A simple message - don't be a dick to women gamers

I'll say it very simply.

I have seen my fair share of male-privileged, non-consensual activity in other parts of my life and I have no use for it at all in my gaming hobby just as I have no use for it elsewhere.

If you think bad behavior, like this post describes, is OK, then we have zero in common. I stand against behavior like this.

You ever treat any woman at my table or within my line of sight like what this post describes... you will not like what I have in store for you.


PS. I'm trying to find additional information on what the linked article is talking about with regards to Malifaux/Wyrd Miniatures, but TheGoogleFu isn't coming up with much, so if you have links (other than 4chan), please share?

PPS (4/7) -
This post is a nice follow-on and says it way better than I could have.

Having had enough experiences at listening to, and knowing about abuses in other subcultures, and knowing that gaming isn't some magical enclave where human tendencies and societal issues suddenly disappear, I give the "Game Terrorist" post a listen and I believe that we should stand up and say "I will not tolerate that at my table, or in my store, or at my con, or ANYWHERE I am."


  1. I feel horrible for what the woman in the linked post has gone through.

    I've never seen ANY of that in any of the games I've been in from High School, College to now (leaving out Junior hight as we never had girls in those games), but with the exception of organized (Convention and the like) play, I game with people I know and my circle of friends are just that for a reason.

  2. Check out the following links:
    The initial thread on the Wyrd forum: http://themostexcellentandawesomeforumever-wyrd.com/topic/109328-all-the-things-you-want-to-soapbox-andor-have-debate-about-in-malifaux/#comment-855449
    Legal complaint: http://www.manitobahumanrights.ca/publications/legal/garland.pdf

  3. Same here. I have not seen any behavior like this. I would like to hope these are isolated incidents, but sadly I doubt it.

    Mike I would also like to think that our favorite game store, Games Plus, would never, ever tolerate this sort of behavior.

  4. @Horst - thanks, I will check these out for sure.

    @Erik - having seen bad behavior in plenty of other venues, I don't discount this *and* I take into account that a lot of women are now feeling more enabled and empowered to tell their stories. I know this goes on in many other subcultures and hobbies, so it would not surprise me in the slightest *and* I want these stories to be told.

    Because it helps to reinforce a good approach for all of us to take - "don't be a dick."

    @Tim - I'd like to think that too 1) Back in 2008 - 2011, I didn't see many women in the store to know if this was a thing there or not 2) I'm not close enough to any specific group to watch and see. I know that if I see it anywhere, they're not going to like the response I have. Whether it's at our FLGS or at a con or where-ever.

    The thing isn't about "it's not in my backyard" because it probably is a lot more than either of us know, if my experiences in other places is an indicator. And it doesn't matter whether or not we have personally seen this, what are your morals and ethics towards this sort of thing? That's what I'm more interested in. Where do you stand? And will you speak out on it?

  5. Wow. I don't go to cons, so I haven't seen this kind of behavior in person, but I do know what my response would be. If harassment happened at my table, I would kick the offender out right then and there; if it was anything worse, I would definitely report it with help from at least one other (non-creep) player.

    One of my first players turned out to be kind of a sociopath, and after realizing that he had treated another one of my friends badly while they were dating (not to the extent of physical or sexual abuse, thankfully), I had no qualms about ending my friendship with him. I would have done this in light of his mistreatment of my other friend, even if he wasn't also a flake and a compulsive liar.

    People (i.e., bigots) can whine all they want about the inclusion of non-white, non-male characters in games, but I feel like including people of all kinds in-universe is a small but important step toward getting rid of this hostile attitude. I feel thankful that I started gaming with a roughly half-and-half group in terms of genders, and I continue to include as many different people as I can, regardless of ethnicity or gender.

  6. @Fuzzy Skinner - that's why I want to focus less on "not in my backyard" and more of "I don't tolerate this shit in my game or around me and I'll call it out" type of thing.

  7. It makes me sick to my fucking stomach to read shit like this.

    My tables are safe spaces. I game with women. I game with non-white people. I've thrown people out of groups and ejected people from convention tables.

    Don't be a dick... it seems like such an easy thing to do.

  8. "it seems like such an easy thing to do."

    You would think... but as we've seen, not so much.

  9. Wow, thanks for posting this Michael. I have encountered this kind of thing only once, however it is worth noting that am a real nerd, and have real social anxiety so I don't get out much. I had met up with a local LARPing group, and had become friends with the leader of them, and had shown up for some games where we'd all just have fun smacking each other with stuff in the park. The group was HUGE! And it included all ages and sexes. I was still on the fence about joining, but I ended up leaving entirely because of an event that took place during a party.

    Many of the members were close in R/L and the guy in charge was older than myself, had his own house and hosted many of the events. He wasn't very smart either, he thought that he was cool because he'd provide booze to minors, how he didn't get busted is beyond me, but it got worse than that. One of the underage teens was at a party, and she had worn a bikini and for whatever reason, she allowed some guys to talk her into letting them tie her up. Probably the same older men who encouraged her to come to the party dressed in a bikini, had some dark plans. They tied her wrists to a pipe in the basement, and they just left her like that, ignoring her when she wanted them to let her go because it hurts. Then things got even worse. They tickled her and fondled her passively like she was nothing but a party favor. Once somebody let her go, the girl ran away and told the police what had happened and when the police showed up, everybody at the party denied everything that had been done. He was charged with providing alcohol to minors, and denied even being aware that something like that was going on. I wasn't at the party, but I had heard about it, and the bastard had the balls to laugh about the incident and brag to me about what they did to her. I never went back after that.

