News No More Lip Service: Twitch, Game Platforms Still Ignore Hate and Harassment

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jimmysmitty

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"IP address "

The issue with this is that the mass majority of consumer home internet does not have a static IP. They have an IP that can and does change. We have dealt with it on the forums when someone gets IP banned and a new user is banned or because it may have been from an internet cafe that entire site is banned.

I am all for the tools to address harassment. However there also has to be acceptance from both ends. If there is a reported incident then we should assume innocence, allow them to do their job then apply the punishment if found guilty. However on the other side if they were not found guilty then there has to be acceptance.

The biggest issue I see is that there would have to be a good definition to follow. Some people don't like any criticism, well most people do not, and may decide that it is because of their sex, race or gender etc even if its not. That's something even in the rest of the world that bothers me the most. Unless it's specific there is no way to know the intent behind what someone says.

Another issue I always see is this then gets stated as the normal in gaming culture. People tend to forget that not too long ago being a "gamer" wasn't that cool. I remember being criticized and picked on for it. Most gamers are accepting of anyone and its a very fringe element that does this kind of stuff. However we also do give each a lot of crap.

In the end it is unfortunate that anyone has to deal with this at all but it is the world we live in. The internet has never been a truly nice place TBH.
 

AtrociKitty

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The vast majority of people don't want even more moderation and policing on what are already heavily moderated platforms. It's particularly dangerous to advocate for bans based on terms such as "hate", which is vague and ambiguous, making such rules easy to abuse in suppressing viewpoints or populations.

As for in-game chat, banter and trash talk have always been part of a competitive environment. Sure, disallow it on games or servers targeted at kids, but it's utterly hypocritical to ban someone for saying something "aggressive" while playing a game where you're trying to kill their character.
 

setx

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This American trash is all over again... Why do you think the world is obligated to protect "Black woman in gaming"? No one else cares if you are Black or Green.

major platform, such as Twitch, turn a blind eye and fail to enforce their own, seemingly well-intentioned, anti-hate speech policies
Because those "seemingly well-intentioned policies" were forced down their throats and absolutely ridiculous?

Imagine the excitement of hearing you’re getting a feature in front of thousands of viewers! ... during the moment I’m supposed to shine my brightest.
Why would you think that being in front of thousands is supposed to be your brightest moment and not the most shameful one? Wrong expectations -> wrong results.

This gave me nightmares and caused me to stop playing games for a few months.
And this didn't teach you anything at all? Maybe direct interaction with internet community is just not for you? Maybe you should've just disabled the commenting and live happily? Don't force other people to solve your problems that come from wrong expectations.
 

eichwana

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Some of these above comments show how people think about people being banned for harassment. From their comments alone, they sound like they’re people who get off from harassing others.

Interesting to see accounts were made just to post these comments.

Brushing it under the carpet by saying
  • And this didn't teach you anything at all?
  • As for in-game chat, banter and trash talk have always been part of a competitive environment.
  • In the end it is unfortunate that anyone has to deal with this at all but it is the world we live in.
Shows that these people advocate and support racially, homophobically, sexually harassing others.
How would they feel if it were their daughters, sisters, girlfriends, wives facing these comments?
 

salgado18

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This American trash is all over again... Why do you think the world is obligated to protect "Black woman in gaming"? No one else cares if you are Black or Green.

Because those "seemingly well-intentioned policies" were forced down their throats and absolutely ridiculous?

Why would you think that being in front of thousands is supposed to be your brightest moment and not the most shameful one? Wrong expectations -> wrong results.

And this didn't teach you anything at all? Maybe direct interaction with internet community is just not for you? Maybe you should've just disabled the commenting and live happily? Don't force other people to solve your problems that come from wrong expectations.
Hey, it IS toxic. And it DOES disturb people. Because you and many people are hard-ash strong guys well versed in the law of the strongest, doesn't mean anyone has the right to disrespect, attack or even threat another.

