• Resources are back! Use the menu in the main navbar. If you own a resource, please check it for formatting, icons, etc.

Harassment in gaming

Hussar

Legend
Just one, earlier in this thread. I think it was @Sadras who mentioned male-on-male rape happening to one of his characters because the DM thought it was funny.

Edit: I will say that I don't recall if @Sadras said the DM just said that it happened to his character or if the DM tried to make him RP it (as happened in my case).

Edit#2: It was actually [MENTION=31754]Lord Twig[/MENTION], you can find it here.
Heh. i think my point still stands.
 

MechaPilot

Explorer
Heh. i think my point still stands.
I wasn't attempting to rebut your point. Rather, I was simply answering your question. I have no reason to doubt [MENTION=31754]Lord Twig[/MENTION] that it happened, and I have no reason to doubt that it does happen to other male players. However, that doesn't mean that I think it happens to male players with anything anywhere close to the frequency with which it happens with female players. And, it doesn't mean that I think the male players it happens to are pushed to roleplay the PC rape the way my harasser did with me (though I won't rule out that it might happen to some of the male players who see their characters raped).
 

Sadras

Explorer
Just one, earlier in this thread. I think it was @Sadras who mentioned male-on-male rape happening to one of his characters because the DM thought it was funny.

Edit: I will say that I don't recall if @Sadras said the DM just said that it happened to his character or if the DM tried to make him RP it (as happened in my case).

Edit#2: It was actually @Lord Twig, you can find it here.
NEVER at out our table. All the players and myself as DM actually have a respect for everyone's characters, and this respect has become more enforced since we started writing character proses. As far as I can recall in the last 10-15 years we have not even had an instance of NPC rape.
 

MechaPilot

Explorer
NEVER at out our table. All the players and myself as DM actually have a respect for everyone's characters, and this respect has become more enforced since we started writing character proses. As far as I can recall in the last 10-15 years we have not even had an instance of NPC rape.
Yeah, sorry about that. I was recalling the wrong conversation chain when I mentioned you in my post. Also, I applaud your having respect for your players and their attachment to their characters.
 

Springheel

Villager
And, on a side note. We've heard numerous stories of female gamers having the DM have an NPC rape the PC during a prisoner situation. How many male gamers have ever had this same scenario occur? Has anyone reading this, if you're male, EVER had your PC raped? Whether the PC is male or female? Killed? Sure. Tortured? Maybe. Raped? I'm pretty sure that it almost never happens. How many stories have you heard where the male DM roleplays a rape with another male player?

I have never seen this happen. I'm in favour of adults doing whatever they enjoy in their games, but actually roleplaying rape or sex scenes would not be to my taste, and should never be done without the approval of everyone involved.
 

tomBitonti

Explorer
I've said repeatedly in these threads that a lot of people say things like "I wouldn't tolerate that happening in front of me." And that's great. I think that's the page we should all be on. However, in contrast to people like myself and @Elf Witch posting our harassment experiences I can't really recall any accounts of incidents where someone stood up for someone else who was being harassed. @tomBitonti mentioned being involved in two incidents. From the context of his post, I assume he meant in a manner where he intervened on the part of the harassed (though there was no details given as to how he intervened or how well it was received by the people being harassed or by other bystanders, and I won't push him to give those details if he doesn't want to).
In the first case, the social group (folks, some friends, some acquaintances ) who had traveled together to the big cosplay convention in Atlanta (DragonCon, if I remember correctly). We were hanging out together in a public place, and a few of us were drinking. One of the guys was being rude to one of the ladies. Definitely offending the lady. We as a group intervened to keep the guy away from the lady, and the lady was very glad that we helped. In this case, I don't think she would have wanted us to call security, but if that's what she wanted, we would have obliged.

The other case was not gender based. I attempted to intervene, but found the person in authority to be un-supportive.

I've intervened in regards to folks were being harassed on a guild public void server, brought it to the leader's attention, and the behavior was moved against.

