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T O P I C
Verant responds to banning complaints
October 8th 2000, 16:43 CEST by andy

John Smedley, President and CEO of Verant Interactive, sent an e-mail to Lum The Mad discussing the recent banning of an EverQuest player.



Here it is:

I've seen the outcry regarding the banning of Mystere. While we typically do not discuss this, I would like to elaborate on several things surrounding this in order to address legitimate concerns raised by our playerbase.

It is very important for everyone concerned to understand that EverQuest's reputation is a very important thing. In this day and age, video games are subjected to an ENORMOUS amount of scrutiny by watchdog groups and the federal and state governments.

In this case, a parent complained to a lot of anti-child porn watchdog sites and several mainstream media outlets regarding the extremely graphic detail of the story and the fact that it apparently contained violence directed at a child.

For us, this poses an extremely serious problem. EverQuest has a reputation as being a family oriented game. Yes it has a mature rating, and yes it does contain violence. That in and of itself gives pause to many people out there (especially parents). But, you would be amazed at how many parents play this game with their kids mostly because we do control the language and they feel like EQ is a family friendly environment despite the dark overtones of some of the stories and quests.

You may say "a person has the right to say whatever they want"... and of course that's true. But, when that action is linked to a company's Intellectual Property (which is just a fancy way of saying people associate it with EQ) it becomes our business because it threatens our business by making us a huge target for all the folks out there that think we all are all a bunch of violent video game players. This just gives them fuel for the fire.

For us, this story represented a serious problem because it used EverQuest as a backdrop. It's already been pointed out by our General Counsel in more legal terms, but the simple fact is that it's easy for folks to point at that story, point at EQ and link the two.

Whether or not any of us likes that or not isn't really the question. The fact is that EverQuest is the very heart of our business and we have to take that very seriously.

Now - Will we be policing the Internet looking for these kinds of stories?

No. We won't. In fact, none of us was even aware of this until it was brought to our attention. That doesn't mean if someone crosses the line again and it's pointed out we won't do the same thing.

The big question is - where's the line? And what right do we have to draw it outside the game?

The answer is complicated and extremely subjective, so I'll just have to be honest and say we'll know it when it's over the line. We're going to discuss it in the upcoming few weeks and see if we can make it more clear, but I can't honestly say if we'll get anywhere because none of us wants to stop people from writing awesome fan-fiction about EQ.

But we aren't going to be looking at every fan site and becoming the Thought Police. We have neither the time, nor the inclination to do that. However we need to protect EverQuest's good image as best we can.

Did we handle this as well as we could have?

No - We didn't. And for that, I apologize.

In the future, we're going to handle this in a different way.

Regards,
John Smedley
President and CEO
Verant Interactive, Inc.

Update: For your edification and entertainment, but not necessarily education, one EverQuest player has posted his analysis of the game's license agreement, and how it does or doesn't allow Verant to ban players for activity outside the game world. Here's a big chunk o' quote: "I absolutely agree with Verant’s need and right to control their game environment and intellectual property. However, MMRPG’s are all about building a society, not just a game. In any society, it is important to define what behaviors are acceptable and which are not. I believe Verant has generally done an effective job of defining what behaviors are and are not allowed. I furthermore believe they have done an effective job of pre-announcing policy changes and issuing warnings in-game to ensure the limitations on player actions are well understood. Therefore it is difficult to imagine that they would extend their desire to control player behavior into non-game venues, not publish any rules of conduct applicable to such environments, and take drastic action against accounts with no warning or other indications that the behavior exhibited is inappropriate."

C O M M E N T S
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#1 by "Darkseid-[D!]"
2000-10-08 16:47:12
Darkseid-D@planetcrap.com http://www.pcinformer.co.uk
Dont even think about it.

Ds<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#2 by "Frain"
2000-10-08 16:49:05
frain@bigfoot.com
and it's been sooooooooooo close :)<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#3 by "Lucky"
2000-10-08 16:50:08
lucky@planetduke.com
Only an hour too late, ah well :)

EQ's community vanished up its own rectum a long time ago IMO.
#4 by "Lucky"
2000-10-08 16:50:55
lucky@planetduke.com
What the hell . . . weird time zone.
#5 by "Whisp"
2000-10-08 17:26:45
whisp_@hotmail.com
He just glossed over the entire issue of how it was handled, and how they planned to handle it in the future.  EQ players writing fan stories are still left wondering where the line is, and whether they'll have any warning that they have crossed the line before their months or years of work and hundreds of dollars will be taken away from.  I don't know what happened to the people that ran this game, but they seem to have lost all touch with the players and reality.  They certainly don't demonstrate any caring for their customers.

-Whisp
#6 by "VeeSPIKE"
2000-10-08 17:58:37
appliedavoidanc.dont.fucking.spam.me@triton.net
<b>#5</b> "Whisp" wrote this stuff"
<QUOTE>He just glossed over the entire issue of how it was handled, and how they planned to handle it in the future</QUOTE>

That's because they a) do not WANT to discuss how it was handled, because they do not want to be made out to look like fools (too late) and b) they do not know how they are going to handle it in the future so that they don't look like fools again. They also do not want to get caught later going back on something they said.

