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!