XBox says "Fuck you, gay people!"

So apparently listing your sexual orientation on XBox can get your account suspended because it’s “offensive”. When did a bunch of conservative nutjobs start playing Halo?

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10 responses to “XBox says "Fuck you, gay people!"

  1. I'm not sure this is a case of conservatism directly, so much as an intersection of language policing and gaming culture.

    Microsoft has gone out of its way to whitewash an environment filled with rabid young kids & miscellaneous mouthbreathers. Getting people to stop calling each other "fag" because they killsteal or tend towards the sniper rifle is a messy, sticky swamp. But scraping away every instance of the word 'gay' is relatively easy, at least from a T.O.S. standpoint.

    So this puts this Teresa in the same company as poor Richard Gaywood, who last year got told by Microsoft that his name was, in fact, offensive. The same rule is brought down on them that keeps the world safe from "Gayballs56765" and "f4gpwner69." Microsoft's official position has been that this has nothing to do with the fact that Teresa has tasted that love that dares not speak its name.

    It's that she dared to speak its name, after all.

    This may be a problem when the discourse reaches the level of language value, without engaging the far wider-reaching realm of usage in culture. Yes, it would be nice to have a place online where you weren't incessantly called a fag. (Incidentally, I'm still looking.) But if policy discriminates in such a way as to frame gay folks as an inherent danger to 'kid gamers', well, that's homophobia defined.

    There is a fearful symmetry to the whole thing:
    1. Microsoft sets a policy to control people being called names.
    2. A player makes a tag that happens to use one of the verboten words.
    3. Said player gets chased across gamespace by frothing gamers, howling the very slurs Microsoft hoped to control.

    The whole thing smacks of doublespeak.

  2. I'm not sure this is a case of conservatism directly, so much as an intersection of language policing and gaming culture.

    Microsoft has gone out of its way to whitewash an environment filled with rabid young kids & miscellaneous mouthbreathers. Getting people to stop calling each other "fag" because they killsteal or tend towards the sniper rifle is a messy, sticky swamp. But scraping away every instance of the word 'gay' is relatively easy, at least from a T.O.S. standpoint.

    So this puts this Teresa in the same company as poor Richard Gaywood, who last year got told by Microsoft that his name was, in fact, offensive. The same rule is brought down on them that keeps the world safe from "Gayballs56765" and "f4gpwner69." Microsoft's official position has been that this has nothing to do with the fact that Teresa has tasted that love that dares not speak its name.

    It's that she dared to speak its name, after all.

    This may be a problem when the discourse reaches the level of language value, without engaging the far wider-reaching realm of usage in culture. Yes, it would be nice to have a place online where you weren't incessantly called a fag. (Incidentally, I'm still looking.) But if policy discriminates in such a way as to frame gay folks as an inherent danger to 'kid gamers', well, that's homophobia defined.

    There is a fearful symmetry to the whole thing:
    1. Microsoft sets a policy to control people being called names.
    2. A player makes a tag that happens to use one of the verboten words.
    3. Said player gets chased across gamespace by frothing gamers, howling the very slurs Microsoft hoped to control.

    The whole thing smacks of doublespeak.

  3. Ok, I’m a dork.. but why would you need to list this anyway?

    Maybe this is a special Halo thing… I dunno… I just play WoW…

  4. Ok, I’m a dork.. but why would you need to list this anyway?

    Maybe this is a special Halo thing… I dunno… I just play WoW…

  5. Oh, and Kimbo, my feed isn’t updating for soem reason, I have actually posted since last week.

    :/

  6. Brendan: Regardless of the reasoning (though having a problem with someone’s sexual orientation enough to complain about a listing on Halo IS conservative), people have the opportunity to write whatever they want in their profiles. If MS doesn’t like what people write, gamers shouldn’t have the option or MS should switch to a drop-down type fill-in-the-blank form. The way it’s set up now doesn’t seem to be working out too well.

    Kay: As is my understanding, she mentioned that she is a lesbian in her profile voluntarily as part of her description of who she is. Fair enough, I think. I agree, though, profile descriptions seems a tad unnecessary for online anonymous gaming and I hope WoW doesn’t ever add that little “feature” – just because of the sheer pointlessness and opportunity for jerks to get “offended”. People can offend each other enough with just their names (something that WoW does police – as an acquaintance of mine, FORMER character name “faggottini”, can attest to).

    Feed… You mean the link to your blog on the left? Blogger does those automatically so I’m not sure why that would be the case or how to fix it. Sometimes “helpful” automation has its drawbacks…

  7. You didn’t happen to change any settings recently that would affect feeds did you?

  8. Brendan Main

    Kimbo: I see that I misread your post – you were accusing the players, and not the system itself, of conservative nutjobbery. On that point I agree. Pardon me for mistaking your position.

    But I do think that the issue must be attended to at the level of administration, and I’m not sure if simply pulling back profile information is the solution. Right now Microsoft TOS treats player profiles and player behavior very differently, the former dictated by a draconian “don’t ask/don’t tell” variant that disallows even the merest whisper of sexuality, the latter which allows players to let their freak flag fly (except in cases of flag-matches, as that sort of thing could get confusing.)

    Microsoft’s position that, as far as profiles are concerned, players cannot write anything that contains “comments that look, sound like, stand for, hint at, abbreviate, or insinuate content of a potentially sexual nature.” So that’s everything under the sun. I can’t think of a single handle that couldn’t be ‘potentially sexual’ or ‘insinuate’ something naughty.

    Microsoft’s decision to police language, rather than community, is exactly wrong-headed for this reason. Inevitably, the people who will be reported for their linguistic transgressions will be those same folks who are encouraged to ‘self-identify’ over voice-chat. TOS reports, then, (as in this case) may become just another form of griefing.

  9. Yes, well that’s sort of my point. If they aren’t going to let people say what they want to say in their profiles, then maybe they should just control it the way they want in the first place and avoid people feeling like garbage for expressing what they have every right to express. What’s the point of having an open box that anyone could put anything in if only certain things are allowed? Either they should just own up to their ridiculous policies and make it a fill-in form, or they should back off entirely and let people say what they want to say. The user shouldn’t have to bear the responsibility.

  10. Nope, no change to settings…. I have emailed google but… yeah.. not holding my breath.