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    PQ | Features | Mailbag | Feb 4, 2000

PQ Mailbag

This Is Not A Forum

Sorry to be serious for a moment here, but there's something I have to bring up. I'd just like to reiterate the purpose of the PQ Mailbag. It's not a forum for people's opinions, however much it may seem like that. It's a place where issues are brought up, which should be discussed further in forums. Now it seems like I'm being wishy-washy, but this is really what it should be. It's not a place to get your technical questions answered (that's what is for). It's a place where I answer questions about Quake and derivatives thereof, answer questions about PQ, and occasionally poke fun at people. I'd just like everyone to remember that; it'd make my job a helluva lot easier. Thanks, and enjoy this week's Mailbag!

Bigotry in Gaming

This issue has probably set a record for the amount of e-mail on one subject. Last week, Reavus Dar brought up the important issue of bigotry in online gaming. He didn't like it. We suggested some possible solutions, and this week we've got some replies on that. But first, here's Reavus' reply to my e-mail telling him his issue would be in the mailbag:

From: Reavus Dar
Subject: Re: Bigotry in Online Gaming

Dear Spyke et al,

Thank you very much for printing my article in the Mailbag. I appreciate it a great deal, and I'm sure that others do as well. I've recieved several e-mails, (surprisingly few actually) perhaps two dozen, from those who have read the Mailbag, and I'm glad to hear their responses, most have been supportive, and those that haven't been, have been mature and honest.

I won't send you any of them as I haven't recieved their permission to do so (some seem too personal to release publicly), but I will let you know the general content of what I've recieved so far. Hopefully you will find out in full; I've encouraged most who have written me to write you their ideas and comments on the issue.

Some have suggested forming a clan, but I am wary to do due to its exclusive nature. A suggestion of creating and maintaining a server that is openly dedicated to the dignity of its players and people in general regardless of sexual orientation, culture, religion or gender was put forth; this is an idea that I truly like, but most lack the resources to create it. Another suggestion was the creation of an acronym or symbol that could be attached to the names of players and/or servers that identify the individual or server as a supporter of freedom from discrimination. The suggestion of a logo was put forth, perhaps someone can design one. Also, the suggestion of a specific site (Planetgay was, I hope, jokingly mentioned) was put forth, but this is also something I'm cautious about as I don't wish to take the issue away from the mainstream online community, but would rather bring it into the foreground.

With so many suggestions its hard to decide what is best, perhaps all of them, there's no need to limit ourselves to just one. However, who decides? I merely raised the issue, I don't claim any authority on it; I think perhaps an open forum on the subject is in order. A discussion of the possibilities and resources available would be, I think, a valuable one. So where could this be held?

Once more, thank you for posting my article, I hope that you recieve many more similar ones.


So there you have Reavus' response. Here's some of the mail we got from readers on this topic, and we'll have both my and Hellchick's take on this at the end of the page!

From: Choad Mayou
Subject: RE: Bigotry in Online Gaming


I must say that Reavus did an *excellent* job writing that letter. And honestly, I had no idea that it went so deep. I am a professional adult, but I've never let the kid in me die, hence I still play Quake.(Among other things) I will admit that I have used words like Homo, Fag, and Queer as insults toward those who I felt deserved to be berated. However, until I read this letter, I had no idea that it could cause such profound grief to those listening. Please allow me to explain my situation.

I NEVER Trash-talk. Well, more appropriately, I don't start it. I like to engage in "Yo mama" wars, and "no skillz" battles just as much as the next grunt. In fact, I feel that because I try not to use typical slang in these verbal exchanges, I am better than the normal 15 yr old shit-talker. But I have used the derogatory slang that Reavus is upset about.

But please understand that I am not biggoted in *any* way. I have nothing against those who choose to live their lives in a way which becomes labeled "Deviant". I have always lived in harmony with those who do me no harm, and by all means those practicing homosexuality are certainly not harming me.

Being under the employ of Uncle Sam has had some part in my choice of language. In the military, good friends often refer to each other in terms that would revolt an uneducated listener, and I can vouch for this. This is nothing special to us, it is how it has always been. So when I call my buddy a fag, it does not imply anything at all about his sexual proclivities. It is simply bravado, and the first word that pops into my head.

I am certain that Reavus is campaigning not only against rampant, and malicious use of these words, but also against my almost casual use of them. I can only say in my defense, and in the defense of others of a like mind, that we know these words are bad. But unlike racial slurs, they are not as strongly discouraged, because we live in a society where it is considered "wrong" to be gay. So, with no EEO patrol to yell at us for saying these things, it becomes a task where we must clean up our own language. Once again, allow me to vouch for the difficulty of this task.