You are saying that anyone wanting to take part in an online community must read people saying they will come to your house to rape and kill you, and be cool with it? And especially that the community hosts (Twitch, etc) should do nothing about it? Only the strong will survive? Is this the middle-ages again?

Everyone has the right of free speech, but that right is not absolute. You can't attack someone, not even verbally, and get away with it. If these things can be taken to court as a crime, they shouldn't be regulated in an online community?
 

jimmysmitty

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Some of these above comments show how people think about people being banned for harassment. From their comments alone, they sound like they’re people who get off from harassing others.

Interesting to see accounts were made just to post these comments.

Brushing it under the carpet by saying
  • And this didn't teach you anything at all?
  • As for in-game chat, banter and trash talk have always been part of a competitive environment.
  • In the end it is unfortunate that anyone has to deal with this at all but it is the world we live in.
Shows that these people advocate and support racially, homophobically, sexually harassing others.
How would they feel if it were their daughters, sisters, girlfriends, wives facing these comments?
Excuse me? You think I support any of that? Or that I even do any of that?

Nice way to not read my entire post and just pick a single line to try and make it seem like I am in any way supporting harassment of anyone.

I do not believe in it. Hell I was picked on and very alone for most of my life just because I was a nerd and geek. One of my closest friends was threatened in high school for hanging out with me. I have dealt with this all my life so I know what it is like.

I do support ways to stop anything that is blatant. I do not support what some people want though which is to be able to deem what is hate or harassment. Some people do offer valid criticism and get told they just don't like them because of x/y/z. That I am heavily against. I have seen this happen on YouTube channels and other media where people use something to try and silence any criticism even if its valid.

I am also someone who is realistic. The world is not a nice place. Its harsh and unforgiving. The internet itself has never been "nice". That's not me brushing it under the rug. That's me being realistic about how things are and sometimes you have to accept that you will never find a place where everyone is nice to you.

I did a very long time ago.
 

apiltch

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Though we posted this as an op-ed, I want to come out on behalf of Tom's Hardware and say that we agree with Natasha and we urged her (I urged her) to write this. It's easy to say "hate and harassment have no place in tech or gaming," but both companies and individuals need to actually do something about it. The fact that so many Black, POC, women and LGBTQIA users are being left to fend for themselves when attacked by bigoted trolls should not only shock but shame us all.

It's hard for me to believe that anyone could take issue with the message here. If you disagree are you saying that A.) bigoted harassment is not an actual problem or B.) you agree that it is a problem but think that platform owners like Twitch are doing a fantastic job of responding to it and don't deserve criticism or C.) that harassment is ok and not actually a problem that should be dealt with?

I think A.) we see plenty of people complaining about it in addition to Natasha. Her story is representative. B.) If you just look at some of the complaints on social or talk to people in these attacked groups, you'll see that they aren't getting a proper response. If you believe in C, because you support the harassment, there's really nothing we can say to you.

Finally, I know some will say that Tom's Hardware should stick to benchmarking hardware, but this is an important technology topic. The tech and gaming communities, which are intertwined, should not only be open but welcoming to people of all races, genders, ethnicities, religions and sexual orientations. If they are not, everyone loses out, even those of us who fit into categories that don't attract the ire of bigots.
 

bigdragon

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The author of this article is bringing up a valid point, but also focusing on personal characteristics that are likely to further incite the harassment they want to stop. Some people love to get under the skin of other people, and this article is telling them where to focus. The problem of gaming harassment is not focused on or unique to a specific gender or race -- we all deal with it to some degree. I'd argue that skill and age play just as big a role.

Twitch, XBox Live, Steam, and other services already give users, streamers, and creators tools to mute, block, kick, and ban troublemakers. However, tools exist to readily acquire new accounts and replace games at little or no cost -- things that easily circumvent even the most stringent cooperative-service ban suggested in this article. Most services make money off their users, so removing users is something that goes against their business interests too. The balance between keeping people safe and keeping the money flowing can very easily tip in either direction and fast.

