Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Online Harassment: Yell On Twitter. Then They'll Listen.

I know that this issue has taken over the internet over the past week, a woman who was harassed through a game on XboxLive, reported it, and received no response back. The intensity of the threat by the male gamer was pretty extreme, and it does raise a lot of questions about the strength, or lack thereof, of the support systems in place to submit online harassment requests. It’s even more appalling that Jenny Haniver, the female gamer in this situation, recorded the voice messages and screen capped the game text, and Microsoft’s response system didn’t budge. It wasn’t until she yelled loud enough on Twitter and got people to rally behind her that they started to listen.

This is just one woman with one issues. Imagine the thousands, tens of thousands, even possibly hundreds of thousands of online harassment that happen daily under the same circumstances that are never resolved. I know I have reported dozens of people through XboxLive in my first month for sexual comments and vulgarity that would make Rob Zombie blush. I never received a single response back that action was taken, or that my complaint was heard. I don’t need to know what was done, but here we are, 5 years later, and I still see these people online.

The only response left to any of us (men and women, because men do get harassed as well) is to block and mute. But does that really help anyone? It just pushes the person onto the next target/victim to abuse.

And this isn’t  a Microsoft problem. This is with every console, every developer, every game with an online system. New methods need to be created to not only prevent harassment, but to respond immediately with consequences. Let gamers know that you, the game companies, take this issue seriously. If we knew that we could be banned instantly from a game if we harassed someone, people would think twice to do it.

I am, sadly, use to these messages. Microsoft never
settled my harassment claims. As such, I'm no longer an
XboxLive Gold subscriber. Maybe one day, the system
will change and grow. Maybe. Hopefully...
No system is perfect, and insta-ban will have it’s drawbacks. People who were falsely accused will need to be reinstated, and refunds may need to be issued. But the systems we have in place now are completely ineffective. When the only recourse is to block, mute, or to shout on social media until SOMEONE responds, then something is clearly wrong with the system of reporting and consequences.

It also doesn't help that Haniver is getting harassing comments on her article about the entire situation. Are we really this asinine? Gamers...who became the grand master of the universe and decided that it was only for men? No one, that's who. We live in a world where this type of harassment and abuse is not tolerated nor celebrated. A real man wouldn't harass others. Truthfully? It makes you look weak that the only way you can resolve a "concern" is by lowering yourself to the level of an amoeba.

Time to grow up gamers. We are all much better then this.

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