A problem that I have with the current discussion is distinguishing cases of harassment which are of a general sort, and which should be acted against, and a focus on harassment in gaming. I find that the main features of harassment in gaming which is deserving attention is the particular demographics (lots of guys, only a few women, some of whom are young and perhaps more vulnerable) means that some additional attention is warranted. But generally, I find a policy of actively working against harassment of any sort works in a gaming context just the same in other contexts. What I do (or would do; I haven't been to a Con or in a public game for some years) is wholly tuned to the particular features of the gaming environment, but largely follows from the general active policy.

Thx!
TomB
 

Ovinomancer

Flip Nazi
I think it may be important to inject a bit on language here. Specifically about "responsibility" and "guilt". This will be relevant for any number of cases where one is part of, or heir to, a group that committed some wrongs. In colloquial use, we don't often differentiate between these terms, but discussion becomes *tons* easier if we do.

If a person is "responsible" for something, that actually means that they are expected to do something about it, to take some action.

If a person is "accountable" for something, then when we go looking for why it went wrong, we are going to look to them. If you are looking to punish, or assign guilt, you're actually looking for the person who is accountable for it - "the buck stops here" tells you where the accountable person is.

So, in a completely non-criminal example: If you have a software project, the engineers are responsible for writing code - it is their assigned task. If the overall project fails, however, it is the project owner who is held accountable for it.

Those of us who do not commit harassment are not accountable for it - we are not guilty. We may be responsible for providing part of the solution, simply because we are in a position to do so, in a way the victim is not.
Dude, those words are synonyms. They're interchangable in most places. Now, I'll stipulate that here are a bunch of management structures that break them into separate categories, but those are artificial. I guarantee you that if I'm responsible for doing something and I don't do it, I don't get to skate by saying 'yes, but I'm not accountable.'

This whole post was laced with whining about "it's not my fault", but this particular bit (focussed on the bit I have bolded) might throw some light on why that is all unfounded.
It's really not, as I don't accept that I have anything to be at fault for to begin with. I get that you want to make those the same thing, because that way encourages the narrative that I do have something to be guilty of and I'm just refusing to accept my culpability. I reject the entire framework.

Start by reading it in a slightly more widely stated way:

- The human race is a group with a terrorism problem (or, more accurately, several)

- the Kingdom Animalia is a group with (many) a terrorism problem

Neither of these claims, while merely wider versions of what is being objected to, has anything to do with racism, sexism or other "politically charged" prejudices.

Now move to some more specific cases:

- Every nation on Earth is a group with a terrorism problem

- The Islamic faith is a group with a terrorism problem

- White male gamers are a group with a terrorism problem

These groups all have a terrorism problem, in the specific sense that some of their number are trying to keep "outsiders" off of "their" turf by terrorising them into going away. That certainly does not mean that all members of the group are guilty of perpetrating terrorism - in fact it is in all cases a very small minority that do. But if the members of all such groups grew a smidgeon of humility and accepted some shared guilt for the culture, the environment and the lack of clear contrary influence that has resulted in such monsters within their ranks, the problems might actually start getting fixed instead of grinding on without end.
The main problem with this structure, aside from it also explicitly stating that group member bear group culpability, exactly as I said was intended, is the it now requires that all humans and animals also bear culpability. This means that you're at fault, and so it the persons terrorized, as their part of the group that you say just have some shared guilt. It's on of the core failures of the group guilt issues. I'm not into blaming victims.

Sadly, however, what invariably comes to the fore is the very opposite of humility; it is a prideful rejection of what is perceived as an attack on the group's social position. The implication is that a measure of harrassment, exploitation and even outright abuse (by a minority and with plausible deniability) is an acceptable price to pay for the continued social position of the group. And are the group members guilty of supporting that implied assumption? Yes, actually, they are as long as they fail to act against it. If you are a member of a group, and that group is doing wrong, you have a duty to act to stop that wrong by whatever means are available to you.
No. I do not have a duty. I should feel the need, and I do. I have taken action already, and will stand up again in the future. There is a problem, and it needs more light and people willing to stand up. I agree that there should be anti-harassment policies, but care should be taken to make them general enough to be broadly useful, and not written to fit the immediately clamor.

What I also reject is that, as a white male, I bear any responsibility, accountability, guilt, or fault for the actions of other individuals, be they also white and male or otherwise.