  10. "Don't be a dick... it seems like such an easy thing to do."

    It seems straight forward when it is some random guy harassing a women at the gaming table.

    The first time I brought my wife to a gaming convention she was sexually harassed by a very well-known person in the gaming industry. We're not talking about anything ambiguous. Aggressive and blatant sexual harassment. Among other things asking her what sort of lingerie she prefers, unwelcome touching, etc. I happened to be at another event at the time and wasn't there for the worst of it. I was there later for some of the smarminess and was shocked speechless. To this day I regret not telling the guy to get fucked, and if I were in that situation again I can guarantee you it would not fly. His celebrity status in the hobby made it very intimidating to step in at the time, not to mention just the sheer disbelief it was happening. Other guys including other well-known industry people were around for the worst of it and said nothing.

    Anyway, yes it is a problem and sometimes from corners you wouldn't expect. There are power dynamics and reluctance by people to step up and risk repercussions by saying anything or calling anyone out. In this case, I doubt any witnesses would back me up, and going public would only bring a large backlash on myself. But I guarantee you should I ever witness anything like this again, to my own or anyone else, I don't care who the bastard is, I won't stand for it.

  11. @Dan - that's fucked up. He would have drawn back a cold bleeding stump or been chewing on gums and broken teeth.

    I see that "leadership fear" in all sorts of subcultures. To where people are abused and fucked with in horrible ways and the so-called leaders get free passes and protected.

  12. It's humiliating to admit I was too shell-shocked to do what I should have done. But, lesson learned. Won't happen again.

  13. I completely understand, those situations can be too unbelievable. Although it wasn't anyone that I was partnered with, I was witness to some pretty bad behavior and fell into the "he's a leader, I am nobody" trap myself. Lesson learned, indeed.

  14. I was totally aghast at the writer's experiences. While I've never seen that level of harassment firsthand, nor met any women personally who've experienced that type of harassment in gaming circles, I understand how it can and no doubt does take place. It hurts to know that the gaming culture I am a part of is so unwelcoming and dangerous to women.

    I have always tried to be inclusive and make my games safe and fun for all people. I am glad that the writer shared her experiences so that I and others are more aware of the problems in our community and how we can work to solve them.

  15. Now that a few days have passed, I'm just checking to see if you got your critical sense back. You are aware now that absolutely none of that lady's serious accusations against Wyrd has been backed by any shred of evidence, right ? The fact that these sorts of things have happened somewhere to somebody does not mean that they actually happened to that person in that specific instance. Echoing any lunatic's or attention-seeker's accusation does not increase awareness : in the end it does a disservice to real victims.

  16. @ViP - I was waiting for this sort of message to come through. You get to be first, "Profile Not Available"...

    I'm sure we could get bogged down in a GamerGate-esque back-and-forth for days, and that's not really the point. Here's the deal. Would you allow that behavior at your table? Would you allow it to happen in front of you? What would you do? What have you done in the past? What does your morals and ethics say about these sorts of situations?

    Let's talk about that, because that's consistently what I've been saying, asking, and pointing out.

    I haven't, I won't and I will take a stand against it. I do it quite a bit, actually. Far more than I really want to, really.

    Whether it's the asshole making a crude comment to the cashier at a gas station, or someone posting some shit on Facebook, I really don't tolerate it around me.

    Do you?

    THAT'S the discussion I want to have.

  17. Fair enough. I would not tolerate that behavior at my table. I never witnessed such things personally (maybe gamers are a little more polished here in Europe), but I would report it immediately, and probably confront the guy (provided he is not too big). I did it at least once in the street. I would also be sympathetic if someone told me it happened to her, and advise her to denounce the facts.

    I also known I would not take a random unknown person's claims against my FLGS at face value, and I would not go and repeat them without first talking with the manager, or at least a reliable witness.

    Your heart may be in the good place, but false accusations hurt just as much as sexist remarks, and it seems to me they are more likely to destroy your life.

    BTW I know nothing about Wyrd and only came here from Tenkar's blogroll.

  18. This post is a nice follow-on and says it way better than I could have.

    Having had enough experiences at listening to, and knowing about abuses in other subcultures, and knowing that gaming isn't some magical enclave where human tendencies and societal issues suddenly disappear, I give the "Game Terrorist" post a read and I believe that we should stand up and say "I will not tolerate that at my table, or in my store, or at my con, or ANYWHERE I am."

  19. I have spent lots of time in other communities that I consider to be more dangerous than this one appears to be, and in them we took every complaint very seriously. What says the most to me is that she stated that the police consider this community as dangerous to women, which would imply that it it isn't just her, but many female gamers. I know nerds, and some of them have a hard time interacting with the people that they are comfortable with, and have never EVER had a positive interaction with a woman that wasn't blood.

    People in our hobby do typically have a hard time talking appropriately, and we can help them in that area, but if they can't keep their hands to themselves, this is a different matter entirely; never the less, physically injuring another. I suppose that we have to look at intent, but you are right, this kind of stuff needs to stop and it can stop with us. Much of this stuff is shocking and makes us feel uncomfortable, but if folks are getting hurt in any way, then it is something that needs to be addressed.


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