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Six Months at Riot Games (meagan-marie.tumblr.com)
319 points by nostalgeek 7 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 248 comments





Interesting that this one is doing well compared to the longer in-depth kotaku article a few days ago https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17710188 - fwiw that piece has since been corroborated by a ton of former riot employees on twitter.

At the risk of sounding overly cynical, this is all true and everyone knows about it, people feign disgust at these articles but we're all complicit and understanding that this is way things are. If people are truly shocked by this I would contend they are either young and inexperienced or incredibly naive. This article will get some discussion going for a few days then we'll quietly return to the status quo. Nothing will change.


This is not the way things are though. I’m a manager, and I wouldn’t tolerate any of the painted stories for a second. In fact, none of the people in my network, which includes numerous large Scandinavian tech companies would tolerate anything of the sort.

You do see that stuff, of course, but you see it mainly in children aged 10-15, and otherwise only in private, because anyone who keeps it up after that will be unemployable.

If this is commonplace in America workplace, then you truely are an odd country.


There's obviously a scale of how things are at various workplaces, and how acceptable various things are in different cultures.

I've worked at a gaming company in Europe before where among other things female team members told me they've been asked by someone "how it feels to have the biggest boobs in the team" when another female in the team left.

The company later introduced an inclusivity effort and a code of conduct, and felt obliged to offer an AMA (because "new and scary thing" or whatever). They got questions like "should we now lower our hiring standards because we want to hire more women?" and "will there be any punishments if you break the CoC?" to which the answer was "of course not, don't worry". It felt like they just did these things to show an effort, not to actually follow through on them. Leadership was of course all white middle-age straight male.


There are a number of studies that show that implementing new guidelines / yearly rote training is about the least effective thing you can do to change corporate culture.

The most effective tends to be non-adversarial, regular peer meetings where actual discussions can be had.

And yet every enterprise I've ever worked at has the same canned training systems. Or implements them in response to an incident.


Do companies care about being effective or care about covering their liability?

The company doesn't have to care for certain specific/influential people at the company to care and make healthy culture.

Company culture is it's employees, All the way from CEO to janitor.


If this is commonplace in America workplace, then you truely are an odd country.

This statement seems odd in this context. While Riot may be headquartered in the US, all of the events in the article took place in Ireland.


It would indeed be very nice to assume this is somehow unique to the US. Europe has many countries that are notorious for their machismo, or their adherence to religious beliefs that are condescending towards women. I would say Scandinavian attitude is more likely to be unique in the world than vice versa.

You’re right, I should’ve said Ireland, or maybe “in game development” as these kind of stories often seem to originate from there.

Well she says in her account the large majority of people at Riot Games are lovely. The problem tends to be that there are powerful people who the company has strong reasons not to fire that perpetuate the worst behavior. Then the culture of ignoring the worst offenders allows other people to get away with little things. And the culture of ignoring things period, eats away at employees's sense of well being and sense that their workplace is fair and looks at them with respect.

I'm sure there are plenty of managers at Riot Games who wouldn't tolerate the stories for a second, but there are a few at or near the top that will and that can ruin an entire workplace.


It's similar to what happened at Uber, and the solution will be the same -- Replace people from the top-down, starting with the CEO.

Unfortunately, it's often suppressed by those who are offended because they feel speaking up jeopardizes their job or acceptance with coworkers. Look how much is quietly endured in this very anecdote.

Cases like this exist, where managers are subsumed into the culture (or passively even actively foster it), but more common is behavior that's increasingly tolerated because nobody wants to speak up because of the cultural implications.

I realize it's gauche to complain about downvotes but ... what?


There's a subset of users out in full force bravely downvoting anyone who sticks up for her or who dares to suggest that sexism might be an institutional, culturally widespread problem. Same reason this article went from the front page to the sixth in three hours.

Don't worry about it.


That's some crazy conspiracy-theory level shit happening... it was #1 a couple hours ago with 80ish votes... now ~215 and you're right, it's dropped off to the 6th or 7th page! Is it getting flagged a lot? Why would that happen in a few hours?

The gamergate crowd, I'd assume. Normal for this sort of story, unfortunately.

If we quickly get these articles off the front page, we don't have to think about it anymore. Then we can go back to living in the perfect world where sexism is invented by the left to bring down people in the poor, innocent bro culture.

Users often flag stories for crappy threads completely independently of the content, quality, relevance, or importance of the article.

Its shocking and horrifying to me that such a "young" company and in such liberal areas can be like this, and that it can in any way be tolerated. This culture absolutely comes from the top, in the form of who they've chosen to hire and choosing not to ever course correct (I imagine these sorts of things get brought up on a monthly basis).

Brandon Beck and Mark Merrill as the business guys are ultimately responsible for the culture allowed to flourish under them - they made the hires that made this possible, and not stopping it is on them. I look forward to an expedient response, because the fact that its gotten so far to come to a post like this means they've been negligent for a long time.


I think there are self-reinforcing pockets out there. I'm a manager also, and I know if I heard any of this I'd stamp it down immediately. Heck, if I didn't, I wouldn't be doing my job, and I'd (hopefully) eventually be called on it myself.

American here: that sort of thing would be totally unacceptable here too, evidently except for bizarre cultures like that in the story, the bizarre aspect being the reason for the story, I'm guessing.

people feign disgust at these articles but we're all complicit and understanding that this is way things are

Speak for yourself. As a manager, I've shut down far, far more innocuous things than described in the article. And now that I'm old and cranky, I'll call out those above me just as easily.

The problem is that I don't work at Riot, and likely never will, so I can hardly be accused of "knowing it's all true" nor of being complicit. I've briefly consulted at shops full of "bros", and usually ski-daddled right out (I mean, yeesh, do you never tire of being eternally 13 years old?). If they were over there calling each other "cocksuckers", I must not have stuck around long enough to find out.

So you're right about one thing: nothing will change, because decent people won't work at those places. Unfortunately, while all the decent human beings work elsewhere, some wide-eyed woman shows up once in a while.


>As a manager, I've shut down far, far more innocuous things than described in the article. And now that I'm old and cranky, I'll call out those above me just as easily.

Same here. Anything approaching the level of stuff in that article would be a "you're a hair's breadth away from looking for a new job" conversation. Hell, I had a crufty QA manager that reported to me that was a sweet human being, but I had to break him of the habit of referring to a dead server as being "tits up".

Going up the chain, I got into a very heated conversation with the EVP I reported to about his advice to a female Director that she needed to be "more agreeable". She was one of the most agreeable and accommodating people I'd ever worked with. Never mind that her peers (all male, myself included) were all very outspoken and opinionated, and never received similar advice.

TBH, if anyone described a company as having a "frat party atomosphere" that'd be an instant disqualification in my mind.


Absolutely fucking not. If stuff like this happened at any place I ever worked at heads would roll, and fast.

These things are highly cultural: If you land at a place (like, apparently, Riot) and you are outnumbered by a few hundred people who are more or less accustomed to this behavior, the insanity is like a tidal wave and will realistically be impossible to stem and I wouldn't assume anyone to have the strength to do it (although I very much applaud anyone who does!)

The beautiful part is, that you don't. This is not normal. You do not have to endure this or be complicit. Do not work with or for assholes.


This isn't the way things are though, at least no where I've worked. I work in the finance industry as a software developer and if any of that stuff happened, there would be a huge outcry and some serious reprimands and firings.

In most of America things are nothing like that. These are immature people that got lucky and rich and still act like frat boys.


Virtually every woman I know has stories like the ones in both this blog post and the original big Kotaku piece. The sheer pervasive depth of Riot's misogynistic culture is less common, but it's a difference in degree, not in kind.

And yet it’s not the case everywhere. Most women have passed through at least one workplace with a misogynistic culture. But there are also workplaces out there where women are treated professionally. I know because I’m a woman and have worked at a few of them. Misogyny isn’t some inevitable way the world has to be. It’s the result of choices and social signaling that treats it as acceptable.

That's good to hear honestly.

In most of America things are nothing like that.

Can't speak to America at large but the game industry in California is absolutely like this, tech seems to be in a similar situation. It's a v complex problem with no apparent fix.


It's true that the majority of workplaces are not like this, but it's also true that damn near every woman has stories about behavior like this.

this one is doing well compared to the longer in-depth kotaku article

This article rocketed to 180+ points in two hours, yet it's already on the second page and falling fast. Moderator activity? Flagging? Some algorithmic quirk?

Possibly the first article had the same problem. There's enough hidden behavior on HN that I don't think you can trust individual story ranking to express anything about the HN community. Unfortunately, because this is an interesting story.


> This article rocketed to 180+ points in two hours, yet it's already on the second page and falling fast. Moderator activity? Flagging? Some algorithmic quirk?

Judging from the topic and actual discussion, I would think the flamewar detector, which is algorithmic, but not a quirk.


I'm sorry to hear that this is the way things are for you. I've never worked at a company with this kind of culture, and would leave one in an instant. This is disgusting, and shouldn't be the way things are.

Nothing will change because no one addressing or discussing the underlying causes for a culture that is drenched in gender roles and a corresponding social status ladder. All focus is being spent on either attacking "them" in as much generalized way as possible or defending "us" and the product of that fight is almost always status quo and further polarization.

