Code of Conduct / Community Standards

whether or not people wanted to be part of this forum regularly, this should have been a safer space for authors to participate in the IF comp. the author’s forum has been decent, but the rest has failed to be safe even for the relatively short time during which the comp is held.

women are being talked over, ignored, singled out for voicing their opinions, and reminded of harassment that should never have been brought into this space. the emotional cost of participating in these discussions has been made too high.

whatever your opinion about any of this, the pragmatic outcome is less women, of all kinds, newcomer and veteran, both those who have spoken up, and those who have remained silent. that is a problem.

I don’t know how to have a discussion about it without calling it by its name. Any conversation about inclusiveness and journalism in gaming right now is a conversation about GG.

I’m open to a discussion. I can at least promise I will be civil. However, I wouldn’t be participating because I’m interested in hearing more about it or because I think I can convince anyone of my arguments. It would be to: a) allow an opportunity for people to have a say on the issue, as it seems several are itching to do so, and b) get it out of the way, so we can move on.

I also support not discussing it at all. However, if a discussion were to happen, it should not be in this thread. We should stick to the Code of Conduct topic.

I like that suggestion zarf. Avoiding the label while allowing discussion on associated issues sounds wise, as long as the discussions remain nonabusive.

Do you have specific posts in mind that you believe should be banned by a code of conduct? It would be helpful to see examples.

Idk I just think the person who explicitly described her harassment shouldn’t have had to deal with that drama being brought into the space. It’s not a particularly theoretical discussion for some of us.

I’ve opened a separate topic to discuss GamerGate at

If the mods prefer to have them combined, I’ll move that post over to here.

I am increasingly feeling like moderation is not going to solve what appears to be community issues, and this goes for everything that’s been discussed. I don’t think I have much to further contribute to a CoC discussion. I’m gonna step away from these discussions and try to take some space.

I’ll sleep on this, but it seems like a good idea for me to leave the forum; it doesn’t seem like my relationship with it is beneficial to either of us.

That was my comment, and I stand by it.

It’s like affirmative action. It’s reverse racism! It’s “obviously” unfair! Why should black kids get an unfair advantage over white kids?

The answer to that question is that reverse racism, reverse sexism, etc. are nowhere near as big a problem as regular (forward?) racism, sexism, etc., especially accidental/unconscious -isms that add up over time. It’s a drop in the bucket to reverse hundreds or even thousands of years of systematic oppression.

I’ve argued earlier in this thread, it has to be OK to make false charges of sexism, in order to make it safe to charge anyone with sexism. (Obviously, it’s better to be right, but it has to be OK to be wrong.) Otherwise, the underprivileged victims/accusers have to go on trial when they call out subtle -isms, and so they censor themselves, and the privileged majority tramples them.

(For the record, I agree with Porpentine, and I really do think this forum has a lot of unconscious sexism to work through. But my point stands even if we concede, for the sake of argument, that Porpentine was 100% wrong.)

Reasonable people can disagree about whether affirmative action is unfair, and I bet we’ll have to disagree about whether it’s “unfair” that it’s not OK to hurt someone’s feelings with sexism, but it is OK to hurt someone’s feelings by calling out sexism incorrectly.

But if your sense of fairness is in conflict with the minimum requirements of the forum being a safe space, then you have to choose for yourself whether you want this forum to be “free and fair” or whether you want this forum to feel safe for underprivileged people, even the “oversensitive” ones.

I say that we should give underprivileged people extra advantages to make the forum feel safe. But it’s not a slam dunk. The privileged majority has developed a moral code under which it’s OK to do things that just happen to make underprivileged people feel unsafe, and that moral code doesn’t sound terrible, at first; it just has terrible effects.

A ‘safe place’ for everyone will never exist. Still, we’ll try to make it as safe as we can.

