Tackling hate speech, fostering mutual respect and countering the tyranny of the majority

Eve is a fantastic game. I love it’s complexity, it’s depth, the seemingly endless challenges, there is an unbridled freedom when playing Eve that is not matched by any other game I am aware of. We are given free reign to forge alliances, develop strategies and take the game in directions that CCP had never even considered and I love it.

However, this freedom creates an opportunity for the worst aspects of human nature to flourish. Online forums allow people to express themselves freely, but the anonymity that an online identify affords also removes what little sliver of empathy some people may have possessed. Maybe they never had empathy, but social conformity curtailed their behaviour when interacting with other people on a day to day basis. Trolls exist everywhere online and hate speech will contaminate every online forum if it is allowed to flourish.

Most of the time my experiences in Eve and interactions with other players are very positive. Inevitably though, I frequently hear people talking with a total disregard for others and with a total lack of respect or understanding for people who are not like them. I hear casual racism, I hear homophobia, I hear misogyny. It disgusts me.

Eve Online attracts many mature, intelligent people, but it is still a game and it is still an online community. When a comment is made that degrades a particular person, or grouping of people, it may go unnoticed to the majority of people on comms. But I guarantee you that there will have been hundreds, maybe thousands, hell, possibly even millions of times where someone listening to that language has been made to feel sub-human, or at the very least, not welcome in their corp. Language used as a child in school can often be brutal and hateful, but it goes on within the group of people who are all happy to join in, because it’s not about them.

Once you are in a wider, global community of people with a shared interest, it is important to remember that you are not in the “locker room” with all your friends that have the same skin colour, the same sexual orientation, the same politics, the same genitals. You are talking to the world and guess what? Most people are not like you. It is not funny or appropriate to speak of other races or nationalities disrespectfully. It is not funny or appropriate to use the term “rape” in game, when there may be individuals listening who have actually been raped themselves. It is not funny or appropriate to call someone a [insert homophobic slur] because they killed you in game. This language is not cool, it is not clever, it is not acceptable.

This post may turn out to be just a magnet for the kind of vile trolls that you get everywhere online, but I would be interested to hear of anyone who has something to say about this. Do you have experiences of being made to feel hated or unwelcome by the casual, disrespectful language on comms? Do you know of any groups in Eve that make a point of managing this issue in a responsible way and are looking for corp members that are willing and able to respect others? Or maybe, do you think that trying to manage or limit hateful speech is a lost cause or not important?

I do not want to get into a debate about politics. Depending on your own perspective you may identify the author of this post as “a left-wing snowflake”, obsessing about creating “safe spaces”. Personally I find this language tiresome and detracts from serious debate by encouraging tribalism. “You aren’t using the buzz words of my tribe, so you must be a part of that other tribe that we hate”. I don’t care about your politics right now, what I do care about is the way we manage our differences in a vast, free online space, wherein the tyranny of the majority can very easily silence the minority. I would be interested to hear any and all RESPECTFUL opinions on this.

Fly safe and be kind to others.

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It’s been proven that in itself, what you are asking for, by asking it in this manner, is in fact a form of bullying. What you posted is what preceded calls for a “Code of Conduct”. Anybody who works in tech, in open source to be specific, knows this pattern. You won’t help if you accuse me of being hateful for pointing this out. But if you did, I would not be surprised. Because that’s what people using the speech that you are using now are known to do. You did already take the point of pre-determining everybody who disagrees with you as “vile trolls”. That’s a huge tell right there. Whatever guide you are using to compile your post is not a good one.
Best to leave it alone and file a ticket if you are offended. And don’t worry, there are plenty of other players already using “being offended” as as sort of weapon so CCP is very good at judging each case INDIVIDUALLY and weeding out the real incidents from the fake ones. It’s a far better system than using some “code of conduct” that is too vague and subjective to be effective or judicial. And calling them “uncaring” or whatever for doing it the way they have been doing it for years would not be met with much surprise.

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Data Laughing

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Hi Herzog, thanks for your comments. I do not intend to accuse you of anything. I think your experience in the open source world probably has given you insight into the potential negative consequences of trying to manage language in a free environment. I am not calling for a code of conduct, certainly not from CCP. But I am interested in hearing how people manage these sorts of issues in corps as they will inevitably turn up.

I am not pre-determining everybody who disagrees with me as “vile trolls”. It was just a reference to the most base, hateful and malicious language that happens online that I am sure we are all aware of. I had hoped that the way I wrote the post showed that I am open to hear people’s opinions on this, whether they agree with me or not. Rights come with responsibilities, that’s the part that most people ignore. And for a forum to be truly free, it must have some restrictions placed on it so that everyone can be heard. This is the basis of any democratic community. There already are restrictions relating to this, as you have pointed out. CCP has policies that allow them to suppress the most damaging behaviours and language, but I am interested in how this issue is managed internally within corps in game.