The thing that bothers me is that they seem to be relying on the opinions of bullshit reactionary watchdog groups to dictate their policy:do nothing until until somebody bitches loud enough to make us act.  <I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#7 by "My Cock In Your ARSE"
2000-10-08 18:02:37
sheriffbakanay@hotmail.com http://Fuck off, dumb cunts
I wrote a number of posts that were not properly addressed.  Best I put them up again, all in one post.

POST1
I hear that guys who play around with Linux, want to go out with KAK, as they think she is very fuckable.


That's right gay losers, accept my total intellectual and penile superiority of your small minds and even smaller gay cocks.

Your outrage is just a cry for someone to come and fuck you in your loose arse's.



POST2
Hightax,
I will never forget how fucken pathetic the small cocked individuals who lost their gay minds over me referring to KAK as possibly being fuckable.

Whilst they give all sorts of ridiculous reasons for their outrage, clearly it is their rampant gayness that finds it offensive that a man would find a women attractive. To them, they are only interested in Felching and replacing Toothpaste with semen, when they brush their teeth.

All that I have written is clearly true.



POST3
Warren Marshall,

There is surely a certain "robustness" of dialogue that occurs in Plantecrap(And I'm not referring to obvious Troll posts). I have/had seen this on Planetcrap long before I made that post about KAK being possibly fuckable.

So keeping in mind what often gets said by regulars on this board, why on earth should anyone have been offended by me suggesting that KAK was possibly fuckable???

I'll tell you why.

It is because of chronically immature sycophantic id fanboys who worship Carmack and everything associated with him. It is also possibly due to most people's immature view on male/female relations. Most of you losers have never had girlfriends and just beat off to porno(usually, but not exclusively, gay porno), and this has left you to come up with typically skewed id fanboy computer jerkoff, views on the world.


Many, many times people had and still say much, much worse things about developers male & female in this forum, but yet your pathetic fucken rage is mysteriously missing then.

Your worship at the Temple of Carmack is so obvious its a joke.

Now please you fucken mental midgets, don't come back with your ludicrously different examples of asking "Well would it be appropriate to say so and so was fuckable on The Today Show with Katie Couric". Well I don't know how to break it to you dumb fucks, but there are clearly different rules of engagement for The Today Show and Planetcrap.

This should be obvious as all fuck, but because you would rather worship at the Temple of Carmack, than face the truth, you expose your well lubricated arses(and I'm not referring to Warren Marshall here, I actually think he is one of the better posters on Planetcrap) for any and everyone to stick their cocks in them.

Just answer me this one question, for all those outraged by my remarks about KAK(which also didn't include any criticisms of her), how come you were able to stay silent about the terrible things said about other developers(male & female)??????????

Your silence is deafening.




POST4
Warren,
What a surprise you are unable to address the points I raised in my previous post.

Far better to fall back onto your Troll rants, than face your own hypocracy and intellectual dishonesty.
#8 by "Blood[GC]"
2000-10-08 18:03:25
blood@gamescon.com http://www.gamescon.com
When I played EQ, I read posts on various messageboards from people who used to play, and said they were glad they weren't anymore; I had a hard time identifying with them.  Folks, stuff like this bullshit makes me happy that I don't play this game any more too.  Everquest is only successful because it's the only game in town (AC and UO just plain suck).  I hope when UO2 comes out it kicks EQ's ass.
I had a boss who used to go off on people for doing stuff he didn't like.  He'd drag them into his office and bark at them for 15 minutes and then dismiss them.  An hour or so later after one of these "meetings", he'd go up to the person and apologize, saying, "I was just upset".  Verant behaves in the exact same way.  The problem with this is, you don't know where they stand on anything.  Did Verant just panic and ban this person to put out a fire that, well, didn't even exist yet?  Verant's act now - think later attitude has gotten them into dozens of sticky situations with players that could have been totally avoided had they just thought things through.

Verant: wake up.
#9 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-10-08 18:10:13
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com http://www.manic-pop-thrills.com
<b>#5</b> "Whisp" wrote...
<quote>EQ players writing fan stories are still left wondering where the line is, and whether they'll have any warning that they have crossed the line before their months or years of work and hundreds of dollars will be taken away from. I don't know what happened to the people that ran this game, but they seem to have lost all touch with the players and reality. They certainly don't demonstrate any caring for their customers. </QUOTE>
When in doubt, write original stories intstead of building it on someone else's work. I dunno, I just can't understand the appeal, so that's sorta affecting my sympathy toward the banned person.

While you never want to see a company do anything so seemingly anti-player, if it were my creation I'd be pretty squeamish over the prospect of people taking my work and characters, turning it into something I never intended and then publishing it for the world to see. To people experiencing the derivative work, it can reflect poorly (or positively, it goes both ways) on the original creation. (Lordy, does that sound like corporate speak or what?)

To avoid this sort of semi-arbitrary banning, there are really only two solutions: ignore it entirely and run the risk of some major media doing profiles on "EverQuest porn in a game marketed toward kids, and Sony's unwillingness to protect our children" (won't someone think about the children?), or make all fan fiction illegal, and its creation a violation of their TOS, which is within Verant's rights as the owner of EverQuest. Since neither is particularly realistic, it'll always be handled on a case-by-case basis.

