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XBox (Games) Games Your Rights Online

Xbox Live Enforcement — No Swastika Logo 473

Posted by Soulskill
from the pursuing-the-rare-double-godwin dept.
itwbennett writes "It's one of those questions that really should never come up, but as blogger Peter Smith points out, Stephen Toulouse, the head of Xbox Live enforcement, is used to fielding all sorts of strange questions. Recently, one of those questions was apparently 'Can I use a Swastika as my logo in Call of Duty: Black Ops?' When Toulouse responded with the obvious answer ('No, of course you can't, we'll ban you.') he was met with some pushback by people he refers to as 'contrarians' and 'internet pundits' who decided to educate him on the long and storied history of the swastika as a symbol of good fortune and how just because the Nazis used it, it doesn't make the symbol itself a bad thing. Toulouse covers the topic on his blog in a post titled Context and it's an interesting read if for no other reason than to get a peek inside the day-to-day issues the Xbox Live Enforcement team deals with."
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Xbox Live Enforcement — No Swastika Logo

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @04:15AM (#34328666)

    are you sure about that? i am sure we have killed many hundreds of thousands of folk over the years unnecessarily. But millions? i'm not so sure. And war wise, i can't think of many major wars against black people. Normally they were against european nations in other places. Admittedly there was Sudan and currently Afghanistan. Anyway, i'm just not sure of our facts. It sounds great, fighting talk and all, but i suspect you may be wrong.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @04:21AM (#34328692)

    Nope. I'm a 'brown' person whose country used to be ruled by the Brits. Yes, they unjustly killed tens of thousands (e.g. the Jalianwala Bagh massacre).

    However, the Nazis were far worse... 2-3 orders of magnitude worse. The Nazis killed hundreds of thousands of browns as well (e.g. Roma).

    There is no comparison. Ban the Nazis!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @04:24AM (#34328718)

    Hundreds of thousands? Sure. But MILLIONS? You're gonna have to show me some math.

  • by penguinchris (1020961) <> on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @04:53AM (#34328912) Homepage

    No, the players themselves have the power to create logos. There's a fairly extensive set of graphics (clip art essentially) which you can arrange in any way imaginable - choose the colors, size, arrangement, etc. - to create your logo. Lots of people find creative ways to make penises, and lots of people were finding creative ways to make Nazi swastikas. I made a much longer post about it here already, but you've been modded up, and you're misinformed.

  • by IronSight (1925612) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @04:53AM (#34328914)
    ...not someone's personal religious blogspot page. If you haven't been on xbox live, let me fill you in. It is not filled with nice people that have a fun game, then talk about their cultural differences in a calm manner over tea. When you turn on your headset, you hear screaming 9 year olds telling their mothers to fuck off when asked to do homework, then tell you how they are going to teabag your corpse. Then they blast gangster rap in your ears over the mic and make it so your team can't talk to each other. You hear people shouting over the microphone's at each other screaming racial slurs every 2 seconds. In my experiance with xbox live, I saw more racism and hate than anywhere else in my life. So if I saw a clan with a swastika as their logo, *yes* I would automatically assume it was the racist/nazi version. And I would also wonder why in the hell I ever went *back* to xbox live in the first place compared to my relatively tame gaming experiance on pc.
  • by pookemon (909195) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @04:54AM (#34328918) Homepage
    Yep - and I'm sure that ALL the players using the swastika in COD:Blops are using it as a sign of good (or bad) luck. Especially the ones (that I have seen in game) with the "[NAZI]" clan tags.
  • by Twisted Willie (1035374) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @05:12AM (#34329010)
    Did you read TFA? His issue is not with a swastika appearing in the game itself, it's with the swastika appearing in a publicly accessible Xbox Live profile. Without any context whatsoever.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @05:14AM (#34329028) Homepage Journal
    No, it's sad that slashdot edits out almost all non-roman characters. You cannot even type cyrillic, greek, chinese etc. I guess they do this to try to keep people from spamming in different languages, but it can be annoying.
  • by Chrisq (894406) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @05:38AM (#34329140)

    If you'd ask those people to explain in more detail what they know about the symbol, why it is designed that way and why exactly their 20 people clan so badly wants that symbol as their logo, they would not be able to explain it (or you'd just get a copy of the wikipedia article) - because in reality they actually want the swastika symbol BECAUSE they want to offend people and all tht online game, the game company CAN state that they will ban you for it (free speech does not apply there, same as it does not apply on a private message board).

    Absolute fucking cobblers. In nearly every city in Britain and probably America you will find a Mandir and every one will have swastikas. There have been 3,000 people at ours at Deepawali and other similar occasions (not your group of 20), and nobody is shocked, or wants to shock people. Your assertion that a handfull of people want to use the swastika to shock people is absolute crap, a large number of people use it regularly as a religious symbol.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @05:40AM (#34329154)

    Actually, the plural of anecdote is evidence.
    The debate is on how many anecdotes are required to be convincing; the mathematical realm of statistics deals exclusively with figuring out how many of these anecdotes are needed. I mean, what do you think a study is except for a whole bunch of individual stories about a real event... one of which -is- the definition of anecdote?

  • by Bobakitoo (1814374) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @06:06AM (#34329300)
    The Crusades [] were far worse.
    There is no comparison. Ban the christian cross!

