Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

As a World of Warcraft fan, this confuses me


Blizzard, no!

Sara Andrews thought it was a big misunderstanding when she received an e-mail from a game master in Blizzard Entertainment's popular online role playing game "World of Warcraft" citing her for "Harassment - Sexual Orientation."

Andrews had posted that she was recruiting for a "GLBT friendly" guild in a general chat channel within the game.

Believing that her notice had been accidentally flagged, she e-mailed Blizzard to correct the problem. Blizzard, to Andrews' surprise, upheld the decision.

Other gay guilds have been alerted and are planning to request clarification on the policy from Blizzard.

Blizzard's policy on "Harassment - Sexual Orientation," which is set forth in the games' "Terms of Use" and cited in the e-mail to Andrews reads, "This category includes both clear and masked language which insultingly refers to any aspect of sexual orientation pertaining to themselves or other players."

A series of e-mails back and forth concerning the incident, seems to make it clear that Blizzard may be inadvertently using a policy meant to protect GLBT people as a way to discriminate against them.


Blogger Steve S said...

I'm confused too! I'm a World of Warcraft fan, but I haven't played the online version.

What I don't understand is this:

This category includes both clear and masked language which INSULTINGLY refers to any aspect of sexual orientation pertaining to themselves or other players.

Keyword: insultingly.
How is a GLBT friendly guild insulting unless you are a right winger?

You mention other gay guilds are planning to request clarification. Please keep those of us who are not involved in the online game posted as to the latest! Thanks.

1:31 AM

Blogger Steve S said...

oh, yeah, and I'm going to link to this, okay?

1:32 AM

Anonymous thelatinist said...

I think it's quite clear: the people at WoW feel it is insulting to oneself to refer to oneself as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. Gah.

10:18 AM

Anonymous Wherdragon said...

When I read the linked article, one of the players quoted Blizzard as saying that making a LGBT-guild would invite harassing language and personal attacks from other players, AND THUS be a violation of the harassment policy.

... It's my violation if someone else calls me a "fag"?

This seems suspiciously like the arguments that it's the victim's fault for getting raped because s/he "was asking for it".

10:52 AM

Blogger the roommate said...

Blizzard's stance was clear that recruiting for a guild using "GLBT" was inappropriate as, the company said, it may "incite certain responses in other players that will allow for discussion that we feel has no place in our game."

Okay, I see what everyone is saying, especially wherdragon, but...
If all Blizzard is trying to say is that they don't want any discussion of sexuality, that seems fair. On neopets you can get banned for talking about religion. They aren't trying to discriminate, it is just trying to avoid having any of the arguments that *could* insue, because that is not what WoW is about. If they actually start banning the characters on role playing servers from being gay then I will get enraged with everyone else. For now, I think as long as the policy is used evenly it's fine. Nobody can talk about issues non related to WoW that might cause insults, debate, etc. Go to blogger or LJ or anything else on teh internet for that. You should also not be able to mention things like party affiliation.
I also don't believe refering to a plague as AIDS mocks queers. That's cuz I have this crazy idea that AIDS is not a queer issue, it's a health issue which *gasp* even non gays are at risk for.

11:35 AM

Blogger Steve S said...

'the roommate', I can see what you are saying in that they might not want any mention of sexuality in their game (although in some of the videos in between levels, some characters clearly exhibit sexuality), I don't know about the online version.

The original post says that other gay guilds will seek clarification. Would that be other gay guilds already WITHIN the online game?

11:52 AM

Anonymous Wherdragon said...

I might agree if the article didn't say that in that general chat with the plague=AIDS thing, players routinely say "that is so gay" and call each other "fag". It seems like Blizzard takes no notice of that, but when someone wants to say that their guild is a place you won't hear those kind of insults, they aren't allowed because it might cause argument. It seems like a huge double-standard.

1:24 PM

Blogger the roommate said...

yes, players should get in trouble for using language like "fag." But if WoW would hold that standard up, t seems fair to disallow all mention of sexual orientation except as it might be part of a character.

3:28 PM

Blogger ohkwarioso said...

wow. i am shocked by blizzard's response to this issue. i love world of warcraft and cannot see what the problem would be in having a glbt guild. the "don't ask, don't tell" policy is disturbing.

apparently, being gay is just too much fantasy for this game. :)

4:26 PM


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