Imagine if we instead used classical scientific method of measuring and correlating. What is the correlating attributes of an employee and advancement in a major game studio. What is the correlating attributes of social rank within the local culture and do those positive or negative correlate with with advancement and wages. Does fear of loosing social rank correlate to increased negative behavior? Are the multiple competitions over social rank and does there exist inter-sex competition in connection to competition where both men and women compete on the same ladder?

But I digress. The only change this kind of articles has can be seen in comments here and the linked one. More polarization, more generalization, and in a few days replaced with the next article to repeat over.


> Nothing will change because no one addressing or discussing the underlying causes

What exactly are you describing? I don't see the same world you do. These stories are top concern and referenced in almost every forum from niche game communities to political discourse (ie everywhere). The underlying causes are assessed and measured in various countries (eg http://www.thejournal.ie/gender-equality-countries-stem-girl...) and is a topic of serious discussion. Seriously, what are you talking about, that you think it's being ignored in any fashion?


There is plenty of article like that which explore a single area of gender segregation and ask the question of why, and those that are close to a popular political subject like STEM get attention. What is missing is the larger context where those studies are cross referenced from multiple professions and applied with behavioral science to find common theory of underlying causes.

In the context of this (and the linked) article however, there is not much serious discussion that explore the cause of work place harassment. If I take a random article on school bullying it will contain a magnitude of deeper thinking and serious discussion compared to ones like this. A major reason for that is that school bullying is not politically polarized into a them vs us narrative, and society in general seems to be more focus on trying to understand why and how to prevent it from a perspective of behavioral science.

As long are this topic get more polarized we will likely not see any change.


I disagree. The larger context and underlying causes are not possible without the groundwork. The claims that it isn't being done reads like you just want the answers faster, while simultaneously implying that proper rigor is not being applied. I'm surprised that someone thinks this way. The studies in the nordic countries are far more aggressive than anything else in existence, but you seem unfamiliar. SMH

The problem is that there aren't enough people with spines working in these companies to smack the heads of their colleagues when they act out inappropriately because they think they have their "dream job" and don't want to attract negative attention to themselves. This is just as bad as the people who flagrantly act out.

Then the worst get get no negative feedback and continue to be assholes, and the whole culture / Overton window of the environment is perceived to be shifted in that direction.

People need to take the perceived risk and tell each other to grow the fuck up. The worse thing that can happen is you end up getting a new job somewhere else less dysfunctional that you needed but deluded yourself into not getting sooner.

Usually this works in your favor in the long term no matter what.


> ...this is all true and everyone knows about it... I'm with you up to here. (Well, not everyone knows about it, but if you're paying attention to the issue at all yod do.)

> ...people feign disgust at these articles... My disgust is not feigned. So would guess many feel genuine disgust because it's disgusting behavior.

> ...but we're all complicit... I don't think so. One has to participate, condone or accept it to be complicit. Are you're making an oblique confession?

> ...and understanding that this is way things are. Absolutely not! There is no reason it needs to be this way, even at a game company.

> ...Nothing will change. Perhaps, perhaps not. It would certainly be a shame if nothing did. Riot may not find it as easy to continue in this vein as they have in the past now that it's been exposed to daylight. Many of their customers certainly don't care if even like it. But many do. Hopefully they will see the light and figure out how to grow up.



I know my interview with Riot was more like a freshman college hazing. At the end they setup a 2nd call and I was like wtf. They said they were just testing me to see if I could handle the culture and that I passed so I can move on to the next interview. I told him to diaf and never contact me again.

I'm male, I can't even imagine what its like for Women.


"It's not that I can't, it's that I wont."

I have never played league of legends, but one of the things I've heard repeatedly is that there is an extremely toxic culture around the game. If true, it isn't surprising to see that the company has a toxic culture as well.

I feel for the author. It is sad that her dream job turned into a nightmare. I just hope some positive change comes from this at Riot and other companies.


Uhh, that logic doesn’t folllow. Heh. I’m a former S2 dev (heroes of newerth, a pretty similar game). The player base is uncontrollable. It’s a bunch of testosterone fueled teens.

Granted, we didn’t have any women in leadership positions either, but I’d like to think that was more because we were relatively small and it was Kalamazoo.


> uncontrollable

It's not uncontrollable, you'd just rather have their money than ban them.


No, I assure you it’s uncontrollable. There are millions of games played per day on Dota. How do you propose to fairly evaluate each of them?

You seriously can't think of a single idea for how to ban toxic players at scale?

Start with crowd-sourcing via reports, then pass it over to customer service once a critical mass has been achieved. Make sure one person can't easily create a new account after being banned. This really isn't a new problem, tons of companies of all sizes have tackled it with varying success.


Spoken like someone who’s never played the game. Get ready to be banned for no fault of your own, just because your three teammates decided to report you for the lulz. There are people who post on /r/dota2 complaining that they get banned from the game for nothing but picking techies each game. They don’t even say anything. People just report them immediately.

By the way, streamers are one of the most high impact users of the game. They are also one of the most unfairly targeted by report systems. This problem is extensively studied and very tricky.


I've been playing DOTA since the Warcraft 3 days, and a lot of HoN. I'm seriously grateful for the excellent Linux client.

Today I've moved over to Dota 2 and now I see that I no longer get banned and moved to unranked for picking techies. I play him at ancient/divine levels and getting reported is very common. Techies is my favorite hero as he is more about strategy than quick precise reactions. I think Valve has done some progress in this area, especially as you now can commend players.


Just because there are false positives or one company has a bad implementation doesn't make it an unsolveable problem.

As parent mentioned, ml sentiment analysis + logging + peer reporting + final human analysis = problem effectively combated

It's the final human analysis that companies are loathe to fund (e.g. Facebook), as costs scale with user count.

But it's not efficiently unsolveable with current tech. Therefore, companies simply aren't prioritizing it. And won't, as long as the impact of toxic users isn't impacting the bottom line.


Kay. What are the odds that some HN commenters are going to solve the same problem that has been an active priority for years of the people in the field?

I can’t speak for Valve or Riot, but at S2 it was a concerning issue. There’s just no good way to do it when the people involved are actively malicious. If you think there is, get ready to have your community collapse around you as everyone complains about unfair bans.

I don’t think you really appreciate the scale of the problem. Final human analysis is not possible when there are literally millions of games per week. It’s also not something that ML can identify cleanly — the moment it does, the culture will adapt to bypass the evaluator. It always does.


I absolutely appreciate the scale of the problem, and the adversarial nature of peer reporting. My day job has those same characteristics.

Millions of games per week * 30 minutes per game * avg lines of chat per minute = manageable w/ a proper streaming architecture

Especially when you have access to a massive, perfectly-scaled, distributed edge compute system. (i.e. running minimal, performance-optimized models on users' opponents' clients to do the initial detection / filter / compression pass)

But my point is this is fundamentally an economic problem, given current state of the art, not a technical one.

Companies are looking for pure-technical solutions because they're cheaper, and then complaining that it's a hard problem because they're unwilling to properly fund hybrid systems until state of the art can deliver.

ML is a first order approximation of human ability, not a magic unicorn that gives you exactly what you want. Thats the definitions of engineering: how do I build a system that fulfills my requirements from the pieces I have, not the pieces I wish I had?

So I don't feel much pity when companies allow toxic user bases to flourish because it's cheaper than funding solutions.

* Above intended in no way to belittle the awesome work folks are doing in the space with ML detection. But sometimes as engineers we need to admit when management is making unethical choices for financial gain


On the base level, it is not very hard to examine a chat log and glean who is being blatantly toxic from the log.

A big problem with games like League of Legends or Dota 2 is that you can easily be toxic or cause your teammates to be toxic without chatting or using voice comms.

There are very common trolling methods that do not require any use of chat with the express purpose of trying to incite toxicity in other players, some blatant, and some not.

However, the bigger problem is that honest mistakes can be misinterpreted by your teammates as toxicity:

Losing a close 1v1 vs your laning opponent

vs

Accidentally going too deep into enemy territory and dying once.

vs

Getting killed while attempting to secure map control for your team.

Vs

Playing too aggressively and overextending and dying many times over the course of a game.

When things like this happen, your own teammates may become upset at your poor performance and begin to lash out.

The biggest problem here is that in these games, it can feel like you have no agency over the outcome of the game when your teammates do not perform at the perceived skill level you have of them.

This is where toxic players become hard to deal with. They will start doing things that will incite toxicity in their teammates while maintaining plauisble deniability:

- Confusing teammates by providing useless or inaccurate information about the current gamestate. (Pinging, map calls, cooldowns, timers, etc - many of these require no use of chat of voice comms)

- Picking on teammates by making consistently selfish plays to their detriment.(Courier stealing, going out of one's way to steal farm from a lower position teammate, unnecessary kill stealing)

- Improper role identification, your team strategically expects you to do X, you do Y. Y could even be better than X in terms of winning the game, it doesn't matter.

All of these above examples can either be common gameplay mistakes or intentionally malicious, but the point is that once your teammates do not trust one another, some will start verbally abusing, while others will begin to make similar mistakes as above (tilting) and lose the game for their own team.

