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Thread: An Open Letter to STS on Censorship, Hate Speech and Bigotry

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    Default An Open Letter to STS on Censorship, Hate Speech and Bigotry

    Dear STS,

    I haven't played this game in a long time. I recently got back into it and played around for a while, rekindled connections with old friends I thought I'd lost forever. It gave me a new chance to look at the wonderful community you have crafted over 8 long years, a robust core of players that have remained loyal to you through everything; but it has also brought to light some decisions you have made that might have made sense in 2013, but are archaic in today's world.

    But first, I think a little backstory is necessary to fully capture the magnitude of this issue that might seem trivial at first glance, but on closer inspection reveals flaws so deeply baked into human society, and in particular gaming culture, that it would require years of work on the parts of every member of the gaming community at large, players and developers alike, to come together to attempt to fix this problem that exists at the very bedrock of our society.

    Trash talking has long been at the core of every online game. Any game that has a player versus player or co-op mechanic will inevitably have players throwing insults at each other - whether you play competitive shooters, League of Legends, Club Penguin or, yes, Arcane Legends, you will come across trash talking. It's something you come to expect from online gaming; a player behind a keyboard, comfortable in his or her anonymity, will often lose restrictions imposed on them by society; to put it more colorfully, give a man a mask and he shows his true face. While it is sad, it is human nature; and this is not the problem I look to solve today (and indeed, I'm not entirely sure it can be solved, ever, but that's a topic for another day).

    Censorship - regardless of whom you ask, it's a controversial topic. Reckless freedom of speech has devastating consequences, but so does depriving an individual of it entirely. It's an issue that isn't restricted to gaming by any means, and strays so far into the realm of the political that I won't attempt to venture very far into this topic, though it is the heart of this issue: I am not here to argue whether censorship is right or wrong - instead, I want to examine what should be censored and what should not: but even this issue is a minefield so I'll be restricting myself to one particular "insult". Whether it opens the discussion further is in your hands.

    I want to restrict this discussion, in fact, to the term "gay" which, I would argue, should not cause you to get muted for using it - while it can be, and for decades has been, used as an insult, it also has far more innocuous uses - and if saying "gay marriage" times you out for five minutes, or if you have to type "I'm g@y" when revealing your orientation to your in game friends to avoid being censored - maybe it's time for a change.

    The year is 2020. I doubt anyone had homophobic intentions when censoring this word when the code was laid down in 2012 - but it's slightly troubling that saying "lesbian" gives you a "soft censor" - ie hides the "offensive" word with asterisks (which can be disabled by changing your settings) - but saying "gay" mutes you for the whole 5 minutes.

    This went on for a little longer than I intended, but it is an issue close to my heart - all of us here know that many children play this game (in fact I was barely a teenager when I started playing AL), and to a young gay child this sort of thing can be very damaging to their self esteem. Many parts of the world are still extremely homophobic, and often the internet can be a person's only outlet to being their true self.

    To everyone who had the patience to make it this far, thanks for your time - and I hope that together, one step at a time, we can make at least this little corner of the internet a more accepting place to live in.

    (If you want a tl;dr, I'm sorry - a topic like this shouldn't be condensed into one sentence.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghoul View Post
    Dear STS,

    I haven't played this game in a long time. I recently got back into it and played around for a while, rekindled connections with old friends I thought I'd lost forever. It gave me a new chance to look at the wonderful community you have crafted over 8 long years, a robust core of players that have remained loyal to you through everything; but it has also brought to light some decisions you have made that might have made sense in 2013, but are archaic in today's world.

    But first, I think a little backstory is necessary to fully capture the magnitude of this issue that might seem trivial at first glance, but on closer inspection reveals flaws so deeply baked into human society, and in particular gaming culture, that it would require years of work on the parts of every member of the gaming community at large, players and developers alike, to come together to attempt to fix this problem that exists at the very bedrock of our society.

    Trash talking has long been at the core of every online game. Any game that has a player versus player or co-op mechanic will inevitably have players throwing insults at each other - whether you play competitive shooters, League of Legends, Club Penguin or, yes, Arcane Legends, you will come across trash talking. It's something you come to expect from online gaming; a player behind a keyboard, comfortable in his or her anonymity, will often lose restrictions imposed on them by society; to put it more colorfully, give a man a mask and he shows his true face. While it is sad, it is human nature; and this is not the problem I look to solve today (and indeed, I'm not entirely sure it can be solved, ever, but that's a topic for another day).

    Censorship - regardless of whom you ask, it's a controversial topic. Reckless freedom of speech has devastating consequences, but so does depriving an individual of it entirely. It's an issue that isn't restricted to gaming by any means, and strays so far into the realm of the political that I won't attempt to venture very far into this topic, though it is the heart of this issue: I am not here to argue whether censorship is right or wrong - instead, I want to examine what should be censored and what should not: but even this issue is a minefield so I'll be restricting myself to one particular "insult". Whether it opens the discussion further is in your hands.

