Regarding Female Gamers Group



Posted: -
Hello all,
We have received many notifications and emails requesting a response regarding the Female Gamers Group. Ben, James, and I are looking into this and will have a response by the end of today. Thank you.
  • wcloaf


    Edited: by wcloaf
    Howdy folks,

    I have reviewed the thread in question and all of the associated messaging available to me.

    Let me begin by stating what I’m surprised isn’t obvious: Cloud Imperium Games is not in the business of preventing women from playing our game. Part of the Star Citizen dream is to build a game that crosses traditional gamer boundaries and includes an experience that everyone can enjoy. Certainly, we are not sitting around in smoky boardrooms dreaming of ways to exclude 50% of the planet in our space adventure.

    And then let’s go ahead and address the elephant in the room: obviously, a group from the Something Awful forums are using this as an opportunity to troll the forums. As always, this is extremely tedious. The user in question is also part of the Something Awful group, which made the moderator dealing with the issue believe the entire thread was a setup. This would not be the first time SA Goons have created an issue.

    However, on review and in spite of the sheer volume of concerned Goons coming out of the woodwork on this, I do not believe the thread was necessarily a setup and that several mistakes were made in terms of moderation. I will now discuss my read on what happened and let you know the actions I am going to take.

    On Saturday, a user named Lauresh posted a thread called “Female Gamers Group,” about creating a group (separate from an Org, per my read) for women to give them a safe space in the Star Citizen world. The thread goes pretty well for the first several pages, with all parties acting as they should. When one user started posting sexist crap they were properly flagged and probated. As with so many touchy internet threads, people became agitated, emotions flared and so on. The thread was closed as toxic and the original poster was banned.

    Let me stress right now: I do not believe anyone on the moderation team banned Lauresh because they are a woman. I am 100% confident that it was because of the 30+ flags complaining about other users in the thread, with profane messages attached: “fucking ban this retard,” “for the love of god would someone please stop this person from shitting up the thread already,” “mother fucking trolling” and so on. Lauresh seems to have flagged not only sexist posts (which should be warned/probated) but also anything complaining that the thread was a setup (‘you’re a Goon, you just want to fight, etc.’)

    That said, I believe that our moderator made the following mistakes:

    - Lauresh should have been given a 24-hour cooling probation instead of a 7-day probation. Bans here function on a strike system for each infraction: a warning, then a 24-hour probation, then 7-day, then a month and then a review for permaban. While Lauresh had been banned before (and warned several times before that,) their previous ban was overturned and should not have counted as a strike. This probation should have been for abuse of the flag function and nothing else. Her ban should have been better explained at the time.
    - The thread should not have been closed. While moderators are empowered to close toxic threads and this one was unquestionably toxic, I will advise against doing so for “important” topics such as this one.

    On the greater subject of women in the Star Citizen universe, the answer is that yes we should go out of our way to create a safe space for them. Women online, and especially women in gaming, have it very, very tough in ways that men absolutely do not understand. This isn’t an argument for the community to have, it’s a fact. Our moderators (and game designers and programmers and everyone else involved in Star Citizen) should do everything possible to create a safe environment, not encourage typical internet knife-fighting in this regard.

    Men don’t have to deal with this sort of thing, and it’s so systemic. For years I was part of a community that simply didn't have women. At first I thought it was because space sims didn’t appeal to women… but I came to understand it was because of how immature the average forum user was towards them. It broke my heart hearing from women who loved fighting aliens but who had to pretend to be men in order to even talk to anyone about it, lest their PM inboxes fill up with come-ons and their social networking get invaded with awful dudes.

    Let me give you an example from right here at the RSI forums that will maybe resonate: a few days ago our lead moderator’s girlfriend posted a ‘welcome’ thread and he replied welcoming her to the forums. Another user then responded with a picture of the two of them together (as on ‘but you guys know each other!’) My immediate reaction was that was pretty funny that William got shown up. Later that night, though, I realized: that picture was discovered in the first place because someone saw a female username posting about Star Citizen and had to Google it for pictures. And that sucks.

    Obviously I don’t know how to fix any of that, but I’d love to start talking about it here instead of pretending it isn’t a problem.

    In the meantime, I am hereby instructing William, our lead moderator, to do the following:

    - Return the ‘Female Gamers Group’ thread to the forums. The thread should be heavily moderated to remove sexist comments and ban users who make them. Let us try to have a serious conversation here.
    - Unban Lauresh with a single strike (24 hours) rather than two (7 days.)
    - Remove the moderator who banned her from the active roster pending further review. As I said above, I am confident that Lauresh was not banned because she is a woman, but I will not feel comfortable until we review all of this moderators’ recent actions.

    And as if it even needed to be said, there is more than enough room for a female-only group in the ‘verse. Making connections like that is what our Organizations system is for, and there’s absolutely no additional room to argue with that.
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