Introducing.. THE TEAM

  • Martin, the Course Director, from Germany

Background: I am a political activist with the Young European Federalists and involved with youth and media policy. For over a decade I am active in youth work, especially on the international level. I ran various political campaigns and international exchanges. In the last 4 years I got hooked on net policy and the role young people play in it. I work as a trainer and facilitator and try to bring new and fresh perspectives to the participants through all the fringe stuff you might encounter on the internet.

Games: Pen’n’Paper, board games, video games, I got hooked by them all. In particular video games got me hooked. They have been a part of my live since 1989, when I got my first PC and the game Aldo, some kind of Rip-Off Donkey Kong. I went through the full Lucas Arts assortments of games and died a little inside seeing Monkey Island 3. The core-gamer in me awoke with Everquest, which I played for app. 5 years. Since then I have an undying affinity with MMORPGs. I think Shooters are stupid tho.

Motivation: GameOverHate will be a completely new challenge for me. I never managed to bring together my passion for video games and the activism I do. It is something completely new for the Council of Europe that is hosting us and I hope it will be a genuine opportunity for all the players that will join us. I will give my best to make it an awesome experience for everyone involved.

  • Ruxandra, the Educational Advisor, from Romania

Background: My name is Ruxandra and I work as an educational advisor for the Youth Department of the Council of Europe. I am originally from Romania, but currently living and working in the European Youth Centre Budapest. I am particularly involved with human rights education and activism, youth participation and non-formal education. I am also involved in the Youth Department’s No Hate Speech Movement campaign, particularly in developing the educational activities such as the training course for online activists or the course for online volunteers, but as well in supporting the development of European Action Days against hate speech online and the entire campaign at European level.

Motivation: I am looking forward for the study session to bring in young people not that involved in our activities so far and to develop new creative strategies to combat hate speech. My role will be to support the team with educational advice in preparation and development of the programme, just as well as during the event itself, to also link the work in the study session with the work of the Council of Europe and develop with you new actions for the campaingn.

  • David, from Portugal

Background: My background is in Economics & Marketing but I currently devote my time to projects related to human rights education. I’m a blogger and through that I’ve created an online collective focused on developing educational resources and planning offline actions to empower and educate the queer community. I’m also developing sessions in schools related to educating for diversity, anti-discrimination and understanding sexuality and gender identity. Recently, I’ve become a moderator for both the global and Portuguese campaigns of the No Hate Speech Movement project ran by the Council of Europe.

Games: Games have been accompanying me all my life ever since those first hand aches from playing too much Super Mario Bros on my first NES. Games challenge me, let me escape, let me imagine different worlds/possibilities and allow me to be part of something epic. I generally play all different types of games but  tend to focus on RPGs (Final Fantasy and Mass Effect, CAN I GET AN AMEN?) and on anything weirdly emotional / creative or surprisingly awesome (Katamary Damancy, Shadow of the Collosus, Portal, Braid…). Regarding MMOs my preference is Guild Wars 2 because, you know,… mesmers. <3

Motivation: Why am I excited about this project? Well.. because I know how many smart gamers there are out there; interesting and interested individuals with a social conscience and who are tired of the same old hateful behaviors they see online everyday in their favorite games. Because I’m tired of feeling and witnessing exclusion in a medium whose purpose is to create infinite new possibilities and allow limitless alternative identities. Because I feel like we – as a community – can do a lot better and because I know we will. (:

  • Aino, from Finland

 Background: I’ve studied Media Studies & Digital Culture, worked in Game Studies and as a freelance journalist. I’m currently preparing my Master’s Thesis on gay content in games, a subject very dear to me, and I plan on graduating at the end of this summer. I also blog in, a geek and gaming blog and collective that combines women from different fields to both provide articles, reviews and interviews from female perspective, and to give voice to the brilliant geeky individuals that are often elsewhere silenced. The blog is driven by Geek Girls FI organization that wants to provide discussion of the nature of geekdom, gaming and womanhood. This happens by different events such as cons, gaming seminars, game industry meetings, and by the blog. One of our main goals is also to encourage young girls into gaming, especially game design, which is now seriously lacking women, and to work as mentors to youngsters with geeky interests.