<quote>The thing that bothers me is that they seem to be relying on the opinions of bullshit reactionary watchdog groups to dictate their policy:do nothing until until somebody bitches loud enough to make us act. </quote>
If someone like the ACLU came in and got the player's account restored, wouldn't they also be a "bullshit reactionary watchdog group" who's dictating Verant's policy? Face it, they're only "bullshit" watchdog groups when they do something you disagree with. But if they're on your side, they're champions of freedom...

---
"My life is a patio of fun."<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#10 by "Mark Asher"
2000-10-08 18:14:51
marka@cdmnet.com
<QUOTE> I don't know what happened to the people that ran this game, but they seem to have lost all touch with the players and reality. They certainly don't demonstrate any caring for their customers. </QUOTE>

One of the problems with EQ (and other MMORPGs that become popular) is that it becomes impossible to satisfy the player base. Verant in some ways has been unresponsive and done a poor job, but even if they had done a better job, they still would have been villified. If you put hundreds of hours into playing a game and you think your character has been shortchanged in some way, it's very difficult to not feel dissatisfied. And yet, there's no way that Verant can please everyone. It's an impossible situation in many ways.

I was talking to the oft-maligned Abashi, and he told me he reads about 2000 messages a day from players. Just think of the sheer number of enhancements, tweaks, and fixes that are requested every week, and then think how impossible it is to code them, test them, and implement them and not create new problems.

The bottom line right now with EQ is that it works. It's not perfect. There are certainly legitimate issues. There are undoubtedly dissatisifed players. But the game works, and it's unlikely to radically change, and Verant's customer service policy is unlikely to radically change.
#11 by "Mark Asher"
2000-10-08 18:25:13
marka@cdmnet.com
<QUOTE> To avoid this sort of semi-arbitrary banning, there are really only two solutions: ignore it entirely and run the risk of some major media doing profiles on "EverQuest porn in a game marketed toward kids, and Sony's unwillingness to protect our children" (won't someone think about the children?), or make all fan fiction illegal, and its creation a violation of their TOS, which is within Verant's rights as the owner of EverQuest. Since neither is particularly realistic, it'll always be handled on a case-by-case basis. </QUOTE>

I agree. It will always be arbitrary, etc. Verant should at least post some guidelines, though. "While we don't want to discourage fan fiction, we will consider fictions that contain descriptions of sexual conduct to be a bannable offense...."

It will be interesting to see if Mystere writes similar fiction about AC and how Microsoft might respond.
#12 by "VeeSPIKE"
2000-10-08 18:25:32
appliedavoidanc.dont.fucking.spam.me@triton.net
<b>#9</b> "Steve Bauman" wrote this stuff"
<QUOTE>If someone like the ACLU came in and got the player's account restored, wouldn't they also be a "bullshit reactionary watchdog group" who's dictating Verant's policy? Face it, they're only "bullshit" watchdog groups when they do something you disagree with. But if they're on your side, they're champions of freedom...
</QUOTE>

Actually I do not much care for the ACLU either. They are, for the most part, a bullshit reactionary watchdog group - a cadre of lawyers who insinuate themselves into situations that don't alwayss concern them. What should have happened is the offended parties should have gone to the writer and said "Excuse me, but what you wrote is offensive for [reason] and we would like you to take it down, or rewrite it." That didn't happen, as far as we know. What they did was whine at uninvolved third parties so that they might be adults for them. And they did exactly what they were expected to do - react, and overly so at that.

"So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it.

Well, he gets it

I don't like this and better than you men do."

[whistles]

<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#13 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-10-08 18:30:03
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com http://www.manic-pop-thrills.com
<b>#12</b> "VeeSPIKE" wrote...
<QUOTE>What should have happened is the offended parties should have gone to the writer and said "Excuse me, but what you wrote is offensive for [reason] and we would like you to take it down, or rewrite it." </quote>
And if that did happen, and the writer brought that to the public's attention, they'd also be accused of censorship. It's a lose-lose situation any way you look at it for Verant.

<quote>And they did exactly what they were expected to do - react, and overly so at that. </quote>
Well, it's not like they put the person in jail. They told him/her you can't pay us $10/month anymore.

---
"My life is a patio of fun."<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#14 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-10-08 18:32:27
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com http://www.manic-pop-thrills.com
<b>#12</b> "VeeSPIKE" wrote...
<QUOTE>Actually I do not much care for the ACLU either. They are, for the most part, a bullshit reactionary watchdog group - a cadre of lawyers who insinuate themselves into situations that don't alwayss concern them. </quote>
Oops, you didn't actually answer this question. OK, so it's not the ACLU, it's "Freedom Fighters", "The People for the Liberation of EverQuest" or some guy.

Would you support them attempting to re-institute the player's account? And if you did, wouldn't they be equally dictating Verant's policy?

---
"My life is a patio of fun."<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#15 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-10-08 18:40:57
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com http://www.manic-pop-thrills.com
<b>#11</b> "Mark Asher" wrote...
<QUOTE>I agree. It will always be arbitrary, etc. Verant should at least post some guidelines, though. "While we don't want to discourage fan fiction, we will consider fictions that contain descriptions of sexual conduct to be a bannable offense...." </quote>
They probably couldn't put any language about fan fiction in their TOS because they're technically illegal derivative works.

