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Role Playing (Games) Your Rights Online

Gay Guild Recruitment Disallowed From WoW? 514

Posted by Zonk
from the double-standard dept.
Fireball394 wrote with a link to an article on the site 'In Newsweekly'. The article, entitled "Blizzard of GLBT gaming policy questions", discusses the application of a harassment warning on a player who was recruiting for a GLBT guild. From the article: "In her follow-up letter to the company, Andrews explained that there was an obvious misunderstanding and that she was not insulting anyone, but merely recruiting for a 'GLBT friendly' guild. The response from Blizzard was, 'While we appreciate and understand your point of view, we do feel that the advertisement of a GLBT friendly guild is very likely to result in harassment for players that may not have existed otherwise. If you will look at our policy, you will notice the suggested penalty for violating the Sexual Orientation Harassment Policy is to be temporarily suspended from the game. However, as there was clearly no malicious intent on your part, this penalty was reduced to a warning.' Blizzard's stance was clear that recruiting for a guild using 'GLBT' was inappropriate as, the company said, it may 'incite certain responses in other players that will allow for discussion that we feel has no place in our game.'"
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Gay Guild Recruitment Disallowed From WoW?

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  • Okey dokey (Score:5, Funny)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Friday January 27, 2006 @01:38PM (#14581077)
    This cannot possibly backfire in any conceivably way.

    Way to go, clowns!
    • Re:Okey dokey (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TikiTDO (759782) <TikiTDO@gmail.com> on Friday January 27, 2006 @01:56PM (#14581394)
      Actually they are really acting within the best interest of most of the people involved. If you go out of your way to create a 'GLBT' guild and advertise it for all to see, then you, and your guild members are certain to become prime target for the rest of the server that are not quite as ok with the alternate sexuality as the guild members.

      I'm sure if such a person wanted to create a 'GLBT' guild they could go to one of those forums mentioned in TFA and announce it there, having the effect of reaching a large fraction of the people they wanted to reach while keeping those who have no business with it out. Anything else is just asking for pure grief from the vast majority of the community.

      When you consider how many players blizzard may have lost had such a guild come to exist, became publicized, then had all of the members harassed versus the few they will lose over this announcement you should see where I'm coming from.
      • You are completely right.

        However, the potential backlash from players and the media over a decision that (while defendable) will be unable to escape the anti-gay stigma would be far more damaging than just letting a few goofballs have their way for 15 minutes until it gets boring.
      • Re:Okey dokey (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SatanicPuppy (611928)
        That's a nice way of putting it. As a longtime gamer, I can say with assurance that there is a LARGE segment of the MMORPG player population who would not react with maturity and tolerance...I'm not saying that they're bad people, or that they'd necesarrily act that way irl, but when you add in anonymity and the kind of sexual purience you get out of highschoolers (who tend not to react well to stuff like that because they haven't really grown into their sexual identities bla blah), you're bound to get some
        • Re:Okey dokey (Score:5, Insightful)

          by pomo monster (873962) on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:36PM (#14581952)
          Hmm... maybe I misinterpreted you, but it sounds like you're agreeing that if there's a problem here, it's not with the folks who want to start an LGBT--it's the puerile kids who haven't yet learned how to function in society. So the question is: why is Blizzard supporting the latter instead of the former? I'm guessing because there's a lot more of the latter, and a lot more, to Blizzard, means a lot more money.
          • Re:Okey dokey (Score:5, Interesting)

            by tsm_sf (545316) * on Friday January 27, 2006 @03:15PM (#14582401) Journal
            Blizzard has a LONG history of turning a blind eye to assholes and jerks, simply because they're a large portion of their fan base. Every time I reload Diablo 2 I'm reminded of why I remove it; "oh yes, I'm surrounded by scum".

            I'm just not sure that there's as much mischief to be made out of this as Blizzard seems to think. What are they going to do, call them fags? Oh noooo.

            Braxor begins to cast Bruised Feelings.
            • Re:Okey dokey (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Jace of Fuse! (72042)
              Every time I reload Diablo 2 I'm reminded of why I remove it; "oh yes, I'm surrounded by scum".

              My solution to this was simple. I only play games with a few people I know IRL or people I know I get along with from online. I create private games in Diablo 2 and I password protect them. Believe me, this makes Diablo 2 a hell of a shitload better.

              In WoW, my guild is restricted to people I know IRL, and a few we have encountered online we care to play with. Fnord the rest of them. It's rare we invite someon
          • Re:Okey dokey (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Kadin2048 (468275) <`ten.yxox' `ta' `nidak.todhsals'> on Friday January 27, 2006 @03:32PM (#14582600) Homepage Journal
            I'm guessing because there's a lot more of the latter, and a lot more, to Blizzard, means a lot more money.

            Yeah, pretty much.

            I think Blizzard is also taking the "don't make waves" style of law enforcement. That is, a certain amount of antisocial behavior is allowed, as long as it doesn't rock the boat, so to speak. And conversely, your right to say whatever you want is going to be conditional that it doesn't cause a problem in their pretty little world.