Actually, while persons commit individual acts, it is not uncommon for groups of people to commit wrongs. See "mobs", "invaders", "gangs" etc.

Recognition of group culpability is hard coded in law in many western legal systems. See "felony murder" and similar laws.

And again, when a group knowingly & intentionally allows miscreants within it to misbehave, they are morally, ethically, and- occasionally- legally culpable for allowing that behavior to occur. Gotta drain the swamp to get rid of the 'skeeters.
No, no they are not. They have no duty or responsibility for the bad actions of others. The easy flaw here is to do what Grandine did above -- move the definition of the group. Right now, it's white males that have a terrorism problem, but move the goalposts a bit to just white people having a terrorism problem, and now you're saying that women are culpable to. Group guilt is entirely malleable by the ease with which one defines the group. Take your Nawlins example. That's a real issue of people not reporting crime and allowing it to fester. But is it everyone in the neighborhoods? What if only some didn't report it and others did. Your blanket now says that the ones doing what their supposed to still have the same level of group guilt as the ones that do nothing or even that commit the crimes, only because they happened to be defined into the group. It's a bad argument.

Rather, it should be acknowledged that harassment and assault are individual crimes that can be stopped by others taking note and taking action. Instead of insisting people have guilt that they need to expunge, offer empowerment through clear reporting lines at your events and clear adjudication processes. A harassment policy should leave absolutely no doubt as to who to report an incident to, what's expected of a report (if anything), and who will have the action and what process they will follow. A few words that say 'harassment will not be tolerated' is pretty useless. Unfortunately, that's the extent to which most anti-harassment policies go, and some of the ones hailed here are about that bad. They're more about assuaging that guilt you insist everyone has and not actually effective at dealing with the problem.

And that's really my main point here -- if you're so focused on making sure that people accept and acknowledge their group guilt, then that is what will drive your efforts -- ways to reduce that guilt. And those efforts may work to make you feel better (the calls for people disagreeing with what some posters believe this thread should be about to be silenced is a great example) but don't address the problem anymore. You're adding in a middleman - guilt - that actively works to undermine your goals.

But, I know why it's done. It's nice to feel the rage at people that don't accept their flawed. It's great signalling to claim how much you accept your guilt, to make great shows of how you're acting against your own guilty group and advocating for the downtrodden. Thing is, the downtrodden don't give a rat's bum about your guilt -- they don't want to be harassed anymore. So, instead of guilt, make that your goal, and leave off insisting that every white male needs to have some moral and ethical culpability because there are real jerkwads out there that happen to be white and male.

Some of the behavior described in the original article- threats of assault, rape or killing- in order to modify the writer's behavior can actually sustain a conviction for making "terroristc threats", punishable by up to 20 years in prison, depending on jurisdiction and seriousness of the threat.

http://criminal-law.freeadvice.com/criminal-law/violent_crimes/terrorist-threats.htm

So, no, her writing isn't an issue at all. It isn't even really hyperbole.
Uh, no. Just no, man. If you threaten to rape someone, and it's a true threat, you're guilty of making a true threat. If you harass someone, you're guilty of that. But to achieve terroristic threats, you have to make true threats against a group of people, not an individual. There are zero cases of someone being successfully tried for terroristic threats aimed at an individual.

It's not a cheap shot at all.

On the contrary, it's dead on accurate.

And before you trot out the tired false comparison about men being victims too, make sure you can provide examples of male gamers, or men involved in the gaming industry, that receive rape threats and death threats on the same scale that women do, to the point that they fear for their personal safety and that of their families, and worry over their job security.

That's part of the real life problem being discussed here.

******

Morrus mentioned earlier that he's not sure about how to keep the discussion focused. I'd say one way to do it is for EN World to write it into the Code of Conduct that the website recognizes that harassment exists in gaming, it is largely targeted at women, and such is to the great detriment of the gaming community.

Because of this, discussions on harassment will be moderated tightly. The value of generating useful discussion on how to deal with the problem will be emphasized. Complaints about the sources of information are not allowed.

