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TWBG Statement on Harassment, Abuse, and Intolerance in the Gaming World

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Katie Aidley
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There Will Be Games

It’s time to clean house.

Last week games writer Katie Aidley (Katiesgamecorner.com) posted an article to her Web site about sexual harassment in the board games world. Some have reacted with the all-too-typical and infuriatingly sexist "where is the video footage/police report/detailed eyewitness accounts" trope. Some have remained indifferent, uncomfortable that their fun times are interrupted by a very serious issue. While others like myself have simply nodded sadly and thought "it's about god damned time somebody said something." Having seen and encountered the kinds of rampant sexual harassment that goes on at conventions and game groups and having heard stories like Katie's about the more behind the scenes hostility that exists in this hobby toward women, I wanted to take this moment to state ThereWillBe.Games position on not just sexual harassment but also racism, prejudice, and intolerance in the gaming community. Don't act like it doesn't exist, because it absolutely does even if it does not directly touch your life.

Rather than abdicate leadership on the subject and sweep this into backroom forums as other major gaming sites have done, effectively throwing the issue to the dogs, I wanted to come forward on our front page at this point to say that this site stands with Katie as well as anyone else who has suffered any kind of abuse or harassment at the hands of others in the hobby gaming sphere. It's time to drag the scumbags that are making this hobby hostile to women or any other non-white, non-male, non-straight group out into the light and run them the fuck off in no uncertain terms. Katie's article is a clarion call that it is time to clean house in what has traditionally been a very white, very male, very middle-class hobby where "representing women" still too often means...Red Scorpion.

ThereWillBe.Games is a safe zone for all genders, all sexual orientations, all nationalities, all races, all religions, and all socio-economic classes. This is common ground, and here all users can rest assured that they are welcome, accepted, and neither our staff nor our community will tolerate aggressive male behavior, hate, prejudice or abuse toward them. We have been running this site for over ten years and, rather shockingly, we have never had to deal with the kinds of harassment and abuse other gaming sites have dealt with. This will remain the status quo.

ThereWillBe.Games supports inclusion and equality one hundred percent. We believe everyone that plays and enjoys games deserves to feel represented and accepted. If at any point anyone feels that we are not meeting this goal or if someone in the community is not meeting our standards of inclusion and acceptance set forward here, please reach out directly to me or any of other staff members and we will correct the situation.

However, there are exceptions to the above policy. Nazis, Neo-Nazis, "Gamergate" types, sexists, homophobes, racists, and bigots of all descriptions are absolutely NOT welcome here and if that upsets you, you can walk right on out the door with them. There are plenty of other gaming sites where you motherfuckers are tolerated so don't play the victim card on us.

Katie Aidley
Michael Barnes (He/Him)
Senior Board Game Reviews Editor

Sometime in the early 1980s, MichaelBarnes’ parents thought it would be a good idea to buy him a board game to keep him busy with some friends during one of those high-pressure, “free” timeshare vacations. It turned out to be a terrible idea, because the game was TSR’s Dungeon! - and the rest, as they say, is history. Michael has been involved with writing professionally about games since 2002, when he busked for store credit writing for Boulder Games’ newsletter. He has written for a number of international hobby gaming periodicals and popular Web sites. From 2004-2008, he was the co-owner of Atlanta Game Factory, a brick-and-mortar retail store. He is currently the co-founder of FortressAT.com and Nohighscores.com as well as the Editor-in-Chief of Miniature Market’s Review Corner feature. He is married with two childen and when he’s not playing some kind of game he enjoys stockpiling trivial information about music, comics and film.

Katie Aidley
Michael Barnes
Senior Board Game Reviews Editor
 

There Will Be Games Katie Aidley
Katie Aidley
Michael Barnes (He/Him)
Senior Board Game Reviews Editor

Sometime in the early 1980s, MichaelBarnes’ parents thought it would be a good idea to buy him a board game to keep him busy with some friends during one of those high-pressure, “free” timeshare vacations. It turned out to be a terrible idea, because the game was TSR’s Dungeon! - and the rest, as they say, is history. Michael has been involved with writing professionally about games since 2002, when he busked for store credit writing for Boulder Games’ newsletter. He has written for a number of international hobby gaming periodicals and popular Web sites. From 2004-2008, he was the co-owner of Atlanta Game Factory, a brick-and-mortar retail store. He is currently the co-founder of FortressAT.com and Nohighscores.com as well as the Editor-in-Chief of Miniature Market’s Review Corner feature. He is married with two childen and when he’s not playing some kind of game he enjoys stockpiling trivial information about music, comics and film.

Articles by Michael

Katie Aidley
Michael Barnes
Senior Board Game Reviews Editor

Articles by Michael

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hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #276174 25 Jun 2018 16:08
Bravo!
boothwah's Avatar
boothwah replied the topic: #276175 25 Jun 2018 16:14
There's only two things I can't stand in this world. Those who are intolerant of other people's cultures... and the Dutch.
Legomancer's Avatar
Legomancer replied the topic: #276176 25 Jun 2018 16:23
hell yes
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #276177 25 Jun 2018 16:32
Thank you Michael. In the over 10 years that I have been here I have never felt threatened or harassed because I have been working with dudes who believe in what is written in this article. And they don't just talk the talk. They walk the walk.