<quote>It will be interesting to see if Mystere writes similar fiction about AC and how Microsoft might respond. </QUOTE>
I'd guess they'd react the same way.

---
"My life is a patio of fun."<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#16 by "Andy"
2000-10-08 18:45:16
andy@nospam.planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
Topic updated.
#17 by "Twitch"
2000-10-08 18:57:07
twitch@gamepig.com http://www.gamepig.com
The part about this whole saga, but that seems to be getting taken for granted, is this:

<quote>For us, this story represented a serious problem because it used EverQuest as a backdrop. It's already been pointed out by our General Counsel in more legal terms, but the simple fact is that it's easy for folks to point at that story, point at EQ and link the two. </quote>

Maybe I'm naive, but it seems disingenuous to say that it's "easy" to link a company with a piece of fan fiction that was not written/published/endorsed by the company. I mean, is it really THAT hard to understand that something not written or published by Verant...did not come from Verant? Sure, if you're dealing with the most uninformed, knee-jerk strawman on the planet, it's <i>possible</i> that someone could create that association. But it's even more "possible" for someone to create an association between ACTUAL EQ content and, say...violence, occultism, bondage, or any other horror that would cause our nation's innocent children to become depraved monsters.

I guess I just don't see it as a realistic possibility that EQ would ever be seen (by sane people) as endorsing or creating that piece of fan fiction, which would sort of obviate the need for them to go banning anyone.

Unless of course, the fear is that EQ wouldn't be blamed for the story itself, but for creating a game that makes people write such horrible, child-destroying fiction. In which case banning someone after the fact is a totally inappropriate and useless reaction.

Ah well. Another baffling public relations move that I just don't "get"....
#18 by "Twitch"
2000-10-08 18:59:15
twitch@gamepig.com http://www.gamepig.com
Hooray for posting right after you wake up. Please pretend that I had actually proofread and edited all the incomplete sentences and grammatical errors. :-)
#19 by "mcgrew"
2000-10-08 20:38:04
mcgrew@famvid.com http://theFragfest.com
"Ye olde 'Crap didn't receive a copy of Smedley's e-mail. Me not happy."

Sign up for the Hulkawire, I'm surprised you haven't yet.
#20 by "ReconN"
2000-10-08 20:57:03
reconn@captured.com http://www.captured.com/
Giving Verant the benefit of the doubt, this letter may explain why they needed to remove the posting, citing their public image to maintain. (I'm not saying I agree..)  But it doesn't address the fact that not only was the fiction removed, but the writer was banned from the game.  I don't see how this fits into maintaining their image, unless it is a play to the parent's groups saying "Look! We punished him!"  And that's beginning to tread in a whole other area beyond simple censorship of things regarding their 'intellectual property'.
#21 by "G-Man"
2000-10-08 22:11:28
jonmars@shiftlock.org http://www.shiftlock.org
Why does everyone take it for granted that the banning of a player from a game server was a direct and natural response to an infringement of their copyrights and trademarks in a derivative work posted on a third party forum?

I can understand their legal and rational basis for contacting the host of the forum and pulling the story content or sending a cease and desist letter to the author, but how does the author's copyright infringement relate to his membership as a player on Verant's game servers?

How does banning an author from a game server preclude or prevent his continuing to write derivative fan fiction using Verant's copyrights and trademarks?

 - [g.man]<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#22 by "G-Man"
2000-10-08 22:12:48
jonmars@shiftlock.org http://www.shiftlock.org
<b>#20</b> "ReconN" wrote...
<QUOTE>Giving Verant the benefit of the doubt, this letter may explain why they needed to remove the posting, citing their public image to maintain. (I'm not saying I agree..) But it doesn't address the fact that not only was the fiction removed, but the writer was banned from the game. I don't see how this fits into maintaining their image, unless it is a play to the parent's groups saying "Look! We punished him!" And that's beginning to tread in a whole other area beyond simple censorship of things regarding their 'intellectual property'. </QUOTE>
Son of a bitch. He beat me to it. That's what I get when I take a holiday vacation from PC.

 - [g.man]<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#23 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-10-08 22:22:22
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com http://www.manic-pop-thrills.com
<b>#20</b> "ReconN" wrote...
<QUOTE>But it doesn't address the fact that not only was the fiction removed, but the writer was banned from the game. I don't see how this fits into maintaining their image, unless it is a play to the parent's groups saying "Look! We punished him!" </QUOTE>
Aye, that is a good point. I'd guess it's a warning and is setting a precedent; does banning have more impact than a simple removal of a posting? You bet. Now it becomes a cautionary tale.

Of course it's still not a great PR move.