            WoW is a lot like Disneyland. It's a part of the real world, and yet it's not. It's all quite fake and intended to create the an illusion (in Disneyland, an idyllic place to take the kids; in WoW a world where you can take on an alternate persona and hack at people with swords) which people pay for the priviledge of experiencing. The Disney folks are probably not going to let you burn the American flag in front of EPCOT Center -- even though it may be your right to do somewhere else -- because a whole lot of other people who are paying to be there don't want to see it. Likewise, Blizzard isn't going to let you set up a GLBT guild, because a lot of other customers would dislike it. (And I suspect they have a fear of being portrayed as a place for perverts in the Conservative media, which could cost them a lot of customers; there are still a lot of people for whom "gay" is synomous with "pervert" or "pedophile," especially in regards to interaction with their children.)

            I admit, it's not very fair. However, WoW is essentially a private playground, and they can do what they like in there. Anyone who doesn't like the rules can take their membership fee and go home.
        • Re:Okey dokey (Score:3, Insightful)

          by snwcrash (520762)
          But shouldn't people be able to freely associate regardless of what others might like to think of them? I mean it's their choice to be open about it or not.
      • Re:Okey dokey (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Onan (25162) on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:51PM (#14582121)
        Actually they are really acting within the best interest of most of the people involved. If you go out of your way to create a 'GLBT' guild and advertise it for all to see, then you, and your guild members are certain to become prime target for the rest of the server that are not quite as ok with the alternate sexuality as the guild members.
        How kind of them to have our best interests in mind. I wonder if they extend the same courtesy toward black players, banning them for disclosing their race in order to protect them from racists?
        • Re:Okey dokey (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Rei (128717) on Friday January 27, 2006 @04:00PM (#14582886) Homepage
          That's actually a good standard to apply. One should look at something that they're doing considering GLBT people and replace the word "gay" with "black", "homosexual" with "african-american", "gay culture" with "hip-hop culture", etc, and see if what you're stating sounds horribly racist. If it does, don't do it.
          • Re:Okey dokey (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Rei (128717) on Friday January 27, 2006 @04:15PM (#14583073) Homepage
            To apply this in more detail, I've "translated" part of the article.

            Original poster: OZ [the name of her guild] is recruiting all levels. We are not 'Non-caucasian only,' but we are 'Multicultural'!

            Blizzard: While we appreciate and understand your point of view, we feel that the advertisement of a "non-caucasian" guild is very likely to result in harassment for players that may not have existed otherwise. If you will look at our policy, you will notice the suggested penalty for violating the Racial Discrimination Policy is to be "temporarily suspended from the game". However, as there was clearly no malicious intent on your part, this penalty was reduced to a warning.

            Blizzard's stance was clear that recruiting for a guild using "non-caucasian" was inappropriate as, the company said, it may "incite certain responses in other players that will allow for discussion that we feel has no place in our game."

            Gamer John Blatzheim, who heard of Andrews' situation, e-mailed Blizzard to express his concern of a double standard that game masters would send her a warning that she could not use "non-caucasian" as an advertisement to express a safe place for black gamers after an incident a few months ago where a drive-by occurred within the game and players yelled in general chat, "Don't trust the n******!"

            "Many people are insulted just at the word 'African-American' or any other word referring to race," Blizzard responded to Blatzheim in an e-mail. "Also to discriminate against other players, such as not allowing any caucasians into the guild simply because of their race, could cause extreme offense to a large percentage of our players and should be avoided."

            MLK Champions and The Spreading Pride, two large black guilds are currently formulating a letter they plan to submit to Blizzard requesting a more detailed explanation as to the intent of this reinterpretation and execution of the racial discrimination rule. As the spirit of the discrimination rule seems to have been reinterpreted from protecting non-caucasian players, to keeping them silent.

            There are various types of servers that players can experience the game on. One of the options is to play on a role-playing server where players actually play as their characters, rather than through their characters. "We have determined that advertising race is not appropriate for the high fantasy setting of the World of Warcraft and is therefore not permitted" was another of Blizzard's responses. Does this mean that if a player has a character on a role-playing server that they play as black that would be violating the policy?
  • Seems Standart (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Azarael (896715) on Friday January 27, 2006 @01:40PM (#14581112) Homepage
    From what I have read, Blizzard is pretty tight on what sort of character names, etc that they allow. The decision in the article seems to be consistent with their in-game policies.
  • Blizzard is right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by A beautiful mind (821714) on Friday January 27, 2006 @01:42PM (#14581133)
    WoW is a fantasy world and they just want to take the issues of contemporarly life out of it.

    It's not like a gay couldn't play WoW, as I'm sure thousands of gay people do play, but rather that recruiting people to a gay guild is adding unnecessary tension. It's like naming a guild "republican lovers" and trying to recruit people in to that kind of guild. I'm sure many people would dislike that too and I'm almost certain Blizzard would act similarly.
    • by duerra (684053) * on Friday January 27, 2006 @01:53PM (#14581330) Homepage
      It's not like a gay couldn't play WoW, as I'm sure thousands of gay people do play, but rather that recruiting people to a gay guild is adding unnecessary tension. It's like naming a guild "republican lovers" and trying to recruit people in to that kind of guild. I'm sure many people would dislike that too and I'm almost certain Blizzard would act similarly.

