Lets start by setting up a scene that everyone can agree. Pixel Worlds is a really nice game, where people feel free to have fun, chat with others. It is a great invention and it should be that way. If someone is being rude to another player, they should, and do get punished accordingly. That’s the right thing to do. No two ways of looking at it, no angles, no opinions. In this Forums post I will tackle two main improvements I believe are necessary to the game to decrease the amount of hate happening within the community regarding specific groups of people.
Pixel Worlds has one major taboo topic - LGBT+ community. This possibly is due to the high count in religious and conservative players. However, this does not excuse any hate thrown at said community. The biggest contributor to this issue that I see, personally, is the lack of publicity it gets in the game. If someone is being prejudiced against another player regarding their sexual orientation or gender identity, they are either not punished severely enough or when they are, it is not usually clear enough for the public.
State publicly and clearly what someone gets punished for.
If someone is punished for spreading prejudice, it should be shown to the public via a global message.
eg. ‘Player was banned for use of prejudicial language’
This way people are aware that you can get banned for that, and constantly reminded of it. I truly believe this would decrease the amount of hate speech going around in the game. Use of hate speech should not be treated lightly. A single homophobic message can be really harmful and it should never get a pass, no matter who sent it or when and in what situation.
The word gay or other LGBT+ related words should not be censored.
This is by far the most crucial change that is needed in the game to reduce the amount of prejudice going around. I am not referring to slurs, those, of course, should remain censored. The word gay is the only LGBT+ related harmless term I am aware of being censored. I will also explain the main arguments against this, and why they are not valid, below. Censoring this word does not decrease prejudice. People go around the censorship in order to spread hate, in which case they should be punished. It only creates more taboo around the word. It makes it seem like a bad word, an insult, even. It is treated equally to actually harmful terms.
Q: But if it is not censored, people will just use it as an insult!
A: People that do this should simply be punished. Just the same as people going around censorships to make insults. Having this word declared inappropriate only increases taboo around it. And people who use it without prejudice is hurting from this censorship - something they shouldn’t be just because of wrongdoers.
Q: Sexuality should not be discussed in the game in the first place!
A: Sexual orientation and gender identity is part of human life. It is not a choice, it is not a decision. It is a default part of existence. Heterosexuality is treated normally in the game - worlds all about dating or ‘families’ have been treated as fun and harmless, but as soon as someone brings in homosexuality, it is branded inappropriate. This only shows that it is not exposure to sexuality the community is afraid of - it is the exposure to homosexuality. Pixel Worlds is an MMO, it revolves around player interaction, and their identity should not be silenced, especially if only homosexuality is, but heterosexuality is not.
Q: But my religion says being part of the LGBT+ is a sin, therefore I must help others see it
A: Despite this being a privately owned business, which means freedom of speech and freedom to religion technically do not apply here, I truly believe that the team behind the game have the right values - we see it in their actions in support of LGBT+ rights and equality. However, if your argument is freedom of speech or freedom to religion, remember that those do not protect free speech. Discrimination against free speech is not discrimination - thinking that is a logical fallacy. Hate speech and prejudice have no place in this game. This includes not only race and other aspects of life which are not by choice, but also sexual and gender identity. I want to reiterate - Freedom to religion or Freedom of speech do NOT protect hate speech and discrimination.
Q: Why do you even care about this? It’s a game, let people simply have fun!
A: Thinking that what happens in this game does not influence the player’s lives is purely ignorant. Some people spend hours on the game, and it is the main community they spend their time in. They grow up in it, they form their values in it. Every word you say has a chance to stick with someone for the rest of their lives, especially if it is judgmental or prejudicial against them. This has consequences on mental and physical health. It is not to be joked around with. The game developers agree to certain rules when creating an MMO, one of which is to protect the people exposed to it from hate speech. And it must be respected in every aspect of its meaning.
If you have any other arguments for or against this, I will gladly discuss them. If I don’t respond immediately, I will in time.
Thanks for reading the lengthy post and hopefully changes in the game will happen for the better. Spread love, not hate and always… And I mean ALWAYS… Fight for what’s right and do not be scared of doing it.