Many players want to feel like they were the influencing factor that decided the game's outcome, and make choices that increase the influence they have on the game even if it might actually lower the chances that they win - and this is what many times leads to toxicity.


Granted. And I'd be curious on the correlation between community toxcity and individual agency in competitive games. Possibly also game length.

It certainly feels like modern team games engender a different level of hate than, say, Quake III or Unreal Tournament.

Global matchmaking vs hosted servers probably haven't helped.


Sorry for calling you cocky.

Np. I didn't take it as an insult. And I know what you meant -- I've seen the cool work that's come out of teams working at game shops.

And I hope I'm wrong, but I get the feeling they (and community managers) are working without the full support of their management to fix the problem. E.g. bandaid the broken bone


You're quite cocky. That's not an insult. I think if you cut your teeth on this problem for a couple months, you'd look back on this comment with some mixed feelings.

When a system is inherently toxic, there is no way to make it not-toxic short of coming up with a different substance. We can't make nuclear waste pure just because we wish it were. This is a very similar situation to this particular type of game. When it's a team game, and you rely on people who aren't doing their job, and you're separated by distance, it brings out the worst in you.

The problem isn't chat. If it were, it would be solved already, for the reasons you point out. The problem is the people. When someone doesn't like someone else, they will find a way to ruin their game while bypassing your censors. And yes, you can ban some of them, but not most of them, and not when most of the community acts like this. Which they do. Which you can't understand unless you go play the game for a bit.


Toxicity is learned and reinforced (or not) behavior.

In the same way that HN comments are generally pretty constructive and charitable towards each other (and substantially more so than similar forums), so does negativity spread.

I'm not expecting any company to be able to turn their community into a paragon of empathy overnight. But I do believe that putting systems in place that punish poor behavior and reward good behavior has an impact in the long run.

From my first comment: > Therefore, companies simply aren't prioritizing [addressing the problem]. And won't, as long as the impact of toxic users isn't impacting the bottom line.

Because I honestly don't believe they care, in any non-monetary sense. They're essentially amoral. If they can make a billion dollars while people shout racist or sexist slurs at each other, they're fine with that.

And that's the primary annoyance I have with game companies. We hear "The player base is caustic, and we can't do anything about it, because it's too hard." When I believe reality is closer to "We ignored this problem as an industry (boy will be boys!), and now we don't want to be blamed for helping raise a generation of borderline sociopaths."

And yes, I spent many a college evening watching friends troll internet strangers in DotA, pre-LoL. So I'm familiar with the concept and execution.


> Toxicity is learned and reinforced (or not) behavior.

Not solely in a single game. That's some hubris.


Riot does exactly that.
zetimana 7 days ago [flagged]

Okay something tells me you've never played an online game, like ever?

Please post civilly and substantively, or not at all.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


The same way ubisoft moderates rainbow six siege: ban anyone who uses slurs etc very quickly. It's not an unsolvable problem.

The chat is not the only way you can troll your team mates and cause them to rage quit (or scream at you and get banned themselves). I would actually say that the griefing created by people using slurs is actually pretty small.

You can be silent and ruin hundreds of games. Distinguishing that from genuinely bad players is not really easy.


How do YouTube, Facebook, and others ban illegal, unsavory content? Teams of moderators with good tools. Unfortunately, also a thankless job with the potential to give PTSD.

YouTube, Facebook and others have several orders of magnitude more money to throw at the problem than an indie game company.

That’s why Riot’s level of progress over the problem is so remarkable.


Throwing an 'indie' tag on a company that makes over 1 billion in revenue annually is ridiculous.

And even indie companies have to pay the piper when the bad culture and tough decisions that are put off result in blowback.


Youtube, Facebook and company have a ridiculous amount of false positives, for the money (and the people, they have quite a lot of human moderators) they throw at the problem. Also, they enjoy complete market dominance, so even if you want to move out of youtube... where are you going to go?

With the same rate of false positives there will be enough community rage (I guarantee someone is going to find a way to have your system ban the top 10 streamers of your game after 2 days you put it in place) your players (both good and bad) will go somewhere else. :)


The problem youtube, facebook and similar companies face is whole orders of magnitude more complicated than policing a game chat. It is, for example, highly unlikely that you will be censuring honest content when you encounter the words 'gas' and 'jews'.

We can't stop everyone from killing, so let's just let everyone kill?

You'd have to have the game invite only and do a interview with each applicant, checking their IDs and having them sign a contract after a psychological test. That's the only way, but of course, that's not possible; technically doable, but no, not possible.

if you ban them they stop spending.

The current CEO of S2, Marc DeForest, has said incredibly racist things in the chat of HoN.

Yeah... all I can say is, he doesn’t speak for anyone except himself.

That's unfortunately not how being the top leader works. Although I suppose you could say recent events in the world say otherwise.

The CEO speaks for the company, like it or not.

Really? The CEO does not speak for me, especially when it comes to that.

Then again, you are not the company. If anybody speaks for the company as a whole, it's the CEO.

Sure, but bucketing a company as racist just because someone said the n word once in 2009 isn’t productive. It’s like calling pewdiepie racist.

"Bucketing a company as racist" is not the point. The point is that the CEO is the head of, represents, and consequentially speaks for the company. Their personal opinions are reflected in the company's internal and external image. Don't we all have better things to do than argue moot points in nested comment threads? ;)

Why do you think I end up spending so much time on HN?

Is your problem the labeling of the company as racist because the CEO is (presumably) racist, because I really don't see much of a difference between Pewdiepie "being racist" and Pewdiepie doing racist things (like using the n-word ... repeatedly). Is it any better if we say the company is ran by a racist and supports racist employees rather than itself "being racist"?

I don't know Marc DeForest or S2, I've never played HoN, I don't know the history here, and none of this directly matters to me, but my immediate comparison is to James Gunn/Dan Harmon -- both of them said some offensive things years ago, and both of them have apologized. Whether you think it was right for Disney to fire Gunn or for Adult Swim to retain Harmon, there's been atonement for that. Has DeForest atoned for his behavior, or is he continuing to make a lot of money being racist?


That guy is responsible for hiring everyone under them, and checking shitty culture.

Not that much anymore. Riot made a good job at detecting slurs and banning their authors. Racist and homophobic slurs have completely disappeared from the game from what I observed in the recent years.

To compare, I've played some games of CS:GO this week and got called "fils de pute" in one of them. In another one, a guy spammed the n word for 5 minutes before being kicked manually by his team. It's also common to heard people arguing about how they will fuck or kill each other.


If anything, straight-out racism was replaced with passive aggression or non-textual harassment (i.e. intentionally throwing the game or screwing over your teammate)...

I'm not sure if I'd consider that a better player experience...


>is that there is an extremely toxic culture around the game.

You hear that about most games that are competitive. Teenagers interested in games where you are trying to pwn everyone, are gonna be crude and awful a lot of the time.


> While on a team outing, the same senior staff member messaged a new employee’s girlfriend on Facebook asking if she was “DTF”

I would probably do something that would get me fired if this happened to me.


You'd complain to HR?

(yes, I know you were originally implying that you'd commit violence, but in a lot of dysfunctional workplaces reporting a manager for something they did will have almost the same negative consequences to the reporter as if they'd just punched them)


My question is, why did a senior staff member have access to a new employee's girlfriend anyway? I'm guessing the new employee friended the senior staff member on Facebook. This just seems like so many cross boundaries.

Does that really matter?

wow, I would expect such behavior from teenage gamers, but I'm surprised to see it reported among (presumably adult) game-devs.

what is perhaps even more surprising is that they seem to somehow be able to cooperate enough to deliver a undeniably popular game.

don't get me wrong, I don't doubt for a second that what Meagan says is true. I am simply surprised they manage to produce anything at all in such a culture, let alone a hit game.


Why? Shared behaviour — even juvenile — creates strong in-group bounds. And some competition within a cooperative environment is common. Especially if most of the group does relatively menial work.

Furthermore juvenile behaviour is commonly encouraged by both gaming and SV companies/corps: aside from being convenient to pull in just out of college without necessitating their adaptation to adulthood, it also serves as distraction/misdirection from work environment issues (permanent crunch, burnout, comp'): people who complain can just be feminized and dismissed as needing to "man up".

In fact, regular introduction of critics (and their following violent rejection) serves as both outlet for frustration and a strengthening of in-group bonds.


Without any exposure in practice, there is another interesting subtlety here that are related to the stereotype of 'juvenile behavior is commonly encouraged by both gaming and SV companies'.

Opinions don't happen in a vacuum, usually they are formed after carefully consulting a group of peers. It follows that men would form opinions of women after discussion with other men, women of men in discussion with other women. A couple of things that OP describes read to me like this discussion playing out in a work environment, without understanding of how the woman listening in feels about it. I can sympathise, I'd hate to hear a frank discussion of my potential as a partner or have it floating around as watercooler gossip; that talk does not belong in a workspace.

But is there any evidence that the work-as-family-and-friends atmosphere makes these discussions more public? Or are they just a general problem of workplaces? I'd believe either and I don't know where the evidence is.


I mean, you would appear to be right. I wont argue the contrary. still, I had not expected it.

The dynamic seems fairly similar to army grunts.

So, in tech, do people not go to strip clubs anymore?