      And what is wrong with either? I understand where they are coming from, but at the same time, if I am playing a game that takes advantage of teamwork, the best bet is to try and get players around you that have similar ideals, passions, ways of thinking, etc. This provides an opportunity for players to form deep-seeded friendships, which online games do for a lot of people. If my passion is being a Republican (or Democrat, or snowboarder, or whatever), then I don't see why I should be disallowed from forming a group of players together that have these similar passions when I am clearly not doing so out of malicious intent.
      • by JabberWokky (19442)
        Because they are trying to foster role playing and create groups based on the characters rather than the players.

        You can't be a Republican in a fantasy age. They don't exist. You can't be a snowboarder -- they don't exist. Your character does not snowboard, and there's no such thing as Republicans, so how can you form a guild based around it? Note that you could create a players association... this is specifically about in-game groups called guilds. There are no players who are members of a guild -- o

    • Obviously "republican lovers" would be just another attempt at creating a GBLT friendly guild...
    • by bahwi (43111) <incoming@@@josephguhlin...com> on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:01PM (#14581468) Homepage
      From TFA:

      Sara Andrews has stated that she will not be renewing her World of Warcraft account due to Blizzards lack of support for a GLBT friendly environment, "It seems to be OK for general chat to be flooded with, 'That's so gay!' and 'I just got ganked! What a fag!' yet advertising for a GLBT friendly environment where we don't have to deal with such language is deemed inappropriate."

      ---

      But I don't see any links about "Damn republicans! Stupid GOPs!" or anything like that. If done right it can be a positive thing, and people see that there are gay gamers [gaymer.org] out there. A thing more rare than women it seems. It doesn't have to be an isuse, it can be a positive thing. Instead of grouping with a bunch of people who just yell anti gay slurs and being a closet-case-ork.

      The problem is the society, you can't take the issues of contemporary life out completely, and it never hurts to group up with similar people so you don't have to worry about those issues either.

      What blizzard has done has simply left those issues in.
      • Blah blah. Right or wrong, "Gay" and "Fag" are common parlance of annoyance and insult with the younger set. I myself was quite enamored of the word "Bitch" which I applied impartially to men, women, and machinery. It's offensive to some people, but when it's in common use as a general purpose insult, you're just going to have to get over it, and wait for the fad to change.
        • by bahwi (43111)
          Yeah, but the enviroment of those words is different. People aren't afraid to admit they're women. Pretty much everybody(excluding slashdot) has probably seen them. It's a whole different world when it comes to gay. People ARE afraid to come out of the closet, you can be fired for being gay(yes, you can), people constantly attack people for being gay, at least with rape there's at least a second motive(sex) not just a victim(the women, in most cases).

          But yeah, they're just common insults, gay, fag, bitch, n
        • by Onan (25162) on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:59PM (#14582221)
          So because an offensive act is accepted within a given subculture, we should always just sit back and accept it?

          My understanding is that slaveholding was pretty universally accepted in the antebellum South. Does that mean that everyone should've just gotten over that and waited for the fad to change on its own?

          (No, I'm not claiming that calling someone a fag is the same scale of badness as holding them in lifelong servitude. But I'm pointing out that societal acceptance is a crappy sole standard for the condoning of oppressive discrimination.)

        • by Peganthyrus (713645) on Friday January 27, 2006 @03:47PM (#14582756) Homepage
          "Gay" and "Fag" are common parlance of annoyance and insult with the younger set.

          Yeah, and it makes people who are gay really uncomfortable to have those words thrown around as insults. It's hard enough to come out in the first place; I can't imagine what it would be like to come out if everyone I knew was clearly hostile to my sexuality because they used those words as insults all the time.

          What's your ethnicity, what's your kink? Search and replace "gay" and 'fag" and so on with "wop" or "kike" or "Jap" or "nigger" or whatever term is instant fighting words, when applied to you. Looks like a pretty hostile environment, doesn't it?

          I've actually gotten younger people I know to stop saying "That's so gay" when they mean "that's stupid" by pointing out that, hey, I'm gay, and it hurts every time they do that.
          • Don't portray it like I'm just insensitive and don't understand what it's like...I have both empathy and personal experience to fall back on.

            But confronting everyone who thoughtlessly uses a word that you find offensive isn't the answer. The people who didn't mean anything by it will feel like shitheads, and people generally don't like feeling like shitheads, which beeeds resentment. And the ones who did mean something by it will laugh and get up in your face, and you won't have solved anything. There are b
      • by blunte (183182)
        You're not allowed to say "that's so gay" and so on. It is against the terms. However, Blizz doesn't monitor every communication, but rather they leave it up to players to self-police.

        You can report people who are saying offensive things and Blizzard will look into it. In many cases they'll give a warning, and in some cases they'll ban someone.