Or something to that effect.
I don't suppose the irony of your statements above is remotely apparent to you? If not, well, you demanded clear and unambiguous sources at a specific level of occurrence and impact, and then you advocated for a clear policy of being moderated if you complain about sources of information. I get that you meant 'sources of information I don't think should be questioned,' which does change the tone here from ironic to totalitarian, but still, funny stuff.
 

tomBitonti

Explorer
Dude, those words are synonyms. They're interchangable in most places. Now, I'll stipulate that here are a bunch of management structures that break them into separate categories, but those are artificial. I guarantee you that if I'm responsible for doing something and I don't do it, I don't get to skate by saying 'yes, but I'm not accountable.'
In a military command structure, the words have different meanings, and an officer will very probably correct you immediately if you attempt to interchange them. This is my actual experience in discussion with an Army Lt. Colonel.

Thx!
TomB
 

Ovinomancer

Flip Nazi
In a military command structure, the words have different meanings, and an officer will very probably correct you immediately if you attempt to interchange them. This is my actual experience in discussion with an Army Lt. Colonel.

Thx!
TomB
I'm a veteran, myself. I hardly think that the way the military uses language is a good model for a general discussion.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Uh, no. Just no, man. If you threaten to rape someone, and it's a true threat, you're guilty of making a true threat. If you harass someone, you're guilty of that. But to achieve terroristic threats, you have to make true threats against a group of people, not an individual. There are zero cases of someone being successfully tried for terroristic threats aimed at an individual.
I'm actually on my way somewhere, but I wanted to quickly address this. I haven't had the time to track down case Lawton see if there are any individual prosecutions, but I know that several of the "terroristic threats" statutes are broadly drafted to include threats against individuals, property, and groups. Here are 2 exemplars:

Virginia statute that makes it a felony "for any person ... , with the intent of intimidating any person or group - See more at: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/537/465.html#sthash.eIcy9fuJ.dpuf

Texas Penal Code, Title 5 Section 22.07 (a) (1) & (2)
Sec. 22.07. TERRORISTIC THREAT. (a) A person commits an offense if he threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to:
(1) cause a reaction of any type to his threat by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies;
(2) place any person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury;
http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.22.htm

Whether or not there have been any convictions or not, in certain jurisdictions, the statutes have been drafted in such a form as to allow such charges to be brought. So I stand by my assertion.
 

tomBitonti

Explorer
I'm actually on my way somewhere, but I wanted to quickly address this. I haven't had the time to track down case Lawton see if there are any individual prosecutions, but I know that several of the "terroristic threats" statutes are broadly drafted to include threats against individuals, property, and groups. Here are 2 exemplars:

Virginia statute that makes it a felony "for any person ... , with the intent of intimidating any person or group - See more at: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/537/465.html#sthash.eIcy9fuJ.dpuf

Texas Penal Code, Title 5 Section 22.07 (a) (1) & (2)

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.22.htm

Whether or not there have been any convictions or not, in certain jurisdictions, the statutes have been drafted in such a form as to allow such charges to be brought. So I stand by my assertion.
Hard to discuss that without branching into politics. Do we need to address the definition of "Terroristic", which is a politically laden conversation, or can we keep to the issue of Harassment, with a focus on Harassment in Gaming? It seems sufficient to distinguish more serious felony type behavior from less serious harassment. For felony behavior, the recourse is to call the police. I don't think there is much more to say. But simple harassment is a more nuanced issue, and more actionable at the level of what folks might or should do.

Thx!
TomB
 

Ovinomancer

Flip Nazi
I'm actually on my way somewhere, but I wanted to quickly address this. I haven't had the time to track down case Lawton see if there are any individual prosecutions, but I know that several of the "terroristic threats" statutes are broadly drafted to include threats against individuals, property, and groups. Here are 2 exemplars:

Virginia statute that makes it a felony "for any person ... , with the intent of intimidating any person or group - See more at: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/537/465.html#sthash.eIcy9fuJ.dpuf

Texas Penal Code, Title 5 Section 22.07 (a) (1) & (2)

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.22.htm

Whether or not there have been any convictions or not, in certain jurisdictions, the statutes have been drafted in such a form as to allow such charges to be brought. So I stand by my assertion.
The Virginia statue is specific to the act of burning crosses, and contends that doing so is automatically considered as intent to threaten. Didn't see anything on terroristic threats and nothing on 20 year terms.

