Microsoft: No Special Policies for Halo 4 Sexism

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Microsoft: No Special Policies for Halo 4 Sexism

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Microsoft insists that Xbox Live bigotry will net you a ban, no matter which group it's aimed at.

Last week, several outlets, including The Escapist, reported that players who use sexist slurs during Halo 4 matches would face a lifetime ban from the Xbox Live service. The media coverage of an interview with 343 Industry's Kiki Wolfkill and Bonnie Ross misinterpreted their statements to mean Microsoft was changing its online policies specifically for Halo 4 with a focus on sexism in particular. A Microsoft rep has since confirmed that this is not the case.

"While Xbox Live indeed does not condone harassment of any kind, account and console bans are issued based on a robust complaint and evidence-based system," the spokesperson told Destructoid. "There is no difference in the Xbox Live Terms of Use and Code of Conduct for Halo 4."

The rep also made it clear that Xbox Live policy is no more tolerant of homophobia, racism or any other form of bigotry than it is of sexism. However, the Xbox Live Code of Conduct does specify that "severe racial remarks," alongside modding, fraud, hacking and using your Xbox Live Camera to take photos of your genitals, can warrant an "immediate permanent suspension." Other forms of bigotry aren't mentioned in that passage.

Regarding general behavior, the Code of Conduct Reads as follows:

Don't create a gamertag, profile content, Avatar action, Avatar content, or in-game content that other users may be offended by. This includes, without limitation, anything related to or suggestive of: profane words/phrases, topics or content of a sexual nature, hate speech (including but not limited to racial, ethnic, or religious slurs), illegal drugs/controlled substances, or illegal activities.

We apologize for our contribution to the confusion on this matter.

Source: Destructoid

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Bans!, Bans for everyone!.

I thought all of the above kinda went without saying no? i mean that's how i took it when i read the last article about this.

Grey, you apologize like a girl :P

So, basically Halo 4 isn't raising the stakes and they'll continue to ignore all the bigotry as usual? I had a feeling this might be the case.

What about general dickery, is that okay?

Is insulting someone for their stupidity, or inability to play the game bigotry?

But...but all the hilarious trash talk is the best thing about Halo online multiplayer! I had a guy rant about how he slept with my mom so I turned of my headset, counted to 10 and switched it back on, just in time to hear him fish his rant.

Fun times...

Aww... I normally take any ban with a grind of salt, but was actually looking forward to the ranters and "tough kids" fearing for their lives about uttering a single sentence that might be considered "mildly offensive", like some twisted social study about forced politeness while Big Brother is watching.

And no, that actually isn't sarcasm. I was genuinly curious to see if this would spawn some 1800th century style of english wit kind of swearing or just sobbing and tears over a lack of expessing their frustration :P

Oh well, playing mindgames with trolls also has its charm, but I would not be the first to say that having the ban hammer hanging that heavily over their head would be welcomed.

Grey Carter:
Microsoft: No Special Policies for Halo 4 Sexism

The rep also made it clear that Xbox Live policy is no more tolerant of homophobia, racism or any other form of bigotry than it is of sexism. However, the Xbox Live Code of Conduct does specify that "severe racial remarks," alongside modding, fraud, hacking and using your Xbox Live Camera to take photos of your genitals, can warrant an "immediate permanent suspension." Other forms of bigotry aren't mentioned in that passage.

Ahh, thank god I live in a world where this needs to be specified. Isn't life wonderful?

Rocklobster99:
What about general dickery, is that okay?

It wouldn't be Halo without it

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go throw grenades at my flag carrier

Wow I love how you can banned just for hurting someone's feelings now a days. I miss the old days of Counter Strike, Quake, Unreal etc where you could throw around racial slurs and insults for fun and the admins wouldn't give two shits.

it's quite tempting to buy a mic, and just get creative to see what I could possibly get away with.

"BAH, YOU'RE SUCH A CHUNKY COUCH, GET YOUR FLOPPY CUSHIONS OUT OF HERE!"

Bah, feelings these days...so easy to hurt with mere sounds with lack of fuck all context.