        I've had very positive results from reporting people who had offensive names or who said things highly offensive (in my view). So if gays get offended by hearing
      • by Epi-man (59145)
        If done right it can be a positive thing, and people see that there are gay gamers out there.

        Can I just ask why the heck it matters whether there are or are not gay gamers out there? What does sexual orientation have to do with any of it, why should any one care? I am asking this in all seriousness, this is just silly (to me).
    • I'd agree if they are even handed about it- all guilds that they know about which are based on rl things banned. I doubt this is the case though- I know there were religious based guilds (rl religions, not rp ones) on several servers that Blizzard didn't break up. If you're going down that road, do it to everyone.
    • Christian Guilds are allowed.

      WoW is a fantasy world and they just want to take the issues of contemporarly[sic] life out of it.

      One of the issues in contemporary life is ostracism and bigotry. Can you understand why a gay person would want to leave those issues behind and have a great time gaming with friendly people?
    • Bad Analogy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Moth7 (699815) <mike...brownbill@@@gmail...com> on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:29PM (#14581872) Journal
      There's nothing wrong with a gay guild from the perspective of total in-game immersion. Homosexuality is not something artificially created by contemporary society - it will exist in any environment where humans, and indeed other species, are present. There's no republican gene that would cause an elf to magically align his or her self to what is, compared to the number of possible outlooks on life, a relatively narrow band of thinking. However, where nature can only incline you to be attracted to one gender or a combination of the two, then probability says it is definitely going to happen.

      Take a mythology with 10 races, all of whom are loosely based on humans. In total, you're going to have as many gays over all as, for example, dwarves. Your argument appears to equate homosexuality (an inherent characteristic) with any of a number of artificially defined concepts, such as religion or political alignment. If it's ok to base a guild around in game concepts, say all those who worship some in game deity, why is it not acceptable to base a guild around concepts which exist both in game and in the real world? Would it be a violation of Blizzard policy to create a race of herbivores? I think not. Why then is it wrong to differentiate between (loosely paralelled) homosexuals (herbivores), bisexuals (omnivores) and heterosexuals (carnivores)? If anything, denying the existence of homosexuality within the world of warcraft reduces its verisimilitude and only serves to alienate people further.
    • Re:Blizzard is right (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ptarmigan42 (927409) on Friday January 27, 2006 @03:11PM (#14582345)

      I totally disagree.

      The fact is that discrimination against GLTB people is fairly common in WoW. Usually when I'm confronted a person who gratuitously uses descriminatory language, I just tell them to knock it off, and I've had about a 50% success rate with this strategy. Some will apologize and tell you that they have several gay friends, and that they totally didn't mean it like that. Some will tell you about Sodom and Gomorrah and how 'that lifestyle' leads straight to hell, and while I find it quite hilarious that people actually believe that in this day and age, I can see how for some people it would get quite frustrating. Which is why a GLBT-friendly guild has a place on WoW - it would be a place where you can play the game and not have to deal with discriminatory fuckwits. It makes even more sense when you consider that, when you join a guild, you often don't know the GLBT-friendliness of your fellow guildees. And if you do find out subsequently that some of them (especially a guild leader) are not terribly enlightened, you face a tough decision about whether or not to stay with the guild (most of whom may be really good people). I've had this happen to me - I eventually quit, because the guild leader was one of the less enlightened folks. Joining a guild advertised as GLBT-friendly would alleviate all of these problems.

    • Re:Blizzard is right (Score:3, Interesting)

      by orangesquid (79734)
      The purpose of LGBT groups is usually just to give people who feel out-of-place a home. Sometimes there are LGBT activism, dating, or topic-discussion groups, but a lot of LGBT gatherings or LGBT social groups are more just symbols of pride.. like having a LGBT distributed.net team or something.
      I'm not sure what the woman's intent was in creating the group, but it almost seems like WoW is doing a don't-ask-don't-tell approach to eliminating sexual harrassment.
      If sexual orientation is part of contemporary l
  • Good for Blizzard (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MustardMan (52102) on Friday January 27, 2006 @01:42PM (#14581149)
    Why should a guild be limited to GLBT? What if someone tried to make a "whites-only" guild? The whole POINT of an online game is that you can get away from your real self and become another persona - a person's sexual orientation, race, creed, color, or taste in music has exactly jack squat to do with the game or the game world.
    • by misfit13b (572861) on Friday January 27, 2006 @01:48PM (#14581243)
      The whole POINT of an online game is that you can get away from your real self and become another persona...

      So why can't this other persona be gay?

      • by TWooster (696270)
        You avoided the question. That is really, neither here nor there.

        A character's sexual orientation has no bearing on gameplay. If you choose to orient your online character as gay, that's fine, even though your character can't really get it on with another character (though, "cybering" might be the exception here). What they wish to prevent, I assure you, is becoming liable for not properly policing hate issues towards the people BEHIND the personas. Which is where a GLBT guild would certainly lead.

