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Harassment in gaming

This conversation is very different than what you're thinking it is.
Not at all.

It's just that I can tell the difference between what you're talking about, and the issue of harassment in gaming.

Regarding your advice: one of the more memorable Intelligence Squared debates I have listened to was the question: (are) "Liberals Stifling Intellectual Diversity On Campus?"

You should give it a listen.

Heck, I suspect that whole quoted block of instructions you have there is paraphrased from Anita Sarkesian's/Jon Macintosh's attempt to push into video gaming.
Suppose it is. Who cares?
 

MechaPilot

Explorer
And those that make the threats are being stupid and deserve everything they get. The key is that it really isn't that hard to prove genuine threats, so I don't get why so many people are hesitant to share details. If it is a genuine threat or act of physical abuse, sharing the details to allow the proper people to act upon those details is going to make for a more secure environment in the long run, even if it might mean some additional short term stress.
Really?

If someone whispers in my ear that they want to kill or rape me, that is a genuine threat. How do I prove it when I'm the only one who heard it?

If someone grabs my breasts or butt, or reaches up my skirt, and there are no cameras, then how do I prove it? Even if other people saw it, they probably didn't get it on their camera-phones, and they may not be willing to admit what they saw. A lot of people just want to go about their day and not get involved when trouble comes up. Going to a convention is similar to going on a vacation, and most vacationers refuse to get involved when something goes down.

Plenty of posters who have been to cons have said that security (even when they aren't part of the problem) is not staffed or trained to adequately handle harassment or assault/battery, and that they're more concerned with keeping the convention running and curbing badgeless attendees than with preventing/catching harassment or criminal activities.
 

sunshadow21

Villager
Really?

If someone whispers in my ear that they want to kill or rape me, that is a genuine threat. How do I prove it when I'm the only one who heard it?

If someone grabs my breasts or butt, or reaches up my skirt, and there are no cameras, then how do I prove it? Even if other people saw it, they probably didn't get it on their camera-phones, and they may not be willing to admit what they saw. A lot of people just want to go about their day and not get involved when trouble comes up. Going to a convention is similar to going on a vacation, and most vacationers refuse to get involved when something goes down.

Plenty of posters who have been to cons have said that security (even when they aren't part of the problem) is not staffed or trained to adequately handle harassment or assault/battery, and that they're more concerned with keeping the convention running and curbing badgeless attendees than with preventing/catching harassment or criminal activities.
In the environment we live in today, if you actually provide all of those details, someone on the con staff (may be security; may be a volunteer; may be an organizer) will almost certainly take some kind of action on it. It might be just to cover their own ass, but probably someone will believe you enough to want to take action. As long as the complaint seems to be about more than a random comment and appears to have been an actual crime, someone will do something. They really have no choice; they can brush off complaints about random comments with little repercussion, but the second that an actual crime is even hinted at, they pretty much have to do something if they don't want to risk their entire reputation either as individuals or as a con. The internet, for better or for worse, will see to that. As long as the complaint is genuine, making the effort to provide the full report will make someone responsible for it, whether it be the con staff or the offender or possibly both. There will almost certainly be a price to pay to see the situation through, but as long as you have some kind of support in place to help you through, the price will almost always be worth the long term gains.
 

MechaPilot

Explorer
I'm going to say something that probably won't earn me any friends, but I feel it needs saying.

Several posters have said they wouldn't tolerate harassment, or assault/battery, in their presence. Good, that's as it should be.

However, people can say (or type) anything. My experience with harassment in gaming involved no one at the table standing up for me, despite my extreme distress. Those players didn't stand up for me because they were complicit. But, between complicity, intimidation, fear of retaliation, and not wanting to get involved there are plenty of reasons why people might have still allowed my harassment in a game store or at a con.

Again, to those who are stating what they honestly believe when they say they wouldn't tolerate something like that around them, I applaud your stance. I just wonder how that plays out in practice. I've seen too many people sacrifice their morals and ideals instead of sacrificing FOR their morals or ideals. As people, and not gods, we're all very flawed, but I'd like to think that we try. I really would like to. And, sometimes I do think that we try. But, all too often I just don't have the strength to bear that belief absent any real evidence.