I was also careful not to use the word “offended” because I actually have quite strong views that we should be allowed to say things that other people find offensive. If you say anything, someone will find it offensive. But there comes a point when the use of certain language is not just offensive, it is actually harmful. For example, the word rape does not just cause offense to some people, although it certainly does offend many, but it can actually cause people who have been raped to relive that trauma once again if, say, they have PTSD.

I would hope that you do not think that using racist language is acceptable, but where is the line? I think you tried to make that point, and that is why I am writing this, to try to dig down in a little more detail, rather than making sweeping assumptions about what someone is trying to say and shutting them down.

I respect your response, but I don’t think you quite got my point. I am looking to see how these issues are managed in different corps. If you lead a corp then I get the impression that these issues wouldn’t be managed at all, and people belonging to minority groups would just leave the corp and find a new home. Such corps may not even think they have a problem because no one said anything, but this is the tyranny of the majority that I am trying to avoid.

Even reading this just completely killed my buzz I’d hate to have to deal with you ingame. Game has mute button, id use it on you.

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Well sorry to kill your buzz mate but the topic was pretty clear and you chose to click on it.

Belief or not, there’s truth in the old prayer - grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

In any community as large as the EVE community, views and opinions differ just as broadly as views and opinions differ in society and from one country to the next. However, if I want the freedom to be able to express my thoughts, then everyone else has that same equal right, no matter how vile I personally think they might be.

We are all bound by the EULA for anything in game, and the laws of different jurisdictions for things out of game. In my experience, whenever someone over steps group norms out of game (eg. on comms), the rest of the group let them know. That includes the way people sometimes react to things that are said, which can just as much be outside norms.

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Hi Scipio, thanks for the thoughtful contribution. So are you saying that in your in-game experience, corps are usually pretty good at self policing? Do you think that people shut down hate speech more often than it is allowed to go on?

Your intitial quote is great. I have spent a long time learning to accept the brutality of this world and it’s not always easy. I am willing to stand up and fight for what is right (yeah ok, for what I THINK is right, tear apart my argument everyone) and I have been attacked before for it. I’d like to think I have the courage to stand up for what is right, even if I end up being squished. It’s the last part that is the most tricky for me. Where is the line? When do you leave it and when do you say this will not stand? It’s probably a question that will never be resolved, but I do find it fascinating.

OP, having a productive discussion about this topic on these forums is incredibly difficult - Give this thread a read, for instance: Has anyone else here had completely toxic experiences with /r/eve? BFR is fake there
These people will constantly pull the “Censorship” card or some crap - or in this case, call it “bullying” (???) - to justify their being ■■■■ human beings. The response when you bring this stuff up is just sad.

That being said, to answer your question: Me, and my corporation, have zero tolerance for any kind of disrespectful or degrading behaviour - 99.999% of the time, there’s nothing for us to worry about. All of our members are respectful to each other, even when we have wildly differing opinions on things like politics and philosophy - and this is kind of what a lot of people seem to miss when this topic comes up: there’s opinions disagreeing with is okay, and we actually should just live with, and then there are “opinions” that are just hateful and toxic, and should absolutely be called out and not accepted in the community.

I am personally a huge advocate for calling this sort of crap out in the community, and not just ignoring it - this comes even after nearly 10 years as an open-source developer who has managed communities of various sizes.

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A double edged sword.
While I fully understand and have on occasion seen verbal brutality in this and other games, even kicked two members from corp (over ten years time) for trash talk, I have also seen the use of vague rules to some people’s advantage and satisfaction, a soft aggression that is nevertheless as lethal as any other form of verbal abuse, one that threatens to have the unacceptable side effect of curtailing everyone’s right based on an individual’s feelings.

You see, there are a few hints, in the title of your topic, in some of the replies you made: “the tyranny of the majority”, “spent a long time learning to accept the brutality of this world”. that you haven’t fallen in with the right crowd, where you fit in and are accepted. I suggest that instead of trying to make other people “behave” the way You want, you either adapt and adjust to the community you picked, or find another one.

The error you and others seem to make while being on the internet is to take things personal, while anonymity is the golden rule and therefore not personal. It is only personal when you make it so, not the one trolling, slighting you. Seeking acceptance on a very personal level, what I read between the lines, is not the best of things you can try in a medium that is, in essence, impersonal.

What you think is right is not necessarily right, and you haven’t provided any details to form an opinion. However there is the possibility to file a complaint (F12) and let people who are used to dealing with such matters investigate and decide. You will have to accept their decision, which will be final.

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Tyranny of the minority is just as bad, if not worse, than tyranny of the majority…

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and far more dangerous in the long run

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Hi Wadiest,

I’m not going to take every single person’s comments and address every point, I’ll just let the thread run for the most part I think (unless I can’t help myself!). But it’s worth responding to you with a couple of points.