Games: I’ve been an avid gamer for 20 years. My first gaming memories are watching my brother playing Zak McKracken, and playing Monkey Island, Indiana Jones and Legend of Kyrandia myself. Later came Heroes of Might and Magic, Jagged Alliance and eventually Baldur’s Gate. The rest is history. I especially love RPGs and action adventure games. My favorite kind are Bioware’s games, such as Mass Effect (ME2 is awesomesauce) and Dragon Age. I’ve also deeply enjoyed games like Heavy Rain, L.A. Noire, the new Tomb Raider, Uncharted-series, and all the Assassin’s Creeds… Good story and full characters are the most important things to me, and I love being emotionally invested, exploring and getting surprised in positive ways. The very next game on my list is definitely The Last of Us, it simply looks amazing!

Motivation: My motivation towards this project is strong. I’ve always been into human rights and equality, and find the online communities especially heinous at times. I believe there is space to reasonable adult communication, to people to get along, to stop being so hateful, despite of what I see online every day. I want to break the pointless misogyny, homophobia and other hateful behavior into pieces starting with the structures that support them, and bring it all down to what gamers, gaming industry, gaming journalists and other indicators can do to help the situation. I believe there is much potential in gamers to change the gaming world to a friendly, inviting place, where no one is driven away from gaming by someone else’s nasty behavior.  We all deserve to fall in love in games just the same, don’t we?

  • Stefan, from Macedonia

Background: Member of Youth Educational Forum for 7 years with 3 years of experience in project design, management, monitoring and reporting for national and international donors. Has been a highschool debater and student debater, and competed on national and international championships. Volunteers as a debate coach for high-school and university students in the Karl Popper and British Parliamentary debate formats, and has been the Chief Adjudicator on a National Debate Championship. Has experience in debating, facilitation and moderation.

Has participated in the establishment of the first online youth station in Macedonia – Radio MOF in 2011 as a program activity of Youth Educational Forum where he currently acts as Radio Coordinator and coordinates a team of editors, journalists, show hosts and producers. Has been a speaker at Share Conference [SR], Pin Conference [MK] and YEF’s ENGAGE Social Media and Activism Conference.
Currently engages in the youth against hate speech online initiative in Macedonia.
Motivation: It will be my pleasure to spend 6 days with fellow gamers from around Europe. Finally a place were my gaming experience is applicable
  • Anna, from Russia

Background: From performing statistical analyses, to conducting field research, from interviewing hundreds of people with substance abuse disorders in Russia to becoming an advocate for children who have been sexually abused and neglected, each step of my journey has been built upon the previous one. Two years ago I began working as a psychologist at Creat Studio, a gaming company based in St. Petersburg. From this experience, I learned a lot about how to deliver innovative and cutting-edge games for all major handheld and console platforms. In the spring of 2011 I was an Atlas Corps Fellow and served at the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) in Washington D.C. During my work at ICMEC I recommended multiple Internet safety measures and suggested a model to promote child pornography legislation throughout the Russian-speaking region. While working in the United States I continued consulting with video game developers and designers from Creative Mobile, OU based in Tallinn, Estonia. One of the most exciting experiences I had during my work at Creative Mobile OU was the development of thirteen characters for their new upcoming 3D video game project. My keen interest and professional skills in video game industry and child Internet safety has most recently brought me to work as an online public safety research assistant at Mind Candy, Ltd. headquartered in London. It has been an outstanding experience to work for one of the world’s fastest growing social online gaming companies, operator and publisher of Moshi Monsters, a website targeted at children with over 80 million registered users in 150 territories worldwide.

Motivation: I am really excited about the GameOverHate conference simply because this is a totally new experience for me and I have never done anything like this before, especially with so much responsibility :D.  While my career path has converged at the intersection of social justice and gaming technology, I have never applied it to an event on such a grand scale.  I think what makes this conference have so much potential is that it attracts both people from the gaming community and industry, with the goal of producing a positive and long lasting societal benefit.