You know, I love this hobby. I've met some really wonderful people in it; current friends and friends who've passed, and I treasure the time I've spent with all of them (even my friend's idiot step-brother, who thought the answer to an in-game riddle was "spork"). I love telling stories, and having a good laugh around the table. I love watching genuine excitement on others' faces when a combat is tough, or when the session ends/breaks on a cliffhanger. I love it when I get the mood just right in a horror game and a player actually gets goosebumps. There's just so much I love about this hobby, but I hate that I'll never get to share it with a lot of people because I know I won't feel safe or welcome in the places where that happens. I put a lot of love and devotion into this hobby, but it feels so unrequited because I don't think it will ever embrace me back.

I'm gonna stop now. I'm actually starting to cry. Maybe that's too much information, and maybe it's just because I have occasional depression issues. I don't know. I just, I don't know.
 

Hussar

Legend
/snip

The problem is that the prevailing attitude has becoming one of "if you aren't crusading for our cause, you are part of the problem. There's no middle ground. Either you're with us or against us."
Swimming upthread a bit. Still reading so, maybe this has been addressed, but...

You absolutely are part of the problem. If you aren't actively stepping up to the plate and making sure that harassment stops every single time it comes up, then, yup, you are part of the problem. Every time you say, "well, I just want to game" and you don't tell that person sitting next to you that his/her comments are entirely inappropriate to the venue you are in, you are part of the problem.

Because that's the point she's making in the OP - far too many women are being harassed and far too many gamers are sitting back and not saying anything. When the store guy made the comment to the native woman about the mini, why didn't every dude in the store stand up and walk out? Why didn't any of them say anything? When some girl gets her ass grabbed in front of five guys, someone should be able to turn to that guy and tell him he's a douche.

But, we don't. We turn a blind eye and a deaf ear. It's not our problem. So, it continues.

Which rolls us around to the idea of investigation. It's just not plausible. At a convention, some guy whispers in the cosplay girl's ear that he want's to do nasty things to her when taking a picture, what investigation can be done? When the con manager comes to the table and asks about some guy grabbing the girl's ass, and five guys all say, "Huh? Never saw anything" because the guy that did it is a friend and they're not going to rat out their friend, what's going to happen? The con manager investigated. Turns out that five people all say it didn't happen, so, the girl gets ejected for making false accusations?

That's why investigating and asking questions isn't going to help the issue. Might it happen that some guy gets falsely accused? Yup. But, being embarrassed or possibly losing a day at a Con is a very, very small price to pay for making sure that women feel safe and welcomed.
 

Hussar

Legend
You can accept that someone FEELS terrorized without accepting that there is actually any terrorism involved. This is the point several people, including myself, have been making for the past ten pages. Feelings are completely subjective. They may or may not correlate with anything in reality. One of the many specific examples put forward was the person who misheard "minstrel" as "menstrual". She felt offended, but her offense was based on her mishearing. It was NOT based on anything in reality. You can't immediately assume that just because someone TOOK offense, something actually offensive must have been said.
But, so what?

What's going to happen here? The woman goes and makes a complaint that someone said "menstrual." She finds it offensive. The management goes to the person, says, "Hey, there's been a complaint, please watch what you say" because, let's face it, it's not like this is an ejectable offense is it?

And that's the end of it. No harm, no foul. At worst, the guy is a bit embarrased and possibly a bit baffled since he didn't actually say anything. But, again, so what? That's a pretty small price to pay considering the alternative where every claim has to be verified, with witnesses, before any action will be taken.

What you're basically saying is that anyone who makes a complaint has to prove that it happened before any action will be taken, even when proof is virtually impossible to show. "He whispered in my ear while taking a picture" is impossible to prove. There is no way to prove that. So, the Con management should just shrug their shoulders? It's not offensive enough?
 

Ovinomancer

Flip Nazi
But, so what?

What's going to happen here? The woman goes and makes a complaint that someone said "menstrual." She finds it offensive. The management goes to the person, says, "Hey, there's been a complaint, please watch what you say" because, let's face it, it's not like this is an ejectable offense is it?

And that's the end of it. No harm, no foul. At worst, the guy is a bit embarrased and possibly a bit baffled since he didn't actually say anything. But, again, so what? That's a pretty small price to pay considering the alternative where every claim has to be verified, with witnesses, before any action will be taken.

