Harassment within gaming

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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  paulyg on Thu 07 Apr 2016, 09:30

Are we in danger of falling into a trap of survivorship bias here, in our conclusions that none of us have seen or experienced any harassment or undesirable behaviour at the club? Everyone who has contributed to the thread is someone who came along, enjoyed the experience, and has kept coming. But there are plenty of people who have come along for one, two, three weeks and then stopped. Perhaps they didn't like the types of games we played, perhaps they didn't like the venue or they found something else to do on a Tuesday night, but it's not impossible that some of them stopped because they didn't feel welcome.

But if they felt unwelcome, harassed or uncomfortable about someone's behaviour then they'd have told someone, right? Except that they're the new person in the situation, they don't know if that kind of behaviour is just accepted in the club and they don't know who they could talk to anyway. So I think it's great that, as individuals, we're saying that we wouldn't accept this kind of behaviour at our gaming tables but I'm not sure that just having it here, in this forum thread which will soon get buried by lots of other topics, is quite enough. I definitely agree that adding something to the pinned etiquette post is a good idea at least. If we ever decide to do membership cards then it wouldn't be a bad thing to write on the reverse of those too...

Here's what a games group in Huddersfield have adopted as a 'policy' (expand the first pinned post):
https://www.facebook.com/groups/nobleorderhuddersfield/

Do we want a big list of rules and regulations? I don't think so. But I'd hope we could come up with something succinct to distil this down, pretty much as PaulC wrote in the OP.

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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  RikTheChief on Thu 07 Apr 2016, 13:56

If that's the case Paul we don't need a list of rules but some kind of anonymous suggestion box?
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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  Evilevan on Thu 07 Apr 2016, 16:42

I like what Paul says, and actually - It looks like the Huddersfield gamers have done our work for us here... I like how they've written their rules, it is to the point but written in a friendly way... I would be happy to adopt their set up.
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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  SamVS on Thu 07 Apr 2016, 22:15

A small point: if you put something like "anyone exhibiting sexism, racism, homophobia or any other hateful marginalization at SBGC is not welcome at my gaming table" on the back of a membership card, at the top of our website, somewhere near to our name or logo, what nice words are you associating the club with?

Racism
Hateful
Not Welcome
etc.

Not saying anyone is stupid enough to misunderstand the the message, but they are negative emotions and associations. Not quite the same as "It's fun when you play together!", which is a pretty good message as it is, even though it sounds a little like it came from a children's TV show. Let's be a positive place, first and foremost.

How do you say "everyone welcome" without using those actual words, which are too generic to get the message across, and which aren't true anyway: if a person with a bloodied axe came to the door I would absolutely ask Aneurin to ask him to leave. Something that says the same thing as "this club is a safe space" that doesn't also sound like we are a survivors meeting.

In terms of things we can do whilst at the club, the main one thing I would like to be better at is approaching new members or people on their own looking around with timid lost bunny eyes. I'll do it half the time but the other half I'll see them and look back at the game I'm playing and assume they'll work it out or someone else will step up.

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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  psychomansam on Thu 07 Apr 2016, 22:37

Sam wrote:A small point: if you put something like "anyone exhibiting sexism, racism, homophobia or any other hateful marginalization at SBGC is not welcome at my gaming table" on the back of a membership card, at the top of our website, somewhere near to our name or logo, what nice words are you associating the club with?

Racism
Hateful
Not Welcome
etc.

Not saying anyone is stupid enough to misunderstand the the message, but they are negative emotions and associations. Not quite the same as "It's fun when you play together!", which is a pretty good message as it is, even though it sounds a little like it came from a children's TV show. Let's be a positive place, first and foremost.

How do you say "everyone welcome" without using those actual words, which are too generic to get the message across, and which aren't true anyway: if a person with a bloodied axe came to the door I would absolutely ask Aneurin to ask him to leave. Something that says the same thing as "this club is a safe space" that doesn't also sound like we are a survivors meeting.

