The Community Standard

“Have I gone too far?”
Kathy Griffin

The Community Standard

The World of Warcraft, recently, created a new system called the Silence Penalty. With it, players can be reported for any number of things like language, spam or their own made-up names.

A report doesn’t automatically silence them and I don’t know exactly how it works but an employee at Blizzard will look at that section of chat that has been flagged to see if it was offensive. Maybe it takes several complaints. A player can be silenced for twenty-four hours. If they continue, it jacks up to forty-eight hours. And then it can escalate to weeks and months.

Being silenced is a big deal.

It feels a bit Orwellian to report others. For a while I refused and bore the burden of foul hateful language. But, there is something in the World of Warcraft that we don’t have on Twitter but we do have in our neighborhood; inclusive realms.

A realm is regional though you can join any realm that you want. They are mostly aligned with time zones. This is so you can line up your own life with the play style of others; maybe you work a night shift and all is quiet when you get off work, you could join a realm several time zones over to find people who are awake when you want to play.

What I like about this is that we, the players, are setting a Community Standard about what is acceptable on our realm. We have a voice and a vote-by-reporting. If I were to guess, and it is only a guess, a realm that is set in Utah might have stronger or more emphatic standards for language than, say, New York.

It feels reasonable.

While I don’t have a Twitter account and, I think, Twitter is international, I’d like to see something, anything, along those lines. The recent articles about our First Lady wearing a coat with a message on it has brought some strong responses. One doesn’t want to see an account banned but a twenty-four silence penalty could be welcome!

Our swear words are expressive and powerful. Limited characters force a quick and abbreviated message. A small graphic middle finger would never suffice.

Having written this, I’ve changed my mind; the World of Warcraft is not the real world — if you have something to say: let ‘er rip. Cuss ’em out if you want to. Go for it.

Things need to be said.

2 thoughts on “The Community Standard

  1. This is an important topic, well laid out. As a free speech kinda guy I am loathe to impose constraints on speech. Still, I am disgusted by cruel, bullying speech and just turn it off or judge the person using it shortly to start with, and so miss the opportunity to consider the main point. The community standard idea is worth thinking about.

    Another aspect is that it is one thing to be stuck in a situation like in an organization where you work-where it’s impossible to escape hurtful language, and another situation like a voluntary group, where you can opt out easily. Another reason why the community standard makes a lot of sense.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think people play games to relax and to get away from the troubles of the real world. I’d be for silencing someone for awhile if it was totally ruining the experience for me. If they were more focused on making some political point or just being crude and they were making it intolerable to play for everyone else in the group, then silence would be golden.

    Liked by 1 person

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