What you're basically saying is that anyone who makes a complaint has to prove that it happened before any action will be taken, even when proof is virtually impossible to show. "He whispered in my ear while taking a picture" is impossible to prove. There is no way to prove that. So, the Con management should just shrug their shoulders? It's not offensive enough?
Means matter. If you don't agree, then we're morally and ethically on opposite sides despite having the same goal of eliminating harassment.
 

sunshadow21

Villager
You know, I love this hobby. I've met some really wonderful people in it; current friends and friends who've passed, and I treasure the time I've spent with all of them (even my friend's idiot step-brother, who thought the answer to an in-game riddle was "spork"). I love telling stories, and having a good laugh around the table. I love watching genuine excitement on others' faces when a combat is tough, or when the session ends/breaks on a cliffhanger. I love it when I get the mood just right in a horror game and a player actually gets goosebumps. There's just so much I love about this hobby, but I hate that I'll never get to share it with a lot of people because I know I won't feel safe or welcome in the places where that happens. I put a lot of love and devotion into this hobby, but it feels so unrequited because I don't think it will ever embrace me back.
If you have found friends to play with that you enjoy spending time with, it has embraced you. The fact that you may not enjoy going to cons doesn't take away the positive aspects of what you have found in the hobby. Not everyone is going to enjoy going to cons or the public spaces this thread is talking about for a wide number of reasons; it's been a while since I've seen precise percentages, but most games still occur in the privacy of people's homes for a reason. I've been to just enough of them to know that I have no particular feelings about them one way or another (if one is happening close by, and I have some free time, I'll go, but I don't make plans around them), and I participated in organized play leagues for as long as I did only because they were my only real option for playing for many years. I never felt particularly unsafe, but I can fully understand never really feeling welcome. Playing in public is really fun in a lot of ways, but I can fully understand when people say that there is a lot about it that could stand to be improved. A lot of gamers unconsciously form habits they don't realize, and trying to publicly confront them with treats and warnings rarely goes well. Most effective change in this community comes slowly and indirectly. Direct changes like those supported in this thread, however well intentioned they may be, usually backfire; that's why I agree with the sentiment, but not the approach or the forcefulness many want to apply. If the gaming community has a larger problem than much of society, it's because we tend to be far more stubborn, and tend to meet force with equal force, leaving little room for direct change.

My best advice is to not focus on the aspects of the hobby that you don't enjoy. For all that I am sure the details are different, what I copied pretty much describes my relationship with the hobby for a long time, and still applies enough to make me very picky about who I play with now that I have the option to be picky. If options like cons and game stores make you uncomfortable, look at the other options available to you, and see if they are a better fit. With the rise of the internet, a lot of options have opened up. Don't think you're missing out just because you choose other venues than many other players. Focus on the venues that you can play in comfortably and the positive interactions you have with the players you find in those venues. I can say for myself that when I finally did that, my own relationship with the hobby improved immensely.
 

sunshadow21

Villager
But, so what?

What's going to happen here? The woman goes and makes a complaint that someone said "menstrual." She finds it offensive. The management goes to the person, says, "Hey, there's been a complaint, please watch what you say" because, let's face it, it's not like this is an ejectable offense is it?

And that's the end of it. No harm, no foul. At worst, the guy is a bit embarrased and possibly a bit baffled since he didn't actually say anything. But, again, so what? That's a pretty small price to pay considering the alternative where every claim has to be verified, with witnesses, before any action will be taken.

What you're basically saying is that anyone who makes a complaint has to prove that it happened before any action will be taken, even when proof is virtually impossible to show. "He whispered in my ear while taking a picture" is impossible to prove. There is no way to prove that. So, the Con management should just shrug their shoulders? It's not offensive enough?
What I believe is that anyone making a complaint needs to accept the possiblity that further proof or questions may be required. Nothing more and nothing less. The fact that the vast majority of complaints can and should be resolved without further input from the complaintant does not remove that at any given convention there are still a lot of complaints that will require further information and/or participation on the part of the person making the complaint. If someone makes a complaint and finds themselves in the latter situation, they need to be prepared enough to be able to do more than simply walk away expecting their end of the situation to be fully resolved after the initial statement. I have no problem with someone who fully understands the limitations of simply stating "I was harassed" using the phrase, but if you don't understand it's limitiations, you need to stay far, far, far away from it. It will cause you more harm than help.
 