It may be written down somewhere, but it's certainly not enforced.

Wolfkill, god damn that's an awesome name, to quote Yahtzee "It could only be more awesome if it had tits and was on fire".

You don't have to apologize. Compare their policy to fifteen actual minutes on xbox live, and anybody would have been mistaken.

L34dP1LL:
Wolfkill, god damn that's an awesome name, to quote Yahtzee "It could only be more awesome if it had tits and was on fire".

Kiki Wolfkill does have breasts actually. Don't think she's ever been set aflame though.

Clarification is nice but I wish people where smart enough not to need it... "OMG THEY'RE ONLY DOIN' THS TO PLZ TEH FEMINAZIS LOL LOL LOL SLURS ARE MY RITE" was the train of thought a lot took last time.

Oh that's a shame. So basically Live will stay the way it is and nobody will be banned ever? Good thing I didn't renew it

oldtaku:
It may be written down somewhere, but it's certainly not enforced.

Last time I checked it was enforced. A couple button presses and no more racism/sexism/bigotry or any abuse. Banning offensive people from my XBL experience is rather quick and easy.

Called it

An eloquent & carefully worded statement by Microsoft, letting us all know that they have always claimed in their EULA that they condemn bigotry & that they will continue their practice of ignoring it's existence entirely

I can't help but be reminded of the people who'd been banned from XBL for the mere mention that they have a sexual orientation that isn't the same as the hate-speech-spewing demographic that funded Windows 8

-Dragmire-:

Grey Carter:
Microsoft: No Special Policies for Halo 4 Sexism

The rep also made it clear that Xbox Live policy is no more tolerant of homophobia, racism or any other form of bigotry than it is of sexism. However, the Xbox Live Code of Conduct does specify that "severe racial remarks," alongside modding, fraud, hacking and using your Xbox Live Camera to take photos of your genitals, can warrant an "immediate permanent suspension." Other forms of bigotry aren't mentioned in that passage.

Ahh, thank god I live in a world where this needs to be specified. Isn't life wonderful?

You're surprised? We live in a world where strollers come with a sticker that says "remove child before folding."

So the sexism, racism, and every other -ism that runs rampant on XBL will continue to be ignored. Gotcha.

DrunkOnEstus:
So, basically Halo 4 isn't raising the stakes and they'll continue to ignore all the bigotry as usual? I had a feeling this might be the case.

Basically. This sounded too good to be true and really hard to enforce consistently.

So, nothing changes and this sort of thing will still continue to go largely unpunished.

Boooo, Microsoft. I almost thought you were making progress there for a moment.

Don't create a gamertag, profile content, Avatar action, Avatar content, or in-game content that other users may be offended by.

This almost made me crack up at work. Oh ho ho... Too good. If only the world worked like that. Maybe things I was offended by would disappear too. Like kittens.

OT: I figured they wouldn't stick to this quite as strongly as they said they would. It never really bothered me though. Nowadays my xbox is broken, so can't really play Halo anymore, even when I did I mostly played the campaigns and custom zombie maps. Woooh.

-Dragmire-:

Grey Carter:
Microsoft: No Special Policies for Halo 4 Sexism

The rep also made it clear that Xbox Live policy is no more tolerant of homophobia, racism or any other form of bigotry than it is of sexism. However, the Xbox Live Code of Conduct does specify that "severe racial remarks," alongside modding, fraud, hacking and using your Xbox Live Camera to take photos of your genitals, can warrant an "immediate permanent suspension." Other forms of bigotry aren't mentioned in that passage.

Ahh, thank god I live in a world where this needs to be specified. Isn't life wonderful?

Well to be honest I'm enough of a believer in free speech where I don't care for policies that specify this kind of thing. I personally feel that even "hate speech" is a right. In paticular on the internet and online sources I feel a sort of "wild west" mentality should reign.

As I've said before, a lot of why I think this is because I'd rather it be sorted out verbally, especially on the internet where people should be pretty anonymous, than continue to fester. If some guy is just talking smack, even if it's racist, sexist, or bigoted, nothing bad is going to come of it. If the guy really believes it, letting him rant is probably better than forcing him entirely underground where he'll develop even more of a persecution complex and be encourgaed to take action.