The Texas law you reference is a misdemeanor to threaten an individual as you quoted, putting it on par with most true threat laws. The felony parts of that section all deal with groups and/or the government as the targets.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Dude, those words are synonyms. They're interchangable in most places.
As one has noted, they are not the same in the modern military. Nor are they so in modern business, in which communications plans are frequently based on a "RACI chart", which denotes who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, or Informed on project status.

The real point is that there are, in fact, two concepts - the people who are guilty, and the people who are tasked with making things better, and these are very often not the same people. The business world and the military have gotten on board with there being two concepts. I suggest we join them, because they have great value here.


Uh, no. Just no, man. If you threaten to rape someone, and it's a true threat, you're guilty of making a true threat. If you harass someone, you're guilty of that. But to achieve terroristic threats, you have to make true threats against a group of people, not an individual. There are zero cases of someone being successfully tried for terroristic threats aimed at an individual.
I think you are incorrect there.

"A terroristic threat is a threat to commit a crime of violence or a threat to cause bodily injury to another person and terrorization as the result of the proscribed conduct."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terroristic_threat

So, say a female game developer is being harrassed, and gets doxxed, and someone threatens to go to her house and do violence to her. If that person were to follow through on that act, even though it is performed on a single individual, would result in fear and intimidation among many other female game developers, and other women by extension. That act, even though carried out on an individual, has broader implications, and thus counts as terrorism.

Terrorism is not defined by the number of people you do violence to, but the number of people you intimidate.
 

Lord Twig

Explorer
Since my experience with having a character raped was brought up, I would like to point out that it was very different than what the women in this thread have described. Not that it wasn't graphic, it was. I was also told that I could continue to role-play my character as he would survive and seek revenge, but I wasn't interested.

The difference is that I did not feel humiliated or intimidated in any way. I was mad, but that's it. I told the GM to **** off and I quit the game. Then I argued with the rest of the group and got them to agree that it wasn't the tone of the game that we wanted to play and the GM relented. He never apologized and still thought it was funny, but it wasn't considered that big a deal and it was soon forgotten. Honestly it took me a while of thinking to remember the incident as it happened over 20 years ago.

In retrospect it is probably because I am part of the majority group. I don't feel intimidated by my fellow gamers, even though I am usually one of the smallest people in the room, unless women are present. (Surprising fact! Men are generally larger than women!)

As for the "men can be victims too", they most certainly can be, and it should be acknowledged. But really that's all that is required in this case. We can talk about the problem that female gamers have, and how we can fix those problems. Then a "This applies to victims of any gender also" at the end, I think, doesn't detract anything from the overall message.

Finally I would like to say that a public announcement of anti-harassment policies and raising awareness of the issue is a good idea. I can tell you that there were a couple times (not game related) where I was present when inappropriate comments were made to women and I was so stunned that I didn't do anything (not immediately at least). I was shocked. I looked to the insulted person to get their reaction to try to gauge how I should react. They didn't do anything, so I didn't do anything. This was the wrong thing to do.

Later I brought up the issue (both times), but I think the lack of immediate condemnation hampered the response. By then it was "water under the bridge" or "I'll talk to him about it" and then it is forgotten. So a reminder of what to watch out for and what to do when it happens I think can be a big help.
 

Ovinomancer

Flip Nazi
As one has noted, they are not the same in the modern military. Nor are they so in modern business, in which communications plans are frequently based on a "RACI chart", which denotes who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, or Informed on project status.
I believe I acknowledged that there are business plans that utilize a difference. They also use a lot of other buzzwords, and tend to mangle the concepts. Outside of those contrived structures (and they are contrived), you can substitute responsible for accountable and the meaning remains the same. I am responsible for my actions. I am accountable for my actions. Same meaning.

I am neither responsible for nor accountable for harassment in gaming, either through personal action or through membership in a group. This entire definition discussion is bizarre.

