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Anonymity and Discrimination in Online Gaming

by on January 17, 2014
 

One of the best features of online games is that it provides anonymity for its players. Upon signing up with a probably gaming-only email account, the player is prompted to give a username or alias for their account and probably another one for their character. Because of this the total privacy gives room for the safety of the player.

Unfortunately, this also started unpleasant behavior for some gamers. This ranges from cursing or improper language to outright discrimination – can be due to gender, color, race, sexual orientation etc. And even though not all may be true and are mostly just derogatory words thrown around to piss off your opponent, these usually goes unreported due to the very light consequences for the offender. Gaming environments in these games can be very trying for the player’s patience and moods. An example of this is the very popular role-playing strategy game League of Legends, adapted from the Defense of the Ancients; this online game has a chat feature that allows players to easily communicate with each other. But this feature that invokes teamwork and group strategy also gives way to word fights and unpleasantness all around.

Also, there are players who take advantage of the anonymity to just bad-mouth others. Factors that may have caused this behavior range from annoying opponents to personal issues. Nevertheless, little fights turn into serious word-wars. And both sides would not know better, since they are both using fake and made-up identities.

Some companies like Microsoft have made filters and programs that make users unable to input what they deem “bad” words especially for online platforms like the PC and Xbox. But our creative anonymous players invented various ways to circumvent this feature and still curse out their opponents.

Anonymity in the internet gaming community is a good safeguard for the privacy of the users. But players have come to abuse this privilege and continue to extend the discrimination into the online world. Since many people have come to use these online games and sites as their escape from their immediate realities, the anonymity cannot be removed from these entertainment modules. But players should grow to be able to respect their fellow gamers in both action and in words. Keep the swearing and yelling restricted and directed to your monitor, don’t relay it to the rest of the world through your chat.

It’s a waste of time, focus on your reaction-speed instead. Thanks!