Like, what's the culture now? Are all interpersonal relationships now formalized into an algorithm?

Do people not get into actual fistfights at the office anymore?


> do people not go to strip clubs anymore?

I've been in the industry 20 years and not had that happen anywhere I worked in the UK.

> Are all interpersonal relationships now formalized into an algorithm?

Eh?

> Do people not get into actual fistfights at the office anymore?

The guy I knew who did that at his gaming company Christmas party got put on "final warning" for a year.


> I've been in the industry 20 years and not had that happen anywhere I worked in the UK.

Do you think that's because of the corporate culture you're at or due to you personally not knowing about it?

What do you do after-hours at conferences in Vegas? Check out the Britney Spears show or Cirque du Soleil?

> The guy I knew who did that at his gaming company Christmas party got put on "final warning" for a year.

So, how come he didn't get fired? Was he critical to project success at all?


In the UK there is no strip club culture like there is in the US. The only people who go in them in the UK are slimy old men. It is not something even remotely acceptable, and I would think less of anyone going to one here.

"What do you do after-hours at conferences in Vegas?" Probably gamble, not everything is different.

"So, how come he didn't get fired? Was he critical to project success at all?" We don't have on-demand firing. It has to be a process, and you have to have a justifiable reason, and process.


> So, in tech, do people not go to strip clubs anymore?

Worked in the industry for the last 15 years or so (in Ireland). Never heard of this. I'd think it'd be a HR matter if someone suggested it in most decent companies.


> I am simply surprised they manage to produce anything at all in such a culture, let alone a hit game.

The same culture you can find in Holywood, where hundreds of successful movies with unrivaled popular impact were produced.


You seem to be suggesting that such a culture is not an impediment to success, based on the existence of some success.

I could blindfold myself and throw darts at a board. The fact that I hit the board sometimes doesn't mean that the blindfold isn't an impediment.

Many more movies fail before even reaching the screen. Just because we see some success doesn't mean that the culture isn't an impediment to success. Perhaps a different culture would produce many more successes.

We would need a lot more data before we could draw any such conclusions.

Edit: I see that's exactly what you're saying from your reply; "...such culture is not an impediment to success." I disagree; we cannot draw that conclusion from the data.

Extra edit: Oh, your answer has vanished.


If you won competitive darts championships while blindfolded, that would suggest the blindfold wasn't an impediment.

Given how long the movie industry has been around and how many studios have gone bankrupt through competition, I would think that any cultures that significantly impeded productivity would have been stamped out by now.


> Given how long the movie industry has been around and how many studios have gone bankrupt through competition, I would think that any cultures that significantly impeded productivity would have been stamped out by now.

A movie studio is generally either very successful, or soon dead; there's not that much middle ground. So relatively small optimisations (such as not creating a hostile work environment that drives away employees) may not have much of an effect on survival.


"If you won competitive darts championships while blindfolded, that would suggest the blindfold wasn't an impediment."

How many of the other competitors were blindfolded?

How many of the other movie studios have this culture?

"I would think that any cultures that significantly impeded productivity would have been stamped out by now."

Evolution doesn't always lead to better final outcomes. In a culture of dickheads, being a slightly bigger dickhead can give a personal advantage. Soon, everyone is a raging dickhead. The same applies to companies. The same applies to species (although with them it's not so much "raging dickhead" as "some small individually advantageous feature").


> Evolution doesn't always lead to better final outcomes. In a culture of dickheads, being a slightly bigger dickhead can give a personal advantage. Soon, everyone is a raging dickhead. The same applies to companies. The same applies to species (although with them it's not so much "raging dickhead" as "some small individually advantageous feature").

You're moving the goalposts. Are Riot "dickheads" here? Maybe. That's a very different argument from saying that their culture makes their games worse.


But it's apparent that the culture doesn't prevent success even in other industries

Yet it could be impeding success, like throwing darts at a board while blindfolded. I'll still hit the board sometimes. So is the blindfold no impediment?

Well I still think it shouldn't come as a surprise. We've got many example of successful industries with such culture, why would video game work any different.

The average company in the video games industry isn't like what's described; it does seem to be especially bad.

I completely agree. Never wanted to say otherwise, just that it doesn't prevent it. I don't think your metaphor is correct, though. Some people actually thrive in this environment (of course most of the time at the cost of others, but let's put that aside - not that it's not a problem), who thrives while blindfolded?

> Who thrives while blindfolded?

Those people that solve Rubik's Cubes while blindfolded, maybe?


I'm not sure that's thriving. They can do it very well, but the blindfold doesn't improve their performance.

I don't even understand why the blindfold analogy is even useful or relevant to the entire discussion. It's just adding another layer of complexity to an already complicated issue.

They're only directing their hostility at the ""other"". All this shittiness doesn't affect their straight white male devs (the majority), so they can function just fine.

Game devs tend to be gamers who've reached adulthood but would like to stay within the gaming culture. That means they're either acclimatized to or actively enjoy the shittiness.

All this stuff used to be "standard business culture" in the West, and the campaign against it has been a long road since women got the vote.


I’m not sure I’d characterise game developers quite that way but Riot’s hiring practices almost certainly contributed towards hiring that subset of developers. They require you to be a hardcore gamer and regular League player. Amongst other things this is quite a good filter to find a bunch of toxic employees.

>They're only directing their hostility at the ""other"". All this shittiness doesn't affect their straight white male devs (the majority), so they can function just fine.

I don't think that's entirely true. even if they use sexual and racial slurs, it's apparent from the article that they are used as insults directed at each other. I'm a white hetero male developer (not game-dev though) myself, and I'm not sure I'd be able to work in a environment such as the one described for too long. I mean it'd certainly be easier for me, given my biological "fitting in" with the rest of the group. I'd still have a hard time in such a culture.


They aren't calling their fellow white males "crackers". By using such slang intended as an insult, there is an implication that the "other" is "lesser"

Yelling obscenities against minorities, directed at those of your own group seems like it would strongly reinforce an "Us" / "Them" differentiation.

What's more bonding than shared mockery of the other?


> I am simply surprised they manage to produce anything at all in such a culture, let alone a hit game.

they are lucky, largely. there are enough people who put in just enough work to keep all things happening and there is roughly (my estimate, dont hold me accountable) 50% who are just there doing nothing. you could not do this at amazon or other performance focused companies because it would be obvious after very little time that you are not pulling your weight, but since Riot does not have the same level of management, tooling and insights into employee performance they don't care. the money is flowing in, all good.


It's not exactly a new thing, even outside of gaming:

https://www.businessinsider.com/bro-culture-harassment-discr...

If you have been exposed to the same culture through school, higher education and then finally the workplace, it is not suprising some people find it acceptable or even normal...


I was exposed to that kind of culture in school/uni, and while I got used to it at the time, I much prefer the slightly more civil relationships I now have with colleagues. getting rid of the toxicity is one of the greatest advantages of professional work life compared to my days studying imho.

I mean the pay is nice too, but it was less important to me before I got used to it. Now it would be hard to give up though ;P


> I am simply surprised they manage to produce anything at all in such a culture, let alone a hit game.

They produced a hit game about a decade ago, as a far, far smaller and probably less dysfunctional company. Beyond maintaining it, they don't seem to have done much of note since.


You have some very very wrong ideas about how the world actually works.

I'm a male software developer that cringes hard when hearing things like that, and I can't imagine using that sort of language in the workplace. In fact I'm part of an all male team at work and things like that get thrown around all day long, and I find it annoying at times. At the same time I detest the forced political correctness. And most of the time, all of those terms aren't actually hateful, but used in an playful ironic way.

I'm somewhat torn between what I would personally enjoy (all workplaces clean of the "boys" culture) and what I fundamentally believe is right (people should be free to express themselves in whatever way they choose to, and this way of communication clearly works for certain groups of people).


> people should be free to express themselves in whatever way they choose to, and this way of communication clearly works for certain groups of people

Sure. In non-professional capacities. But in professional areas, we expect a bit of blandness so everyone feels welcome.

While some groups might be comfortable mocking or using language that people deem derogatory towards minorities, women, different cultures, different sexual orientations, etc., we've decided that their preferred communication type does not trump the right of a person to feel safe and respected at work. If they'd like to be foul with their own sort outside of work, whatever, people who don't appreciate it can avoid them.

Quitting my job to avoid feeling attacked, on the other hand, is an unreasonable burden placed on someone just so some dude can say bitch, fggot, and/or ngger or comment on someone's physical appearance.


They are opposing goals, and personally I come down squarely on people not being free to express themselves however they want all the time. Work is a special place with special rules because we're forced to be there and we generally have little control over who is around us. There's a very high barrier for somebody to be able to walk away compared to just being out at a bar or something, so the behavioral standards should be more strict to compensate for that.

Basically, I think women should be able to work wherever they want without having deal with coworkers commenting on their tits. I'm extremely fine with limiting people's speech in the workplace.


Perhaps in theory people should be free to express themselves how they want, but we should question why on earth people want to express themselves in these ways and work to solve that.

In the meantime, however, we live in an imperfect society where people are terrible, this does have consequences, and there does need to be some counterbalance against that - otherwise we’d be living happily in an anarchist utopia already.