I tend to look at things like the KKK as an example, the KKK was a huge and dangerous force for a long time because it was a secret society of sorts. Now that it's outed it's become kind of a joke. I'd rather listen to an idiot rant and rave where I can keep an eye on him, rather than deal with someone hiding who I don't suspect anything from who decides to kill me in my sleep for whatever insane reason motivates him.

A lot of people tend not to think of it that way, but the way I see it hateful words do hurt, but getting shot, stabbed, or lynched hurts a lot more, and that's more likely to happen if you don't know it's coming, and if ranting gets this out of the system of someone who is for real without violence, so much the better.

Of course then again I don't think there are many real racists and such left, the threat of such largely being a political tool. Not that it matters if they are out there in numbers or not. Any way it goes over something like XBL or whatever it's generally just kids being arseholes and trying to get a rise out of people. Truthfully most of the people on XBL are young enough where they don't have any set lifelong positions anyway, who you are as a kid or teen and who you are as an adult tend to be very differant.

OverweightWhale:
Wow I love how you can banned just for hurting someone's feelings now a days. I miss the old days of Counter Strike, Quake, Unreal etc where you could throw around racial slurs and insults for fun and the admins wouldn't give two shits.

Eh, people have really thin skins these days.

Therumancer:
snip

Free Speech is only covered in public places or forums. It does NOT extend to privately owned Places or services.

It's the difference between KKK members holding a rally at a public library and at Tom's Bowling Alley.

One will get mean looks from onlookers.

The other will get the police involved and end with several men in their bed sheets being forcibly removed from the premises.

Devoneaux:

Therumancer:
snip

Free Speech is only covered in public places or forums. It does NOT extend to privately owned Places or services.

It's the difference between KKK members holding a rally at a public library and at Tom's Bowling Alley.

One will get mean looks from onlookers.

The other will get the police involved and end with several men in their bed sheets being forcibly removed from the premises.

Well, yes and no. It depends on whether the place is open to the public or not. Tom's Bowling Alley might have some problems being a publically open business. The typical loophole used for such things is to post signs prohibiting loitering or solciting, but you'll also notice a lot of places don't have signs for that.

It's sort of like how you can't eject a person from a building for being black, hispanic, or whatever else. In the case of the KKK they could claim discrimination the same way, and similar suits have been won in the past.

That point aside (which is a technicality and exception more than anything) what your bringing up is a point I frequently speak in opposition of. Nowadays almost all platforms for communication are privatly owned, which means private citizens have the right to effectively censor the ideas of others and dictate who has a platform and who does not. This involves TV, Radio, The Internet, and similar things. I have issues with the idea of private citizens wielding more power than the goverment to control other citizens, especially on this scale.

Previously there was a standard called "Equal time" which put in a requirement that to express any signifigant viewpoint, you also had to allow the other position an equal amount of time to express themselves on your platform (more or less). Guys like Moviebob have spoken about supporting the dissolution of this, but mostly because it's so far worked to surpress opinions they don't like for the moment (though it could eventually swing the other way, which is the issue with anything like this, people are short sighted in supporting what benefits them right at the moment). I feel that such policies tend to be important to standing off what amounts to private control of free speech.

With the internet in paticular the idea was to get around all of the imposed limits on other media, but as more businesses get involved, and it becomes more mainstream, it's gradually been limited as a medium of free expression outside of anyone's regulation, with private censorship rights being demanded by the people running forums and such.

Understand that I wasn't attempting to make a legal arguement, so much as state what I feel is a basic human right. Your correct right now that it is possible for private citizens to limit each other on their property, or on their forums. I do not think this should be possible, and I actually make statements about this all the time in hopes that eventually some day what I'm saying will catch on before it's too late and we wind up losing our right to free speech which is gradually being eroded.

