• The need for transparency in harassment policies

    by  • July 31, 2014 • Essays • 1 Comment

    MMO’s are challenging places for woman gamers, especially in games like EveOnline where local chat cannot be ignored and social interaction is a must for in-game survival. Many MMO’s have harrassment policies which claim “zero tolerance” or speak of creating an inclusive environment but what is more important than having these policies is the enforcement of them.

    If and when these types of events are reported they are investigated within the organization, the findings are kept private and the results are not shared with the public or with the person who reported the harassment. How can we be certain these issues are being addressed if the findings are never released? How can we quantify these incidents if statistics on frequency and outcomes are not available. I believe if a company really wanted to fight against harassment they would share information on how these incidents are handled so offenders could see the results of these kind of actions. I also believe that when an investigation finds evidence of harrassment the outcome should be shared with the person reporting it so they can feel safe within their game space.

    In a recent harassment event in EveOnline (found here) links were placed in public chat showing offensive material that equates to sexual agression. EveOnline’s boilerplate response to a harassment claim is as follows:

    “Thank you for reporting this. We will investigate the issue and take appropriate action as necessary. Please be aware that any action that may or may not be taken against any reported pilot may not be discussed with a third party. Any such actions will remain confidential between CCP and the reported pilot, as per our Privacy Policy which you can find here. We appreciate your concerns and we assure you that reports of this kind are taken seriously. Please understand that we will also close this ticket now, as we have received all the information we need to begin our investigation and unfortunately may not share the outcomes or measures taken with other players due to our privacy policy. However, please do not hesitate to contact us again should this behavior come up again or if you have any additional questions. Best Regards”

    Their “privacy policy” and lack of transparency protects harassers and does not foster a safe place for women in the game world. Stop hiding harassment behind privacy policies. Stop hiding statistics on how harassment is handled. Take a stand for creating a world in which gender politics are not used to push women away from games.

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    Gamer, writer, science nerd. I'm a Masters student studying evolutionary botany and between research and studies I play video, tabletop and board games.

    One Response to The need for transparency in harassment policies

    1. avatar
      Sally
      August 5, 2014 at 08:09

      This is disturbing – and a totally inadequate response from EveOnline

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