As promised in the July update, a post would be made on disrespect and toxic behavior. On this topic, we will take a look at the past and forward to the future. I hope this post will also serve as a reminder to what this community is about, how it should operate, and what we should stand for. For some, it may be perceived as tough change. Others may see it as necessary and a step in the right direction.
August 21, 2016. That was the day a significant change was made in EdgeGamers history. Prior to that point, swearing was not allowed within conversation on our forums or on our game servers. For 10 years this community operated under that model and had significant success. As EdgeGamers grew in size and age the desire to relax standards and focus on disrespect versus swearing increased. Admins were asked to identify intent and keep our servers clean that way. Instead of targeting the individual who drops an occasional sh*t over voice chat, let's target those who attack others and make them feel unwelcome. As with anything, difficulties came with the change as we attempted to modify the typical culture people were accustomed to. We ended up with a desirable result after some time following the release of the new rule. However, what we didn't keep tight grasp on is how relaxing one rule and allowing flexibility and the focus of intent, which is subjective to many, may result in other areas also being relaxed.
Nearly 6 years later, I am prompted to write this post addressing disrespect, toxic behavior, and the use of excessive swearing because things have relaxed or slipped too far for comfort. With how relaxed some standards have become, some interactions can be down right embarrassing for members, admins, leaders and even our Community Management & Board teams to be associated with. Excessive use and the normalcy of swearing (sometimes in nearly every sentence or every other word) has contributed to toxic environments. Toxic environments breed an acceptable place for individuals to disrespect or harass others. When players are disrespected or harassed it breaches the foundation this community was built on. With the frequency of occurrence these issues have come to life in EdgeGamers servers, forums, or communication channels, things must change.
To put some minds at ease, you wont get to a point in this thread where we are changing our rules or going back to the rule set prior to 2016. We are however expecting much more of players, members and admins. Higher standards will be expected to deliver on our promise to provide a safe and fun environment for all gamers to participate in.
How do we make this a reality and start a shift in culture across the community? We double down on our existing rules in the Code of Conduct.
- No disrespect towards other players.
- Harassment of other players is prohibited.
- No cheating, scripting or exploiting of any kind.
- Don't disrupt server functions through excessive swearing, spamming, trolling and purposeful griefing.
- Avoid political, religious, news, or societal conversations.
- Recruiting and advertising is prohibited.
Excessive swearing will always generate a laundry list of questions due to the subjectivity behind it. Maybe I can make it simple and say that we should look at excessive swearing as unnecessary swearing. Swearing becomes unnecessary when it's included as a noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection in common conversation. If you're unsure what this may sound like in practice, sit down with USCG Hammer or GardenGroveVW after they've had a few beers and you'll be quick to understand. We have to rely on common sense to drive our actions here. If we have an "oh sh*t" situation where a swear is tossed out, our rules were modified to allow these situations in 2016. When we begin using a swear word in common language to the point it is every other word or used in every sentence, we may need to clean up our dirty mouth a bit. Conversation shouldn't feel cringe-worthy or embarrassing to hear for some when it comes to the use of swearing in conversation. It just gets unnecessary and contributes to an overall toxic environment this community shouldn't be comfortable with or stand for.
Surely there will be many questions on this topic. We will be be scheduling a community wide meeting in the coming weeks to address many of these questions, comments, concerns and emotional outbursts live over voice in the near future. A change in the typical norm is difficult to accept sometimes but this is an absolute necessary change for the success of the future. Simply put - enough is enough. We're better than where we are at and we need to spend some time getting to where we need to be.
As with all of my posts that I make in this "Community Management Update" series, I can't wait for the interesting comments below from those who come out of the woodwork to state their strongly worded opinions after not being present or invested in the community for some time. I look forward to your invaluable thoughts. For those of you who are here on the daily in the forums, on Discord and playing in the games we support or even those we don't, I even more look forward to your thoughts on this and can't wait to speak with you at our next meeting. I am excited for this journey of growth and change we're set on.