Despite how it might seem to some I'm no great lover of hate speech, I however feel it's important, and it also occurs to me that radical shifts in attitudes have been known to happen. Should attitudes change you might very well find yourself in a position where it's the guys who want to spew the "hate speech" unopposed controlling the platforms and stifling the opposition. Such things always seem impossible until they happen.

As a result I feel Microsoft is infringing on a basic human right, and doing wrong, not that what they are doing is nessicarly illegal, just that it probably should be.

Look at it this way, we just voted for control of the Federal Goverment, and the people pretty much decided Obama should be in charge. We however agree as a society that even an elected official there by the will of the majority as slight as it might be, does not have the right to engage in censorship of this sort. From my perspective it's insane to say that a company with a lot of money, elected by no one, should have more power to strip away a fundemental right than the bloody President. It's fine if you disagree with me, but that's how I think.

Much like my sentiments on unions and workers rights, this is one area I happen to be far left on. Such thoughts (especially when it comes to workers rights) are among the reasons I really disliked Romney, although I voted for him as the lesser of evils (though mostly on the merits of not wanting Obama for a second term due to the fact that he will be able to do more due to not worry about re-election), I figured he wouldn't do crap in 4 years and there was a chance of getting rid of him if someone better comes along. Now we're pretty much stuck with a jerk who can actually do something rather than a jerk who at least can't (from my perspective). At any rate I only ramble about this because it surprises people occasionally given my right wind rants how far left I am on certain issues. ;)

Genocidicles:
Is insulting someone for their stupidity, or inability to play the game bigotry?

Depends on what you say to them, obviously.

Ganath:

Don't create a gamertag, profile content, Avatar action, Avatar content, or in-game content that other users may be offended by.

This almost made me crack up at work. Oh ho ho... Too good. If only the world worked like that. Maybe things I was offended by would disappear too. Like kittens.

Fun fact: You cannot use the word Legion in a username or even in your bio.

I have no idea why or how it could be offensive, but it told me it wasn't allowed.

L34dP1LL:
Wolfkill, god damn that's an awesome name, to quote Yahtzee "It could only be more awesome if it had tits and was on fire".

... It HAS tits. And the "on fire" part can be remedied shortly.

OT: in other words, lots of big words, and nothing about to happen. Clarifying that Halo 4 is no exception from everything else on Xbox Live is just another way of saying that they'll happily continue damming the river with cheese graters.

I understand that there needs to be a general set of rules and guidelines for a service like Xbox live and such, but aren't there client side tools like muting and "BLOCK ALL COMMUNICATIONS" buttons people when someone starts spewing shit?

OverweightWhale:
Wow I love how you can banned just for hurting someone's feelings now a days. I miss the old days of Counter Strike, Quake, Unreal etc where you could throw around racial slurs and insults for fun and the admins wouldn't give two shits.

I run into a lot of games where people just spam it over their headsets and I just mute them. I don't cry to admins or to valve to ban them. Honestly it's more annoying have muted someone, then hear 20 people chime in "ERMAGERD HE'S BEING SO ANNOYING MAKE HIM SHUT UP!"

Therumancer:
very large snip

While I understand where you are coming from with this, I ultimately disagree with it. To get into this, one needs to take into account, how the rights of others can conflict with one another. OTo start, you claim that my basic rights are being censored by these companies who wish to dictate what I can and can not say on their websites and services. You also claim that these companies are effectively developing the internet into a place where basic rights are limited and infringed upon (assuming I read and interpreted your words correctly.) To this I ask, what's stopping those jerkwads who get banned from just going off and making their own websites and their own private blogs where they can say whatever the hell they want without their rights being infringed upon (assuming they don't say things like "Death to America, let's bomb the white house!" of course?) You see, the wonderful thing about the internet is that everyone can be a part of it. virtually everyone can have their own little website to give their own viewpoints on things.