        I'm sure
        • by misfit13b (572861) on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:34PM (#14581926)
          So deal with hate issues by, oh, I don't know... dealing directly with those who are doing the hating, perhaps? The end result here doesn't make sense. This person's GLBT-friendly guild isn't anti anything, nor are they starting their group with malicious intent.

          By going on assumptions that a guild like that may lead to hate issues, they're not doing anything to remove the true negative elements from the game. Instead, Blizzard chooses to limit positive social interactivity between benevolent like-minded gamers.

          And by the way, calling people "gay" or a "fag" online has nothing to do with breaking any kind of RL/game boundary. It's simply ignorance and hatred. (I've been called a "fag" many times online, and I'm not gay in RL.)

      • by plover (150551) *
        Because there is no in-game sex in WoW. There is not even an in-game concept of sex. Characters have gender, but that's little more than a "costume" providing a body shape that has typical gender identifying characteristics.

        Guilds are character associations, not player groups. (A player can have multiple characters, say a cleric and a rogue, but if his cleric is accepted in a guild, that doesn't grant his rogue any special status.) Guilds are for gaming concepts -- and there is no gaming concept of

    • Why should a guild be limited to GLBT? What if someone tried to make a "whites-only" guild? Intent.

      Like the replier above me, roleplaying a gay barbarian archmage should be fine (if unthematic). The sexuality is based on the character. "Whites only" is a term being applied to the player, which breaks the fantasy setting they're trying to foster.

      Aren't "no stinky elves" and "death to the horde!" guilds allowed?
    • Re:Good for Blizzard (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jythie (914043)
      I get the feeling blizzard made a similiar assumption, but from what I can see from the original recruitment, it was just supposed to be a GLBT _friendly_ guild... so no ban on hetrosexuals in the first place. I am truely baffled why 'friendly' must mean 'everyone else is banned'
    • The biggest gay guild in Wow (Roughtrade, http://www.roughtrade.ws/ [roughtrade.ws] ) is not EXCLUSIVELY gay as you are implying. They are mostly gay, but they accept any kind of players in it.
    • They allow... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Luthair (847766) on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:01PM (#14581467)
      Christian guilds, why should other communities be blocked.
      • Can you give some examples? The only "Christianity" I've EVER seen in World of Warcraft is the name "Jesus" and word "Christ" being used as expletives.

        You are talking about guilds who openly go about discussing Christianity on the public chat channels, right (be it recruiting, proselytizing, or whatever)? You're not just talking about Christians who've gathered together in a guild who talk about Christianity outside the game on messageboards and the like and maybe only privately discuss it in the game, r

    • Why should a guild be limited to GLBT? What if someone tried to make a "whites-only" guild?

      This is a role-playing game. Just because you join the GLBT guild doesn't mean you are a giblet. Nor does joining a "whites-only" guild require that you be a white - it just means you play one on tv, er, WoW.
    • er...there are plenty of "whites only" organizations both in WoW and in the US society at large. There are also groups implicitly or explicitly limited by country, age, political leaning or any other number of factors. But this is dumbass:

      "We have determined that advertising sexual orientation is not appropriate for the high fantasy setting of the World of Warcraft and is therefore not permitted"

      According to the letter of the statement, advertising a heterosexual orientation is also not appropriate, bu

      • And yeah, "high fantasy setting" and "sexual orientation" are completely inimical. I've never heard of any porn featuring "hot girl-on-girl action" in a "high fantasy setting".

        Stay away from Xena fan-fiction then :)
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Saige (53303) <<evil.angela> <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday January 27, 2006 @01:43PM (#14581155) Journal
    Let's see... because doing this MIGHT cause other players to harass and discriminate GLBT folks, Blizzard will head this all off by discriminating against GLBT folks.

    So now you're allowed to go around calling other people and things gay, but refer to yourself that way, and you're in trouble.

    Quality ideas here.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

      The way I see it, Blizzard isn't really discriminating against anyone. Blizzard is saying that any sort of in-game establishment with a specific ideological, philosophical, political, or relgious basis for existence is not allowed. Discrimination requires that different categories of people recieve different treatment. I don't see that happening here.
      • > Blizzard is saying that any sort of in-game establishment with a specific ideological, philosophical, political, or relgious basis for existence is not allowed. Discrimination requires that different categories of people recieve different treatment. I don't see that happening here.

        I don't play WoW, but other people here have said there are Christian guilds so, in fact, there is discrimination, as you defined it.
      • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Jherico (39763) <`gro.saerdnatnias' `ta' `sivadb'> on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:24PM (#14581789) Homepage
        The way I see it, Blizzard isn't really discriminating against anyone.
        Blizzard has already been discriminating against people by failing to enforce their anti-sexual harrasment policy. As long as someone if free to hurl 'fag' or 'gay' as an insult in game, then Blizzard is fostering a hostile environment for GLBT players. And FTA, the person was recruiting for a GLBT friendly guild. That means it wasn't exclusionary except of course that you couldn't be hostile to GLBT people. You didn't have to be Gay to join the guild. You just had to think that using 'fag' as an epithet was wrong. Besides, Night Elves are very clear already gay.
    • The ONLY question (Score:3, Insightful)

      by acvh (120205)
      is "do they allow other guilds based on sexual orientation?" the Guild of Heterosexual Males? The Guild of White Men From America?