---
"My life is a patio of fun."<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#24 by "Andy"
2000-10-08 22:27:34
andy@nospam.planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
Remember that the story was only removed from the IGN forum after Mystere had been banned from the game and the protests had begun.
#25 by "Jafd"
2000-10-08 22:30:20
jNOaSPAMfPLEASEd@NOzombieworldSPAM.PLEASEcom http://jafd.isfuckingbrilliant.com
<b>Steve Bauman</b> (#13):
<QUOTE><B><A href="spy-internal:Load/168#12">#12</A></B> "VeeSPIKE" wrote...
<quote>What should have happened is the offended parties should have gone to the writer and said "Excuse me, but what you wrote is offensive for [reason] and we would like you to take it down, or rewrite it." </quote>
And if that did happen, and the writer brought that to the public's attention, they'd also be accused of censorship. It's a lose-lose situation any way you look at it for Verant. </QUOTE>

Nah I don't buy that angle at all. "Lose-lose"? No I really don't think so. If they had politely taken steps to have the original story retracted, there would surely be the one or two nuts who would scream censorship; does that really compare to the tumultuous outcry that their actual actions caused? Not even a little bit.

If they had acted to 'censor,' it would be, ho-hum, somebody wrote a rape story using copyrighted/trademarked characters and got slapped down. Not exactly a genre-shaking story.

Instead they boot the author from their game and create this PR shitstorm. That's not "lose-lose." That's "unhappy necessity-total fucking bonehead thing to do that insanely agitates a significant proportion of the playerbase."

You can say that, yeah, Verant had a tough call to make, had to do something, did what they thought was best, yadda yadda yadda... but that's not how it was. Look at the email the author gor from Verant... "We don't need players like you in the game." That's not professionalism. That's not ethical. That's not <i>right</i>, goddammit.

So don't give me this "boo hoo it's a tough job protecting your intellectual property rights blah blah" line. The point is, Verant's attitude, overall, is very very poor. This is a case where saying "I'm sorry" isn't enough to impress me.

I'm not saying that Verant is intentionally being cruel or spiteful to their playerbase. I'm saying they are a bunch of incompetent fools who lied to their therapists and slept through Sociology 101.
#26 by "Lucky"
2000-10-08 22:33:22
lucky@planetduke.com
What was wrong with the story again? Child porn? Is there an "abuse child" option built into EQ?
#27 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-10-08 23:17:23
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com http://www.manic-pop-thrills.com
<b>#25</b> "Jafd" wrote...
<QUOTE>Instead they boot the author from their game and create this PR shitstorm. That's not "lose-lose." That's "unhappy necessity-total fucking bonehead thing to do that insanely agitates a significant proportion of the playerbase." </quote>
Um, OK. Let's see if a "significant proportion of the playerbase" is still agitated in a week, and more importantly if any of them have taken any actions like quitting en masse.

I suspect they're as agitated as all of the Diablo II players were a couple of months ago, those same people that are currently having a blast on battle.net. All of their anger will eventually dissipate and be forgotten because they will not act.

<quote>That's not professionalism. That's not ethical. That's not <I>right</I>, goddammit. </quote>
OK, it could have been handled better, but how would you go about canceling someone's account for doing actions you feel were detrimental to both the game and to others in the game? And since you don't feel these actions were justified, what would someone would have to do to justify being banned?

---
"My life is a patio of fun."<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#28 by "Jafd"
2000-10-08 23:32:43
jNOaSPAMfPLEASEd@NOzombieworldSPAM.PLEASEcom http://jafd.isfuckingbrilliant.com
<b>Steve Bauman</b> (#27):
<QUOTE>Um, OK. Let's see if a "significant proportion of the playerbase" is still agitated in a week, and more importantly if any of them have taken any actions like quitting en masse. </QUOTE>

Doubtless there will be less agitation; that was the real point of Smed's letter. PR spin to quell the frothing masses. But the incident will still be remembered by a 'significant enough' proportion that it will carry weight.

<b>Steve Bauman</b> (#27):
<QUOTE>OK, it could have been handled better, but how would you go about canceling someone's account for doing actions you feel were detrimental to both the game and to others in the game? </QUOTE>

I would not have simply banned the player. I would have contacted the message board, gotten the stories removed, given the author a stern talking-to coupled with a threat of banning on future transgressions, and publicized the whole thing with a big "we are big advocates of corporate responsibility" spin. Would have made all the irresponsible parents happy, would have injected a much-needed dose of reality into the freaky little world of all those freaky roleplayers, and wouldn't have angered nearly as many people.

Surely there would be a bit of a hooraw from the crowd who believes that "free speech" is also free of responsibilty... but most everyone ignores that group anyway.

<b>Steve Bauman</b> (#27):
<QUOTE>OK, it could have been handled better</QUOTE>

It <b><i>should</i></b> have been handled better. There's just no excuse for the way they chose to deal with this problem. (Note: being a clueless ghit is not an excuse.)

<b>Steve Bauman</b> (#27):
<QUOTE>And since you don't feel these actions were justified, what would someone would have to do to justify being banned?
</QUOTE>

As has been noted elsewhere... Verant had no published policy in place for dealing with a situation like this. I'm certainly not in objection of Verant's belief that action needed to be taken. I object to their flagrant lack of respect for their playerbase.
#29 by "BloodKnight"
2000-10-08 23:33:48
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
<b>andy</b> (#Main Post):
<QUOTE>John Smedley, President and CEO of Verant Interactive, sent an e-mail to Lum The
Mad discussing the <A href="http://www.planetcrap.com/stories/164/">recent
banning</A> of an EverQuest player. </QUOTE>

Getting a good laugh :)<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#30 by "MoodyAllen"
2000-10-08 23:50:47
Smedley admits that parents allow their kids to play this game.  There are a LOT of kids that play EQ.  Thusly, they have to keep the M-rated content to a minimum, even though the game is rated M.

