If you've got any shred of decency, you will stick up for your fellow human beings, no matter whether they want to identify as male or female. No matter their race, nationality, religion or sexuality.

Let me show you how:  

"That's not cool, insert name of troll here.

"Chill the fuck out, insert name of troll here.

"Just FYI. Riot employees are watching my stream, insert name of troll here."

And if you don't agree, well, neat. Enjoy the smell on troll island. 

But if you want safe games, then stick the fuck up for the people getting trolled. And tell the trolls to sit the fuck down.


Well that was a rant. Here's a link to the Dickwolves bit, which is the beginning of this chapter. 

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