      If so, then this decision is wrong. If not, then this is a nonissue and that's that.
      • by Jherico (39763)
        the Guild of Heterosexual Males? The Guild of White Men From America?
        That's a specious argument. Heterosexual males, and white men from america aren't likely to need to go somewhere special to find acceptance and escape harrasment. Most guild are likely to be upwards of 90% heterosexual white males already. Just because they haven't made it explicit in their recruiting doesn't mean someone openly gay wouldn't be made to feel unwelcome either.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Godai (104143) * on Friday January 27, 2006 @01:56PM (#14581389)
      Actually, they're quite consistent. They don't allow the discussion of sexual orientation in any way. This is in keeping with their desire to maintain a 'family safe' environment.

      You wouldn't even be allowed to discuss whether Elton John is gay or not -- in fact, I know of a player who was suspended for 3 hours for doing so. Rightly or wrongly they've decided that rather than try to evaluate such discussion on a case by case basis they'd rather simply disallow discussion of the topic. This would include bannig discussion about whether or not Brad Pitt is straight so it's not discrimination.

      Thus, it'd be hard to recruit for a GLBT guild without discussiong policy-banned topics. In the end, it's their game, it's their policy, and if someone is playing, they've agreed agreed to it. If someone doesn't like it, they're always free to not pay them to play.
      • Re:Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by TheCarp (96830) *
        Good point.

        I mean, I am about as GLBT friendly as a person gets, but this entire issue just goes too far. In fact, it goes too far on so many levels.

        Ok I understand the family friendly stuff... thats why I don't play WoW. I am offended by the familyy friendly nazis everywhere that I run into them. I avoid them. I don't like their viepoint. I don't agree with their implicit assumption that language or exposure to sexuality, or whatever is in some way damaging to children. Frankly, I consider their viewpoint
        • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Elwood P Dowd (16933) <judgmentalist@gmail.com> on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:46PM (#14582063) Journal
          Why form a guild of GLBTs when GLBT has no meaning inside the game at all?
          Are you for serious? Do you really think people don't talk about sexuality at all on WoW? They don't talk about their boyfriends & girlfriends & what they think is attractive? People don't make friends on WoW? They don't use sexuality based slurs?

          Sure, I know what's prohibited, but that's irrelevant. It happens just the same.

          So if roles were reversed, 98% of WoW users were gay, and slurs against straight people were common on WoW, and I actually hoped to meet other people on WoW with whom I might become friends with (and, you know, maybe date), then I can totally imagine joining a guild for straight people. How is this not obvious? You sound like you've intentionally deluded yourself (and you sound a little like all the idiot homophobes up in this discussion).
          • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by thesandtiger (819476)
            Exactly so.

            If a straight person is in a 'regular' guild and says "Oh, I have to go - my boyfriend and I are going out tonight, I have to get ready" such a statement is met without comment.

            If a gay person were to say "Oh, I have to go - my girlfriend and I are going out tonight, I have to get ready" such a statement usually gets met with "Uh... I thought you were a girl? How can you have a girlfriend?" at best, and "OMGZZ! UR A DYKE!!!" with a swift kick from the guild at worst.

            One should be perfectly free t
        • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by metamatic (202216) on Friday January 27, 2006 @03:13PM (#14582363) Homepage Journal
          Why is it so important to tell everyone and organize around it.

          The point is to organize a guild so you can enjoy the game without having bigots call you a fag all the time. That's exactly the behavior that keeps me away from online gaming.

        • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday January 27, 2006 @05:35PM (#14583930) Homepage Journal

          I strongly disagree. This is just like the military's don't ask, don't tell policy, and it stinks. Why is it not okay to be yourself on WoW? I was just reading an article about this, it's called "covering". You can come out of the closet maybe, but then you have to "cover" up your real self. One of the examples was, your family will invite your (the theoretical third-party homosexual is "you" in this case) lifemate to christmas, but don't kiss under the mistletoe like a "normal" couple. You can play WoW, but you'd better not let anyone know you're gay. What's the difference? Nothing. It's still sexual discrimination and it's utterly inappropriate.

          Now, maybe they have the right to discriminate against homosexuals on a MMOG, I'm not sure how the law would be applied if it would be at all, but it's still discrimination, and it makes me ill. I'm not playing WoW just because I don't want to, but if I had wanted to, I'd certainly skip it now.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by keyne9 (567528) on Friday January 27, 2006 @01:56PM (#14581390)
      Blizzard will head this all off by discriminating against GLBT folks. So now you're allowed to go around calling other people and things gay, but refer to yourself that way, and you're in trouble.


      Uh, no. They're saying it isn't a good idea to form such a guild, as it promotes a lot of hate-mongering. Additionally, if you'd read the blurb at all, you'd know that calling people "gay" or any derivative can result in suspension (rather than a warning).