The real point is that there are, in fact, two concepts - the people who are guilty, and the people who are tasked with making things better, and these are very often not the same people. The business world and the military have gotten on board with there being two concepts. I suggest we join them, because they have great value here.
That's not any definition of the words accountable and responsible I can recognize, even using the military or RACI concepts. "Guilty" and "makes things better" has never been on any RACI duties explanations I've ever seen. And, yes, I even belong to an organization that uses RACI, which is one reason I know that the R and the A there have very little to do with your definitions or ideas. They mean 'guy who tells others what to do' and 'gal who does it and is downhill of the A'.

And I find there to be excruciatingly little benefit in using any terminology that you simplified into 'guilty' and 'working to make things better'.
I think you are incorrect there.

"A terroristic threat is a threat to commit a crime of violence or a threat to cause bodily injury to another person and terrorization as the result of the proscribed conduct."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terroristic_threat

So, say a female game developer is being harrassed, and gets doxxed, and someone threatens to go to her house and do violence to her. If that person were to follow through on that act, even though it is performed on a single individual, would result in fear and intimidation among many other female game developers, and other women by extension. That act, even though carried out on an individual, has broader implications, and thus counts as terrorism.

Terrorism is not defined by the number of people you do violence to, but the number of people you intimidate.
Never once said it was violence. Confused as to your point, now.

But, under that concept, any crime is a terrorist act because it can cause a wider population to fear. Rob a bank? Terrorism, people will now be concerned or fear that they will have their banks robbed or be in a bank when it's robbed.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
I'm actually on my way somewhere, but I wanted to quickly address this. I haven't had the time to track down case Lawton see if there are any individual prosecutions, but I know that several of the "terroristic threats" statutes are broadly drafted to include threats against individuals, property, and groups. Here are 2 exemplars:

Virginia statute that makes it a felony "for any person ... , with the intent of intimidating any person or group - See more at: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/537/465.html#sthash.eIcy9fuJ.dpuf

Texas Penal Code, Title 5 Section 22.07 (a) (1) & (2)

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.22.htm

Whether or not there have been any convictions or not, in certain jurisdictions, the statutes have been drafted in such a form as to allow such charges to be brought. So I stand by my assertion.
Did a quick search, and quickly found an anonymous inquiry to a fellow Texas attorney from a man trying to get his conviction of a "terroristic threat" against the daughter of a Houston police officer expunged. So yes, convictions for "terroristic threats" against individuals DO occur.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
The Virginia statue is specific to the act of burning crosses, and contends that doing so is automatically considered as intent to threaten. Didn't see anything on terroristic threats and nothing on 20 year terms.
That's a fair counter- and notably, while Virigina does have some harsh penalties for threats of violence, near as I can tell, they never use the word "terroristic" as part of their drafting.

I will note, however, that every legal reference site I have looked on has noted that "every state" has laws against making "terroristic" threats. I suspect that, even without using the exact phrase, Virginia's law is known as such by state practitioners, and is probably distinguished by its penalties and definitions, possibly its legislative history.

The Texas law you reference is a misdemeanor to threaten an individual as you quoted, putting it on par with most true threat laws. The felony parts of that section all deal with groups and/or the government as the targets.
Nobody said the threat had to be "felonious", just defined as a "terroristic threat". It will still show up on your record as such, even though it is only a misdemeanor. The anonymous expungement inquiry I mentioned above noted that the conviction was interfering with the person's ability to get a job. IOW, it may only be a misdemeanor, but not all misdemeanors are crated equal.

And besides, there's also Federal law to consider.

18 U.S. Code § 2332b - Acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries

(a) Prohibited Acts.—
(1)Offenses.—Whoever, involving conduct transcending national boundaries and in a circumstance described in subsection (b)—
(A) kills, kidnaps, maims, commits an assault resulting in serious bodily injury, or assaults with a dangerous weapon any person within the United States; or
(B) creates a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to any other person by destroying or damaging any structure, conveyance, or other real or personal property within the United States or by attempting or conspiring to destroy or damage any structure, conveyance, or other real or personal property within the United States;
in violation of the laws of any State, or the United States, shall be punished as prescribed in subsection (c).
(2)Treatment of threats, attempts and conspiracies.—
Whoever threatens to commit an offense under paragraph (1), or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be punished under subsection (c).