    In fact, let ban all cross type symbols. Most were use, in the past, by despicable peoples. And all the remaining will be use by others despicable peoples in the future. We might as well ban them all right now.
  • by Zarel (900479) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @06:08AM (#34329312)

    When's the last time you saw a swastika in a movie or a flier or a tattoo or a T-shirt, and it wasn't this bad boy or a reference to it?

    The last time I saw a swastika, it looked something like this: []

    Let me try to list all the recent times I've seen swastikas:

    - once, in a screenshot of 4chan trying to be funny
    - three times, in a world history textbook, talking about the Third Reich
    - at least fifty times, at the local Buddhist temple
    - at least thirty times, in various good-luck charms sold at local flea markets
    - once before every important exam I take in school, in a good-luck charm passed down to me from my mother (it looks a lot like the one I linked to)
    - at least twice, in friends' houses, where they are said to bring good luck

    Perhaps, wherever you live, swastikas aren't commonly used, and perhaps you have no interest in other cultures. There's nothing wrong with that. But to assume that your experience holds true for the entire world - and that the swastika universally no longer holds any meaning besides that which was ascribed to it by Nazi Germany - is laughable.

    In Western Europe and North America, the swastika didn't have very much meaning before World War II, so after World War II, it became strongly associated with Nazism. But in Southeast Asia, the swastika has been a symbol of good fortune for thousands of years, and a fleeting decade-long regime in some far-off country did very little to change that.

    Even in the West, such as in the United States, there are many immigrants from Asian countries. I am one of those people, and if someone showed me a swastika (and it wasn't enclosed in a white circle on a background of red), I would think "good luck" before I thought "Nazis", and I bet a significant number of other people in Western countries would, as well.

    I'm not saying that banning swastikas in Xbox Live was a bad decision. It was probably the correct decision, especially if the majority of the Xbox Live users in question are American - though I agree with metrix007 that this guy could have had a better tone about it. I am, however, saying that the association between the swastika and nothing but Nazi Germany is far from universal.

  • by michelcolman (1208008) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @06:12AM (#34329330)

    They're probably aware of it, but that does not keep them from continuing to use it like they did before, without even remotely thinking about nazis.

    Are you aware that the Clu Clux Clan uses the Christian cross as a symbol? As an educated person, I suppose you must be. But do you think about the Clan every time you see a church?

    I wonder what would have happened if the article had been about a muslim symbol. There would probably be a couple of embassies on fire by now.

  • HYPOCRISY (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @06:15AM (#34329354)
    Nazis killed about 21 million people. Stalinism killed more than the double. So did Maoism, even when not counting the 38 million dead from the Great Famine, a direct consequence of Mao's "Great Leap Forward".

    You can verify these numbers by reading R.J.Rummel's "Death by Government".

    Furthermore, there is no country that benefited from Communism whatsoever: It brought massacres and untold misery to millions, it killed 1/3 of Cambodia's population and kept half of Europe in poverty for over half-of-a-century.

    Turns out the communist symbol seems as much offensive to me (and probably millions of others) than the Swastika. I have no affinity whatsoever with Nazis, but I find the double-standard quite astounding.

    Just because an ideology professes good overall intentions ("workers of the world unite", etc..) doesn't make it any better, not does it mean that the millions of its victims can be simply brushed away as mere mistakes. If there must be censorship , why aren't these people subject to the same censorship than the Swastika fans?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @06:52AM (#34329558)

    I guess they do this to try to keep people from spamming in different languages, but it can be annoying.

    It is.

    The reason, BTW, is that when Slashdot allowed all Unicode characters, trolls started using RtL markers to mess with the site's layout, so the admins

    a) created a whitelist of allowed characters to prevent not just current but also future control characters from hitting the site (good)
    b) made it so that pretty much no characters other than the Latin1 ones were on that list (bad)
    c) never updated the list again (worse).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @06:59AM (#34329606)

    "In Western Europe and North America, the swastika didn't have much meaning before World War II..."

    This is actually false. The swastika was widespread in both areas as a good luck symbol, and I have old family holiday cards from that era to prove it (Jewish-American ones to boot). It was precisely because it was known as a good luck symbol with certain meanings that the Nazis picked it as theirs. Potentially, they could as easily have picked a four leaf clover. However, much like other popular things such as the Bellamy salute and goose stepping, the Nazis co-opted very well known symbols and transformed them into symbols that would be now be interpreted as hateful because the Nazis were simply that influential in their horrors.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @08:56AM (#34330410)

    In Western Europe and North America, the swastika didn't have very much meaning before World War II, so after World War II, it became strongly associated with Nazism. But in Southeast Asia, the swastika has been a symbol of good fortune for thousands of years, and a fleeting decade-long regime in some far-off country did very little to change that.

    Not entirly true. The swastika has a history of being used even in Europe. For example the Swedish company Asea [] used it in its logotype but changed it 1933 because of its heavy use among the Nazis.
    The swastika has also been used to respresent the hammer of Thor and was for example depicted on the Snoldelev Stone [] in the 9th century.

  • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @11:14AM (#34332642)

    Activision made Call of Duty. Microsoft is banning people from Xbox Live. Those are two different parties, and their actions don't (necessarily) have anything to do with each other.

    Hard concept, I know, but please try to follow along.

Some people have a great ambition: to build something that will last, at least until they've finished building it.