As soon as a fan writes M-rated material and becomes known by several watchdog groups, bloody murder is screamed, despite the game is <b>rated M</b>, as in, you know, not for kids.  Verant reacts by booting the offending player as far away from themselves from possible in an attempt to say, "We don't know where that came from, we censor our players, despite this game being rated M, in an effort to make 'all players welcome.'"

Basically, their message turned out to EQ players as, "Oh shit, intellectual property is being used to make us look bad!  BAN BAN BAN, despite our game's rating!"  Players were quick to point out Verant's hypocrisy (demonstrated by the pregnant woman slaying quest), and what's Verant's response?  "Oh, we're taking that out."

Is this game for adults or for kids?  What the HELL is the M rating for?  What's stopping Verant from backing one of their players up on the content of the story, stating: "The game is M-rated, as in not for children.  Our players are adults who can handle such content.  If your children cannot handle the content our players provide as extraneous entertainment that are not even on <b>our forums</b>, then you are the one with the problem."  Oh, but we can't have game companies defending their fans... that would be bad press.

Marketing to kids?  Boy, was Lieberman spot-on or what!

If I were to write a gruesome, M-rated Ultima Online fanfic that was well-recieved by most players of the game except those few "adults" that cannot handle the content of the story, would I be banned from there, also?  Why do complaining parents seem to cause game companies' balls to shrivel up to the point of turning outside-in and quickly punish the people that pay them money to play their games, either through banning or the censorship of an "adult" world?

Finally, are there any truly M-rated games where I can be as "adult" as I like without fearing parents or the game company's wrath?
#31 by "Andy"
2000-10-09 00:01:10
andy@nospam.planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
<b>#30</b>, MoodyAllen:
<QUOTE>
As soon as a fan writes M-rated material and becomes known by several watchdog groups, bloody murder is screamed, despite the game is <B>rated M</B>, as in, you know, not for kids.
</QUOTE>
Actually, a few weeks back I talked to Arthur Pober of the ESRB, and based on his explanation of the rating system I'd say the Mystere story would have been A-rated. (If fan fiction got ratings, which it doesn't.)

The story was extremely violent, extremely sexual, and even combined the sex and violence, which would satisfy the criteria for an A rating if it had been part of the game itself.
#32 by "Andy"
2000-10-09 00:07:53
andy@nospam.planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
LOL!

Made my first ever post to Slashdot today... and got flamed 14 minutes later!

It's fun to be me. No really, it is.
#33 by "BloodKnight"
2000-10-09 00:10:15
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
<b>Andy</b> (#32):
<QUOTE>It's fun to be me. No really, it is. </QUOTE>

You should see my life
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#34 by "Andy"
2000-10-09 00:14:07
andy@nospam.planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
<b>#33</b>, BloodKnight:
<QUOTE>
You should see my life
</QUOTE>
You should see mine. And I haven't even got one.

(A life, that is, you smutty children.)
#35 by "My Cock In Your ARSE"
2000-10-09 00:17:24
sheriffbakanay@hotmail.com http://Fuck off, dumb cunts
I wrote a number of posts that were not properly addressed. Best I put them up again, all in one post.

POST1
I hear that guys who play around with Linux, want to go out with KAK, as they think she is very fuckable.


That's right gay losers, accept my total intellectual and penile superiority of your small minds and even smaller gay cocks.

Your outrage is just a cry for someone to come and fuck you in your loose arse's.



POST2
Hightax,
I will never forget how fucken pathetic the small cocked individuals who lost their gay minds over me referring to KAK as possibly being fuckable.

Whilst they give all sorts of ridiculous reasons for their outrage, clearly it is their rampant gayness that finds it offensive that a man would find a women attractive. To them, they are only interested in Felching and replacing Toothpaste with semen, when they brush their teeth.

All that I have written is clearly true.



POST3
Warren Marshall,

There is surely a certain "robustness" of dialogue that occurs in Plantecrap(And I'm not referring to obvious Troll posts). I have/had seen this on Planetcrap long before I made that post about KAK being possibly fuckable.

So keeping in mind what often gets said by regulars on this board, why on earth should anyone have been offended by me suggesting that KAK was possibly fuckable???

I'll tell you why.

It is because of chronically immature sycophantic id fanboys who worship Carmack and everything associated with him. It is also possibly due to most people's immature view on male/female relations. Most of you losers have never had girlfriends and just beat off to porno(usually, but not exclusively, gay porno), and this has left you to come up with typically skewed id fanboy computer jerkoff, views on the world.


Many, many times people had and still say much, much worse things about developers male & female in this forum, but yet your pathetic fucken rage is mysteriously missing then.

Your worship at the Temple of Carmack is so obvious its a joke.