  1. I am not talking about a particular instance where I have been offended. I’m looking to have a general debate about the management within corps and to maybe get some ideas of how tackle this kind of thing in future as it happens quite a lot. I’ve got a great corp, but I’m mainly thinking about things I’ve heard via e.g. youtube vids of Eve fleet comms or twitch streams. I am not looking to “raise a ticket” with CCP. that’s been mentioned twice already even though my post said nothing about that, which is interesting.

  2. It is interesting that people assume that the hate speech I am talking about is directed towards me personally. Actually I couldn’t give a toss what ppl say about me because I can give as good as I get. As I’ve said, offense is not the issue. I think it is particularly important to stand up against hate towards groups that you are not a part of. Tribalism is not helpful, and yes, that goes both ways.

Thank you for narrowing it down to its core :smiley:

Well, in that case I would say it is very simple. Since you seem to be the one in charge, you make the rules, you build your particular community, you decide who fits in and who is disruptive. My corp used to be with Sev3rance. There was no trash talk allowed on any communication medium at alliance level, chat channels, teamspeak, whatsoever. It was and probably still is, policed. The leader sets the rules and gives the example. And yes, people did get removed permanently if they failed to follow the rules. Some corporations followed the same set of rules (mine included), others gave more slack.

Managing a community can be hard work in the beginning, but once the rules you set are crystal clear and are enforced by the one responsible, the community starts to police itself because most of them will be like minded.

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Thanks for posting Sen.

I actually saw that other post but, perhaps stupidly, didn’t read it before creating this thread as it was about Reddit. I can’t stand reddit just like I can’t stand other sources of online speech vomit like twitter. People get shut down when they raise this. The most extreme views in support of total free speech will come to the surface inevitably. I’m raising the question because, a)I’m interested in different ways of managing this, without it becoming a big deal in corp and b) I will raise these issues and take any ad hominem attacks that ensue, because I can take it and I think it’s important to discuss, particularly in the face of people trying to shut down the debate. More vulnerable people will stay quiet.

Thanks again Sen for your considered contribution.

I’ll start by saying that you are absolutely right, and that any sort of Code of Conduct - written or unspoken - has the capacity to be abused by those in power. To me, this seems to be about separate issues though - among other things, whether you trust those in power, or whether there is transparency in moderation.


Your latter point, though, feeds into the vicious cycle that we need to break, and wouldn’t actually require hard rules to do so. The internet does indeed provide anonymity of a sort, and some people use that to personally attack others (You said the troll isn’t the one personally attacking people: that is just blatantly wrong). Then the community just lets it happen, since “it’s the internet, you shouldn’t take it personally.” So now the behaviour is accepted. And on and on we go.

So let’s break it. Let’s stop ignoring it. Let’s call these people out as the shitty people they are - the same reason some people get offended (oh no, I said it) online applies to the trolls - they may be anonymous, but there’s still a human with feelings of some sort behind the screen.


Your final point is basically “What you think is offensive isn’t offensive to everyone.”

We’re talking about squashing things like discrimination, sexism, and racism out of the community. If you don’t agree that that sort of ■■■■ shouldn’t be accepted, you’re encouraging it, and that’s part of the problem.

And, maybe, just maybe… we should all agree that some things are offensive? Why are we protecting racism and ■■■■ like that as a valid opinion?

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thaaaaank you Sen

You do know that there are literally thousands of EVE characters whose names are various forms of racial slurs, ethnic slurs, anti-Semite, misogynistic, and many, many other derogatory terms, right? And those characters are still in the game after 10+ years without CCP doing anything about them…

Don’t believe me? Go in-game to the search function and look up any term you can think of. I can guarantee you there is a character with that in their name somewhere…

Let me clarify what was condensed in my remark. Just as acceptance is a two way process, so is the one for getting personal. Yes, of course the troll/griefer tries to get under someone’s skin, but he/she has no idea who you really are, only that there are funny buttons to be pressed for a (what he/she thinks is a funny) response. Ironically, if the troll is attacked in turn, he/she probably doesn’t feel “attacked”, knowing exactly how that nasty game works. If his “victim” allows that troll to get under his/her skin, well, only that makes it real and personal for the “victim”. Anyway, that’s how I see it, and it isn’t necessarily right :grinning: But it is how I approach it.

Undeniably so, if the level is high enough, like blatant racism, extreme ideology, etc. However, not every single individual’s feelings can be used as a basis for rule making. It boils down to this, the tyranny of the majority vs. the tyranny of the individual (yes, the latter form exists too and is equally vicious). When is an individual’s feeling significant enough to create a rule or law that affects every other individual ?

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Well unfortunately that’s just not correct - trolls constantly attack others based on some aspect of who that person is.

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