This is true. We have to HELP harassed people to come out on what’s troubling them; we have to widen the road for them, not thin it down. I’m even against thinking that Inurashii explaining here why she’s so upset by some post is wrong. The first problem of victims is that they fear “telling the world” because they can get further harassment. The worst thing that can happen to a victim (i.e. of rape) is audience asking “what where you wearing?” because that would imply (or say quite explicitly) that she was part of the guilty party.

This said, what I voice for is that the target of those charges has the right to defend him/herself.

This is not to imply that the accusers could be manipulating people, but just because that’s how it works in every one of the most advanced Law systems in the world. “Guilty until proven innocent” can be a viable option to help oppressed people come out. But the defender must be able to defend himself.

I say this because I’m pretty sure one of the options was to silence the alleged aggressor for the sake of the aggressed’s “safeness”. This will eventually lead to more aggressed fearing to come out, but I really can’t see how to avoid this apart from actively promoting the coming out in the forums. Anonymous flaggin, maybe? Don’t know – feel like such a thing will on the other side promote trolling.

I’m open to suggestions.

I really think that the victims explain everybody what “has happened” is the only way to have the other, unaware people become aware of the problem. I know it’s hard, really hard. Still, it’s the best way. The most direct one. A day may come when no victim will feel violated twice for the same offense.

And yet that proposal has already made people feel unsafe.

You’re entitled to your political views, but they aren’t shared by everyone, and thus I contend they have no place in this forum’s moderation policy or code of conduct.

I say that’s the worst idea I’ve ever heard. We’ve gone from treating everyone equally to actually discriminating against people who aren’t in a minority. It’s also another way of saying “Hey, if you’re black, gay or female and want to bash people who aren’t, this is the place to do it”.

Minority groups? It’s pretty obvious from all of these discussions that the people who are not interested in Twine games are a tiny, tiny minority here! Those who speak up about their (negative) preferences (yes, many have done it in a civil way) are immediately called out for being exclusionists (or much worse). Quite honestly: you, Merk, have been one of the major voices of reason in these discussions (yes, others as well, but I don’t want to start an exhaustive list; I think it’s pretty clear whose views I also support by what I’m writing). When I read this…

…it is clear to me that my presence in these circles will be strictly limited in the future. It makes it even more plain than it used to be that this is a very unwelcoming place for people like me.

Or, to use the phrasing suggested earlier: This place makes me feel very unwelcome – more and more as these discussions go on! Not because these discussions exist, but because of the incredibly oppressing direction they’re taking. The suggested Code of Conduct makes me feel very “unsafe”. The attitude of certain “opinion leaders” or at least very vocal people here is something which is very discouraging to me to further participate in this community.

But it doesn’t matter, because I’m not part of a perceived minority (although, that, in itself, does make me part of a minority).

I endorse dfabulich’s post above. Every word.

The problem with this forum is not, and never will be, that black, gay, female, or trans) people feel too comfortable “bashing” other people here. That’s obvious just from the demographic makeup of the posters. Any realistic code of conduct, even one that includes some kind of advantage for discriminated against groups (which isn’t the same as minorities; women are the majority of people and still discriminated against), will not make it appealing for some woman/gay person/trans person/person of color to say “Hey! You know what I’m going to do today? I’m going to go to a forum where I’m in the minority and falsely accuse people of subtle -isms!”

I understand your concerns, I think. It is no fun to get called out when you think you’ve done nothing wrong. And yet when the target immediately leaps in to defend himself, that creates a burden on the member of the less privileged group to explain, carefully and tactfully, why they think the original comment was wrong. And those explanations are really hard to write and create a lot of stress on the person making them–piled on top of the stress that the original commenter made. I don’t want to make myself the Voice of Women here, but Lynnea Glasser posted something in one of these threads about how women are doing you a favor when they take the time to explain what’s wrong with subtle sexism instead of just deciding not to deal with you, and Emily Short mentioned writing and deleting thousands of words.