Now please you fucken mental midgets, don't come back with your ludicrously different examples of asking "Well would it be appropriate to say so and so was fuckable on The Today Show with Katie Couric". Well I don't know how to break it to you dumb fucks, but there are clearly different rules of engagement for The Today Show and Planetcrap.

This should be obvious as all fuck, but because you would rather worship at the Temple of Carmack, than face the truth, you expose your well lubricated arses(and I'm not referring to Warren Marshall here, I actually think he is one of the better posters on Planetcrap) for any and everyone to stick their cocks in them.

Just answer me this one question, for all those outraged by my remarks about KAK(which also didn't include any criticisms of her), how come you were able to stay silent about the terrible things said about other developers(male & female)??????????

Your silence is deafening.




POST4
Warren,
What a surprise you are unable to address the points I raised in my previous post.

Far better to fall back onto your Troll rants, than face your own hypocracy and intellectual dishonesty.
#36 by "PiRaMidA"
2000-10-09 00:20:58
piramida@agsm.net http://www.agsm.net
Methinks someone here really wants to prove that Planetcrap can ban people, too. I guess this someone misses the fact that there is an ignore feature for that...<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#37 by "Steve Bauman"
2000-10-09 00:22:52
steve@manic-pop-thrills.com http://www.manic-pop-thrills.com
<b>#28</b> "Jafd" wrote...
<QUOTE>As has been noted elsewhere... Verant had no published policy in place for dealing with a situation like this. I'm certainly not in objection of Verant's belief that action needed to be taken. I object to their flagrant lack of respect for their playerbase. </QUOTE>
I suspect they CAN'T have a policy about player fiction because they can't be seen as endorsing the practice because it is technically not legal. By putting a policy in place (other than "you can't do it"), it may open up a whole can of legal worms.

---
"My life is a patio of fun."<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#38 by "MoodyAllen"
2000-10-09 00:33:49
Hm.  Have a site that lays down the ESRB, Andy?

Thanks in advance.
#39 by "Andy"
2000-10-09 00:43:18
andy@nospam.planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
<b>#38</b>, MoodyAllen:
<QUOTE>
Hm. Have a site that lays down the ESRB, Andy?
</QUOTE>
Hmm, <i>lays down</i>... is that American for <i>has more info on</i>? :-)

The main web site is:
<a href="http://www.esrb.org/">http://www.esrb.org/</a>

This page explains the ratings:
<a href="http://www.esrb.org/rating.html">http://www.esrb.org/rating.html</a>
#40 by "legion88"
2000-10-09 01:28:42
legion88@yahoo.com
#6,
<quote>The thing that bothers me is that they seem to be relying on the opinions of bullshit reactionary watchdog groups to dictate their policy:do nothing until until somebody bitches loud enough to make us act. </quote>

First, why do I have to keep typing my name and e-mail everytime I have to post.  I thought it used to save it.  Anyway....

Welcome to the real-world.  As I said in the other thread, this is about image.  Verant is protecting their image.  Which is worse: bad publicity due to claims of censorship or bad publicity due to accusations of child porn?

Many of these "watchdog" groups have no, I repeat, no interest in the actual truth.  They make a living by exaggerating what really happened; trying to make something out of nothing.  They seek attention.  That is why Disney is such a target for many of these groups. It is unfortunate but the "real" watchdog groups' work gets drowned out by the frauds.

In the U.S. today, it is big in the media to blame game companies for the violence, even though violence among teenagers and young adults have been decreasing since the early 1990s.  Yes, the crime data does not support people's perception.  But facts are irrelevant; it is their perception that dominates.  Now to have a game company linked to child porn is another big issue.  Whenever there is child porn, there's child molesters--violence against children.

Verant is a company trying to make money.  They will find it difficult to make money if they are linked ultimately to child molesters.



#14,
<quote>Would you support them attempting to re-institute the player's account? And if you did, wouldn't they be equally dictating Verant's policy?</quote>

Why would trying to re-institute the player's account be an example of over-reaction?  And yes, they would be dictating Verant's policy since they would be trying to force Verant to live up to their agreement.  The agreement apparently is that Verant would kick a player off if the player did something wrong.  What did the player do wrong?  What rules did he violate?  

Smedley's reponse at Lum's seem to be missing that key point.  What rules did that player violate?  He spent a lot of time talking about linking Verant to violence against children.

What we have here is a player being punished for something that a third-party group might do (e.g. an anti-child porn group would link Verant to child molestation/child porn.)  He was not punished for writing the story itself.  He was punished because of what a "watchdog" group might have done.  If it was not for these "watchdog" groups, we would not be hearing about this story, correct?

For the record, from a business point-of-view, I believe Verant made the right decision.  They needed to do something before the big potential bad publicity hits.  But from an ethical point of view, it was wrong.  They punished a person who did not break any rules simply because they were afraid of what these "watchdog" groups would have done.
#41 by "None-1a"
2000-10-09 01:29:28
none1a@home.com http://www.geocities.com/none-1a/
<b>#28</b> "Jafd" wrote...
<QUOTE>Doubtless there will be less agitation; that was the real point of Smed's letter. PR spin to quell the frothing masses. But the incident will still be remembered by a 'significant enough' proportion that it will carry weight. </QUOTE>

I wouldn't say it's going to "carry weight" at all. How offten do we hear bad things about Vaerint/Sony and how they handle their players? Not one time has it really carried any weight at all, sure the people that are already pissed off (but to dumb to leave) are going to point to it the next time, but the majority of people are not going to care after a few weeks and probably will not remember what the story was about or who wrote it in the first place.