Sidenote: I've never been more grateful for how HackerNews handles downvotes and the like. Seeing the comment in gray helps me steel myself for what I'm about to read.

Just curious - is such toxic culture more common in game-dev companies? Some of us would remember the EA Spouse story [1] - one of the first such public disclosures. Have there been any studies done of the prevalence of such culture across different software dev teams?

[1] https://ea-spouse.livejournal.com/274.html


I would expect that to be true of any industry that people are desperate to work in - especially one that hires mainly grads who don't have any experience of what a "normal" workplace should look like.

> urther examples of disrespect include when I argued that we shouldn’t let a cosplayer in blackface on our stage for a parade, keeping in mind that Riot is a global company. I was repeatedly called racist by my colleagues, who tried to convince me that it was an acceptable practice and I was overreacting.

This...can't possibly be true. Is this true??


Classic postmodernist eventuality. Everyone is equal, but if you take issue in highlighting that a practice might offend by implying that there is a difference, you become the enemy in reverse... eg what, you think blackface is offensive to those people? What do you mean by THOSE people?

The lampoon in Tropic Thunder was eerily prescient.


In Europe in general, blackface is more "acceptable" than in the US. It doesn't have the same cultural overtones, but I can't imagine that dark skinned people enjoy seeing it here either.

Here's an idea: the gaming community as a whole needs to come together and think of the most offensive insults possible, that do not refer to race/gender/religion/nationality, but rather refer to player skill or the wider gaming culture.

We can have a non-phobic, egalitarian swear-off!


Once something is agreed as an acceptable insult it's not as much of an insult. This it like trying to hold back the tide.

Much the same way that the medical word for what used to be called retardation and I don't know the current PC word for has to be constantly rotated. Whatever that word is, is precisely what people want to call each-other.


Maybe I'm wrong about the offensiveness of these, but lamer and n00b are sort of neutral.

This is just so prevalent. I thank God for being able to work with family that has my back. I've become rather cynical about the whole thing. It feels like the only way to avoid that is to have the power to do so. Otherwise it's an uphill battle you cannot win.

I needed to get back to the United States somehow. Riot was my best bet, and I worried that if I didn’t agree to their mandates or went public with anything that I’d ruin my chance of getting home

This is kind off-topic, but why wouldn't she be able to get home if she didn't agree to their mandates?


LoL has to be one of the most toxic communities for any game I've played. It's not shocking that it permeates the culture of the company that created it.

It is shocking. It was completely unheard of behavior at S2 Games. I was shocked to even be in the same market segment.

Except for the CEO?

Saying the N word once in 2009 in the middle of a game is nothing like being casually and obnoxiously racist. I’m not excusing his behavior, but he never acted like that offline. He was a kind and thoughtful manager.

Seems like companies with "toxic cultures" can actually be extremely successful.

Why is that a surprise? "Toxic culture" in relation to Riot and Uber is basically defined as a "sexist bro-fest" and women being allowed to work the same jobs as men is a relatively new thing (historically speaking) and thus is still being fought on many fronts.

Also look at e.g. Japan where women in the workplace are generally treated quite badly. There was a thread on HN yesterday or the day before which reinforced this trend.


Toxic cultures either come after the success or exist because one extreme talent allows it. I've seen both

Not sure why people are flagging this topic. (was on top of the first page 2min ago, it's on second page now)

Stuff like this often gets flagged off the front page, but usually it then just sits on page 2 for a while. This one is now down to page 5 (at only two hours old, with 200+ points).

It's kind of hard not to suspect brigading...


Users often flag stories like this because of high-inflammation, low-information threads will plenty of flameage and little thought. We've turned off the flags here so the discussion can continue, but commenters should please take extra care to post civilly and substantively. We're here to think, not fight.

HN pro-tip: http://news.ycombinator.com/active is the real front page!

There's enough of a pro-sexism faction to flag it off the front page, this usually happens to discussions of sexism in tech.

The typical reaction of HN to articles about sexism in tech is basically proof in and of itself of sexism in tech.

I think the real reason people dislike sexism discussions is because there's not a whole lot rational discussion to be had about it. If you try to make a point about a single aspect you might disagree with, you get shouted down as sympathizing with sexists. There's no winning and there's no minds to be changed.

I reject this assertion. I am certainly not sexist, but I flag stories like these because they belong on Reddit discussion forums. Hacker News should be for tech-related discussion, in my opinion.

Out of curiosity did you also flag the recent posts about Tesla going private or the NYT financials?

9 clicks to opt out of tracking cookies. Why do these companies bother adding these banners if they're not going to comply with the law?

To instill negative public opinion of GDPR.

It's working.

I've found myself unable to access a bunch of US-based local news sites from Europe without using a proxy, and I'm more annoyed with the EU for trying to enforce laws beyond its borders than I am with the sites for seeing geoblocking as the most expedient solution.


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You realize that you are defending a manager naming a one woman team “bros and ho”, right?

I weep for your almostEmployees

[flagged]


We've banned this account for trolling.

Is this a joke?

edit: Judging by your other comments it's not. Jesus Christ.


> stories like this encourages me to never hire women

maybe you're just an asshole


[flagged]


Please pm me what company you are almost CEO of. I want to be adequately prepared to avoid this place like the plague.

Also, I'd like to point out, you said:

>(some people even go and insult like you, because they can’t handle people having different opinions).

>stories like this encourages me to never hire women, because they’re obviously over-sensitive and will at some point write a “I have been offended and this company is sexist” post

You wrote both of these, unironically, right next to each other. Can you tell me how not hiring women isn't a case of you not being able to handle people having different opinions?


What’s the relationship exactly? I’m not saying to not hire women because they think differently, but because they’re much more likely to react in a harmful way against a company with these types of posts. That has nothing to do with me presenting this fact and another user calling me “asshole” for expressing an opinion.

It seems to me that you're allowed to have whatever opinions you want. But if your opinions make you an asshole, people are gonna call you out on it.

Also have you ever considered that you think women are more likely to react in a harmful way because you're incapable of looking at something like this with empathy for women, because you're incapable of understanding their point of view? Dig deep, and try to look at this from the perspective of another human being. Start from scratch, forget your preconceived notions and look at this from a new angle.


[flagged]


Excuse me, but she's writing about her personal experience - what evidence would you expect her to provide? If you hear someone shout the n word in an office and later tell me about it, should I disbelieve you? How about if you tell me, and a number of other people also tell me? Do I say no- you need to provide evidence. Even when no one has actually denied it happened? What about if a reporter who fact checks their stories tells me? Do I still disbelieve it?

There is literally nothing anyone can say to persuade you.


> what evidence would you expect her to provide?

1. Witnesses that confirms her accusations

2. Chats / emails / memos / pictures etc

3. If possible, maybe audio recording would be in order here?

Why is it bad to ask about evidence? If someone told me aliens landed on earth I would not believe that person but suddently because she is a woman in tech, everything she say has to be the truth and nothing else is plausible?

> There is literally nothing anyone can say to persuade you.

What? This is exactly the opposite of what the author of the first comment is writing. He or she is asking for evidence in order to be able to believe it.

P.S. Because no one denies that aliens have landed on earth doesn't mean it has happened.


You need to fix your commenting by following the guidelines much more closely or we'll ban the account.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


[flagged]


She mentions these same claims are drawn directly from her 8 page resignation letter years ago.

What exactly would she have to gain from making these accusations up?


[flagged]


Just because something is the predominant culture does not make it right or okay.

It's not like going to France and getting offended that everyone is speaking French.

Strip clubs, tit jokes, objectifying others, homophobic slander, and transphobia as part of a company 'culture' is toxic.


Don't impose your morals on a community you don't belong to. That's called colonialism btw.

I've played league for 3 years, and have been a game developer for 12.

I'm pretty sure the people being hired DO understand gaming culture, and this is as much of a critique on how much toxic masculinity and the "old boys club" mentality permeates gaming culture.

Just as its not a valid argument to say hey its my culture to repress minorities and claim my race and gender is superior, its also not a valid argument to say using the N word and worse and sexually harassing coworkers and their partners is just "my culture".

Gaming is a legitimate, large, potentially wonderful community (see GDQ and a lot of other great organizations and subcommunities), but asking people to not be total abusive assholes to female coworkers is NOT much to ask, and the only way it can diminish the community is if the community believes that harassing and being abusive towards women is one of the primary pillars of that community.


>At Riot, employees are encouraged to play League before/after work, or during lunch. My very first week at the Dublin office, I heard shouting from individuals playing together, calling each other “fggots” repeatedly. I was unnerved, but it was my first week and I didn’t know if this was a common occurrence. I didn’t say anything at that time. Eventually, the language would escalate to “ngger”. No one flinched, and I realized it was considered the norm. Nearly the same thing happened my first day of meetings at the Riot LA office, where two men were loudly calling each other “c*cksuckers” right outside the office of the CEOs.

That's gaming culture, plain and simple. Is it a new necessity to change gaming culture to pander to people who've never played games? I believe this is being done for the sole reason of extracting more money by tapping into markets that weren't being exploited before.

Case in point, woman-friendly games like Fortnite or Overwatch. This is not a problem by itself, but it's sad that some companies are pushing this narrative to make it look like they care about social issues and gain the favour of those who do, when they just want more money.


