Game Over Hate (GoH) is an international initiative to address hate and harmful behaviors in online gaming environments. GoH started within the Council of Europe’s No Hate Speech Movement Campaign, and held in September 2013 its first international conference. The project works in recognizing, analyzing, reacting and preventing hate in online game communities.
GoH comes out of our passion for games, our personal experience in witnessing hateful behaviors in different gaming communities and our recognition of a rising trend in confronting and exposing these online behaviors.
Different gamer initiatives are also addressing the urgency in dealing with this topic. “Fat, Ugly or Slutty” is a website that collects examples of “creepy, disturbing, insulting, degrading and/or just plain rude messages” that female players receive from other players on a daily basis while playing online games. Anita Sarkeesian’s “Tropes vs Women in Video Games” video series has become one of the biggest examples of how hate in gaming communities manifests itself and how toxic it can get. The video series project was launched on Kickstarter on May 2012 and immediately Anita began to get violently harassed online and attacked with life and rape threats from organized anti-feminist gamers simply because the project aimed to “explore female character stereotypes throughout the history of the gaming industry”. The project got funded in its first 24 hours but until today comments in all Anita’s videos continue disabled due to remaining continuous harassment.
Games and game communities suffer from the same problems as other online and offline communities in what regards to discrimination, violence and abuse when great amounts of people interact without proper moderation and community management policies behind them. On top of that, game communities have often the increased pressure of competition and most online identities are anonymous. Without a clear focus on fostering inclusiveness, diversity, healthy and friendly player interactions and experiences online communities often turn very toxic without any benefit for gamers, or game companies.
GoH collaborates with gamers, journalists, researchers, game developers, community managers and online activists to engage with the industry and to support gamers. On one side we plan to develop and promote a set of community management guidelines that foster inclusive and friendly online game communities. On the other, we want to encourage and support community based action by gathering educational materials, research and good practices from different game companies and communities, and as well, develop and participate in gaming events where bringing the topic of inclusiveness, diversity and respect becomes a priority.