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View Full Version : Bigotry in online gaming.



Doodler
2004-Dec-29, 07:15 PM
I never in my life conceived of this possibility, but since having played EverQuest 2 over the last couple months, I've actually seen the uglier side of human nature rear its ugly head in the virtual world.

The server I play on, Crushbone, has apparently become an unofficial gathering place for a large contingent of Spanish players. It started pretty much unintended, but many people noticed conversations between players ingame going completely in Spanish, and every so often, people grouping in the adventure areas would pick up a member who didn't say too much. At first, it was thought these might be isolated cases, but there are now two major powerhouse guilds that are openly displaying their origins. Me personally, I think its pretty awesome, I've played online with European, Asian and Southeast Asian (a very good friend of mine lives in Malaysia, about an hour's drive from where the tsunamis made landfall) players since the first time I logged into one, but these players were nigh fluent in English. With the Spaniards I've met on Crushbone, the rule is reversed, many are as monolingual as I am. Now I barely understand a few clipped phrases of spanish, but because of the very universal nature of the game's mechanics, I've been able to fluidly group with non-English speakers without a hiccup. The role you play in the game is defined well enough that you can work with a group of people for hours without more than a few words exchanged.

Where the ugliness started up was on the forums. I've seen people post some ugly invective about non-English speaking players, and a few people unleashing tirades that would make a cross burner misty-eyed as they announce they're moving to another server because of them. I've even thrown my hat in the fray and chewed one punk a new one because he dared assume that a person speaking only in broken English was stupid (for those of you that game online, I'm sure you would notice that many of these kids who dare insult these spanish players are the same ones that type some pretty heinous garbage and dare pass it off as English).

Thankfully, there have been a lot of players who have much more enlightened attitudes about the situation. One woman posted up a few bits of game jargon in an english to spanish arrangement that are pretty easy to keep close by in the event you need to communicate to a spanish speaker quickly. I just thought it was amazing that real world prejudice would take root so quickly, we're talking in the course of weeks here. As I've said, international players have been a fact of life in Massively Multiplayer Online games since the first ones were launch in the early 90's, the only thing I can come up with is that the language barrier presents them an opportunity to bring it up again.

beskeptical
2004-Dec-29, 07:30 PM
And the thought of how most of the stuff we deal with on line in English must be frustrating to non-English speakers never occurs to them is not surprising.

My response would be along the lines of, "Gee, you might want to get out of that backwards little town you live in once in a while. The rest of the world is quite interesting."

Doodler
2004-Dec-29, 07:41 PM
And the thought of how most of the stuff we deal with on line in English must be frustrating to non-English speakers never occurs to them is not surprising.

My response would be along the lines of, "Gee, you might want to get out of that backwards little town you live in once in a while. The rest of the world is quite interesting."

Agree on that, I've had to catch myself a few times and keep what I say a bit simpler than what I normally do, and I try to keep slang and unrelated jargon to a minimum.

As far as the idiots go, that's the scary part, a lot of the real punks are kids from major cities. You'd think a little exposure to foreign culture would have occurred.

Kesh
2004-Dec-29, 08:21 PM
Racism is everywhere. The 'net just makes it easier to spread.

Playing Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, you'll run into a lot of it on some servers. A few clans are full of cheats, jerks and racists. Once you learn who to avoid, though, the rest are pretty cool.

It's a human failing that spreads everywhere.

Tranquility
2004-Dec-29, 08:24 PM
Most of the people who engage in this are kids trying to boost their ego and masculinity. The prejudice part may not be ultimately obvious as in a Massively Multiplayer game like Everquest, but spoiled kids online are readily present on servers running Unreal Tournament, Counterstrike, Half Life, Warcraft, and Battlefield, and every other game that has a large multiplayer following. The fact that people spend so much time playing an MMORPG can move unpleasant elements like prejudice to the area where these gamers spend most of their time, protected by anonymity. It's just a matter of where they spend all their time and hence where they display this sort of sentiment. Hang around some multiplayer games' chat lounges and you'll see that there are quite a few bigots hanging around there.

A Thousand Pardons
2004-Dec-29, 08:47 PM
Most of the people who engage in this are kids trying to boost their ego and masculinity.
We don't call it "masculinity" any more, it's "fulsome self-image" and it's not limited to the male of the species anymore. :)

Doodler
2004-Dec-29, 08:50 PM
And its also more than the kids, at least in terms of real world age. Proving once again, the separation of maturity and seniority.

beskeptical
2004-Dec-29, 09:01 PM
I was trying to find a better description than small town knowing there were plenty of small town like people in big cities. :P

Makgraf
2004-Dec-29, 09:34 PM
I don't know if it's bigotry per se, but it's certainly a pervaisive 'how-do-you-put-on-your-clothes-in-the-morning' level of stupidity. Most of the denziens of Blizzard's battle.net seem to talk in a mixture of 133t, sexist and racist insults and complete garble. I'm kinda disappointed that Everquest is the same way, I'd alwayed assumed it was a couple of cuts above.

The last panel of this comic (http://www.penny-arcade.com/view.php3?date=2003-11-07) is a pretty good depiction.