      Read & comprehend.
  • GLBT (Score:5, Funny)

    by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Friday January 27, 2006 @01:47PM (#14581221) Journal
    I wish they could come up with a better acronym. I always read it as "Gilbert", which probably isn't the intention.
    • I think that it is one of those things that varies depending on the coast. I've always seen LGBT as more common in the midwest. I always thought it should be BLTG so you can assosiate something most people like and can remember (a BLT) with the movement to generate positive association.
  • backwards blame? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alex_guy_CA (748887) <{moc.tdlefneohcs} {ta} {xela}> on Friday January 27, 2006 @01:53PM (#14581335) Homepage
    I may have something wrong here, but it seems as though the company is blaming the gay player for harassment that might come from other players. That would be like banning women from playing so that men don't harass them. It seems pretty backwards to me.
    • by keyne9 (567528)
      The company (Blizzard) cannot possibly be certain that the promoters of the guild are actually attempting to create a GLBT-friendly atmosphere. In the past, people have done similar with the intent to harrass any recruits or inquisitive parties (whose guilds have been shut down rather quickly, but the damage was done).
  • Blizz owns WOW (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DangerSteel (749051) on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:03PM (#14581496)
    They can do what they want with the game including make the rules, change the rules, and break the rules. Your options are limited to playing the game they way they want or not playing it. Accept it.
    • The government funds the school systems. They can discriminate however they like, they own it. Don't like it? Don't go to school/get hired by them. Simple.

      (cough, sarcasm, cough, in case some bonehead thinks I'm serious and flames me)
  • by LowneWulf (210110) on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:04PM (#14581517)
    A GLBT guild has many practical applications in WoW:
    • Campaigning against Night Elves cybering in Ironforge.
    • Fashion shows, modelling, and finding pirate outfits.
    • Seeking out phallic landmarks.
    • Offering support services for gnomes abused by priests.
    • Paladins.
    • /dance
    • Parades through Stormwind
    • Sorry if I offended anyone:
      I did not mean to limit the campaign against Night Elf cybering in Ironforge to the GLBT community. It's a problem that all dwarves must face, regardless of orientation. I hope that many brave Dwarven communities from all walks of life will pick up the mantle against this horrific practice.
  • Two questions (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vslashg (209560)

    I have two questions here.

    1. What would you want Blizzard to do if a guild started publicly recruiting with a "straight people only" policy?
    2. How is this any different?
  • Ratings (Score:2, Informative)

    by manonthespoon (607414)
    The game is rated Teen and not Mature. I imagine that the Teen rating limits the sexual content of the game, and blizzard's Terms of Service reflect that rating by also restricting people's ability to discuss sex and sexuality in game.

    Ultimately it doesn't matter if your character is Gay/Straight. World of Warcraft is not supposed to be a game in which sex and sexuality is a defining aspect of a character. I wonder how you are supposed to recruit for a Gay/Lesbian guild while not being allowed to discuss
  • I agree with Blizzard that this is merely consistent application of their policies.
    Would GLBT people object if I said "I'm recruiting for a guild, we really only want heterosexuals pls, kthx." Of course they would.

    Personally, I think that's wrong headed, but I'm a freedom-of-association type myself. If I want to have a guild for blue-eyed tall people into bestiality and reject anyone else, what would be wrong with that? But no, once the formulation becomes general enough, people nevertheless excluded fro
  • A reason I could see for taking exception to this is the specificity of their objection. I've seen 'all female' guilds, Hispanic guilds, Asian guilds, etc. recruiting in City chat, and as far as I know none of those folks have been warned.

    I can understand why these folks would be annoyed; Blizzard is essentially saying that simply by mentioning their lifestyle they're inviting harassment. Ergo, they themselves are harassers. While your RL sexual preference has nothing to do with your ability to game, isn't
  • Common Culture (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Prien715 (251944) <agnosticpope@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:34PM (#14581922) Journal
    I, for one, think Blizzard is completely off-base.

    There's certainly Chinese guilds, French guilds, mature guilds, and 1337 guilds; why not a GBLT guild? Being GBLT isn't about primarily about sexuality, it's about gender roles and common culture. Just as geeks have sites like slashdot, GBLT persons have common forums, movies, and books with which they identify to create common cultural references.

    Defined gender roles and attitudes toward them have an integral role in any cooperative community -- real or virtual -- and I believe that it's perfectly reasonable to use this set of common beliefs to form a guild.

    (Note: I am not GBLT, but I am friends with quite a few)
  • by wbren (682133) on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:55PM (#14582174) Homepage
    While we appreciate and understand your point of view, we do feel that the advertisement of a GLBT friendly guild is very likely to result in harassment for players that may not have existed otherwise. If you will look at our policy, you will notice the suggested penalty for violating the Sexual Orientation Harassment Policy is to be temporarily suspended from the game. However, as there was clearly no malicious intent on your part, this penalty was reduced to a warning.
    That reminds me of a notice I received from the East Cracktown Police Department:

    "While we appreciate and understand your point of view, we do feel that parking your bright red 2006 Ferrari F430 Spider is very likely to result in the theft or vandalism of a car that may not have occured otherwise. If you look at our local and state laws, you will notice the suggested penalty for parking bright red sports cars in seedy neigborhoods is to temporarily jail you. However, as you are just an arrogant, rich prick, this penalty has been reduced to parole and 1000 hours of community services."