If use of racist and homophobic slurs is 'gaming culture' then there is problem with gaming culture. I don't really see how that kind of language is something that needs protecting.

I think there is something wrong with a culture that feels the need to supress what is effectively amateur comedy going on within small groups.

Targeted harassment sure, that's not something to just blindly protect but as a homosexual, i see more harm in trying to police jimmy calling his friends faggots playing CoD than I see in allowing people to speak their minds.

Until someone can posit a great explanation for why its funny for me to call my friends faggots when they have kids and I don't and why that is in the end bad for society as a whole, I don't buy the argument we need to be policing speech along these lines.


Your statements don't seem to line up with each other, so I'm a bit confused as to what side you're arguing for. However, assuming you are defending the use of homophobic or racial slurs as "amateur comedy" then I have to disagree. There is absolutely zero reason to defend it. There's no important discourse being suppressed by encouraging people not to use these words, and as a society there is a lot to lose by allowing antagonistic language to become common vernacular.

Just because something doesn't offend you specifically (even if you are part of the group something offensive is being said about) doesn't mean it isn't offending anyone.

It's very common in countries like the US, for you to have a lot of rights, but their coverage always ends where others' rights begin. You cannot infringe on someone else's rights, and free speech does not cover hate speech. Hateful or derogatory speech has a significant negative impact on the mental and emotional well-being of a lot of people, and suggesting that it shouldn't just because it doesn't affect you is not a valid reason to not try to educate Jimmy on how not to be insensitive.


> Just because something doesn't offend you specifically (even if you are part of the group something offensive is being said about) doesn't mean it isn't offending anyone.

I couldn't care less if someone is offended. This wasn't a serious problem before the internet and with it is even less of an issue because it's just on the computer or your iphone.

Just turn it off, there, problem solved.

> It's very common in countries like the US, for you to have a lot of rights, but their coverage always ends where others' rights begin.

Yes, you don't have a right to not be offended. That is insane.

> and free speech does not cover hate speech

Where in the bill of rights is this covered? Or even the federalist papers?


Free speech, as the Amendment is written, DOES cover hate speech in the US.

It does not cover speech that specifically calls for violence.

It is not a human right to alwaysbbe unoffended.


It’s more that you shouldn’t use that word in the first place — it doesn’t matter if your friends are gay or not; the fact it’s a hateful insult that tells gay men they are lesser is enough. Imagine the young little gay kid who hears “f\t” screamed 20 times an hour — how will that make him feel for the rest of his life? Are you just cementing in his head that it’s wrong to be gay?

I hate to say it, but the days of absolute freedom of speech may be over. Everything these days is done through a commercial platform, and we’re now saying those platforms have editorial responsibility to monitor that speech (outside of any government mandate so it doesn’t fall afoul of 1st amendment).


> it doesn’t matter if your friends are gay or not; the fact it’s a hateful insult that tells gay men they are lesser is enough.

I didn't say that, you said that! Why would you think gay people are lessor to straight men?

> Imagine the young little gay kid who hears “f\t” screamed 20 times an hour

I would ask why a little boy identifies as gay in the first place, a bit young to be making such a big life decision.

> how will that make him feel for the rest of his life?

You tell me, I'm asking for some empirical evidence to stop doing something humans have done for centuries.

> Are you just cementing in his head that it’s wrong to be gay?

Why is it wrong to be gay?

Also you take on free speech is just simply wrong, these tech companies can be easily classified as natural monopolies like bell telecom was.

It's the same problem of the scaling increase of value with every customer but on a whole other level, this is not just a small collection of totally private companies.

You would have to be living under a rock to think google is just a little private company with no strong relationships with the US government.


> I would ask why a little boy identifies as gay in the first place, a bit young to be making such a big life decision.

It’s not about the little boy who identifies as gay in the moment; it’s about the little boy who realizes he is gay later on, and who has already internalized the message “it is wrong to be gay and people will make fun of you for it.”

And it’s not just gay people; this can apply to anyone who is considered “lesser”. The slurs are hurtful; and should be avoided out of empathy for your fellow humans rather than because the government said so.

But naturally there are a bunch of unempathetic edgelords who have to defy authority. So we are where we are.


Who’s the “we’re”? I don’t agree with YouTube banning Alex Jones and numerous gun channels. I’ll probably cancel my YouTube red subscription over it.

25 years ago you would find the KKK show on NYC public access cable. A round table of guys in hoods, with an AK-47 table piece, talking about African Jews. That was there due to governments freedom of speech protections. Government is now turning a blind eye while corporate media monopolies get away with censorship.

If I were the FCC, I’d be shutting down YouTube.


> 25 years ago you would find the KKK show on NYC public access cable. A round table of guys in hoods, with an AK-47 table piece, talking about African Jews.

If I were the FCC, I'd be shutting down those guys.


Guess it's a great thing you're not the FCC, then.

I'd be cool with the Black Panthers being the next slot.

If you're not, you don't understand, nor support, freedom of speech, or freedom of expression.


And break your oath to uphold and defend the constitution?

> If I were the FCC, I’d be shutting down YouTube.

Why? I get why public access would have a mandate to allow people with unpopular (imo hateful) opinions on the air, but not YouTube.

I was under the impression, they're a private network and under no obligation to allow you to post content they don't like. They are free to change their ToS at anytime and ban who they choose, right?


Their data is carried over the same right of ways as cable TV. It’d be like the power company refusing to sell you electricity because you manufacture legal firearms, or the phone company censoring your conversations.

Probably the reason why Google split into so many companies, so they can insulate themselves when pulling shit like this. A network provider separate from a content provider, when in reality it’s the same.


It stops being "amateur comedy" when it starts directly interfering with other people against their will.

If I go to a comedy show, I accept that I might get offended; that's on me. The power dynamic when I go to work, where I am expected to work with my team in order to get compensated, is massively different.

Nobody is making claims about "policing" (whatever that means in context). I don't care about words impact on "society as a whole" as some abstract concept. Society as a whole is comprised of people, and starts with the people around you upon whom you have the most direct impact. If you knew you worked with (or played a game of CoD with) a gay person, or a black person, how would you feel about using those words? That's why it's "bad for society as a whole"--because it's bad for the people right next to you.


Your gaming culture is not my gaming culture.

You can say nasty things to each other without being racist or homophobic, especially at a place of work.


Most nasty things are rooted in group stereotypes, historic conflicts and the like. If it weren't divisive in some way it wouldn't be used as insult.

Of course, I agree. As I said there's this new "egalitarian and respectful and social justice and all of that" culture that is being created by the games I mentioned and many others, but traditional online games will probably always follow the "classic" gaming culture.

"A place of work", that's another matter; I agree it's unprofessional. I'm talking purely about videogames and those who play them at home.


Speaking as a dinosaur, that is not classic gaming culture. Anecdotally that highly anatagonistic language became far more the norm in my circle after gamers from the U.S. (and vocal communication) became common. I’ve always unfairly made the assumption that it was a reflection of culture when growing up in the U.S. It is disappointing that it is generally accepted as the norm worldwide now.

> I agree it's unprofessional

No, professionalism is something else. Not harassing people is basic human decency.


> "A place of work", that's another matter; I agree it's unprofessional. I'm talking purely about videogames and those who play them at home.

At a gaming company where people play the game they make at work, what happens to this boundary?


That's gaming culture to have racist and homophobic speech? There is no valid reason for this. I don't get why people think this is justified and acceptable.

> There is no valid reason for this.

Provoking an opponent into irrational behavior seems like a valid game strategy. In other words the language is not necessarily used for its face content but for its psychological effects.


Maybe that's a subset of 'gaming culture' you've experienced. But, I've played in many, many large online areas across a diverse set of games, socialized in many gaming forums online and, simply put, this would not be acceptable behavior at all and would quickly get people tossed out.

It feels like you are saying 'well, boys will be boys', and that's honestly just a way to rationalize unacceptable behavior by refusing to taken ownership of it.


This is not gaming culture at all, and even if it were it's still extremely problematic. Especially as Riot is not a LAN Cafe, but a company. Companies have codes of conduct and people can be reprimanded or let go for not following them inside the companies offices, it's that simple. Additionally this will remain gaming culture as long as noone takes an active stance of fighting against it.

It's a workplace, not your personal video game club.

I agree with you. And the fact that this was posted on Tumblr including a Content Warning only adds icing to this ironic cake.

To those who disagree, lemme put it this way: it's not only videogame culture, it is plain old trash talk. Boxing, basketball, soccer, UFC, tennis, you name it, you have it in most competitive sports.

It shocks pretty much anyone who hasn't taken part in a competitive sport/e-sport community before, and find it backwards, but from my perspective, they haven't been socialized in that environment. It's not LGBT-phobic, though many insults come off as that because they've traditionally been insults, that's all.

If the FIBA or FIFA start having mixed gender leagues, the same would happen: women offended when they stopped being oblivious about how men behave in these environments. Actually even in soccer, many women are turned off when they find out female players spend a significant part of the time calling each other b/c* (in some amateur UK leagues at least).

This is just happening with videogames because it happens to be one of the few competitive fields where men and women's ability differs the least, having them playing together more often than most of all other disciplines.


