“I’m gonna impregnate you with triplets and make you have a very late term abortion. Strict mental abuse. Hahaha.”
This was an actual voice message via Xbox Live that was sent to Jenny Haniver, creator of Not In The Kitchen Anymore, after playing a game of Black Ops 2 on July 26th. (You can read about the full interaction with this player in this entry.) While Haniver receives messages similar to these on a regular basis (her website primarily showcases sexist phrases by online players), they tend to be somewhat less vile than the aforementioned one. Understandably, Haniver filed a complaint against the user in question, both to Xbox Live’s in-system setup and Treyarch’s reporting system, with the hopes that something would be resolved.
A week later, she noticed that the player in question was still active, according to Call of Duty’s ELITE website. She sent tweets to Xbox and Xbox Support, providing a link to the video and restating that she was upset by it. They replied that she should file a complaint.
Today (August 12th), Haniver checked ELITE again, and realized that the player was still active as of August 10th. She tweeted again at Xbox, who replied that they couldn’t give any specifics on cases, and left it at that.
Haniver then contacted Activision. She spoke with an agent via chat support, who recommended she contact the police (you can find the full exchange between them here). She also called Activision customer support, who said that action may take some time due to the number of reports they receive.
There is something embarrassingly wrong with our community.
It’s understandable that companies like Xbox need some time to sift through the various reports and complaints they receive. What is expected, however, is eventual action taken. When players are allowed to get away with this kind of behaviour – when weeks pass with no negative repercussions of a person’s actions – it doesn’t just speak ill of them. It reflects on all of us. It reinforces the idea that this behaviour is not only tolerated, but acceptable in our community. And when the major companies in the industry refuse to set any sort of precedent – if they fail to set any sort of example – this kind of disgustingly abhorrent behaviour continues to fester. It’s almost expected. And it’s why sites like Not In The Kitchen Anymore continue to exist – because, as fantastic as that site is? It shouldn’t exist. We should be better than what we are.
The unfortunate truth is that, collectively, we’re not.
Serious attention needs to be given when reports like these are made. It isn’t too much to ask for complaints to be taken care of in a prompt manner. Or, at the very least, the occasional reply of “we haven’t forgotten you, we’re still working on this, thank you for your patience”, which is certainly better than the nothing received. It’s basic customer service. I worked in retail for some six years. If the stores I worked for displayed this level of ambivalence towards complaints, they’d be out of business.
Why is it acceptable here?
A lack of a proper response – or any sort of reassurance that Xbox will take action – is disappointing. We need the support of the larger companies if we’re going to begin to make gaming an accessible hobby for everyone. Until we have some community solidarity, things cannot - and will not – change for the better.
See you next time.