Moving on

So, the journey of being harassed, and communicating with the server owner at Evocraft has come to an end. Now what?

Well, first of all, the server now has the rules listed when one joins, and require a player to accept them to gain access to certain features of the server. The screen shot shows the interface:

I think that is a step in the right direction, and I like to think I had something to do with it. It is reaffirming to me that the way to enact positive change is by speaking up and discussing an issue.

Redstone is a gateway circuitry

The other thing that I am happy to share is feen.ca. Unfortunately, my timing isn’t great, since according to the information page on Reddit (edit: and an updated post), “the power supply committed suicide. everything’s down until I get another PSU now :(“.

Anyhow, Malmater and I have been playing there for about a week or so, and we are having a blast. It isn’t PvP or survival like the other server, but it still allows for a great amount of expression. I’ve met some cool people, and we actually spent time showing off our creations to each other. It is a completely different experience, of course. ^_^

I found it because I told Judy that I was looking for a civil server, and I might as well look for one that is explicitly LGBT-friendly. She pointed me to that info page and I was able to contact the server owner and get playing.

I would wear a dress

Aside from that, over the weekend the news hit about the LAN party that is prohibiting women from attending, based on their idea that women are treated poorly by the other participants (or some such nonsense; read Lesley’s post, it is an excellent breakdown).

Of course there is frustration, and even heartbreak, upon hearing this, but I see it as a Bat-signal. We have an opportunity to discuss this now, and we as gamers shouldn’t pass up this chance. I am sure there will be emotions running hot, and a lot more frustration, but this is important. And if you are curious about what some other people are saying on the subject, may I point you to the gaming article on Geek Feminism Wiki?

And remember, the first move of the conventional person will be an attempt to invalidate and shutdown the conversation. Don’t lose your voice! Be bold! And if you need, contact me; there are places I know of where your voice will ring loud and clear. ^_^

Stand up, speak up

I want to explain a bit more before I get into this. After I was harassed on the Minecraft server where I played, I was trying to calm down and think about what I had witnessed. I wanted to turn a bad situation into something that provided constructive feedback and awareness.

I withheld information as to which server it was, and the handles of the people involved, because I was unsure how to respect their privacy. Two things changed my mind on how I would handle this. First, the combined experience of the server owner’s response, as well as a subsequent harassment from an in-game admin, made me believe that the people I am corresponding with aren’t not aware of the issue I am bringing up.

Secondly, if I knew a person was dangerous or otherwise somehow adverse to a particular sensitivity that someone else I knew had, I would warn them about it. That is how a community functions, and it is something that I wished more people would do. I understand that many people avoid contention, but I am not one to step down because it may seem adversarial. Some people (and places, events, ideas, things; nouns, really) do need warning labels.

A conversation

With that in mind, I am going to share my initial message to the server admin, and eir response, as well as a break-down of why I think the response is incorrect.

The only real background info you need is that the server is Evocraft. On their website they have rules posted, as well as an admin list.

The following message had the subject: Harassment on the server. I sent it to the server owner and website admin, and I copied Kevin on it. I added links to the images (which is loading the CDN URI), otherwise the message is unchanged. The (something)’s in the usernames are because I didn’t know what they were.

Hi. My name is maiki interi, and my in-game name is, coincidentally,
maikiinteri. I had a bad experience on the server tonight, and I didn’t
think posting in the forums was appropriate, because I don’t want to
call someone out for this.

First of all, the screenshots are at:

http://interi.org/files/2011-07-19_03.04.35.png
http://interi.org/files/2011-07-19_03.08.04.png

Two people, hairy(something) and Valentyne(something) were having a
discussion about whether God was accepting of homosexuals acting on
their relationships. It was distracting, and some other people were
getting involved, so I spoke up and said, “I find this discussion
offensive, and bordering harassment.”

To their credit, they immediately ceased the discussion and took it over
to Facebook. I thanked them; that is the beginning message in the first
screenshot.

