An article was posted earlier today on Kotaku telling the tale of how a gamer said something mean to a young women named Jenny Haniver. Being offended, she quickly reported the situation to Microsoft and the company took a long time to do anything about it. This whole thing got me thinking ,”Hey, I’ve never been offended while playing online, what am I doing differently?” After some contemplating, I decided to put together this handy guide complete with examples of where Jenny went wrong for reference.
Before I get into it, here is more information about what happened, for science. It all started when Jenny was playing Call of Duty online. A user named PHATDOG asked her if she was on her period and proceeded to call her teammates “bitches.” Later, the same user sent her an audio message that included the quote, “I’m gonna impregnate you with triplets and make you have a very late term abortion.” This all hurt Jenny’s feelings and she filed a complaint. Here are some things that could have been done differently.
Use Any Block/Ignore/Spam/Mute Button Available
One thing a lot of people don’t like about online communication is how anonymous it is. When people feel like they can get away with anything, a lot of them revert back to being disrespectful dicks. But luckily, all of this technology literally has built in defenses to these anonymous attacks. So use them. Did somebody say something mean to you? Just push the button that cuts off the contact with you and continue your life. Just don’t interact with these people.
Jenny should have just cut off contact with this person; it would have been super easy to do. Why did she even open his audio message? I wonder what she thought the odds were that it would be a positive message?
Look At The Situation You Are Putting Yourself Into
This one has a lot of real life application, too. You can’t go play football and then complain that somebody ran into you really hard. That’s part of the game. If you are walking down the street and see a rowdy group of drunk folks, you can’t expect to be able to safely insert yourself into the group. It’s common sense.
We all (Jenny included) know the types of folks who frequent CoD online. The group consists largely of immature, angry males playing from their mom’s basement. These people tend to say awful things, so there is a good chance you will hear something awful. Jenny knew this, but played anyway. Also, when you start hearing things you don’t like, you can always find another lobby/match/group of players.
Don’t Take These People Seriously
Remember the time you asked your mom if she had sex with every male on Xbox Live? Of course not, because you know it didn’t happen. So why take anything else you hear seriously?
Especially something as ridiculous as, “I’m gonna impregnate you with triplets and make you have a very late term abortion.” The odds of that happening are actually worse than the odds of that kid having sex with my mom.
Get Over Yourself
This is another one that has a lot of real life application. If some random people you just met (either online or off) are being dicks, it isn’t a direct attack on you. They don’t know you. They are just horrible people. Don’t take it personally. This applies to kids on Xbox just as much as it applies to the guy in traffic who just cut you off and gave you the finger. Just take solace in the fact that you are a better person than them and move on.
I don’t want any of this to sound like I’m blaming the victim, because I’m not. PHATDOG was being an ass and that isn’t okay. But there are a couple of polar opposite ways this could have been handled. There is, of course, Jenny’s way, which is spamming Xbox with reports and follow-ups, as well as constantly checking PHATDOG’s profile to see if anything has been done so she could feel some justice after her feelings were hurt. Or you can do it my way, which is to simply continue my life, because I have more important things to do.
Have any other tips? Have a bone to pick with any of mine? Feel free to comment below.