Monday, January 30, 2006

Blizzard Gets High

Oh boy.

From In Newsweekly
Sara Andrews thought it was a big misunderstanding when she received an e-mail from a game master in Blizzard Entertainment's popular online role playing game "World of Warcraft" citing her for "Harassment - Sexual Orientation."

Andrews had posted that she was recruiting for a "GLBT friendly" guild in a general chat channel within the game.

Believing that her notice had been accidentally flagged, she e-mailed Blizzard to correct the problem. Blizzard, to Andrews' surprise, upheld the decision.

In case you're wondering, "GLBT" stands for Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender.

Here's more:
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."

See, here's our problem--while being stupid gets the stupid people high, it just gives the rest of us a headache, damn it.

Look. If Blizzard wants to ban all affiliation-related guilds, fine. That means they should ban recruiting spam, and they should ban all guilds with racial/sexual/political/religious/etc. affiliations. Good luck with that, by the way, because that sounds functionally impossible. But that's at least a philosophical discussion.

What's not a philosphical discussion is Blizzard's stunningly inane statement that the GLBT-friendly guilt was not allowed to recruit because they would be harassed. Think about that for a minute. So using that logic, I guess the civil rights marchers in the 1960's should have not been allowed out of their homes because white mobs would be angry. See, the people denying civil rights are not the problem--it's the people marching for civil rights. They're causing racists and bigots to harass them.

I'm not trying to equate an online game with the civil rights movement in the 1960's. I'm just saying that Blizzard's rationale creates ludicrous decisions. Call me crazy, but I'm prety sure that a "Sexual Orientation Harassment Policy" should protect gay people, not suppress them.

Site Meter