The truth of the matter is that the internet has been a great thing for free speech, it allows for easy and near instantaneous transference of new ideas and beliefs, but this brings me back to an earlier point. How the rights of one person interact with the rights of another. Let's take The Escapist as a perfect example. Everyday, people are banned and kept from having discussions on these very forums for a myriad of reasons. Now are these people having their rights infringed upon when they are kept from using a service provided by another when they fail to adhere to the rules set by the provider? When an individual commits an act of trolling, derails a thread that was otherwise constructive and completely shuts down the discussion, is he not negating someone else's right for free speech by hindering their ability to have a proper conversation? Is his right to troll somehow above the rights of the other forum users to not have to put up with him?

I think it's incredibly unfair to place the rights of a jerk who is actively ruining something for someone else over the rights of someone who just wanted to play a game and not put up with other people's shit.

Devoneaux:

Therumancer:
very large snip

While I understand where you are coming from with this, I ultimately disagree with it. To get into this, one needs to take into account, how the rights of others can conflict with one another. OTo start, you claim that my basic rights are being censored by these companies who wish to dictate what I can and can not say on their websites and services. You also claim that these companies are effectively developing the internet into a place where basic rights are limited and infringed upon (assuming I read and interpreted your words correctly.) To this I ask, what's stopping those jerkwads who get banned from just going off and making their own websites and their own private blogs where they can say whatever the hell they want without their rights being infringed upon (assuming they don't say things like "Death to America, let's bomb the white house!" of course?) You see, the wonderful thing about the internet is that everyone can be a part of it. virtually everyone can have their own little website to give their own viewpoints on things.

The truth of the matter is that the internet has been a great thing for free speech, it allows for easy and near instantaneous transference of new ideas and beliefs, but this brings me back to an earlier point. How the rights of one person interact with the rights of another. Let's take The Escapist as a perfect example. Everyday, people are banned and kept from having discussions on these very forums for a myriad of reasons. Now are these people having their rights infringed upon when they are kept from using a service provided by another when they fail to adhere to the rules set by the provider? When an individual commits an act of trolling, derails a thread that was otherwise constructive and completely shuts down the discussion, is he not negating someone else's right for free speech by hindering their ability to have a proper conversation? Is his right to troll somehow above the rights of the other forum users to not have to put up with him?

I think it's incredibly unfair to place the rights of a jerk who is actively ruining something for someone else over the rights of someone who just wanted to play a game and not put up with other people's shit.

The problem is that "Jerk" is subjective and leads to political censorship and similar things. By many people's standards on these forums someone who is merely as strongly right wing as they are left is a jerk. Likewise someone speaking against a product you promote is going to be considered a "jerk" by the company sponsoring a site even if the person in question happens to be right, allowing companies to control information by making it so that anything negative simply cannot find the same level of promotion as the information they want to spread, a problem when it comes to shoddy goods and such.

My basic attitude is actually similar to yours, but in reverse. Basically if you want to do something that is in any way publically accessible, there should be no content control, except maybe efforts to keep a forum on topic (as long as the topic itself is not weighted). If you want to run your own little message board police state, that's fine, as long as it's private and the people accessing it specifically agree to that, and the general public cannot view what is such biased and controlled content without themselves agreeing to it.

The issue is that someone's abillity to start their own forum doesn't give them the same level of platform of exposure as one financed by a big company or whatever. Being able to scream on a soapbox to a crowd isn't going to carry the same weight as major website, national televised news network, or massively circulated newspaper. This basic truth is why things like the "equal time" doctrine used to exist.

Allowing private censorship makes it far too easy for someone to pretend there is a consensus or truth being presented on their site and convince other people that this is the case (a hypothetical neutral observer or participant) when that's not the case. A site sponsored by a company that allows people to only discuss how wonderful it's products and policies are, isn't conveying the whole picture to those seeking information, it becomes a gigantic exception. People might argue "that's just how things are" but I tend to feel they don't HAVE to be that way.

To me, trolls and jerks, genuine ones, are actually a small price to pay for freedom of speech, there is always a cost, and I consider that occasional annoyance a far lesser evil than allowing private citizens to control what each other can say. The current system allowing control to a platform's sponsors basically amounts to giving the rich a formal right to control what everyone else can be heard saying. It doesn't matter what you think if you've got a private forum nobody is likely to ever find, and the other guy has a site visited by hundreds of thousands or viewers, or his own TV network.

