Okay, I think I’m going to take this forward, since people seem generally supportive of the idea. The next step is to hammer out something like a plan and a mission statement about what we are trying to achieve, what we’re not trying to achieve, and how to get there. So here are some general principles of those, to get started:
- Stay focussed. There are many problems in gaming and computer gaming, sexism is just one of them. Racism is just one of them. There are a myriad of ways to tackle these issues. Trying to find all the ways to tackle all the problems is not going to help anything. A tight focus means we do our thing well and hopefully we connect it to other things that make a larger difference.
- Have a defined goal which we can articulate. Still working on that, but the idea is to build a system to encourage men, through a branded tribalist approach of badges and logos and merchandise, to make a concerted effort to not be dicks in gaming environments and to advertise that fact to others (making them want to join that tribe). Here, being dicks means using racist and sexist slurs, and hitting on people, and making sexual attacks, and being horrifically unpleasant and general. The idea being that those who make such identifications can be relied on not to do that, and eventually be selected by people to play with more often, thus encouraging more people to make the same pledge, and generally creating communities of people dedicated to a minimum level of behaviour. Here’s Wil Wheaton talking about what we want to encourage.
- Don’t Be Dicks About It. We are not the moral police. Nor are we White Knights. We’re not here to save anyone, or accuse anyone. While we want people to encourage others to act the same way, this isn’t about giving anyone the moral high ground or turn them into forum vigilantes. That way leads to madness. And this isn’t about anyone’s sensitive ears, either. This isn’t even about women. It’s about being better simply because it’s what we want and think is appropriate. Also, we’re relaxed enough to occasionally say the word dicks, and that’s going to be okay. At least, that’s where we are now. Happy to here weighing in on lines to be drawn.
- Invite Others. We’re all doing our bit to make things suck less. We work with other groups, not against them. Nobody owns a movement or an idea.
- Start Small, Start Slow. I am one man with an enormous amount of personal issues, challenges, and dependents. I also have no money whatsoever. Doing it right without killing myself means moving at a snail’s pace, and results will move equally slowly. Before I can even start a website I will need graphics for it, and before I can get graphics for it, I will need money (because artists don’t work for free). Some kind of stepped plan will be important. There will likely be crowd-sourcing for the cash. Recent evidence, like Feminist Frequency making a hundred and sixty thousand dollars(!!!), proves people want to talk about this stuff, and fund people doing things about it.
- Do It Well. As mentioned above, we want to do it right, which means making it look right, which is why I’m going to need money, because no GOOD artist works for free (nor should they). Unless they really like this idea, he said hinting.
And yeah, we’re going with (Getting The) M.E.S.S.A.G.E. – Men Ending Slurs and Sexual Attacks in the Gaming Environment.
Comments useful as always.