Harassment against women in gaming has been a hot topic for some time now, ever since the #GamerGate incident which was formed by a group of people who fought against the unfair portrayals of video game enthusiasts as anti-feminists and misogynists. The issue is still relevant today as harassment both online and physical still take place against women in gaming.
The situation is dire as people associated with the movement target and attack woman online. Events created to discuss the harassment of woman online are often boycotted and cancelled for the safety of the speakers.
The most recent event however managed to go off without any sort of issue. The South by Southwest (SXSW) conference addressed online harassment and featured some of the most prominent people in gaming and the tech companies stuck in between the fighting.
At the panel discussions in the Hyatt Regency Austin Ms. Wu opened up on the past threats she received and how she felt about the situation. New York Times reported on the happenings at the event
The abuse that I’ve undergone has been extreme
Ms. Wu criticised the tech companies that did not prevent meet ups for GamerGate supports like Reddit and YouTube. She said that they did not do enough to take the posts down, and the fact that Reddit does not require users to register with real names, prevents any sort of action against them from being taken.
I can’t say this clearly enough: Reddit is failing women in every marginalized community spectacularly
Facebook’s head of global policy says that Facebook tries hard to distinguish between generalised vitriol and vitriol directed at a specific person.
If someone says, ‘This country is terrible,’ that’s O.K. If somebody says, ‘The people of this nationality are evil,’ that we will remove.
In general, harassment is a major issue on social media and online social hubs. But it is those uncontrolled forums like Reddit where users are given complete freedom to say and organise what they wish, without any sort of policy. We have a long way to go to squash this issue, if it will ever be squashed. But steps need to be taken to try to prevent people on the other side of a screen from having their say without any control. It is just a matter of time before something new comes up because a group of people feel that it is their right to harass and belittle a certain demographic.