Draft Programme

This past week we had our first meeting in Budapest as a team to prepare what is growing to become the GameOverHate conference. Our diverse backgrounds shaped a programme that will introduce the serious issues of online violent behavior in the gaming communities, without compromising our ever-present geeky humor and excitement. (As the meme goes, “don’t worry! we’re from the Internets”)

Below you can read our drafted programme whose focus remains on forging a community of players that do not only understand and recognize hateful behaviors that happen in online gaming spaces but also proactively act to change them. 

To achieve this goal we – as gamers, activists, part of the online gaming culture – will play games, discuss and debate together, listen to and talk with journalists, academics and game developers so to, hopefully, broaden our own world views, grasp the gaming communities at a larger scale and learn and craft as a group.

We’ll work towards the encouragement and development of community based actions, the continuous sharing of good online practices and the creation of a common set of recommendations from players on the development of better online gaming communities.

Draft Programme GameOverHate

About Us


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.

Examples of this trend are found in major gaming news websites: Johnny Chiodini from Gamespot recently stated on his show “I don’t want to sweep hate speech under the rug and pretend it didn’t happen anymore than I want to give it a platform on which it can be repeated. The personal abuse verging on persecution is actually prohibited in Gamespot’s terms of use document and yet it runs rampant across the site (…)“; Nathan Greyson from “Rock, Paper, Shotgun” recently wrote “MOBAs like LoL and DOTA are infamous for their often toxic communities, and women – unsurprisingly though very depressingly – get the special insults. “Jokes” about their inherent inability to play well, very specific swears, crude references to body parts, “humor” about weight, propositions – all of that good stuff. And again, while scantily clad, disempowered female character designs alone aren’t going to “turn” someone sexist, they do contribute to an environment in which it feels more natural to disregard or otherwise demean women.

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.


Why Game Over Hate?

It’s a fact that video games and the gaming industry are an ever growing presence in the contemporary society. Mainstreaming, branching, evolving and multiplying, games are presence in the life of today’s kids, adolescents and adults alike. As an art form and as entertainment, it’s a massive industry that feeds and interacts with an ever growing target audience.

And even though online gaming might not be something new, its expression and relevance in numbers is now impossible to ignore when trying to analyze online realities. Today, more than 217 million people worldwide play online games. The average age of a gamer is 30 and around 42% of players are women.

Online gamers as now more than ever, and consists of more and more diverse people. Gamers not only just play more, they also interact more with each other. Games are now more complex, requiring more cooperation, fueling more competitiveness and building endless conversations and communities wherever it resides. Voice chat, video chat and instant messaging are daily tools of the online worlds.

But as games and its communities grow so must their community management policies. Online games are subject to some of the same challenges other online environments face. Bullying, Hatespeech, “trolling” and the negative spectrum of the human interactions are also on the rise in virtual gaming worlds. Without proper community manager and a concrete focus on building healthy and friendly online gaming communities, games can become extremely toxic environments where sexist, racism, racism and general bigotry flourish without control.

Some examples of this can be seen in the following video produced by the MIT.

How can we fight this? White Knighting?

Well.. the answer might be that game developers are finally understanding the importance of building inclusive and friendly gaming communities. Community management has become a central part in defining the success of an online game. Fostering diversity and inclusiveness and promoting online respect is task game makers need to put a clear focus on. It is possible for games maintaining their standards for challenges competitiveness and fun while still maintaining friendly and healthy environments for all kinds of players.

It’s also fundamental to understand and deconstruct what exactly in games is fueling the negative behaviors in gamers. Are people just evil/natural born trolls? Is the most game’s inherent sexism and bigotry shaping their gamers reactions? Can players shape games instead? How exactly can we incorporate feminist, lgbt, etc, inclusive experiences into current online games?

Project Accepted. We are happy as two little ponies!

Just a few days have passed since we got the news, Council of Europe accepted our project proposal! We are going to banish hate speech from video games like a boss.

The general aim of our event will be to facilitate exchange between gamers, developers, community managers, political institutions and game journalists on how to improve game communities and expulse hate speech from them. Our approach is a player’s approach, we will collect experiences, explore and discuss and want to bring the relevant stakeholders to the table. A more inclusive gaming is possible, lets make it happen!