Halo 4 creators threaten permabans for sexist comments

Halo 4 players who make sexist or discriminatory comments while playing the game on Xbox Live will receive a lifetime ban as punishment, according to an interview with the game’s creators on Gamespot. While discrimination has always been frowned upon and punishable by temporary or permanent bans from the service, the creators behind Halo 4 seem determined to squelch this kind of harassment with a zero-tolerance policy.

“This is behavior that is offensive and completely unacceptable. I’d like to think most of our Xbox Live players don’t support this kind of behavior,” said Bonnie Ross, the head of Halo 4 developer 343 Industries, in her interview with Gamespot. Kiki Wolfkill, executive producer of Halo 4, added that a “broadcast mechanism” like Xbox Live can be a dangerous gift to adolescents, especially in the seeming vacuum of supervision that is a multiplayer game or lobby.

The Xbox Live Code of Conduct generally condemns harassment between players, either in speech or the content they create. But sexism is not specifically mentioned anywhere in the text. “Racial, ethnic, and religious slurs,” are forbidden, as is “content of a sexual nature” and “hate speech,” but sexism—attacks based on gender—are not explicitly mentioned.

That’s not to say such attacks haven’t been punished in the past on Xbox Live. Not only are players able to report each other for these offenses, but the service is also monitored by “enforcers” who will sit in on games in progress and watch for trouble. Enforcers also review logs for problems and then confront offending players with the evidence of their misdeeds. But the increased, public focus on preventing sexist harassment by two of the women behind Halo 4 is a promising step, and one we feel is completely necessary.

Read full story at Ars Technica…

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