We’re in agreement! It’s essential to not let it just slide for ‘an easy life’. The passivity and conflict-avoidance of an audience is what enables the most dreadful people. (This thread itself is an example of not just ‘letting it slide’).
I currently spend about 2-3 hours of my own time in the average week writing brief evidenced written reports for instances of racial hatred, gender hatred, antisemitism, trans hatred, sexual harrassment, and other forms of harrassment / general bullying that I see while playing online multiplayer games.
Most game companies run a 3 strike system, ‘formal warning and chat ban for a few days, chat ban for a month + loss of in-game awards, finally, account ban’ and will almost always follow up on an evidenced report and hand out punishments in-game.
I would guess in a typical year I manage to get in-game punishments doled out to maybe 500 of the most horrifyingly spiteful, toxic bullies I encounter while online gaming.
Keep in mind that those people spend $$$ on these games to buy features for their accounts, and it’s also how they hang out with their friends. Being firmly told ‘NO’ by the system and put in the sin bin for a few weeks does seem to have an decent effect on moderating people’s online behaviour.
When players get punished by in-game systems, they usually get presented with a copy of the game chat records showing them how they were behaving at the time to other people, and what exactly broke the rules and earned punishment.
Before reporting people, I also spend time chatting in the game trying to engage with these folk socratically and investigate why they’re angry and wanting to lash out at whole groups of other people, suggest other ways they can deal with their problems in life besides passing it on with bullying and hate. If they’re having a difficult game, maybe point out some things they’re doing well in their gameplay, suggest they relax and try to have fun and not spoil the game for other people when they get a bad game.
7/10 times, that results in a massive 5-10 minute torrent of the most vile racist/sexist/antisemitic crap you can imagine, trying to ‘show off’ just how bad they can be ‘without punishment’, which often seals the fate for their account permanently taking them straight to strike 3.
2/10 times, they apologise and admit they were just being a …
1/10 times they assume I am a woman and start trying to chat me up.
I also try to contact any players that were bullied during or after the game, and reassure them that the gaming community they’re in won’t tolerate them being verbally abused or hated, and that the bad guys are going to get punished.
Separately, I also spend a few hours a week calling out and reporting similar stuff on various internet forums. However I find it is much, much harder to get admins/site operators to do anything about hate speech in chat forums unless it’s really appalling and obvious.
So, I’m with you all the way when you say we’ve got to face down the bad guys.