I think the ultimate solution to the problem raised in this article is to put effort into understanding why people cause trouble. Gaming is a very big tent now. Gamers come from all backgrounds, ages, races, genders, skill levels, motivations for playing, expectations, and so on. Taking action against individual users hasn't worked long-term for decades. Also, what is toxic to one user is normal to another (e.g. trash talk is expected in competitive environments, but casual gamers consider it harassment). We should try separating people based on why they play games or what they're looking to accomplish. Use that machine learning and AI stuff to identify gamers that are likely to clash with each other, then keep them apart.

tl;dr -- The problem is real, but bans and policies haven't worked. Take a new approach like using AI to identify players that won't get along with each other and then keep them separated.
 

setx

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You are saying that anyone wanting to take part in an online community must read people saying they will come to your house to rape and kill you, and be cool with it?
Yes, you press that "report" button and be absolutely cool with it. I don't believe that Twitch, etc are not banning such things now.

Everyone has the right of free speech, but that right is not absolute.
People like to bend the "right of free speech" too much now. Why would you think that people are obligated to respect and love you? What's wrong with saying to someone that you hate and disrespect him? (Obviously, threats are not part of that.)

If these things can be taken to court as a crime, they shouldn't be regulated in an online community?
Sure, taken to which court in which country? You seriously want the internet to be regulated by your country's laws?
 
Some of these above comments show how people think about people being banned for harassment. From their comments alone, they sound like they’re people who get off from harassing others.

Interesting to see accounts were made just to post these comments.

Brushing it under the carpet by saying
  • And this didn't teach you anything at all?
  • As for in-game chat, banter and trash talk have always been part of a competitive environment.
  • In the end it is unfortunate that anyone has to deal with this at all but it is the world we live in.
Shows that these people advocate and support racially, homophobically, sexually harassing others.
How would they feel if it were their daughters, sisters, girlfriends, wives facing these comments?
I face them daily.
 
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smashjohn

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I'm just going to say, If you're posting to say you don't see the problem, you are the problem.

People are fully willing to engage in homophobic, racist, misogynistic, and bigoted behavior online that they would never express in person. You know you're wrong. We know you're wrong. It's shameful. Stop.

There is no reason anyone should expect to be bullied and harassed while playing games because of who they are. Stop making up excuses for this abhorrent behavior. I've been gaming since 1982 and this was never part of 'our' culture. Denying that there is a problem is just a deflection from the fact that you know you should be ashamed of your behavior. Reflect, grow, change. The gaming community can be better than this.
 

xtc-604

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I'm just going to say, If you're posting to say you don't see the problem, you are the problem.

People are fully willing to engage in homophobic, racist, misogynistic, and bigoted behavior online that they would never express in person. You know you're wrong. We know your wrong. It's shameful. Stop.

There is no reason anyone should expect to be bullied and harassed while playing games because of who they are. Stop making up excuses for this abhorrent behavior. I've been gaming since 1982 and this was never part of 'our' culture. Denying that there is a problem is just a deflection from the fact that you know you should be ashamed of your behavior. Reflect, grow, change. The gaming community can be better than this.
That's absolute bull.

Since when did humans get so soft? So soft that words from online strangers will hurt them.

Whatever happened to sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can not?

Don't like it? Don't read it.
 

salgado18

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(Obviously, threats are not part of that.)
This sentence alone is enough for you to agree with her! People are threatening others on social media, and these social media act like nothing is happening. They gave global-reaching voice to criminals, they should, and must, act to stop it.
 
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apiltch

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tl;dr -- The problem is real, but bans and policies haven't worked. Take a new approach like using AI to identify players that won't get along with each other and then keep them separated.
How do we know that bans and policies haven't worked if they are not being aggressively enforced? Using AI to identify hate speech and harassment is an interesting possibility if it could be accurate, because clearly Twitch and others don't have enough humans reading and investigating these reports. But I don't think we need to say we identify players who "won't get along."