MechaPilot

Explorer
If you have found friends to play with that you enjoy spending time with, it has embraced you. The fact that you may not enjoy going to cons doesn't take away the positive aspects of what you have found in the hobby. Not everyone is going to enjoy going to cons or the public spaces this thread is talking about for a wide number of reasons; it's been a while since I've seen precise percentages, but most games still occur in the privacy of people's homes for a reason. I've been to just enough of them to know that I have no particular feelings about them one way or another (if one is happening close by, and I have some free time, I'll go, but I don't make plans around them), and I participated in organized play leagues for as long as I did only because they were my only real option for playing for many years. I never felt particularly unsafe, but I can fully understand never really feeling welcome.
It's not that I don't enjoy going to cons: I have shyness issues and don't like being around big crowds, so I've never actually been to a con. However, I have had discussions (mostly online discussions) with other gamers who have suggested that I would really like it if I attended a con. I don't think they were intentionally trying to mislead me into something that I wouldn't like (though it's certainly possible they could have been inaccurate while also being genuine).

I also have a friend who shares my interest in anime, and he's suggested that I would really enjoy going to an anime convention: he's even invited me to attend one with him before. I declined mostly because my work schedule conflicted with the convention date, but I would have had to do a lot of prep work just to feel mildly uncomfortable around crowds that big. And that's before I found out about the harassment and assault issues at cons (issues which are probably even worse at anime cons given the increased number of cosplayers, the busty anime characters, the existence of the various genres of hentai, etc).

However, for all I know I might actually enjoy attending a con, and maybe getting to play with one or more of the people I've spoken to online. I'll never find out though, because I don't think it's right that my cost of admission would also have to include my dignity and my right to go unmolested. Just going by what I've read and been told, I couldn't even imagine standing up and leaning over a gaming table at a con to get a bird's-eye-view of a battlemap and not being preoccupied with the possibility of being groped, or of someone taking an upskirt photo or video. And that's me I'm talking about: I don't wear very short skirts, and unless I'm alone I'm never going to be the most attractive woman in the room.


Playing in public is really fun in a lot of ways, but I can fully understand when people say that there is a lot about it that could stand to be improved. A lot of gamers unconsciously form habits they don't realize, and trying to publicly confront them with treats and warnings rarely goes well. Most effective change in this community comes slowly and indirectly. Direct changes like those supported in this thread, however well intentioned they may be, usually backfire; that's why I agree with the sentiment, but not the approach or the forcefulness many want to apply. If the gaming community has a larger problem than much of society, it's because we tend to be far more stubborn, and tend to meet force with equal force, leaving little room for direct change.
My current group actually plays in public (at a 24/7 restaurant). It is fun, and they're welcoming enough because we tip well and don't require much attention beyond the odd drink refill, but I do occasionally have to remind the players to quiet down a bit, or to steer clear of certain subjects. I have to remind myself of that as well, because I enjoy darker humor and lewd (but not vulgar) jokes: I'd probably rate my sense of humor at a middle to hard R. That said, I manage to keep myself to an overall PG-13 rating when I'm in public, because those are the manners I was raised with.

As far as changes proposed in these threads go, some are probably extreme, some are probably dismissive, and many are probably in between. The only proposition that people seem to agree on is this:

1) Don't harass/assault others yourself.
2) Be more aware for harassment/assault going on around you
3) Don't tolerate harassment/assault when you see it
4) Cooperate with security and/or police when asked about harassment/assault that you witnessed

And that's all well and good, but does self-policing like that really work? I've met a lot of good people in this hobby, and I've met my share of awful ones too. I've seen several posters say they wouldn't tolerate that behavior, but I've seen next to nothing about cases where they actually saw it and did something about it (even if it was just calling the harasser out for being a jerk). With the way people are in general, I don't even know if most people would care if it happened right in front of them (unless it was happening to a spouse, sibling, child, or friend). For all I know, I could be groped (or be the subject of one of the other players taking a downblowse photo or video) while leaning over a battlemat at a con only to have the rest of the table do nothing, ask the guy for copies of the photo/video, or tell me it was my fault for wearing a loose or low-cut blouse. And with the way people are in general, I wouldn't put any of those reactions past them.


