Gaming Forums Must Get Political

Fuck having a comforting community for ‘everyone’.

Forums and Facebook groups are dominated with spacers for gamers. Fans of certain titles can join in groups specifically to talk about their favourites. One of the most common policies though is that politics must not be discussed. This is a rule enacted over and over again to make spaces comforting for everyone.

Ironically, this isn’t about creating a safe space but about not hurting the feelings of Nazis, misogynists, racists and trolls who (ironically) call everyone else ‘snowflakes’. The policy is bullshit and exactly what gaming spaces do not need.

“This isn’t about creating a safe space but about not hurting the feelings of Nazis”

It’s a ridiculous policy and shows the complacency, not just of developers and journalists but of fans themselves, who are unwilling to stand up to the very elements within the gaming community. Moderators, admins and people who participate in gaming conversations or help shape them in any way have a responsibility to ensure that they are tackling toxic discourse and are helping cultivate an environment that wants to tackle hate. By shutting down conversations around politics, they’re allowing the alt-right, bigots and trolls to remain in the community unchallenged.

This policy of political silence is also shutting down discourse around fundamental elements of games. Very few games are truly apolitical. Whether it’s the Metal Gear series, Mario Kart’s item system or Detroit: Become Human ripping off the civil rights and Black Lives Matter movements, most games touch upon politics in some way. But we’re not even allowed to mention this fundamental part of games or the lessons they try and instil. That would be like trying to learn about literature without ever mentioning ‘power’ or ‘control’.

It’s time for the gaming community to step up and stop worrying about Nazi tears. Talking about politics is good as it helps challenge the right wing trolls that have tried to take over gaming spaces and make them areas of hatred, where they can plot how to target marginalised people. Let the trolls be challenged, let them identify themselves and then ban them from these spaces. It’s really that simple. It’s just that too few people actually want to do that.

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