Jenny's Got a Gun
Posted on Saturday, August 24 @ 15:00:00 Eastern by Jessica_Vazquez
She reported him with the Xbox 360's complaint system, hoping that something as appalling as the voice message would be all the evidence necessary for action to be taken against him. She checked back almost a week later and saw that Phatdog was still active. That's when she started to tweet @XboxSupport, asking them why a player who sends rape threats had not been banned in over a two-week period. They responded by stating that they couldn't comment on specific cases, which is understandable but still oddly tainted with the scent of bullshit. Even Jill Pantozzi from themarysue.com ran into roadblocks when inquiring about the situation for an article she wrote about this.
I know many people reading this may be thinking that muting or blocking someone online is a quick fix to solving this issue but it’s a strategy that often does not work the way it is intended. I’ve seen recent forums where people complain about blocking someone only to find them in a public match the next time they are online because the individual finds them through a friend who has not blocked them.
There is a lot of mixed information on how to handle these predicaments because in theory, they shouldn’t be happening at all. Some solutions include setting your account status to offline and making sure to avoid public matches for a week or two, allowing the harasser time to forget about you and move onto their next victim. Then you run the risk that they may not forget about you or they figure out whom you play with regularly and find away to seek you out through some other means. If you currently experience this kind of activity, there’s no full proof way to solve the situation other than engaging in a cyber game of hide and seek.
There is a priority problem with the way harassment claims are responded to through the current Microsoft system. Jenny Haniver was on a TwitchTV broadcast with the Gaming Anarchist Collective last Friday and one of the commentators talked about how they had received an 8-day ban almost immediately after posting an image that criticized Bill Gates on their profile. It took almost a month and an incredible amount of social media pressure for Microsoft to take action against Phatdog, a gamer that felt the need to threaten rape and forced abortion on another human being without much provocation. If Jenny had taken the route of least resistance, this player would have just moved onto victimize someone else. Back in 2012 she received a rape threat, reported it, and nothing ever happened to the person who sent it. As of April 2013 he was still active on Xbox Live.
Just because something happens online doesn’t make it any less important than something that happens offline. Verbal abuse can be just as detrimental as physical abuse especially when it exists in a space where it shouldn’t. When you play video games online, you should have a harassment-free experience and when someone purposely goes out of their way to single you out and threatens you, there should be more immediate consequences. Microsoft has said that the Xbox One will be harsher on people who are banned by not allowing them to play certain games during the duration of the suspension by, preventing them from playing games that require an online license to play. This isn’t a bad thing, but if the claims being received aren’t processed in an effective manner, it’s not going to change anything.
Another major flaw is in the blocking system. While it is effective in preventing future messages from a certain user, it also can prevent you from filing legitimate claims against them if they have also been sending you voice- or text-based threats. The following quote was pulled from an official Xbox Live forum that details all aspects of filing a claim:
If you need to block someone who is sending you harassing messages and you block them before you file a complaint, you’re shit out of luck. Unless they are also violating any of the other complaint worthy infractions, you have no evidence to submit a valid claim against them. This is a built-in system that makes it possible for Xbox Live customers to delete evidence of online harassment unknowingly. Still don’t get it? This GIF I made might help you out:
If they continue this on the Xbox One, there should at least be a notification that pops up when you are going through the process of blocking someone, instead of burying it in the terms of service.
Then there's the issue with the way in which complaints are received. If you’ve been threatened the way people like Jenny Haniver has, with rape or physical harm, your report is lumped in with all other types of claims no matter how minor. There should be sub-categories that allow harassing voice and texts messages into categories like racial slur, sexual harassment, death threat, or use of profanity. Perhaps if they had these additional subdivisions in the complaint process, they’d be able to more easily identify which category a claim fell under instead of digging through them all to get to the most inflammatory ones. Why is this so difficult for them? (continued on the next page)
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