In closing, I would like to appologize to Reavus, and any others I have offended with my language. I honsetly did not intend to imply that homosexuality is evil, stupid, or immature. Those *were* the qualities of the person I was insulting. For this offense, I hope you will forgive me, and accept my promise that I will TRY to clean up. It may not make much difference as a whole, but every little bit helps, right? :)


From: g belcher
Subject: Rebellion against Bigotry has got to start somewhere.

Spyke, I have to say I'm a long-time PQ Fan and Reader of the MailBag. Always loved it. And I've always wanted to have something I could write in about. Well, I think I found it.

Now, in response to Reavus Dar's letter, first off I'd like to say I've been playing on-line games ever since the days of doom. And the things I have seen is enough to make a person sick. Names like Fag-Killer, FuckUFaggot, and all that crap. I have to say, I, too, am really, really sick of it. Now I'm not trying to bring back this argument on teenage stereotyping, (because I know most of them are like that), but I'm 14 years old. And when I join a quake server I just wish I could know that I wasn't gonna get called a fag when I made any comment on anything. It makes me almost afraid to speak, the way people ridicule. Now let me make clear, I'm not Gay myself, but I know enough about exclusion and stereotypical hatred to relate. This has got to stop.

But how? Well, I think I have an idea. We should start, not so much as a clan, but more like a group. Maybe even just a server, or a group of servers if possible. Just basicly a place where we open-minded and mature people could actually have fun playing Quake. Now, I know for an idea like this we would need support, so I'm sending an SOS here. This isn't something I can start on my own. If I know there are others who would share in this, we might just have something going here. But how to get everyone organized? I suggest we all e-mail our good friend, Reavus Dar, (I'm going to as soon as I finish writing this). He's the one who got me to speak out about all this. And I just pray this could actually work. To make a better, mature, even open-minded Quake community. Thank You for your time,

-Ben- From: Ben Posner
Subject: RE: Bigotry in Online Gaming

Having read Reavus Dar's wonderful letter, i felt my voice also needed to be heard..

I have a hard time with bigotry. I hate it.. I guess you could call me a bigot in the sense that i despise all people who use derogatory names towards others and let them know!

For a while, last yeah, my fellow mates (that's room-mates) and i created a makeshift Action Quake II clan and were pretty sucessful (you may have heard of us.. [BarH].. we kicked ass back in the day). We had a modest AQ2 server running in my bud's room upstairs and frequently i would op it to accomodate those who wanted special games enables, that sort of crap.

Every once in a while i'd get some 12 year old (or something) shooting his mouth off, calling some one a fag or the sort. I (as the voice of god, as it were) would come down from on high and tell the little sh*t to shut his pie hole or else. Of course he'd give me more lip and BOOM! off he'd go, back to the console, his IP banned for the day.

Eventually we edited the MotD to read "Welcome.. blah blah blah.. swearing is okay, but NO racial slurs or immediate banning for the day. We're watching!" This helped a little. I'd still get some LPB snot nose causing trouble and kick his ass off the server.

I digress... is there a util that could be set up for watch the messages for these naughty words? I'd love that!

Later Kidz..
[BarH] Hellbent

Okey dokey, time to wrap up this issue in a neat little package. First off, I'm pretty damn proud of our readers. This is a sensitive issue, and everyone handled it professionally. We didn't get any e-mails like "F*CK YOU FAG" or anything like that, so thank you all very much; you've proved that there is a very large segment of the Quake community that is respectful and intelligent.

As for my opinion on this issue, a few viable solutions were introduced. While suggestions like "start a PlanetGay" are just silly, little things help. Remember "nettiquite"? Yeah, kind of funny now that you think about it. But a form of it can be used, in discouraging immature individuals from using disparaging language; also, MotDs on servers are a good idea, as is temporary kickbanning, somewhat. It's not viable to just ask people to be thick-skinned, because everyone has an issue where they're not thick-skinned, no matter what. Hopefully over-abusive imbeciles are permanently kickbanned, but there's no way to guarantee it. There are idiots out there (ask me about it sometime), but we all have to do our part. Thanks Reavus, very much, for the impetus for this discussion. A great place to continue it would be the PQ Forums!

Hellchick: My take on it - if I trash talk, it's always in jest, and you can usually tell because it's way over the top. It never occured to me that the use of that word caused anyone grief, but it's an interesting issue. Perhaps people just need to realize that they could be hurting someone's feelings before they speak, and they need to keep that in mind.

On Page 2: The Usual Plethora of Quake Questions

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