Immediately afterward, Tomcatjet began asking me inappropriate
questions, and I think they called me a pussy, but to be honest I am not
sure if that was directed at me.

I took a screenshot and left it at that. However, after Malmater (copied
on this message) informed them of the second rule on the website, they
began targeting Mal. It was uncomfortable, and when I reinforced that
the rules stated harassment of other players was prohibited, well, you
can see in the second screenshot.

This has had a chilling effect on me. I felt sick, and didn’t want to
play anymore. I just wanted to get away from that player. If I could, I
would mute them (for me personally). However, that doesn’t solve your
problem: you have someone that makes other players feel uncomfortable
enough to leave the server.

This is a real bummer, because I really like your server. I stopped
running my server, to play on yours. I had e-mailed earlier to ask about
the donation stuff, because I want to support you in running a great game.

I don’t have any real suggestion. It seems too easy to just present a
couple of screenshots and ask for a ban. I don’t want to drive someone
away from the game because they make others uncomfortable; I want to
educate them on how to get along with other in a reasonable manner. But
I don’t know anyone on the server, except Mal. I don’t know if that
person is an veteran member of your community, or just a passing troll.

I am not sure what I am going to do. Right now I don’t feel like
playing, so I am definitely going to take a couple of days to cool off.
I hope that I find the urge to play on the server again, we are building
some cool things, and I was looking forward to showing them off eventually.

I wish you luck in handling this. I hope that this doesn’t cause you too
much distress in your community.

maiki

I ran a gaming clan back in the day, so I like to think that I can empathize a bit with what ey have to deal with. I tried to not be bull-headed in my message, even though I was still made.

I received a response within 8 hours. Here it is:

Hey,

These things are always a think that cuts on multiple sides. Its generally the line between what offends you, and what would be seen as offensive in the eyes of the general public.
What I will say is from what I’ve seen here theres no real cause for tomcat to act the way as he is doing and I will take measures against that.
Offending someone for their opinion or just plain and simple request is wrong and should not happen with a sound mind.

However please keep in mind, that this remains the uncontrolled realm of the internet and is something that should stay as it is.
And if for example Hairyth0ughts and Valentyne would’ve wanted to continue their conversation about the discussion it is not something I or the admins in question will stop.
Ofcourse it might offend a group of people, but if we work that way it will be a never ending spiral down censorship lane.

However I’m going to have a chat with Tomcat about his offensive response to your request, thank you for reporting it.

Best wishes,
Michiel van der Borg/Theborg

Before I start dissecting this I want to say that I am glad Michiel responded to me, and at least lent support against the person harassing me. My assessment of eir response is genuine disagreement, and I hope that it is received as sincere feedback.

Okay, here we go.

These things are always a think that cuts on multiple sides. Its generally the line between what offends you, and what would be seen as offensive in the eyes of the general public.

Sure, I can see this. No one wants one person just ranting about every little thing. If I think “your mom” jokes are without taste, it would probably be inappropriate to complain about it. However, I think it is clear that not only am I aware of the line, I am advocating that we all agree on it. This part itself isn’t what I take issue with, but I feel it reinforces a later part.

Offending someone for their opinion or just plain and simple request is wrong and should not happen with a sound mind.

I am going to replace offending with harassing, and agree.

However please keep in mind, that this remains the uncontrolled realm of the internet and is something that should stay as it is.

Incorrect. First of all, the server has a list of rules, and presumably one or more people to enforce them. Secondly, this isn’t like YouTube where a person could possibly be banned and arbitrarily create a new account to continue eir bannable behavior. This is a game where each account is paid for, creating a prohibitive cost to continued harassment in-game (unless one is particular rich and sadistic).

Third of all, and this is important, even if it was an “uncontrolled realm of the internet”, there is no reason that it should be. Continuing:

And if for example Hairyth0ughts and Valentyne would’ve wanted to continue their conversation about the discussion it is not something I or the admins in question will stop.
Ofcourse it might offend a group of people, but if we work that way it will be a never ending spiral down censorship lane.