Football (soccer) is probably a poor choice of analogy, given that it has a reputation for racism - everything from bananas thown at players to blaming "immigrants" for team failures. Or even for successes - there were people complaining that the winning French team wasn't white enough.

There are no "out" male professional footballers. This is statistically implausible; the homophobia is sufficiently bad that they have to remain closeted for their career and maybe safety.

Football fans also occasionally produce "ultras" notorious for physical violence: fights with each other and the police, which can be fatal.

And here in Scotland, we've the joy of sectarianism added to the mix as well, with cheerful songs about Fenian blood.


Yeah, I don't defend the fans, I was talking within the business. Football (soccer) all around Europe follows a don't ask, don't tell among players. They know who's what, but it's not public because of the actual shitty homophobia among the fans.

It's absolutely LGBT-phobic. Do you know how many out gay professional footballers there are in the UK? Zero. Because the atmosphere around sexuality in professional football is sufficiently toxic that very few people are willing to come out before they retire.

These things can change. Thirty years ago black players had bananas thrown at them on the pitch. After a lot of work, racism is now rare at football grounds, and generally stamped on when it appears. We could do the same with anti-gay slurs too, if we cared enough.


Justin Fashanu [0] is a counter example. He came out in 1991(!). I don't see how it's a problem now when it wasn't back then. That said, it's the fandom that's rotten, not the players and the industry itself.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_Fashanu


"It gives me goosebumps to think of Jason Collins' decision and the way it has been received so positively," Justin's niece, Amal Fashanu, told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday. Amal, who was only 8 years old when her uncle died, made an award-winning documentary about him for the BBC last year.

"Justin didn't have any of that," she continued. "None of the warmth, none of the recognition that what he did took so much courage. Instead, he was picked on because of it, made to feel inferior, different, wrong. He was a lost soul, but even then his precedent secretly gave a lot of people hope. I get messages about what an inspiration he was from all around the world, all the time."

[...]

Soccer players learn to develop the ability to block out the taunts of the fans, even the most sickening and bigoted vitriol. But what stung Fashanu the most were the comments of his brother John, himself a leading pro who would twice play for the England national team. John Fashanu described Justin as an "outcast" after his revelations about his sexuality, bemoaning the fact that he (John) would be the focus of extra attention from jeering fans as a result of Justin coming out.

https://sports.yahoo.com/news/soccer--before-jason-collins--...


> Soccer players learn to develop the ability to block out the taunts of the fans, even the most sickening and bigoted vitriol. But what stung Fashanu the most were the comments of his brother John

They also block trash talk from other players, arguably because it's part of the game. Fans though can be extremely shitty, ignoring them takes much more effort. But I didn't know about the story with his brother. In the end it shows what I'm saying: if you're homosexual and another player calls you a fag, you call him shitgobbler and move on, it's game. If a fan does, it takes a higher toll, after a while it just becomes noise. But when it's your own brother, damn.


Why isn’t the “bro culture” being weeded out of tech at the university stage. Bros’ and frat boys don’t make it through electrical engineering; they flunk out, at least from my experience. I don’t work with anyone like that.

What’s wrong with the tech sector when it comes to computer science? Maybe the science is no longer required?


My perspective is that in a tech company you usually still have the nerds and bros dichotomy. The nerds are the engineers, while the bros are the ones in sales/management/community/design positions. You can also see this in pop culture portrayals of tech jobs as well, such as Silicon Valley (Bachman is a bro caricature) or Halt and Catch Fire (Joe's about 90% psychopath, 10% bro).

I think this is definitely an outdated dichotomy, especially in the context of a game company. The bros/jocks now are the gamers, who used to be nerds - now the nerds are the hardcore programmers/database people/accountants. Those who are in the gaming culture are every bit as much in hypermasculine jock culture as football players, just without the physical abilities.

I doubt many of the senior managers mentioned have CS degrees.

It's like the old joke about the limit of Engineering as GPA tends to zero is Business Administration.


> What’s wrong with the tech sector when it comes to computer science? Maybe the science is no longer required?

That's part of it. I'm a CS grad, but I'm "rare" in my circle. Some of it comes from this "natural born programmer genius" vibe.

Don't misread me, I work with some truly talented programmers that weren't CS and some mediocre ones that were, but it has gotten to the point where people are specifically looking at degrees that aren't CS for dev jobs.


You could have amazing software, but if you don’t have a high energy marketing team / operations, you might not reach many people with said amazing software

Oh wow, another attention seeking woman doing a tell-all. That's new. /s

If you post like this again we'll ban the account.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Looking at this skeptically, given that as she says she put a target on her own back there's not much concrete here about problems she personally faced.

Companies have a culture, it might not be your culture, and it's mental to expect to be able to walk in and attack it in the first six months then everything be sweetness and joy. Joining a gaming company and complaining about female outfits is roughly equivalent to joining the NRA hierarchy and then in your first six months standing up at the AGM shouting about restricting assault rifles.

Asking people about their sex life is dangerous territory but depending on the context people have conversations about that at work. It's probably the worst thing in this article I think and worth a HR complaint.

Other than that it's almost all "I saw men acting the way men do in a very male environment and objectifying/trying to sleep with women." Well yeah, if I joined the NRA they'd be discussing hunting and stuff I don't care about or even find offensive but it's kind of expected.

You can argue that every single company should have an extremely corporate/restricted culture when any talk about the opposing sex is banned, the upside is that people would have less opportunity to be offended, the downside is that you've just substituted a system of state police where people play very Machiavellian games with HR and don't see each-other as humans because the way that they can interact is extremely restricted.

I'm sure if I joined a small enough female-dominated company I could feel really uncomfortable with the conversation topics, and the way that men were talked about. I could then pin my colours to the mast in some way (it's a company making vegan stuff and I stand up and extol meat eating), get quietly ostracised and instead of being horrified by aggression and blunt social nuances, be horrified by gossip and social politicking.

Maybe everything should be completely corporatified but I just find the idea deeply depressing.


> "I saw men acting the way men do in a very male environment and objectifying/trying to sleep with women."

Enough with the boys will be boys angle. That behavior doesn't have to be the default male behavior. It shouldn't be the default male behavior.

Enough is enough, that's not ok anymore. And we men need start calling each other out on it.


Why shouldn't it be the default male group behavior (for some ages and environments) to discuss women?

Is it that trying to sleep with women is immoral or that considering their looks is immoral or that discussing it is immoral?

I guess the core way I disagree with modern culture is that there's this idea that women are either viewed as objects or as humans. It's kind of obvious that they're both, if you say that women are absolutely not sexual objects or to be seen as such then OK but you've blinded yourself to 50% of how the world unavoidably works. You can and should view women BOTH as objects and humans, and everyone is capable of doing so. I don't think objectification is the offense, I think dehumanisation is and they're not the same thing.


> You can and should view women BOTH as objects and humans

But did the company demonstrate this at all? I only read about objectification. If they truly saw women as humans as well they wouldn't have laughed off her suggestion that some of the female characters in the game could be anything other than a sex object.


None of the ways in which women were discussed was respectful. That's the difference.

You're talking about hypothetical respectful objectification, which just isn't a thing.


It's only not a thing because you've defined it as such. You can make the rule that "commenting on a girl's looks or whether you could get with them is disrespectful" and then the loophole is closed, but my argument is that that's not a truthful or helpful way to organize the world.

>I saw men acting the way men do in a very male environment and objectifying/trying to sleep with women.

I'm a man and I do none of this, even in a "very male environment."


Well that's fair enough but in some cultures it's fairly common. I am not a big bro guy but I've definitely discussed women with male friends/colleagues. I don't think it's super demeaning or immoral to discuss girls that you like, it's just getting very taboo in parts of Western culture when done by men. Sex dynamics are like at the core of society it's all still happening whether you're speed to discuss it or not.

There's also a difference between "talking about women" and the things described in the article (and a lot of different ways of talking about women, which can be done without degrading language). Calling a coworker a "Ho" or complaining they'd not be willing to share a hotel room with an unknown man is not the same level as "they didn't like that we talk about women".

I think the Ho thing was clearly an attempt at humor, and an attempt to "bring her in" to the group. It's like an old job where I was called a coal miner (being the only guy from north England). It's a nice thing, you're taking stick but that's how male groups normally bond. Instead of taking the humor as it's intended she takes offense, and what's really happening is that instead of submitting to their culture and joining the group within it, she's trying to impose her own external culture to the group and not joining it.

Being able to live your life always refusing to step outside your own culture is in itself kind of a form of privilege. In another, wealthier-born life I'd never have worked for most of my companies and spent my whole life chilling with academics that I naturally resonate with. I could have quit when I got friendly insults or had to join in the drinking culture and written angry articles about it but I'm not sure that would make me worthy of respect.

The bit about hotel room with a random man is a bit nuts but I think her relationship with the guy had just degraded as he saw her as a SJW and he was trying (mistakenly) to take an opportunity to hit her with what he saw as her own arguments.


There's an enormous gap between calling someone a sex worker and calling them a coal miner. There's an even-more-enormous gap between calling most of your team "bros" and calling the one woman on your team a sex worker. That is not in-group bonding, that's targeted, gender-based harassment.