Musashi
2004-Dec-30, 12:38 AM
Darn it, someone beat me to the penny arcade reference. :)

Tranquility
2004-Dec-30, 06:33 AM
I've found that games with hard and long single player often have fewer idiots in multiplayer. Apparently a lot of those leet folks lose interest in a difficult game, try out the MP for a bit, and then leave the game. Apparently they're not actually good in gaming. Which is why if you play Far Cry online you don't find that many jerks.

Wally
2004-Dec-30, 02:07 PM
Interesting topic. Just a week or so ago, a friend of mine voiced his disgust with a server he was playing on because they were recruiting new players to their "clan", but had a rule that only english or spanish speaking players were allowed. I didn't see this as at all biased in my eyes, but simply a way of making sure the entire clan could communicate with each other. He was pretty put off by the entire thing, thinking it was plain bigotry on their part to not allow players who didn't speak either language into the clan.

thoughts/opinions??? :-?

ToSeek
2004-Dec-30, 02:44 PM
Interesting topic. Just a week or so ago, a friend of mine voiced his disgust with a server he was playing on because they were recruiting new players to their "clan", but had a rule that only english or spanish speaking players were allowed. I didn't see this as at all biased in my eyes, but simply a way of making sure the entire clan could communicate with each other. He was pretty put off by the entire thing, thinking it was plain bigotry on their part to not allow players who didn't speak either language into the clan.

thoughts/opinions??? :-?

If being part of the clan means needing to communicate with other members, then I think it's a reasonable restriction.

Doodler
2004-Dec-30, 02:57 PM
Interesting topic. Just a week or so ago, a friend of mine voiced his disgust with a server he was playing on because they were recruiting new players to their "clan", but had a rule that only english or spanish speaking players were allowed. I didn't see this as at all biased in my eyes, but simply a way of making sure the entire clan could communicate with each other. He was pretty put off by the entire thing, thinking it was plain bigotry on their part to not allow players who didn't speak either language into the clan.

thoughts/opinions??? :-?

If being part of the clan means needing to communicate with other members, then I think it's a reasonable restriction.

My own guild has a restriction of not allowing anyone under the age of 18 as a member, along with a few other internal regulations concerning how members can group, start and operate characters and whatnot, which has lead to some conflicts over people wanting to join. Considering that a clan is really a private club, membership restrictions are at the discretion of the leadership. That being said, any clan created with any intent of promoting organized discrimination beyond their own ranks is a no no.

Doodler
2004-Dec-30, 02:59 PM
I don't know if it's bigotry per se, but it's certainly a pervaisive 'how-do-you-put-on-your-clothes-in-the-morning' level of stupidity. Most of the denziens of Blizzard's battle.net seem to talk in a mixture of 133t, sexist and racist insults and complete garble. I'm kinda disappointed that Everquest is the same way, I'd alwayed assumed it was a couple of cuts above.

The last panel of this comic (http://www.penny-arcade.com/view.php3?date=2003-11-07) is a pretty good depiction.


I've found EQ2 to be a pretty impressive environment. I haven't run into any idiots online personally yet, I've only seen the echos of their passing in the forums. So hopefully that's an indicator that the idiots are in the extreme minority.

Tranquility
2004-Dec-30, 04:42 PM
Interesting topic. Just a week or so ago, a friend of mine voiced his disgust with a server he was playing on because they were recruiting new players to their "clan", but had a rule that only english or spanish speaking players were allowed. I didn't see this as at all biased in my eyes, but simply a way of making sure the entire clan could communicate with each other. He was pretty put off by the entire thing, thinking it was plain bigotry on their part to not allow players who didn't speak either language into the clan.

thoughts/opinions??? :-?

As the other folks here mentioned, clans are really private clubs, and they enter tournaments and organize training sessions and really take their gaming seriously. As a result, restrictions may apply and the need to communicate easily is of the essence. I don't believe clans are promoting bigotry. Case in point: My brother who is Arab, was offered a place in an Israeli Counter-strike clan.

Musashi
2004-Dec-30, 05:11 PM
See, they are going about it all wrong. Peace through video-gaming! :wink:

Gramma loreto
2004-Dec-30, 07:39 PM
What is it with the stereotyping of small towns and the people who come from them? Small town like people... is that the PC, more culturally sensitive version of labels like hick, rube, or redneck? Sounds to me like another brand of bigotry in its own right.

Having lived in and frequented towns both large and small, I believe bigotry is no more prevalent in small towns than in large. Its display may be more common in one place or the other when factors such as group psychology or anonymity come into play but people are people whereever you go.

Tranquility
2004-Dec-30, 07:46 PM
See, they are going about it all wrong. Peace through video-gaming! :wink:

Yeah I wish. Would give me a bigger shot at a Nobel peace prize :)

Doe, John
2004-Dec-30, 11:41 PM
What is it with the stereotyping of small towns and the people who come from them? Small town like people... is that the PC, more culturally sensitive version of labels like hick, rube, or redneck? Sounds to me like another brand of bigotry in its own right.

Having lived in and frequented towns both large and small, I believe bigotry is no more prevalent in small towns than in large. Its display may be more common in one place or the other when factors such as group psychology or anonymity come into play but people are people whereever you go.

You, hammer, nail, bullseye. IMNSHO bigotry and intolerance are most prevalent among those who fail to recognize the bigger world outside their immediate surroundings, whether those surroundings be the town limits or the borrough, parish, whatever and whereever. It's small mindedness not small townishness.