    Seriously though, this situation is ridiculous. Blizzard is punishing the wrong people here. Harassment of any player (gays, lesbians, straights, americans, canadians, jews, muslims, etc) should not be tolerated. Blizzard apparently has a "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy when it comes to diversity.
  • The Point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fireball394 (950028) on Friday January 27, 2006 @03:16PM (#14582402)
    A lot of people miss the point. Thankfully, other slashdotters get it and have clarified the point in these comments. To me, it seems clear that Blizzard is trying to prevent people from fighting by preventing them from getting to know one another...but they're doing so inconsistently. "For your protection, we are not going to let you identify yourself as being gay." But not... "For your protection, we are not going to let you identify yourself as being xxxx." where xxxx is anything else that might make a person a target for harassment: Christian, Jewish, African-American, Muslim, French, female, etc. The guilds in question are not GLBT-exclusive. They don't prohibit heterosexuals from joining. They essentially have a code of conduct that they make clear in their recruitment efforts. Given the ubiquitous "ghey" and "fag" comments seen in every chat channel in the game, GLBT-Friendly translates to: "We do not tolerate harassment of GLBT people or slurs against them. If you cannot abide by this policy, don't even ask to join our guild. If this policy is acceptable, we welcome you." Why is that different from "We do not tolerate foul language in our guild channel, regardless of the built-in language filter."? It isn't about sex. It isn't about bigots. It isn't about religion. It's about Blizzard's vague and inconsistent application of their own policies in a manner that looks a heck of a lot like discrimination.
  • by mabu (178417) on Friday January 27, 2006 @03:17PM (#14582416)
    Why can't Blizzard give them their own server?

    A very neat, meticulously-decorated, smartly-color-coordinated, sensitive and compassionate server?

  • by bortykins (933215) on Friday January 27, 2006 @03:53PM (#14582816)
    Giving blacks equal rights could result in racial slurs. As such, we shall continue enslaving them to maintain the family values of the community.
  • by Max Threshold (540114) on Friday January 27, 2006 @06:17PM (#14584297)
    If you do something that might cause a bunch of 13-year-old losers to sexually harass you, it's your own damn fault!
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday January 27, 2006 @07:09PM (#14584775) Journal

    The very fact that people feel a need for a Gay Lesbian Bisexual Trans(gender/sexual) friendly guild in World of Warcraft (just so the people confused with acronyms know what this is all about) says enough about blizzard.

    It is not a very "mature" place resulting in a very intollerant atmosphere. Not just of GLBT people either. WoW is more or less anonymous and this allows people to behave in ways that in real life would earn them a few broken teeth. Rather then do something about this Blizzard instead asks there the victims of the online bullies to keep quiet and not attract attention.

    Nice move. Good to see the last 100 years of liberation of the individual was all for nothing. It is still only acceptable to be a while male protestant and everyone else should just be quiet.

    What next Blizzard? Women who play your game and are harrased should not tell people they are really female?

    People who claim that Blizzard owns WoW and can therefore do what it wants are living in a fantasy world. A MMO is closer to a social club and the law requires clubs to be open to anyone regardless of sex/religion/race/color/sexual orientation. A club that rejects women because they claim that they want to protect the women from being harrassed by their male members would find very little sympathy from the law.

    This woman (presumable lesbian) wanted to create a guild that was friendly to people of a different sexuality then heterosexual. From other comments here it is pretty clear that WoW as a whole is not very friendly to that group. She did NOT want to make a guild for GLBT people only! She did not exclude hetero's.

    It is sad that this is still needed in 2006. Very sad in fact that even in a place like Amsterdam wich used to be a really open place it is again becoming necessary to make sure GLBT people can feel safe.

    Rather then dealing with the haters among its subscribers Blizzard seems to prefer the "don't rock the boat" attitude that made Amsterdam into the city it is today. And paris france. Don't speak out, keep quiet and hopefully the haters will go away. They never do.

    I hope canadian lawmakers are watching this and taking the legal steps to get Blizzard in court and punished to hell and back.

    Just what is canadian law on this subject? I would imagine that the sport of hockey has a large proportion of homophobic fans, how is this dealt with? Can a gay player be part of a team or is he hooted of the ice?

    Ofcourse the slashdot audience consisting mostly of white hetero male christians is not exactly best fit to understand why there would be a need for a special guild for people who do not fit the so-called norm.

  • good for them (Score:3, Insightful)

    by XO (250276) <blade...eric@@@gmail...com> on Friday January 27, 2006 @07:58PM (#14585136) Homepage Journal
    Good for them.

      So long as they apply it to everyone.

      I'm quite gay-friendly.

      Gay people have a tendency to bring their persecution down upon themselves.

      "LOOK AT ME!!!!! I'M GAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

      Then they wonder why people think they are assholes.

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