    I want to restrict this discussion, in fact, to the term "gay" which, I would argue, should not cause you to get muted for using it - while it can be, and for decades has been, used as an insult, it also has far more innocuous uses - and if saying "gay marriage" times you out for five minutes, or if you have to type "I'm g@y" when revealing your orientation to your in game friends to avoid being censored - maybe it's time for a change.

    The year is 2020. I doubt anyone had homophobic intentions when censoring this word when the code was laid down in 2012 - but it's slightly troubling that saying "lesbian" gives you a "soft censor" - ie hides the "offensive" word with asterisks (which can be disabled by changing your settings) - but saying "gay" mutes you for the whole 5 minutes.

    This went on for a little longer than I intended, but it is an issue close to my heart - all of us here know that many children play this game (in fact I was barely a teenager when I started playing AL), and to a young gay child this sort of thing can be very damaging to their self esteem. Many parts of the world are still extremely homophobic, and often the internet can be a person's only outlet to being their true self.

    To everyone who had the patience to make it this far, thanks for your time - and I hope that together, one step at a time, we can make at least this little corner of the internet a more accepting place to live in.

    (If you want a tl;dr, I'm sorry - a topic like this shouldn't be condensed into one sentence.)
    Lesbian censored but gay mutes. Bruhhhh.
    Agree with all you said on your post. STS should definitely adjust their censoring system. As if there are no other words to "bully" someone except a word about sexuality- gay or lesbian. This is just absurd. When it comes to chat STS is like" you have been a bad boy, now you are punished!!!!!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghoul View Post
    Dear STS,

    I haven't played this game in a long time. I recently got back into it and played around for a while, rekindled connections with old friends I thought I'd lost forever. It gave me a new chance to look at the wonderful community you have crafted over 8 long years, a robust core of players that have remained loyal to you through everything; but it has also brought to light some decisions you have made that might have made sense in 2013, but are archaic in today's world.

    But first, I think a little backstory is necessary to fully capture the magnitude of this issue that might seem trivial at first glance, but on closer inspection reveals flaws so deeply baked into human society, and in particular gaming culture, that it would require years of work on the parts of every member of the gaming community at large, players and developers alike, to come together to attempt to fix this problem that exists at the very bedrock of our society.

    Trash talking has long been at the core of every online game. Any game that has a player versus player or co-op mechanic will inevitably have players throwing insults at each other - whether you play competitive shooters, League of Legends, Club Penguin or, yes, Arcane Legends, you will come across trash talking. It's something you come to expect from online gaming; a player behind a keyboard, comfortable in his or her anonymity, will often lose restrictions imposed on them by society; to put it more colorfully, give a man a mask and he shows his true face. While it is sad, it is human nature; and this is not the problem I look to solve today (and indeed, I'm not entirely sure it can be solved, ever, but that's a topic for another day).

    Censorship - regardless of whom you ask, it's a controversial topic. Reckless freedom of speech has devastating consequences, but so does depriving an individual of it entirely. It's an issue that isn't restricted to gaming by any means, and strays so far into the realm of the political that I won't attempt to venture very far into this topic, though it is the heart of this issue: I am not here to argue whether censorship is right or wrong - instead, I want to examine what should be censored and what should not: but even this issue is a minefield so I'll be restricting myself to one particular "insult". Whether it opens the discussion further is in your hands.

    I want to restrict this discussion, in fact, to the term "gay" which, I would argue, should not cause you to get muted for using it - while it can be, and for decades has been, used as an insult, it also has far more innocuous uses - and if saying "gay marriage" times you out for five minutes, or if you have to type "I'm g@y" when revealing your orientation to your in game friends to avoid being censored - maybe it's time for a change.

    The year is 2020. I doubt anyone had homophobic intentions when censoring this word when the code was laid down in 2012 - but it's slightly troubling that saying "lesbian" gives you a "soft censor" - ie hides the "offensive" word with asterisks (which can be disabled by changing your settings) - but saying "gay" mutes you for the whole 5 minutes.

    This went on for a little longer than I intended, but it is an issue close to my heart - all of us here know that many children play this game (in fact I was barely a teenager when I started playing AL), and to a young gay child this sort of thing can be very damaging to their self esteem. Many parts of the world are still extremely homophobic, and often the internet can be a person's only outlet to being their true self.

    To everyone who had the patience to make it this far, thanks for your time - and I hope that together, one step at a time, we can make at least this little corner of the internet a more accepting place to live in.

    (If you want a tl;dr, I'm sorry - a topic like this shouldn't be condensed into one sentence.)