(b) Jurisdictional Bases.—
(1)Circumstances.—The circumstances referred to in subsection (a) are—
(A) the mail or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce is used in furtherance of the offense;
(Edit)
(E) the offense is committed in the territorial sea (including the airspace above and the seabed and subsoil below, and artificial islands and fixed structures erected thereon) of the United States; or
(F) the offense is committed within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
So, if the threat was issued by someone out of the USA, or within its territorial seas, or special jurisdictions, you can be charged under the Federal terroristic threat law.

It is unclear by it's language whether simply using the Internet to issue a threat will in and of itself support an indictment under 18 U.S. Code § 2332b(b)(1)(A) if the conduct charged originated within the United States, but I suspect it is probable. After all, the Interstate Commerce Act has been used to support actions that were solely within the confines of a single state because the activity involved some apparatus of interstate commerce such as the Internet, or broadcast media outlets that cross state boundaries.

Under United States v. DeAndino, 958 F.2d 146 (US Ct. App. 6th Cir. 1992), email is clearly considered to be an instrument of "interstate and foreign" commerce, so the risk is there.
 
Last edited:

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Hard to discuss that without branching into politics. Do we need to address the definition of "Terroristic", which is a politically laden conversation, or can we keep to the issue of Harassment, with a focus on Harassment in Gaming? It seems sufficient to distinguish more serious felony type behavior from less serious harassment. For felony behavior, the recourse is to call the police. I don't think there is much more to say. But simple harassment is a more nuanced issue, and more actionable at the level of what folks might or should do.

Thx!
TomB
Well, state "terroristic threat" statutes vary GREATLY. Even though many cover even threats against individuals, as some correctly pointed out, there are others that demand the threatened target be a group of more than ten, for instance. The question, of course, is if each threat of violence against a female gamer, game journalist or game designer is legally a discrete instance, or if a pattern of such threats would support an indictment because the target is "all" female gamers, game journalist and game designers.

And IMHO- as well as others who have posted in this thread- the threats of rape, assault and death DO rise to the level of terrorism as designated by the writer in the title of the blog post that was the catalyst for this thread.

It is also a rhetorical sticking point for pushback.
 

tomBitonti

Explorer
Well, state "terroristic threat" statutes vary GREATLY. Even though many cover even threats against individuals, as some correctly pointed out, there are others that demand the threatened target be a group of more than ten, for instance. The question, of course, is if each threat of violence against a female gamer, game journalist or game designer is legally a discrete instance, or if a pattern of such threats would support an indictment because the target is "all" female gamers, game journalist and game designers.

And IMHO- as well as others who have posted in this thread- the threats of rape, assault and death DO rise to the level of terrorism as designated by the writer in the title of the blog post that was the catalyst for this thread.

It is also a rhetorical sticking point for pushback.
I'll grant you the last point, but really, use of "terrorism" seems a bit of fear mongering. I don't see how it is useful, either in the original,linked article, or here in discussion. We can get by with simply remarking that threats of violence, or actual violence, or actions intended to cause duress (shouting, lewd remarks, &etc) are sufficient to bring in trained security personnel, e.g., police or guards. I don't think that most untrained people should handle such circumstances, except to immediately mediate if possible. In case of an already committed act, I'd try to help, but really I don't think I'd be the right person to provide council to an assault victim.

But I'm not convinced that felony behavior is a greater concern in gaming activities. Consider the example from the linked article -- being slipped a drug and being raped. The circumstance was more akin to an underage woman going to an off campus mixer. That seems a very dangerous environment. And if the up thread discussion is a guide, it was a friend that committed the assault. I don't see the very terrible outcome being gaming specific.

Where there seems more to discuss is the more nuanced issue of "soft" harassment: An in game rape scene. Unwanted attention. General verbal harassment. These are matters which are more within the purview of a typical gamer, and coachable behavior.

Thx!
Tom B
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Actually, I agree that the terroristic behavior alleged isn't a "greater concern" for our hobby, but I disagree that we don't need to talk about it. I had ZERO idea that fellow gamers threatened women in such a relentless way until GamerGate. And as I stated, I have faced very little overt racism in the hobby. I had this image of this hobby as a bit of an oasis.

IOW, I saw my fellow gamers with rose colored glasses
 

Advertisement

Top