Speaking for myself, I find it takes much more effort to call out subtle -isms than to avoid them; I put a lot more effort into trying to be tactful in calling out subtle -isms than in not being sexist (it may seem hard to believe, but I really do write and delete a lot of stuff in an effort to be as tactful as possible); yet I usually don’t wind up getting called out for sexism, and just about every time I or anyone else tries to say that a remark (not a poster) is subtly -ist it yields an angry reaction. And if I can avoid this by not calling out subtle -isms (they’re not directed at me), it’s just not fair to put that extra burden on people who are already getting discriminated against everywhere else.

So what’s the solution? Well, Dan already said earlier in the thread that at Choice of Games the moderation for -isms happens in private, through PMs and the like. I think that’s necessary. That way people can discuss what happened without anyone having to feel as though they’ve been accused in public and needing to defend themselves in public, and the person who originally wants to remark the subtle -ism can send a message to a moderator without having to feel like they have to spend an hour composing an explanation of what’s wrong in a way that might not cause an angry reaction.

I wonder if we aren’t in danger of creating an artificial disagreement by attempts at over-definition here. Presumably we all want an inclusive community in which everyone is treated with courtesy and respect. It seems to me that this is more or less what the latest version of the Code of Conduct (when I just looked at it) provides for.

I’m not entirely sure how useful the language of “subtle -isms” is, mainly because the concept seems a bit unclear. The example given - “this is so simple that even my grandmother could understand it” (or words to that effect) doesn’t look all that subtle to me. What perhaps this is trying to capture is parallel to the notion that harassment occurs if the victim is made to feel threatened, degraded, oppressed, or whatever. This is fine so so long as it is subject to a test of reasonableness e.g. “Behaviour will not amount to harassment if the conduct complained of could not reasonably
be perceived as offensive.” ( In practice part of such a test would surely include whether or not the person who felt victimized felt so as part of a group who are regularly victimized (e.g., other things being equal women have more reason to feel that they are the target of sexism than men).

This strikes me as potentially a helpful way forward. I would add that what may be more helpful than coming up with a form of wording that enshrines positive discrimination in a way that many people find alienating, is to build a team of moderators that include a number of different backgrounds and points of view so that judgments about what is reasonable are not being made from a single perspective.

I agree with this. One aspect of diversity here is gender; right now only one moderator is a woman.

OTOH it’s a lot to ask the women in the community to do extra fairly thankless work (one common thing in universities is that every committee, reasonably enough, desires gender diversity, but there are fewer women than men, so the women get asked to be on all the committees, which is a drain on them because they’re very time-consuming and nobody really likes serving on these committees).

Which is not fair on the women themselves. This would appear to indicate to me that the solution those committees have found to solve the problem of “gender diversity” might be superficial and less than ideal. To be fair, though, I haven’t seen anyone come up with a better solution, short of educating people to WANT to do certain jobs based purely on their gender - which amounts to a different but recognisable kind of sexism; gender influences your employability.

The paragraph above, unusually succint considering who it’s coming from, explains in a nutshell my discomfort with this whole situation, not just in this forum, not just in the internet, but pretty much everywhere and everywhen. Just thought I’d share; seemed relevant and unambiguously “safe”.


Yes, exactly. The real solution seems like it’s having enough women around that this isn’t a problem, but that hasn’t happened…

One of the big problems that concerns me (and this is not new: I’d say it’s very old, as Humanity) is that, in this kind of discussion, people trying to defend a statement or a belief are automatically put together with the worst expression of the same belief. In the specific case, the ones defending the rights of minorities are told to be SJWs or, worse, to promote trolls who will use the CoC to silence people; those promoting free speech are, on the other side, clearly said they are supporting (or unwillingly part of) the GG bollocks.

I’m not like that. And I’m sorry if my ethical fight is feeding those extremisms.


Do you see these things as opposed? Everyone here is (I assume!) pro-free speech and pro-rights of minorities. The whole reason this Code of Conduct thread exists, that we are posting here, is to ensure that everybody feels comfortable posting here – to guarantee free speech.

Believing these two things are opposed to each other just seems self-defeating.