    Sent from my SM-A207F using Tapatalk

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    i agree. if you wanna be gay then be proud and deal with the consequences because you chose that path.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lilweezy View Post
    i agree. if you wanna be gay then be proud and deal with the consequences because you chose that path.
    What consequences bruh it's just who they choose to be with- like everyone else In the world. Nothing different

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aeot View Post
    What consequences bruh it's just who they choose to be with- like everyone else In the world. Nothing different
    let's not pretend that there aren't any. otherwise this wouldn't even be an issue. you can't change the majority's opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lilweezy View Post
    let's not pretend that there aren't any. otherwise this wouldn't even be an issue. you can't change the majority's opinion.
    At this point it's individuals not majority

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    Intentionally, removing those words from the banned words list is a step into the right direction and we all know theres nothing wrong with those words at all. The problem is that I dont have much trust in ALs playerbase of using those words in a right way. In fact, I expect more people abusing these words than people using them the right way. You are correct, its 2020 and things like this should not happen. I am not sure whats worse, not being able to tell your sexual orientation ingame or seeing it being misused to insult others/you. You said everything else about how censorship is debateable, 2012s creating of the list etc. They have to think about this, definitely. I'll support their decision either way.

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    You cannot fix something that is fixed in it's own way I guess. The community will mostly not change, because there are always people downloading this game and start playing, most of the time they are underage (by underage i mean under 16). Kids will mostly use these words as abuse and there is the problem. One other problem is the world itself, not only the AL's player base (i know the world cannot be changed). Also the "parenting" that is just giving your kid a phone and that's how you educate him/her, of course there many exceptions, but you all know that this is quite common nowadays. Anyway, I'm looking for a way to fix that.. if there is any?
    Last edited by Faotblack; 09-28-2020 at 12:02 PM.
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    There are many words in the mute system that shouldn't be in there. You can write out *** (should be axsxs without any x), but writing azz gets you muted for example. Feels unnecessary, especially when friends' names start with azz. Why even bother muting someone, when people want to use some of the words on the list they'll just misspell them on purpose.

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    Hypothesis:
    When someone asks to be able to use the word “gay”freely, it because they aren’t.
    \m/,_______( >. < ‘ )_________,\m/
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    The AL censorship system in general is hella broken

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    So, while I agree with this...if you look at the AL community, most of them are kids that will throw a rage fit if you look at them wrong. I feel as though it would start to be used as an insult rather than something to announce. I will say this though. It is not my place to decide this and I think the LGBTQ community should decide if they want the word back or not.
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    If you want to discuss politics, religion and other important social topics, join a chat room. This isn’t the platform to use. I’ve been on games with chat so filthy you couldn’t ask anything or find info about the game. Cuz that’s what ppl will do if they can. Plenty of tt cry threads as it stands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus View Post
    So, while I agree with this...if you look at the AL community, most of them are kids that will throw a rage fit if you look at them wrong. I feel as though it would start to be used as an insult rather than something to announce. I will say this though. It is not my place to decide this and I think the LGBTQ community should decide if they want the word back or not.
    The thing is players can easily circumvent the mute by replacing letters or mispelling the word and are already using the word as an insult. With that in mind, I feel it is a step forward in the right direction to completely unban the word - it would send the message that the word is not an inheritantly bad one, but rather a neutral term of self expression.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oakmaiden View Post
    If you want to discuss politics, religion and other important social topics, join a chat room. This isn’t the platform to use. I’ve been on games with chat so filthy you couldn’t ask anything or find info about the game. Cuz that’s what ppl will do if they can. Plenty of tt cry threads as it stands.
    If it is so inappropriate, I am sure mods will close it as they see fit. With that said I don't think this is a tt cry thread at all, but a thoughtful message to STS about a possibly outdated decision.

    Plus, just because other games you play have an unpleasant audience, does not mean AL gets a free pass to do the same. As members of this community we are able to skew the trends of how players behave towards each other, and shooting down people who want to take the first step towards that is not the way to go!
    Last edited by Cor; 09-28-2020 at 06:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lilweezy View Post
    i agree. if you wanna be gay then be proud and deal with the consequences because you chose that path.
    So you chose to be straight? You sat down as a tween and carefully weighed your options did you?
    Lmao
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephencobear View Post
    Hypothesis:
    When someone asks to be able to use the word “gay”freely, it because they aren’t.
    I think the point here is not so much that they to use it freely, but more that it shouldn't be treated as if it is an inheritently dirty word - because it isn't. I can definitely understand the concern though.

    On a lighter note, saw your little dig at me before you deleted, what's got me "hung up" is this
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    @Cor
    I legit mistook you as the op; then it made less sense, wasn’t intended as a dig so I tried to delete.

    And my point is, if you think 13+ year old won’t nearly exclusively treat it as a slur, then I guess you’re more optimistic than I am
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    wait, furthermore,

    A- b**** Is a female dog
    A- F** is a bundle of sticks or a burden, or an old person
    An- A** is a donkey
    Di*k is a name
    Douch* is a shower

    I bet sts knows what there doing
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    I know you are being facetious, but the meaning of words evolve with time, which is precisely why this is an important dialogue to open. You can argue until you are blue in the face that a certain word was appropriate for everyday usage in a different era, but the straightforward fact is that no matter what a presently offensive word meant decades or centuries ago, it doesn't alter the fact that it is offensive now. The same goes for words that should no longer hold a negative connotation in this day and age.

    I don't doubt that STS knows what they are doing, but I am very glad that someone has expressed how they felt about this issue. Personally, I feel that a shift to a soft censor (***) would be a good step to take.

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