In terms of things we can do whilst at the club, the main one thing I would like to be better at is approaching new members or people on their own looking around with timid lost bunny eyes. I'll do it half the time but the other half I'll see them and look back at the game I'm playing and assume they'll work it out or someone else will step up.

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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  Jamie on Thu 07 Apr 2016, 22:51

I think you make some good points Sam*, well, at least they resonate with me.

The thing I liked most about the Huddersfield club's message, was that it ended on a high, positive, light note. It's an important point I think, that any message we choose to put out, doesn't sound overly negative, which could lead people to think there is actually a problem with this stuff at our club. If we did have a message to put out, I think it may be better posed in the positive; e.g. we're a friendly, inclusive, fun group of gamers, we welcome new members who align with our values; or something along those lines.

However, more important than what's said, is how we are; and in terms of people turning up, never to be seen again; I suspect it's not so much that we're being hostile or harassing; as being, dare I say it, a bit cliquey? I think it's something that happens with groups; established members know, and are comfortable interacting with each other; and it can be a bit intimidating for new people to break in.


EDIT:

* Just to clarify, I was responding to young Sam, not 'wins way too much at Eclipse, and we all need to gang up on him next time' Sam. Shocked
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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  Aneurin on Thu 07 Apr 2016, 23:43

PaulG wrote:Are we in danger of falling into a trap of survivorship bias here, in our conclusions that none of us have seen or experienced any harassment or undesirable behaviour at the club? Everyone who has contributed to the thread is someone who came along, enjoyed the experience, and has kept coming. But there are plenty of people who have come along for one, two, three weeks and then stopped. Perhaps they didn't like the types of games we played, perhaps they didn't like the venue or they found something else to do on a Tuesday night, but it's not impossible that some of them stopped because they didn't feel welcome.

But if they felt unwelcome, harassed or uncomfortable about someone's behaviour then they'd have told someone, right? Except that they're the new person in the situation, they don't know if that kind of behaviour is just accepted in the club and they don't know who they could talk to anyway. So I think it's great that, as individuals, we're saying that we wouldn't accept this kind of behaviour at our gaming tables but I'm not sure that just having it here, in this forum thread which will soon get buried by lots of other topics, is quite enough. I definitely agree that adding something to the pinned etiquette post is a good idea at least. If we ever decide to do membership cards then it wouldn't be a bad thing to write on the reverse of those too...

Here's what a games group in Huddersfield have adopted as a 'policy' (expand the first pinned post):
https://www.facebook.com/groups/nobleorderhuddersfield/

Do we want a big list of rules and regulations? I don't think so. But I'd hope we could come up with something succinct to distil this down, pretty much as PaulC wrote in the OP.

Replied earlier but it didn't post - stupid train wifi.

We need to remember that we cannot and never will please everyone. Over the last year we have had lots of new people come to the club. So we must be doing something right. Right? Twitter/Facebook etc. Some people have stayed and some have gone. I think that's ok. Do we need to change anything?

One could argue that those that stay fit a certain demograph... But can we fight that as a club? Surely the hobby just has to evolve naturally on its own and that will change with time. It's changed dramatically over the 10 years I've been back into board gaming. Maybe it won't change... And that should also be ok... Bingo/Bridge clubs - I would imagine they are still dominated by older people. Does it need to change? No it's fine. I like bingo - but I wouldn't want to commit my life to going each and every week. Dipping in and out should be accepted.

Equally we aren't a club (at least I hope) that wants to know why someone doesn't come often enough (that in itself can be off putting). If they don't come that is their choice. We might think it's the best hobby ever that demands weekly attention - others might be just after a good night out and trying to find new and different experiences. We can't grill everyone as they enter the door - 'are you coming back? No? Why not?'

Presenting first or second timers with a card with a coherent list of club 'rules' - jeez... I'd hate that. And that would put me right off a new club tbh. The old war games club had that. 10 rules on a little card. It ended up in the bin. And every time I went I felt uncomfortable because I didn't want to break a rule... Do we want that?