My best advice is to not focus on the aspects of the hobby that you don't enjoy. For all that I am sure the details are different, what I copied pretty much describes my relationship with the hobby for a long time, and still applies enough to make me very picky about who I play with now that I have the option to be picky. If options like cons and game stores make you uncomfortable, look at the other options available to you, and see if they are a better fit. With the rise of the internet, a lot of options have opened up. Don't think you're missing out just because you choose other venues than many other players. Focus on the venues that you can play in comfortably and the positive interactions you have with the players you find in those venues. I can say for myself that when I finally did that, my own relationship with the hobby improved immensely.
The internet is really not much of an option. It's just another way to meet strangers who share a similar hobby. I might be okay with getting a new or additional player at a table full of people I already trust off the internet. But, after my experience with the group I met at a game store I'll never join a group without being friends with at least one person in the group ahead of time. For as horrible as my harassment experience was, I was lucky the group's attempt to push me to RP the rape of my character didn't turn into a real-life molestation/rape, and I'll always have that on my mind whenever I meet a group of gamers I don't already know well.
 

tomBitonti

Explorer
As far as changes proposed in these threads go, some are probably extreme, some are probably dismissive, and many are probably in between. The only proposition that people seem to agree on is this:

1) Don't harass/assault others yourself.
2) Be more aware for harassment/assault going on around you
3) Don't tolerate harassment/assault when you see it
4) Cooperate with security and/or police when asked about harassment/assault that you witnessed

And that's all well and good, but does self-policing like that really work? I've met a lot of good people in this hobby, and I've met my share of awful ones too. I've seen several posters say they wouldn't tolerate that behavior, but I've seen next to nothing about cases where they actually saw it and did something about it (even if it was just calling the harasser out for being a jerk). With the way people are in general, I don't even know if most people would care if it happened right in front of them (unless it was happening to a spouse, sibling, child, or friend). For all I know, I could be groped (or be the subject of one of the other players taking a downblowse photo or video) while leaning over a battlemat at a con only to have the rest of the table do nothing, ask the guy for copies of the photo/video, or tell me it was my fault for wearing a loose or low-cut blouse. And with the way people are in general, I wouldn't put any of those reactions past them.

Read more: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?482661-Harassment-in-gaming/page45#ixzz46HGiObAq
I think suggestions were posted for folks running events which go beyond the above. Can anyone bring those forward?

I was involved in two events which I will not detail for various reasons. One involved a co-attendee to a con hitting on a second who was not interested. Alcohol was involved. A second I will simply not detail.

But, such is at best anecdotal, and subject to the lens of memory. And generally, privacy and fairness will get in the way.

Thx!
TomB
 

Springheel

Villager
But, so what?

What's going to happen here? The woman goes and makes a complaint that someone said "menstrual." She finds it offensive. The management goes to the person, says, "Hey, there's been a complaint, please watch what you say" because, let's face it, it's not like this is an ejectable offense is it?

And that's the end of it. No harm, no foul. At worst, the guy is a bit embarrased and possibly a bit baffled since he didn't actually say anything. But, again, so what?
You're moving towards a different point than the one I was making. My point was in response to Gradine's claim that if someone feels they were harassed, then they clearly WERE harassed. I think that's wrong for the reasons I stated. You're moving the discussion to, "even if a person didn't harass someone, what's the harm in treating them like they did?"

There are several answers to that question, but the most obvious one is that it's generally undesirable to treat an innocent person like they're guilty.

But your question could just as easily be asked this way:

"If someone reports that they were offended by something a person said, what's wrong with asking the reporter what caused the offense? No harm, no foul. At worst, the reporter is a little embarrassed about having to quote what was said. But again, so what?"

If the thing they're offended by isn't actually something against the convention's standards of behaviour, you've just avoided having to accuse an innocent person of doing something wrong. And if the report is something serious, you now know what level of sanction is appropriate. Hopefully, convention staff would treat a rape or death threat more seriously than someone complaining about a person making a joke about menstruation.

I've seen several posters say they wouldn't tolerate that behavior, but I've seen next to nothing about cases where they actually saw it and did something about it
 
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Sadras

Explorer
I'm going to say something that probably won't earn me any friends, but I feel it needs saying.

Several posters have said they wouldn't tolerate harassment, or assault/battery, in their presence. Good, that's as it should be.

However, people can say (or type) anything. My experience with harassment in gaming involved no one at the table standing up for me, despite my extreme distress.
Your mentioning of extreme distress reminds me of an incident, some years back, where one player (A) critiqued the way another player (B) roleplayed his character. The latter character blew up at this, obviously suffering some distress and vowed not to play at the table again with that player. I, as DM, obviously tried to calm this situation down but was unsuccessful.