When you start hurling racist and sexist epithets at someone just for being a woman or a POC, that's not exactly "not getting along." That's bigotry. "Not getting along" is a problem between individuals who know each other well enough to dislike each other for their personal qualities. We can't and shouldn't create a safe space for bigots to only be around people who look like them.
 

salgado18

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That's absolute bull.

Since when did humans get so soft? So soft that words from online strangers will hurt them.

Whatever happened to sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can not?
You mean the law of the strongest, where feelings have no place over muscle?

Don't like it? Don't read it.
If I don't read it, how can I know I don't want to read it? Oh no, I just read it, let me unread this.
 
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xtc-604

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Though we posted this as an op-ed, I want to come out on behalf of Tom's Hardware and say that we agree with Natasha and we urged her (I urged her) to write this. It's easy to say "hate and harassment have no place in tech or gaming," but both companies and individuals need to actually do something about it. The fact that so many Black, POC, women and LGBTQIA users are being left to fend for themselves when attacked by bigoted trolls should not only shock but shame us all.

It's hard for me to believe that anyone could take issue with the message here. If you disagree are you saying that A.) bigoted harassment is not an actual problem or B.) you agree that it is a problem but think that platform owners like Twitch are doing a fantastic job of responding to it and don't deserve criticism or C.) that harassment is ok and not actually a problem that should be dealt with?

I think A.) we see plenty of people complaining about it in addition to Natasha. Her story is representative. B.) If you just look at some of the complaints on social or talk to people in these attacked groups, you'll see that they aren't getting a proper response. If you believe in C, because you support the harassment, there's really nothing we can say to you.

Finally, I know some will say that Tom's Hardware should stick to benchmarking hardware, but this is an important technology topic. The tech and gaming communities, which are intertwined, should not only be open but welcoming to people of all races, genders, ethnicities, religions and sexual orientations. If they are not, everyone loses out, even those of us who fit into categories that don't attract the ire of bigots.
Why would it be hard to imagine or believe that anyone could take issue with the message here? Not everyone believes that the internet should be full of loving and social justice warrior friendly attitudes. There are plenty of people whom are well seasoned by the real world, and don't get offended by words. No matter how you frame it, the internet is not a safe haven for everyone, if you can't handle it, get off it. The rest of the world is not obligated to make it so either.

It doesn't mean that we are racists or bigots, it just means, that the people whom are offended should a)probably find something else that they can take refuge in , b)grow thicker skin or c)be the rest of us, and just ignore it.
 

xtc-604

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You mean the law of the strongest, where feelings have no place over muscle?


If I don't read it, how can I know I don't want to read it? Oh no, I just read it, let me unread this.

Huh? Why are you even trying to argue semantics here?


I was never referring to law of the strongest or whatever you want to pull out randomly, if one is so sensitive to other people's words, maybe being in the eye of thousands is not entirely the best career path or interest to take?

Imagine if Angelina Jolie cared about what everyone had to say about her? How many men would like to have sex with her? Imagine she took offence to all that.

In regards to the last part of your reply, that's just stupid.

Often times you can skip/skim read. In this case they would see someone saying something racist, they can just skip it.
 

xtc-604

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Some of these above comments show how people think about people being banned for harassment. From their comments alone, they sound like they’re people who get off from harassing others.

Interesting to see accounts were made just to post these comments.

Brushing it under the carpet by saying
  • And this didn't teach you anything at all?
  • As for in-game chat, banter and trash talk have always been part of a competitive environment.
  • In the end it is unfortunate that anyone has to deal with this at all but it is the world we live in.
Shows that these people advocate and support racially, homophobically, sexually harassing others.
How would they feel if it were their daughters, sisters, girlfriends, wives facing these comments?
I'd tell them, if they can't handle the heat, get out of the kitchen.
 

smashjohn

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That's absolute bull.

Since when did humans get so soft? So soft that words from online strangers will hurt them.

Whatever happened to sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can not?

Don't like it? Don't read it.
You don't have a right to bully people. It's not right to bully people. You're making excuses and we both know it.
 
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