I included these lines together because the latter applies to the former. However, I need to break this down into two parts: appropriate discussions, and what censorship means.

If the person had been stating that God thought Africans were better off as slaves in early America than in Africa, or that God thought Jews were cursed because they killed Christ, it would have obviously been condemned. But if one says that God thinks gays should deny their existence, it is somehow not covered by the same rules. No doubt it requires discretion. My point is, the admin is saying that racist comments are off-limits, while comments about gays being unnatural is protected as free speech. I obviously disagree with that.

The thing about censorship is that I don’t think the admin understands what censorship is. Ey are not a government or public authority. The game server is not a public forum. While anyone may play, it is still private realm. To think otherwise is stretching the idea of censorship, since the ability to ignore a message is inherent in public communications. If we won’t want to listen to someone, we can simply ignore them. Censorship is a tool used by authorities to control the public. A community’s ability to set the cultural norms for communication and behavior is different.

The premise of this server is that people use the game to build resources and fight each other. While there is the ability to talk to only your faction, there is no way to filter anyone else. Indeed, if there was that functionality I would probably not have gone through this whole experience, since I could just report the conversation and mute (for me, personally) everyone involved.

My point is, censorship is something we should always be vigilant against, but this is not an instance where a person’s right to free speech is being impeded. What is actually happening is a selective enforcement of rules that allow for some groups of people to be discriminated against and harassed without any other recourse than to leave the server.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Follow-up harassment

When I received the response I didn’t think I was going to play for a couple of days, so I could cool off. However, something in-game happens to Malmater that I wanted to check out. Mal died and didn’t spawn at the base, so we thought it may have been attacked. This is a normal part of the game, so we wanted to have an assessment of the damage if that was the case.

For the short time I was logged in, there was an admin named Weitje on the server. There were some other people there as well, and they dueling and chatting, normal stuff on the server.

However, I started noticing some really odd conversations. They started saying things like, “If you make him bend over like that he will think he is gay.”

That was bad enough, but then Weitje said something that really hit a trigger with me, something like, “Oh, that isn’t harassment, is it?”

It was directed at me, but I couldn’t help think that it was no coincidence that an admin would be saying that. I had never seen them chatting about harassment before.

Regardless of the intent, I realized that this server was not for me. I logged off, and I won’t be going back.

In my next post on this subject I will share the positive development out of this, and how I found a server that rocks, and reflect on what I am going to do now.

Homosexuals shouldn’t act on their love.

Homosexuals shouldn’t act on their love, according to God.

Did that catch your attention? It caught mine. I was playing on a public Minecraft server when the discussion somehow got onto the subject of whether homosexuality was natural, and if God loved homosexuals. And then someone made the absurd statement that while one may not choose who they are attracted to, God only cared that they not act on it if it is unnatural.

I don’t talk to anyone on this server, I only play there with Malmater. They’ve said some pretty raw things, definitely without taste. However, this crossed a line with me. It made me uncomfortable and angry. I spoke up.

“I find this discussion offensive, and bordering on harassment.”

There were two people who were arguing about this, to their credit, despite the content, they were polite with each other, and also immediately ceased talking about it when I spoke. They moved the conversation over to Facebook. I thanked them.

It was supposed to be over.

Immediately afterward another player directed a question to me: “Are you gay?”

By this point Mal was also responding, since it was obvious that this person was mean-spirited, was going to harass me. We informed them that the server had clear rules about harassing other players, but they kept it up.

I took a couple of screenshots and logged off. I had a sick feeling, and didn’t want to play there anymore. I sent an e-mail to the server owner. That will be the subject of my next post.

Zelda Step

Zelda Step by Ephixa

I just picked up Zelda Step, by Ephixa (there are some other good tracks on there, as well, like Turret Error, inspired by Portal). Partially because I have a soft spot for people who are inspired by video games to make music, and partially to make Malmater a ringtone from the Lost Woods track.

I hear there is a re-release of Ocarina of Time for the 3DS. That is all I know, because I am not a video gamer anymore, apparently (I sold my 3DS, BTW).