See, right now most people who support the left wing end of things tend to mostly rant about income taxes and the like which is frankly idiotic, and one of the reasons why I have so little respect for those who identify entirely with the left wing. That's a relatively trivial issue compared to basically allowing those with resources to limit the freedom of speech of others. You'll notice neither Romney or Obama even remotely touched these kinds of issues out there, which is why I had so little respect for either and basically voted my party. In paticular I think Obama is a hippocrit because for all his left wing posturing he stays away from the big issues that matter. In the scheme of things I actually care less what % the very rich pay from their wealth in taxes, the numbers involved in running a country like the USA mean that it's going to have a trivial effect to the bottom line, poor people just like the idea of social payback. On the other hand the issue of private censorshop, equal time, and similar things are things that radically effect everyone and the actual balance of power, as that kind of control is what allows the 1% to potentially wield the
kind of power that they have.

I tend to look back at Ted Turner's old attempt to declare himself God King Of All Media, the goverment pretty much had to step in to prevent him from establishing a massive, and untouchable information monopoly. I think the same basic issue applies even without a monopoly, whether it's one guy, or simply those with the resources to build and maintain information large scale information infrastructures, one person or group of people should not have the abillity to control another's abillity to express themselves or access to information.... with a few notable exceptions like actual national security (there are exceptions to every rule, and that's one of the reasons why for all my free speech posturing I'm pretty much anti-Wiki Leaks.. something I could go into at length but would get increasingly off topic). In the final equasion I consider some 9 year old girl seeing some middle aged pedo's junk a trivial price to pay for a fundemental human right.

Also for the sake of arguement I'll say that I don't really have an issue with people talking smack, even violently, about the goverment or public figures. To me it's no differant than people making it clear that want to kick my ass or bomb my employer, just on a differant scale. The exception here occurs when it turns into actual conspiricy. To me The Secret Service going after some kid because he said he'd like to blow the president's head off on Facebook or whatever is stupid, it's quite differant if they actually catch him making plans on how to do it. A basic declaration of anger and exasperation is one thing (and usually pretty obvious, even if it leads to other activity later the actual elevation to that level as opposed to it's potential is very important), actually talking about plans to get a White House Tour on a day you know The President is there (where sometimes The President will greet tourists, or you might walk past the Oval Office and see him), and blow his head off with an all-plastic Zip Gun you plan to hide in your shoe and fire by stomping, is something entirely differant.

Or to put it another way: I'd personally love to see Obama and enough of his senior staff get blown up to more or less force a lack of confidence vote in whatever goober would be left in the chain of command and was never expected to hold that position, and a new election. Of course to be honest I'd probably feel similarly about Romney if he got elected despite voting for him as the lesser of evils. Simply put I was totally dissatisfied with our choices as president and a real crisis like that might actually produce unexpected cantidates, and potentially get someone closer to the man we need running the country.

If The Secret Service wants to arrest me for that, it would suck, but also be a huge waste of resources. I mean sure potentially it might go from rhetoric to me actually trying to make ti happen, but heck potentially some billionaire might decide to throw a dart at a phone book from his death bed, have it land on my name, and make me rich enough to found my own country too.

What's more I feel I have the right to express an opinion like that, hating your goverment is pretty much a tradition in a free country. That's why there are seperate crimes like conspiricy to commit murder, or treason.

Not to mention that I'd think anyone who takes comments like that on the internet seriously has issues. For example, I don't actually think that. After all I mentioned before I'd hate to see Obama die because then my own sense of nationalism would force me to rally behind the office if nothing else. :P

OverweightWhale:
Wow I love how you can banned just for hurting someone's feelings now a days. I miss the old days of Counter Strike, Quake, Unreal etc where you could throw around racial slurs and insults for fun and the admins wouldn't give two shits.

I was in those good old days, and we were far better at policing ourselves then. My old Quake clan would toss your butt on the curb like it was garbage day if you threw out bigoted crap in-game. Any opposition we had that talked like that got it hard and without tenderness if they included that in their trash talk.

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