Racism is never pretty, something that this country knows all too well about. Almost twenty years after democracy, and we’re still attempting to mend those bridges, that kept us horribly separated, but at least there is an effort to do so. Which makes it even sadder, when one such gaming website that is also attempting to deal with such a topical issue in a positive light, gets hit by trolling xenophobic attack, effectively killing it.
Set up in late June, Gamers Against Bigotry has suffered one hell of a defacing. Created by comedian Sam Killermann, as a way of fighting against racial slurring and hate speech in the video game community, the site was attacked and hacked by various hateful idiots.
Racial Slurs were slashed across the site, while pictures of the NSFL Goatse was also added wherever possible. As of Saturday, the massive attack has killed the site. Killermann says that he doesn’t know who exactly is responsible for the site being hacked, but he suspects that it may have originated from 4Chan, or at least someone hoping to imitate their jokes and memes in these “childish attacks”.
"This stuff that we all deal with nowadays—like the harassment and the identity-based bigotry and all that stuff that gets flung around—never really existed until a few years ago," Killermann told Kotaku.
Like I remember my first time playing Halo 2 on Xbox Live and… that was the first time I ever heard someone say the n-word during a video game. I had never ever experienced that my entire life, and I had been playing games my whole life. It’s only gotten worse since then—or at least more common.
This stuff that we all deal with nowadays—like the harassment and the identity-based bigotry and all that stuff that gets flung around—never really existed until a few years ago.
Which all resulted in Killermann starting up the GAB website, a site with two goals. The first,was to ask gamers to pledge to swear to stop using hate speech during sessions, while the second goal, was for developers to also take a stand, and help find ways of auto-muting known troublemakers.
"If you play any games you know there are some people who you’re just gonna mute every time," Killermann said. Internet darling Wil Wheaton found the site, and then blogged about it on Tumblr, resulting in 1500 signatures joining the petition. Which then made it a target for some troubled individuals.
"I was prepared [for backlash]," Killermann said. "I knew that, when I launched that website I was stepping into a ring that was kind of gonna be like a no punches pulled, just gotta be ready for it kind of situation”.
That’s tough, that’s kinda unfortunate that standing up for the underdog means you’re gonna be attacked but apparently that’s just kinda the way the world is right now.
Besides the website being terribly defaced, the hackers also decided to add some racial names to all the pledgers, while masking their IP codes with a very mature 69.69.69 address. "We were, apparently, so threatening to these peoples’ lifestyles that they decided to take down the entire website”, said Killamann.
"What’s really sad about that is that one person or a small group of people has managed to effectively take away the voices of 1,500 people who have signed the pledge so far," he said. "That’s gonna get so much worse if, in a month, if we’re up to 100,000 people and one person can come and wipe that all clean. That’s really sad."
There’s a horrible side to the internet, one that finds itself reviling at the mere idea of alternative criticism, as Anita Sarkeesian found out after she started a Kickstarter fund to film a documentary on sexist gaming tropes.
But much like life itself, it seems that escaping from hateful, narrow-minded fools with pathetic agendas is sadly impossible.
Last Updated: July 25, 2012