<b>#30</b> "MoodyAllen" wrote...
<QUOTE>Finally, are there any truly M-rated games where I can be as "adult" as I like without fearing parents or the game company's wrath? </QUOTE>

Hell no, if a game is released in the US it's viewed as being for kids no matter what the rating on the box says about it. Most people here are in a few other areas around the world view games and animation as kiddie things and will not tolorate and thing created for adults. You could but a nude person on the box, sell it only in adult shops, and cover half and box with NOT FOR KIDS, and people would still pick it up and give it to their kids.

 
--
None-1a.

O forget it.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#42 by "MoodyAllen"
2000-10-09 01:59:30
None-1a:  As long as their kids wanted it... heh.

Pen and paper it is, then?


Andy:  Thanks for the links.  What drove the story over an M rating into the AO range?  Would an AO rating be that big of a deal over an M rating, seeing as how only one year of people are being denied the game (M is 17 and over, AO is 18 and over)?

What do you think of the situation thus far?  What solutions would you propose for either side of the story?  Do you think any Everquest players will leave permanently, and if so, how many?
#43 by "Andy"
2000-10-09 02:37:38
andy@nospam.planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
<b>#42</b>, MoodyAllen:
<QUOTE>
Andy: Thanks for the links. What drove the story over an M rating into the AO range?
</QUOTE>
The sexual content, and especially the violent nature of the sexual content.
<QUOTE>
Would an AO rating be that big of a deal over an M rating, seeing as how only one year of people are being denied the game (M is 17 and over, AO is 18 and over)?
</QUOTE>
I expect it would come down to stores not stocking A-rated games.
<QUOTE>
What do you think of the situation thus far? What solutions would you propose for either side of the story? Do you think any Everquest players will leave permanently, and if so, how many?
</QUOTE>
Me? Not much of an opinion either way. I can see and agree/disagree with both sides, so I'm sitting on the fence.

One thing I will say is that for me, what has happened is made all the more interesting because the story was exceptionally well written. If it had been some dodgy shlockfest then I'd have probably been supporting Verant's actions, but really it was a genuine piece of quality story-telling, and you have to take that into account. Just because it was posted on a computer games forum doesn't change what it was, and it was good.
#44 by "BloodKnight"
2000-10-09 02:40:56
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
<b>Andy</b> (#34):
<QUOTE>You should see mine. And I haven't even got one.

(A life, that is, you
smutty children.) </QUOTE>

I am still wondering whether I should make a long reply to this one, or keep playing more Baldur's Gate 2
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#45 by "BloodKnight"
2000-10-09 02:41:16
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
Ahh hell, BG2
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#46 by "Milamber"
2000-10-09 02:58:29
milamber@amoeba.com.au http://www.wagz.net
<quote>You should see mine. And I haven't even got one.</quote>
Come on quote 'o the nanosecond, do your stuff.
#47 by "VeeSPIKE"
2000-10-09 03:01:45
appliedavoidanc.dont.fucking.spam.me@triton.net
<b>#40</b> "legion88" wrote this stuff"
<QUOTE>
First, why do I have to keep typing my name and e-mail everytime I have to post. I thought it used to save it. </QUOTE>

Are you using Crapspy, or are you posting from the website? If you are posting from the website, how are your cookies set up.


<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#48 by "Andy"
2000-10-09 03:07:20
andy@nospam.planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
<b>#47</b>, VeeSPIKE:
<QUOTE>
how are your cookies set up.
</QUOTE>
The worst chat-up line ever.
#49 by "Clam Chowder"
2000-10-09 03:15:42
fda
The very SECOND I saw that kind of pedophiliac smut I would have not only banned him, but I would have put made an exclusive fan-fic site with a language filter and strict rules. Anyone who thinks that way shouldn't project his/her sicknesses to the EQ market. If he wants to write that sick, morbid masochism, let him do it in his own name and own fictional realm.
#50 by "RahvinTaka"
2000-10-09 03:41:22
donaldp@mad.scientist.com
<b>#49</b> "Clam Chowder" wrote...
<QUOTE>The very SECOND I saw that kind of pedophiliac smut I would have not only banned him, but I would have put made an exclusive fan-fic site with a language filter and strict rules. Anyone who thinks that way shouldn't project his/her sicknesses to the EQ market. If he wants to write that sick, morbid masochism, let him do it in his own name and own fictional realm. </QUOTE>

Perhaps you don't get it but from links I saw posted in one of PC threads here I saw stories by verant/sony that are equivelently sick. They discussed torture and how best to peel strips of people to cause most pain and let them live longer. I have never played the game and from the few web pages I looked up I think the whole game is set up for sick fucks. Of the three or four pages I read they all had equivelent detail. So verant/sony wants it that way - to a degree - because thats what sells. However they don't like the bad PR from external watchdogs. So ... perhaps if someone was to point these watchdogs at some pages on sony's servers ...<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
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