Follow These Easy Tips To Play Games Online Without Being Offended

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.
cod-complainer

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.

Written by: Ridge

Gamer who swears the Vita is worth it, yet always has a 3DS in his pocket..

14 Comments Added

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  1. d 1 year ago | Reply
    Good point, it *is* usually the victim's fault.
  2. Chable 1 year ago | Reply
    My question is why is the onus always on people who're behaving decently? What is it about the Internet, gaming in general, or just society these days that says individuals have the right to be horrible and the rest of us have the DUTY to adjust our behaviour? But wait...I remember this author. He's also absolutely convinced that the male-centric atmosphere of gaming is all in the oversensitive minds of women. Right. No surprise you're never offended. You're pretty damned offensive.
    • Ridge 1 year ago | Reply
      "My question is why is the onus always on people who're behaving decently? What is it about the Internet, gaming in general, or just society these days that says individuals have the right to be horrible and the rest of us have the DUTY to adjust our behaviour?" Society is full of horrible people. We can't change that. But we can control ourselves. So we can all make little adjustments that will bring down how many of these negative interactions we have. "He's also absolutely convinced that the male-centric atmosphere of gaming is all in the oversensitive minds of women." We all deal with the same shit talkers when we play online. For some reason I don't get offended, but it seems like a large portion of women gamers do. I don't want to believe women are oversensitive, but that does seem like the case... Please provide me an alternative explanation. I'm not trying to be a dick here. I would honestly like to know. Help me understand where you are coming from.
      • Just...Wow 1 year ago | Reply
        Here's where I'm coming from when I get offended by things like "get raped." I love first person shooters. I picked a gender neutral gamertag instead of my usual screen name because I didn't want to be harassed. (I should never have had to do this.) I never had any real problems until I started using the mic. Even then, I hardly ever talked. Usually it was something quick, to the point, and helpful, like "The mortar has respawned now." When people heard my voice and knew I was a woman, I got so much more harassment. It ranged from well-meaning but tiresome sexual propositioning to rape threats sent ever-so-casually to my inbox, usually from people that were on my team and had no reason to target me, personally. I can, and have for a very long time, dealt with trash talk. But the trash talk isn't the same when it's directed at you because you're female. It's not just the constant stream of slurs that usually pours out of the mouths of twelve-year-olds on FPSs. It's extremely personal. (And it's not kids. It's always, at least for me, been grown men.) To be honest, I can't come up with a way to describe it, because I'm just not that good with words. But I can tell you from experience that the trash talk I got before I used a mic and the harassment I constantly received after are very, very different. What I can't ignore is rape threats. In fact, I received multiple rape threats (along with a slur of other gender-based insults) from a stranger on Facebook after posting on the Gears of War page. I didn't forward the messages, which he sent from his workplace on company time (for some reason he thought that giving me the name of the parking garage he worked at was a good idea,) to his employer because I knew it was unlikely that I'd actually be raped. A year later, that still eats at me. Here's why: I shouldn't have to grow a thick skin to participate online. (And I'm not exactly "sensitive" to begin with, but that's beside the point.) I shouldn't have to explain the difference between the kind of trash talk I got before and after I dared to reveal my gender over XBox, because it is way different. It's constant, relentless, and too offensive to ignore. No, I'm not afraid of the people that would routinely threaten me. That doesn't mean I have to isolate myself in order to not put up with a barrage of harassment just to enjoy my game. Trust me, I've muted and blocked sooo many people. There's always another. I can be called a noob, idiot, worse things, and get over it. But I just can't get over the fact that somebody thought it was okay to send a rape threat, and that grown men and women who should know better think it's my responsibility to prevent and deal with this. I shouldn't have to pretend I'm not a woman; people should have the decency not to send that sh*t in the first place.
  3. Jay Curtis 1 year ago | Reply
    I see both sides of the argument, but ultimately that kind of language has no place in gaming. Although there are certainly steps to avoid it (which she should have taken) she has every right to file a complaint and there should be consequences for what "PhatDog" said.
  4. maddsniper94 1 year ago | Reply
    i agree people get so hurt by words these days, its like you cant threaten people without consequences anymore, whats with women these days, am i right guys, is it so hard to just ignore dudes who says they want to rape you, just ignore it, it's your fault for playing video games in the first place, you shouldn't have said you were a woman on the internet because all men on the internet are pimply teen boys, little angsty children who must be allowed to be children, little rape-threatening children, she should've known better, i mean what was she expecting, going online and using her voice, i applaud this author for his courage to stand up and tell women to just say No to being threatened with rape while enjoying a VG (video game)
    • Ridge 1 year ago | Reply
      You used the word rape 3 times. But it isn't mentioned here once, or in the Kotaku article. Now you're just looking for things to argue about...
      • maddsniper94 1 year ago | Reply
