Guest post from game design consultant Ernest W. Adams at Butterflies and Wheels: A Call To Arms For Decent Men
we need to put a stop to this behavior. It’s time for us to force the permanent nine-year-olds to grow up or get out of our games and forums. It’s not enough just to mute them. We need to build the infrastructure that precludes this kind of behavior entirely – Club Penguin has already done it for children – or failing that, we have to make the bullies pay a price for their behavior. Appealing to their better nature won’t work; bullies have none. We do not request, we do not debate, we demand and we punish.
“But this is part of gamer culture! It’s always been like this!” No, it is not. I’ve been gaming for over 40 years, and it has not always been like this. Yours is a nasty little subculture that arrived with anonymous online gaming, and we’re going to wipe it out.
Adams chooses to use rather a lot of “nasty little boy” immaturity-shaming in this piece, which I imagine will not go down well with the targeted bigots. However, his ideas for how game design can be changed to have real penalties for abusive behaviours alongside a requirement to earn a threshold level of points before being able to join voice chat, as part of a scheme of strong disincentives against the serial creation of throwaway anonymous accounts, seem like excellent ideas for wresting control of these platforms away from the delinquents.
A final takeaway from Adams:
I also encourage you to visit Gamers Against Bigotry (http://gamersagainstbigotry.org), sign the pledge, are share it.
Addendum: as noted in the discussion at B&W, Adams appears to be rather naive regarding anonymity online. He’s being challenged rather vigorously on that.