Also, is the first time we've had the word "motherfucker" in a front page article?
rafcordero's Avatar
rafcordero replied the topic: #276179 25 Jun 2018 16:49
Nice to see a very clear stance, appreciate that Michael.
GorillaGrody's Avatar
GorillaGrody replied the topic: #276180 25 Jun 2018 16:54
Love it! Yes!
engineer Al's Avatar
engineer Al replied the topic: #276181 25 Jun 2018 16:57
Wonderful, Michael. Thank you!
quozl's Avatar
quozl replied the topic: #276187 25 Jun 2018 18:35
Sad to see such a serious and much needed message derailed at the end by childish posturing.
Frohike's Avatar
Frohike replied the topic: #276188 25 Jun 2018 18:51
You see posturing. I see honesty, confidence, and an unambiguous stance.
quozl's Avatar
quozl replied the topic: #276189 25 Jun 2018 18:54
I hope I'm wrong and we see real change here.
drewcula's Avatar
drewcula replied the topic: #276194 25 Jun 2018 20:14
Bravo MB. But just to be sure - I can still like Red Sonja, right?
Joebot's Avatar
Joebot replied the topic: #276195 25 Jun 2018 20:22

quozl wrote: Sad to see such a serious and much needed message derailed at the end by childish posturing.


Personally, I would describe Michael's hardline opposition to hate-mongering assholes as a "principled stand," not "childish posturing." I've no patience for "good people on both sides" false equivalences. Time to call assholes out for being assholes.
xthexlo's Avatar
xthexlo replied the topic: #276199 25 Jun 2018 20:37
Agree!
quozl's Avatar
quozl replied the topic: #276200 25 Jun 2018 21:38
I hope it's a hardline stand. But I've been here a while and have heard good things said before.
Deleted's Avatar
Deleted replied the topic: #276209 26 Jun 2018 00:47

quozl wrote: I hope I'm wrong and we see real change here.


I didn’t realize there was a problem HERE. I haven’t seen any racism or intolerant, crazy shit here. No Nazis, no gay bashing, nothing.

I mean, being conservative in any way is definitely frowned upon by many but I haven’t read anyone being blatantly hostile towards anyone of any particular “identity group” for lack of a better label. I hate labels, so forgive my lack of a better one.
san il defanso's Avatar
san il defanso replied the topic: #276217 26 Jun 2018 06:01
Excellent!
Legomancer's Avatar
Legomancer replied the topic: #276218 26 Jun 2018 08:29
I applaud the statement and its unequivocal nature. Forceful stands must be made and folks need to be told, without question, that their brand of toxicity is not welcome and will not be tolerated.

That said, as others have pointed out here and elsewhere on the site, there is still a level of "just bros being dudes" going on that we need to recognize and address. Even purposely "ironic" stuff _is still that stuff_. It doesn't have to be shiny happy fun time all games and players are great in their own special way -- we already have a place for that -- but I think we can elevate out of the remnants of 2004 juvenile nerdbro Internet some.

Even with that, however, I still enjoy the discussions here far more than elsewhere, and I think the site is on the right track.
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #276231 26 Jun 2018 09:54
If you have only been reading main stream boardgame sites and groups, you have only seen the tip of the iceberg. BGG is positively tame, almost laughable, compared to the whole parade of ugly that is happening right now. The incel rhetoric that is polluting women gamer blogs over this issue is so disgusting that I literally gagged reading. The problem with the word "motherfucker" is that, despite it being considered the strongest and most vile swear word in the English language, it is still inadequate at expressing the extent of the vileness of these people or the depth of my rage.
drewcula's Avatar
drewcula replied the topic: #276234 26 Jun 2018 10:14
I am so insulated. I only visit four gaming sites. Daily.
BGG
TWBG
and
Two private Facebook Groups:
one for DreadBall
and
one for the Hobby side of life

None of sites above exhibit vitriol. Ubarose's description of the wider gaming communities online is alarming and depressing.
rafcordero's Avatar
rafcordero replied the topic: #276236 26 Jun 2018 10:20
I was really happy to see the last line in particular. One of the most frustrating things about many online spaces is moderators/admins insistence that calling an asshole an asshole is worse than a person behaving like an asshole without using naughty words. Conversation derailment, arguments in bad faith, reprehensible attitudes etc are welcome under the guise of free speech or conversation, so long as they're 'civil'. Some beliefs or actions are inherently uncivil. I'd rather join a community that is ok with calling someone a motherfucker who deserves it, than one that allows toxic members under the guise of bothsidesisms or one that abdicates responsibility under the guise of 'free speech'.
quozl's Avatar
quozl replied the topic: #276238 26 Jun 2018 10:26
I'm hesitant to post this as I fear it will derail this thread into people arguing about the language used but I do want to point out that using words associated with sexual violence is pretty tone deaf when you're talking about making this site free of that kind of thing.
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #276240 26 Jun 2018 10:44

quozl wrote: I'm hesitant to post this as I fear it will derail this thread into people arguing about the language used but I do want to point out that using words associated with sexual violence is pretty tone deaf when you're talking about making this site free of that kind of thing.


Motherfucker isn't a word associated with sexual violence. It is associated with the breaking of society's most sacred taboos, which makes the person vile and despicable.

Identity harassment has been accepted, even encouraged, in nerd culture forever. We are declaring that on TWBG this harassment is not just inappropriate, unfunny, disruptive, threatening, hostile and mean, but absolutely taboo.
Deleted's Avatar
Deleted replied the topic: #276242 26 Jun 2018 11:06
If not for mother fucking, how would Incels get laid? Hell, perhaps if mothers would take action on behalf of all women, they wouldn't be running women down on the street? ~ Asking for a friend ;)
jeb's Avatar
jeb replied the topic: #276245 26 Jun 2018 11:13
Sounds good, Michael. Thanks Uba and the other editors here for creating this place. There's a reason I have been active here and essentially nowhere else online for the last ten years.
Xerxes's Avatar
Xerxes replied the topic: #276316 27 Jun 2018 02:30
Well said that man!