        your right i just hate women and am projecting, thank you for pointing that out, what you're xbl name, i wanna send you messages about having sex with you because you are a man and i love men, especially men who are not interested in receiving lewd messages from me, so when i write "i'm gonna ejaculate into you rectal cavity" it's all in good fun and not considered a threat of male rape, btw thx for this article, it really shines a light on the plight of men online, we cnat just vent and say whatevs is on our minds, like impregnating women we encounter in cod and then threatening violence against them! liberal media putting us down. if only women just muted everyone they ever encountered in their life, boy i bet theyd mute this article, what a bunch of horrible creatures women are, lets just hug it out, maybe grease ourselves up a bit first, eh
        • Ridge 1 year ago | Reply
          I'll reply piece by piece. "You're right I just hate women and I am projecting, thank you for pointing that out." I never said anything like that. I'm saying you brought up rape. Nobody else did. "What is your xbl name, I wanna send you messages about having sex with you because you are a man and I love men, especially men who are not interested in receiving lewd messages from me, so when i write things like "I'm gonna ejaculate into you rectal cavity."" I don't play on Xbox live. But my PSN is Sir_Ridge, my steam is TheSirridge and my 3DS friend code is 3050-8828-1418. Feel free to spam all of them. I'll ignore them like a pro! "It's all in good fun and not considered a threat of male rape." It isn't a legitimate threat. You aren't planning on finding out where I live, buying a plane ticket, taking time off of work, coming here, and finding me so you can hold me down and rape me. "Btw thx for this article, it really shines a light on the plight of men online." When did I claim I was trying to do that? We all deal with shitheads online, and if you do this stuff you will deal with a few less. "Like impregnating women we encounter in cod and then threatening violence against them!" How would you impregnate someone you encounter in COD? And who threatened violence against a women? "If only women just muted everyone they ever encountered in their life, boy i bet they'd mute this article." If somebody read this article and something in it offended them I hope they would "mute" it. Then continue to avoid things that offend them. "What a bunch of horrible creatures women are. Where is all of this anti women stuff coming from? Sure, I used this particular example of a women who was offended. But we all deal with people saying awful things when we play online. This isn't exclusive to women. I also fixed a lot of your spelling and grammar as I quoted you. It just helps me try and take you seriously.
          • no amount of basic grammar or spelling correction could help me take your needless white knighting seriously. let's put this another way - if someone wrote to a female acquaintance or family member or child and said, as you quoted twice in your article, "“I’m gonna impregnate you with triplets and make you have a very late term abortion," would you just shrug and say, "well just ignore it!" it's not like this guy said she was bad at sniping or was a n00b. instead, it was a threat. no, it was not a threat of pure violence - it was a threat of sexual violence. despite it's ridiculousness to you, you cannot dictate how the recipient of the threat should react. again, seriously, and i want you to summon the greatest depths of human empathy your gamer soul has - IMAGINE, a female friend or relative has received this message - do you seriously write 500-750 words about how SHE should ignore it? listen. you're bad at this. this is all super weak writing, trying to CONFRONT POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, but just sounding like you're defending teens who threaten people online. it reeks of privilege in that special way that only white male writers can do to video games. yes, as a white male writer, you have not been threatened online & felt the full threat of it. instead, it's all in good fun, ha ha! i can't become pregnant! i can't have an abortion! ha ha! please, send me lots of messages about it! you're not bad at writing about games and you're not bad at writing an alright review. stick to that. the next time a social issue arises in the world of games, sit on your hands.
          • Ridge 1 year ago |
            She should have never even looked at the "I’m gonna impregnate you with triplets and make you have a very late term abortion" message. This was an audio message sent to her after the guy was being a dick in game. Why even open a message from him at all? After he was saying mean things she didn't like in the game it only stands to reason there will be more things she doesn't want to see in this message. I'm not defending the person who sent it, but at the same time she didn't have to read it. I know which e-mails I get are spam, and I delete them. I'm not even going to respond to the rest. Nowhere did I say anything about women, or blaming the victim. I just said here is some stuff everyone can do to avoid a lot of this shit....
          • MrWulf 1 year ago |
            Just ignoring a potential problem won't make a problem disappear. What would happen if this threat was meant seriously (regardless how ridicules this may seem)? Or if little children would notice some of these messages or even death threats against them? It is one thing to taunt someone about their lack of skill in a game. I don't think anyone will report something like this or similar insults. But if you use something like a threat in public against someone/something it is possible you get locked away for this. Why should there be a difference online?
          • Ridge 1 year ago |
            Distance. That is why it is different. If a guy I'm sharing a jail cell with threatens to rape me it is infinitely more serious than somebody online who most likely is no where near me.
      • Chable 1 year ago | Reply
        *epic facepalm is epic* ...because he totally meant “I’m gonna impregnate you with triplets and make you have a very late term abortion.” in a completely consensual way. Really? That's your argument here? Weak.

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