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Just as on the broader Internet, there are people who delight in piquing anger or frustration in others, or “trolling.” For trolls, offensive language — sexist, racist, homophobic comments — are interchangeable weapons that vary with the target.“They treat the Internet like a vast game,” where offending others scores points, Mr. But the standard advice to ignore the taunts (“don’t feed the trolls”) is now, in the wake of Ms.It cheekily catalogs the slurs, threats and come-ons women receive while playing games like Resident Evil or Gears of War 3.The blog publishes screenshots and voice recordings that serve as a kind of universal citation in each new controversy, called upon to settle debates or explode myths.
In other game communities, however, sexual threats, taunts and come-ons are common, as is criticism that women’s presence is “distracting” or that they are simply trying to seek attention.
Sarkeesian’s treatment, being accompanied by discussions about “how to kill a troll.” And many people are calling for the gaming industry to do more.
James Portnow, a game designer who has worked on titles including Call of Duty and Farmville, wrote an episode about harassment for his animated Web series “Extra Credits.” In it, the narrator says: “Right now, it’s like we gave the school bully access to the intercom system and told him that everyone would hear whatever he had to say. He met with a team of executives, including a vice president, for four hours, and they discussed how Microsoft was developing better algorithms for things like automatically muting repeat offenders.
Executives in the billion-a-year industry are taking note.
One game designer’s online call for civility prompted a meeting with Microsoft executives about how to better police Xbox Live.
For instance, many of the site’s recordings feature deep voices captured from the chat features of online games, debunking the widely held belief that bad behavior begins and ends with 13-year-old boys.