I have purposefully stayed out of the swirling storms these past few weeks. I've refrained from talking about it here in these pages and elsewhere. I briefly made a plea on Tweetfleet last week for understanding, not for those involved, the accused, but just for regular players. That didn't go over very well in some corners. By Friday night my Wife and I were watching the Open Comms show and I felt I needed to join my friends and help make some sense of what had happened and continues to happen. I feel like we did a pretty good job of it in our limited way. And I watched the Meta Show on Saturday to hear what Brisc and Merk had to say about everything. Which, I think they also did a pretty good job in their limited way. What else could they do? We'll all watch and see how things progress.
I've written three blog posts before this one. Three attempts that all ended up being deleted. I want to be very clear here and make this point completely obvious - victims of harassment, hate speech, intolerance, abuse and other forms of violence both physical and mental, both in-game and out, need to be heard. Period. There is no room or reason for such horror either inside or outside of our beloved game. There is a perfectly understandable line between good natured smack-talk, meta-gaming, and posturing - and hate. There is no place for it. We all know it, we all recognize it, and we all should have zero tolerance for it.
I mentioned that I watched the Meta Show (logo by me btw) on Saturday. I'm still banned from chat on that show. The Mittani banned me. He also blocked me on Twitter. He did that on his show while aggressively calling me a "piece of shit" eight or nine times in the space of about 10-15 minutes. His followers doxx'd me on Reddit - twice. This is why the line between my real life and Rixx no longer exists. His followers threw horrible accusations against my Wife and myself across the community, on Reddit, on the forums, and anywhere they could. Untruths. These accusations still pop up from time to time. Many people still believe the lies he and his followers told.
Anyone who was shocked by the revelations of the past few weeks has been lying to themselves. None of us should have been shocked. And while many people choose to believe that the hatred, vitriol, harassment spewing from someone's mouth and actions are limited to in-game edgelord game play, those people are also lying to themselves. And this is what needs to change. The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves. We had plenty of warning signs over the past 12 years. We all saw them. Heard about them. And watched the consequences of them echo across the community. Many of us called them out and tried to make a stand against them. Many of those who did so are no longer part of this community. Because of the actions, words, and followers empowered by this one singular individual. Let's all wake up and call a spade and spade. It is time to acknowledge these obvious facts, learn from these lessons, and move on.
When I started Stay Frosty in 2013 I immediately implemented a zero tolerance policy for hate speech, intolerance, abuse, and harassment of any kind. When we formed A Band Apart shortly thereafter we also implemented the policy in the Alliance as well. In those early days I had to kick a lot of players for a lot of reasons. These days it is extremely rare. The policy works because we allow no exceptions, that's what zero tolerance means. Despite being Pirates. Or because of it. This wasn't the easy choice, trust me. It was a hard choice. It would have been easier to ignore the need and grow much, much bigger. But I couldn't choose that path, it would go against everything that I believe in.
I didn't just happen on this in 2013. That policy stems from the one KaJolo wrote for the Tuskers. I only expanded on what he had written. And that expansion came from my time in Dissonance, one of the first Corporations EVER formed in Eve Online. And my examples came honestly from my time in CVA when we were banned from speaking in local unless we wrote "Amarr Victor!" after a fight. If you look for it there is a long and storied history of these kinds of places in Eve Online. Our history is not only being written by these edgelords that get all the attention - it is also being written by players that care, that give a damn about people, and that want to see Eve Online be the kind of place that welcomes players of all kinds.
And that is perhaps the biggest lie of them all. That the only game in town is the one run by the edgelords of Eve. That Null is some magical end-game that all players must adhere to. That some person is the reason why Eve is such a great game. It isn't. Eve is a great game because of the players. Players like you. Players in Goonswarm. Players in Signal Cartel. Players in High-Sec, Low-Sec, Wormholes, and yes - even in Null. We all need each other. Without other players the universe of Eve is a lonely place.
Now is a great time for some people to face themselves in the mirror and ask the hard questions. I hope that they will take this opportunity to do so. I sincerely mean that. We get the game that we allow, that we tolerate, that we empower. And for too long we ignored the obvious signs and empowered the wrong people. That is the lesson here. That is what we all need to take with us into Eve's third decade. If Eve is going to live forever - forever starts now.
Keep the courage.