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Conflict in the community


A gaming company allies with LGBTQIA+ by calling out offending player

Here’s the story:

A gaming influencer recently perpetuated the myth that gay people are child sexual predators on Twitter. What is even worse is that their tweet received over 80 thousand hearts! In response, the company publicly called out the offender and dissolved their business relationship. Countering harmful and inaccurate stereotypes is vital at both the individual and organizational level, otherwise the community norms will become exponentially toxic and more targeting and hateful behaviors will spread. Does this corporate action look to you like conflict resolution? What would conflict resiliency look like instead? 

Normally in any conflict, especially between a group and an offending individual, before calling someone out, we suggest ”calling in.” Calling in builds a bridge for the repair part of the relationship that will happen after the offense is corrected. Emphasizing the healthy value(s) in common with the offender, and offering them a chance to correct their behavior, allows for a better outcome. Calling in for this situation might look something like: 

We value child safety and also know that what this user did is perpetuating a harmful heteronormative myth about the LGBTQIA+ population. An immediate correction and apology to the LGBTQIA+ community is necessary on the offending post. We have removed this user’s content from our game. If these actions are not completed by the user within the next 24 hours, we will be dissolving our business relationship with them. They will be banned from the product until they complete our requested actions and can demonstrate healthy and inclusive beliefs in their social media presence. 

However, the user made this harmful comment on a massive stage. Therefore, immediate calling out and exclusion might have been the most appropriate way to re-establish inclusive norms. But the question remains, how did this user grow so much influence that led to a moment like this? Do we really believe that this was the first time they had stated something so prejudicial towards an under-recognized group?

To be clear, we agree with Activision’s decision to publicly dissolve their business relationship with this user. However, we know that users don’t stop existing because they or their content are banned from a game. Where does this community member and their 80K supporters learn healthy ways to check their ignorance and concerns without doing so much harm? Where did they learn to practice this unchecked bigotry? What is the responsibility of the company to offer education and resources on addressing discrimination and prejudice to their product community?

For next steps and to practice conflict resiliency, we recommend reviewing the “addressing toxicity” resource by Take This. Could this company utilize the DEPTH model to for further advocate for LGBTQIA+ and make a plan for proactively addressing this behavior going forward? The DEPTH model might inform the company’s decision makers that stopping at excluding the user and their content indicates performative habits of inclusivity. To demonstrate being allies to more than their personal LGBTQIA+ friends and families (as they put in their post), we recommend a greater examination of their gaming community culture and a proactive plan for education and engagement on including LGBTQIA+ player needs as soon as possible. 

Thanks to Daniel Kelley, with the Anti-Defamation League, for amplifying this initial healthy company response to harmful user behavior. We hope they keep going and work to improve the culture they have built!

#Diversity #Equity #Inclusion #DEI #communitymanagement #Pride #Depthmodel #callofduty #takethis

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