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.
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.
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.
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.
Company culture is it's employees, All the way from CEO to janitor.
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.
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.
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?
Don't worry about it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In most of America things are nothing like that. These are immature people that got lucky and rich and still act like frat boys.
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.
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.
Judging from the topic and actual discussion, I would think the flamewar detector, which is algorithmic, but not a quirk.
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.
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?
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.
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.
> ...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'm male, I can't even imagine what its like for Women.
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.
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.
It's not uncontrollable, you'd just rather have their money than ban them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Accidentally going too deep into enemy territory and dying once.
Getting killed while attempting to secure map control for your team.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Not solely in a single game. That's some hubris.
You can be silent and ruin hundreds of games. Distinguishing that from genuinely bad players is not really easy.
That’s why Riot’s level of progress over the problem is so remarkable.
And even indie companies have to pay the piper when the bad culture and tough decisions that are put off result in blowback.
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. :)
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?
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.
I'm not sure if I'd consider that a better player experience...
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.
I would probably do something that would get me fired if this happened to me.
(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)
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
> 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.
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?
"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.
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.
The same culture you can find in Holywood, where hundreds of successful movies with unrivaled popular impact were produced.
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.
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.
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").
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.
Those people that solve Rubik's Cubes while blindfolded, maybe?
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 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.
What's more bonding than shared mockery of the other?
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.
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 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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
This...can't possibly be true. Is this true??
The lampoon in Tropic Thunder was eerily prescient.
We can have a non-phobic, egalitarian swear-off!
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.
This is kind off-topic, but why wouldn't she be able to get home if she didn't agree to their mandates?
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.
It's kind of hard not to suspect brigading...
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.
edit: Judging by your other comments it's not. Jesus Christ.
maybe you're just an asshole
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?
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.
There is literally nothing anyone can say to persuade you.
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.
What exactly would she have to gain from making these accusations up?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
It does not cover speech that specifically calls for violence.
It is not a human right to alwaysbbe unoffended.
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).
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.
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.
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.
If I were the FCC, I'd be shutting down those guys.
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.
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?
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.
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.
You can say nasty things to each other without being racist or homophobic, especially at a place of work.
"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.
No, professionalism is something else. Not harassing people is basic human decency.
At a gaming company where people play the game they make at work, what happens to this boundary?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
What’s wrong with the tech sector when it comes to computer science? Maybe the science is no longer required?
It's like the old joke about the limit of Engineering as GPA tends to zero is Business Administration.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You're talking about hypothetical respectful objectification, which just isn't a thing.
I'm a man and I do none of this, even in a "very male environment."
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.
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.
Yes, it is. Most often, IME, with a derogatory label indicating lack of intelligence alongside it, but even by itself it is.
I live in 'The West' and I refute this claim, regardless of how it was used in this specific context.
You don't get that reaction if its not a pejorative.
> 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.
Employment lawyers fucking love it when employees say "It was only banter", because that's almost a guarantee of a payout.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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  could be viewed as politically explosive, but I don't think she anticipated or reasonably should have that that would be the response.
 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.
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.
I dunno, I think race is discussed at least as much, and economic class even more.
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.
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.