Thing is, despite the actions of A not being correct table etiquette, I knew the sensitivity levels of player B as he was a long time friend. Player B would define player's A's actions as harassment whereas the rest of the table enjoyed a good banter, teasing, challenge. Honestly our table was better off with player B leaving.

The same thing I imagine can happen at a table consisting of predominantly male players where the female player might be, naturally so, overly sensitive to the male players' jabs and she could easily suffer distress. In my scenario above all participants were males. As DM I take on the role of peacemaker but at the same time I expect a certain level of thick-skinness from the players at our table. Side/snide/cheeky remarks are very much a given with us. It is tricky, one person's extreme distress could be another person's casual shrug.

Besides matching playstyles, I believe players at a gaming table need to have similar temperaments and personalities. I don't believe this is punted enough. Everyone talks about similar playstyles - especially between DM and players, but many forget there are other aspects which make people a good fit for a gaming table.

Apologies if I have derailed the topic somewhat.
 
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MechaPilot

Explorer
Your mentioning of extreme distress reminds me of an incident, some years back, where one player (A) critiqued the way another player (B) roleplayed his character. The latter character blew up at this, obviously suffering some distress and vowed not to play at the table again with that player. I, as DM, obviously tried to calm this situation down but was unsuccessful.

Thing is, despite the actions of A not being correct table etiquette, I knew the sensitivity levels of player B as he was a long time friend. Player B would define player's A's actions as harassment whereas the rest of the table enjoyed a good banter, teasing, challenge. Honestly our table was better off with player B leaving.

The same thing I imagine can happen at a table consisting of predominantly male players where the female player might be, naturally so, overly sensitive to the male players' jabs and she could easily suffer distress. In my scenario above all participants were males. As DM I take on the role of peacemaker but at the same time I expect a certain level of thick-skinness from the players at our table. Side/snide/cheeky remarks are very much a given with us. It is tricky, one person's extreme distress could be another person's casual shrug.

Besides matching playstyles, I believe players at a gaming table need to have similar temperaments and personalities. I don't believe this is punted enough. Everyone talks about similar playstyles - especially between DM and players, but many forget there are other aspects which make people a good fit for a gaming table.

Apologies if I have derailed the topic somewhat.
I was in extreme distress because PC rape was suddenly thrust upon me (I would NOT have joined the group if I had forewarning that rape was allowed content in their games), and the DM not only expected but pushed me to actually RP the rape scene, describing in graphic detail what was happening to my character as I sat in stunned and horrified silence, and as the other players just watched the scene unfold before them. I can honestly say that it was the most terrifying, humiliating, and degrading experience in my entire life, and I wouldn't put good-natured ribbing or a critique of how I roleplay a character anywhere near that experience on a scale of discomfort or distress.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
The same thing I imagine can happen at a table consisting of predominantly male players where the female player might be, naturally so, overly sensitive to the male players' jabs and she could easily suffer distress.
I think the dynamic you're discussing here does happen, but I want to point something out....

Again - we describe this as the female being "overly sensitive". She is the one that is not avereage or correct. Why not say that her sensitivities are fine, but the men are coarse, insensitive, thoughtless, negligent, or "naturally" blind to how they are being problematic?

Calling it "naturally so" actually makes it worse - now it is not just a personal foible of the one woman, but it is now "natural" for women to be "overly sensitive". How is that not a sexist stereotype?

I don't think this is a derailing at all, but an excellent example of how unfortunately insidious some of the issues are. It pervades even our wording choice, if we are not actively thinking about them. It is *assumed* in how we construct statements.
 

Gradine

Archivist
My point was in response to Gradine's claim that if someone feels they were harassed, then they clearly WERE harassed. I think that's wrong for the reasons I stated.
Funny story, but this is actually true; at least as far as harassment in the workplace goes. Harassment, as a legal term (which I think, broadly, that is what we are referring to in this thread), has some pretty specific definitions. Again, at least as far as the workplace is concerned, if a person states they were being harassed, then legally they were being harassed. Can't speak for non-workplace settings.

Of course, that isn't at all what I said. What I said that if a person feels they were being "terrorized" then they were, in fact, being terrorized, which is true. Terror is a personal, emotional reaction to an external stimuli; terror in particular is an immediate, visceral reaction. Once does not choose to be terrorized. Either you believe a person when they tell you their emotional state or you are accusing them of some form of dishonesty. There is no middle ground there.