Ho isn't used in the West as a pejorative, almost ever. It's far more often used playfully, and often by women themselves. Only a very offended culture would cause you to take it seriously.

And honestly, Coal Mining is a job with like social status zero and sex work status -1. My dad actually was a coal miner and it wasn't great. Even if you mindlessly take it literally it's not that far off.


> Ho isn't used in the West as a pejorative, almost ever.

Yes, it is. Most often, IME, with a derogatory label indicating lack of intelligence alongside it, but even by itself it is.


> Ho isn't used in the West as a pejorative, almost ever.

I live in 'The West' and I refute this claim, regardless of how it was used in this specific context.


May I submit as evidence against that assertion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoPFkjF-Bdo

You don't get that reaction if its not a pejorative.


Seems like a shit test. I've been in companies where the women were better at it than the men and perfectly able to stand their ground.

> Those who consider themselves “a bullshit free zone,” eg: masculine men will “ball bust” (read: shit test your ass a new one) quite relentlessly to determine “just how much of a man you are.” If you are an effeminate or timid man, you will feel bullied rather than challenged and this tells the group everything they need to know about you.

https://illimitablemen.com/2014/12/14/the-shit-test-encyclop...


And the correct response if someone doesn't appreciate your attempted humor is to stop using it, instead of continuing it after they've asked you to stop use that term. You are not "bring someone in" by disregarding their wishes on how to be labelled. Groups can use crude language and be respectful to each other, but everyone being in on it is an important part of it being respectful. (And that goes both ways: people will make bad jokes and IMHO one shouldn't jump on someone for that immediately, although I can see how it can be difficult if things appear again and again, but I think it's fair to expect them to respect it if they get told off for it)

> I think the Ho thing was clearly an attempt at humor,

Employment lawyers fucking love it when employees say "It was only banter", because that's almost a guarantee of a payout.


The trouble with this sort of thing is that it's all "friendly" up until, and sometimes past, the rape attempts.

> Being able to live your life always refusing to step outside your own culture is in itself kind of a form of privilege.

Isn't that exactly what the sexist bro culture she outlined is? Some coworkers were unable or unwilling to drop the parts of their personality that doesn't lend well to collaboration.

I like dirty, offensive jokes and I like to tease people - not to upset them it's just my sense of humor. My friends get that and are okay with it.

BUT I realize in an office environment these things don't help me be more effective, and they certainly don't help my colleagues be more effective, so I leave that part of myself at home. Same way I don't go on endlessly about my hobbies and passions outside of work during work hours. It's just not germane to getting shit done.


My older brother settled down in the suburbs and picks up work as a substitute teacher in a school with female-dominated staff. He’s a handsome guy. Every time I see him, he tells me the latest story of a teacher or fellow staffmember making a crude sexual joke or coming on to him. All of these being mostly middle-aged women. We have a chuckle.

It’s interesting how men generally don’t “whistleblow” on those sorts of scenarios. Yet only men ever get nailed with “ugh, pigs!” as if women never have open sexual thoughts.


It's almost like...there's some sort of gendered power imbalance in society? That might make men comfortable disregarding this? But that might not afford women the same privilege?

There are a million power imbalances in society and gender isn't close to the most important, it's just the most discussed. The real wage gap when you control for time worked and job choice is tiny.

Ask yourself this - would you consider your child more lucky to be an ugly, short boy or a pretty girl? Or a boy and you have 20k a year to bring him up vs a girl and you have 50? Walking around furious as a good looking middle class woman that you're incredibly disadvantaged is basically a religious status. But instead of being offended by very specific insults or assumptions you're offended by everything.


> "A senior staff member proceeded to repeatedly call me sexist for not being willing to room with a man I’d never met before. At first, I thought he was kidding, but he continued to make arguments to his point. I explained why I would be more comfortable sharing a room with another woman, and told him I wasn’t enjoying the conversation and would leave if I was continued to be called sexist. The conversation continued, with him eventually saying that my unwillingness to room with a man was the same as not hiring a woman due to her gender."

You're not arguing in good faith right now. The above scenario isn't a joke - it's harassment. No matter who it was done to; any gender in any context, it would be harassment.

You're phrasing this like it was a few offhand comments; as a man, if any of the stuff in this article had happened to me, regardless of whether it had been a male or female doing it, I would have been appalled. I would be having the exact same reaction.

To talk about experiences like this as if they just boil down to political correctness requires a kind of willful ignorance.


I think you have to look at the quote in the context of the situation, she'd already antagonized the whole company in her first 6 months by throwing probably the most explosive political grenade that you can. Her manager clearly wasn't trying to make her room with him, he's trying to hit her with what he sees as "her own philosophy" given that he thinks she's a SJW. I don't really agree with his point but you can see the argument, a lot of modern feminism starts from the assumption that there are zero differences between men and women, you can draw a line from that to "you should room with anyone we're all identical any discrimination/segregation is bad". I don't agree with it but it's just a stupid political argument he's having with her, it's not in any form sexual harassment. If he'd booked himself into a room with her, that would be sexual harassment.

If you have a low level ongoing argument with your manager it's going to get rough at some point. My whole point was that the article is very thin on specific bad experiences and mostly about her own reaction to third party conversations within earshot.


> she'd already antagonized the whole company in her first 6 months by throwing probably the most explosive political grenade that you can.

Questioning the lack of diversity of body types for female avatars compared to make avatars is “throwing probably the most explosive political grenade that you can.”?

I don't see it. Or, I sure see how the blatantly sexist response [0] could be viewed as politically explosive, but I don't think she anticipated or reasonably should have that that would be the response.

[0] which either outright claimed or implicitly relied on each of these: (1) that avatars of a particular gender matter only to players of that gender, (2) that female players are concerned only with the attractiveness of their avatar, while men have more varied interests, (3) that only a single female body type is attractive.

> a lot of modern feminism starts from the assumption that there are zero differences between men and women

No, it doesn't, though a lot of sexist rants about feminism start with the claim that it does.

> I don't agree with it but it's just a stupid political argument he's having with her, it's not in any form sexual harassment.

Alone, it's maybe not extreme enough to constitute sexual harassment as a single event, though it's quite easily the kind of thing that with a bunch of other stuff reported in the story could easily qualify as part of a pattern constituting sexual harassment by creation of a hostile workplace.


> a lot of modern feminism starts from the assumption that there are zero differences between men and women

No, very little of modern feminism starts from this perspective. And even if it did, this is a strawman.

Regardless of the manager's goal, it is vastly inappropriate. It would have been inappropriate even if the genders in the story were reversed. Arguing that the manager was so immature that they engaged in petty political bickering to make a point at the expense of a team member's emotional well being doesn't make me feel like they were any more justified.

That's not something that should happen in a professional environment.

> My whole point was that the article is very thin on specific bad experiences

From the article: "While on a team outing, the same senior staff member messaged a new employee’s girlfriend on Facebook asking if she was “DTF” - shorthand for “down to f-ck”. He thought it was a funny joke. The new staffer didn’t feel comfortable challenging him, even though his girlfriend was very uncomfortable and called to ask why she was being harassed by his boss."

But I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for why it's appropriate for a manager to abuse a power structure to hit on an employee's girlfriend that he's never met.

Seriously, the entire article is example after example after example. Employees asking personal questions about her sex life. Abusing fans - a female just got fired for being short with fans on Twitter, but sure, forcing a cosplayer to tears is just boys being boys. Trying to run blackface in a cosplay parade. Physical advances and professional retaliation against female employees.

This isn't a conversation at this point. You're mischaracterizing her story to throw doubt on her claims. You're not arguing in good faith, you're just gaslighting.


> There are a million power imbalances in society and gender isn't close to the most important, it's just the most discussed.

I dunno, I think race is discussed at least as much, and economic class even more.


I've been at the table when middle aged women objectified men, discussing package size, etc in a work environment.

It wasn't a big deal. I wasn't offended.

I don't think that's prescriptive for anyone else. I'm older, and I tend to just believe I don't/can't understand what makes one thing right and another wrong. I have enough of my own problems to police the actions of others.

It does seem strange everyone else seems so sure of how everyone else should be. That sort of confidence I only have towards technical topics.


And if in that women-dominated environment they targeted you with degrading comments or sexual harassment that would be just as bad, what's that comparison supposed to tell us? (and doing the same to men in a male-oriented environment isn't ok either if they aren't ok with it)

But she doesn't say that she had a lot of degrading comments, that's what my original post said. Her manager had an off joke about bros and a ho and someone once asked her about her sex life. Yeah that's not great but it's world-ending. Most of her article isn't about that, it's complaints about other people, speaking to eachother.

[flagged]


I've worked in female-dominated environments (I used to be a copy-typist). They were fine. No passive-aggressive anti-male comments, no questions about my sex life, no harassment. The conversation topics were about more stereotypically female topics than in other places I've worked, but I was made to feel very welcome.

I'm sure there are toxic women-only work environments (humans are great at making anything toxic) but it is absolutely possible to have a gender imbalance in a workplace without it being obnoxious.


Regardless of your views, please start posting civilly and substantively (that you avoid women is not something that we benefit intellectually from learning) or we'll ban the account. This site is not here as an ideological arena.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

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