Now, whether such external stimuli was intentional or unintentional "terrorism" is probably worth discussing. Also worth discussing is what, if anything, we should be doing about it; either at a institutional level (be that con organizers; FLGS owners; forum mods; DMs; etc.) or at a personal, social level (ie; everyone involved in gaming attempting to change the culture that breeds/tolerates such behavior).
 

Springheel

Villager
Of course, that isn't at all what I said. What I said that if a person feels they were being "terrorized" then they were, in fact, being terrorized, which is true.
Unless you're just making a tautology, you seem to be implying that some form of terrorism actually happened. Do you want to address the specific example I referenced? The women heard "menstrual", but the other person actually said "minstrel". Is using the word minstrel to be considered "unintentional terrorism" now?
 

Gradine

Archivist
Unless you're just making a tautology, you seem to be implying that some form of terrorism actually happened. Do you want to address the specific example I referenced? The women heard "menstrual", but the other person actually said "minstrel". Is using the word minstrel to be considered "unintentional terrorism" now?
You seem to be confusing "offense" with "terror". I was addressing another poster's skepticism regarding a "culture of terrorism"; you appear to have lumped me into the "Don't ever ask follow-up questions to complaints" crowd, which I don't personally agree with.

A misunderstanding based on mis-hearing someone else is something reasonable adults should be able to get cleared up with little issue. Offering unsolicited comments regarding a woman's physical appearance who you do not, personally, know, is "unintentional terrorism". You are probably not intending to make the woman uncomfortable; the likelihood is high that you actually are. Exactly how uncomfortable (or filled with actual terror) a woman on the receiving end of such a compliment depends entirely on their own past experiences (or stories they've been privy to). Some might take the compliment well. Others might take it horribly.

The reasonable and respectful table would:
A) Make it clear to all players at the table that their voices will be heard and their boundaries respected.
and
B) Actually hear their voices and respect their boundaries.

That these very simple acts of common courtesy have apparently been too much to ask for for decades is a big part of the problem. That this lack of respect has extended to larger public spaces (see: game stores and cons) has made entering those spaces a legitimately risky proposition for a certain type of gamer.
 

MechaPilot

Explorer
The women heard "menstrual", but the other person actually said "minstrel". Is using the word minstrel to be considered "unintentional terrorism" now?
Did hearing "minstrel" as "menstrual" cause the women to feel terror? While the word menstrual is inappropriate in certain situations (I know I'd never use it around most guys, or over a meal) hearing it certainly wouldn't cause me to feel terror. Depending on the context I misheard it in, I might even think it was funny, especially if a DM was describing a minstrel's lyrical performance and I heard something like "The menstrual's flow was elegant and smooth with a satirical bite that drew cheers from the tavern's patrons."

In all frankness, I've almost never heard of unintentionally causing terror in another person. Maybe if you were fleeing a burning building and someone saw you running and screaming right at them, then I could see it. As for unintentional offense, I've heard of that quite often (and I've even been guilty of it myself on more than one occasion).
 

Springheel

Villager
You seem to be confusing "offense" with "terror". I was addressing another poster's skepticism regarding a "culture of terrorism"; you appear to have lumped me into the "Don't ever ask follow-up questions to complaints" crowd, which I don't personally agree with.
It's possible we're crossing our wires then. Though I'm not sure what the difference is between "offense" and "terror" in this context. Doesn't your statement work equally well with either one?

" if a person feels they were being "offended" then they were, in fact, being offended, which is true. Offense is a personal, emotional reaction to an external stimuli... Either you believe a person when they tell you their emotional state or you are accusing them of some form of dishonesty. There is no middle ground there."

If your only point is that when someone describes a subjective experience, they are either actually experiencing that experience, or they are lying, then you'll get no disagreement from me.

My dispute is with people who think that someone else's subjective experience should, without question, result in other people being sanctioned.

Offering unsolicited comments regarding a woman's physical appearance who you do not, personally, know, is "unintentional terrorism".
I have a problem with the term "terrorism" in this context. Terrorism has a specific definition, which is not synonymous with "causing terror" (and even as you're using the term, it only applies if the comment actually caused the woman to feel "terror").

The reasonable and respectful table would:
A) Make it clear to all players at the table that their voices will be heard and their boundaries respected.
and
B) Actually hear their voices and respect their boundaries.

100% agree.

 

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