I agree with Sam, lists of rules and negative emotions don't promote what this club is about to me - a casual club where you can meet a variety of people you do/don't know and generally find a fun game to play together. Have fun with no real commitment. After all what is SBGC? Any of us could play anywhere at the end of the day.

The one thing I think we could do is find out what our current members like... What brings them back... What do they enjoy about SBGC? Can we make that message clearer? We stay to have fun right? Not - game in a safe environment? The latter is a consequence of the former is it not?

I can imagine lots saying that they were made to feel welcome. We could make more of an effort to play more gateway games with new people... Or have a rota for someone to sit and wait for new people to pop along... Welcome them etc. Show them how it works, ... But that's not fun for whoever gets the short straw the week no-one new shows and they are sat like a lemon until they can join a game at 8-9pm once first games start to end.

Maybe a simple change would be for everyone to leave their games on a single table near the door... So new people can play together by just grabbing a game. There is some associated risks of lost/damaged components on personal games - would the club cover those costs?

Or we could get some sort of 'player space' markers for the tables - nice a clear so people know they can just sit down and game with you... Like they do at the cons. But then a room full of red markers can look totally unwelcoming.

So is it broken? Does it need fixing? Can we do it overnight? I think not on all counts.



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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  psychomansam on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 08:18

I for one think that a friendly slightly amusing message in a sticky on the forum is fairly harmless addition. And I think enough people have opinions that we should probably activate the informal democratic processes of the club and organise a wee forum vote if we don't all agree by consensus.
It's not a major thing in my eyes, but we can do a wee bit to work on our friendliness* and I don't think this would do much harm.


*I found the club to be very cliquey and fairly unfriendly at first. I now know it's just because we're mostly semi-autistic geeks who are more interested in games than people and it isn't meant to be unfriendly.
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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  Aneurin on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 08:54

psychomansam wrote:
*I found the club to be very cliquey and fairly unfriendly at first. I now know it's just because we're mostly semi-autistic geeks who are more interested in games than people and it  isn't meant to be unfriendly.

This is what we need to work on... I would imagine this is a common finding.

What do you think would have helped you in particular Sam? It also works the other way though - Remember that game of 5 Tribes at the Redhouse we had when yourself & Pete started coming. After I had taken just 1 turn you almost point blank refused to let the game reset so Pete could join.

Perhaps new people should have a round of introductions? I'd say I only know 50-60% of names that come on a Tuesday. That's terrible (on my part). But then I'm bad with names anyway and will just ask as and when I'm playing. Name stickers could help? A welcome pack?

I also wonder if it is possible to catch the stats on the etiquette page... of new visitors. I can see adding a single line there would have little impact. It would have to go under the "It's fun when you play together" tag line on the banner...

"The place where Freaks, Geeks, Nerds, Jocks & Spocks; be them Girls or Boys playing with toys; Country bums, City Dwellers or Lonely folk; deemed socially privileged or poor (n.b. you must buy a drink - see etiquette rule 27a subsection 12) come together in peace and harmony - unless you want to trade 1 sheep for 2 wood".
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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  Jamie on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 11:40

Aneurin wrote:This is what we need to work on... I would imagine this is a common finding.

Yeah, I agree. I imagine being cliquey is more of an actual issue for us than harassment (which I have never witnessed at the club); even so, I still don't think it's that big a deal. I think, just to be mindful of the balance between getting absorbed in the games, VS, being more attentive and welcoming of new people. I think there's a happy middle-ground somewhere, and too much to either end of that spectrum wouldn't be good. So for me, the main take away from all this, is to just be more inclusive with new members, esp. if they're looking a little 'lost'.

I also, generally, like the idea of less formality in terms of club rules (unless there is a clear need for them), and just keeping it light, friendly and fun; which I think we pretty much are on the whole.
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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  PaulC on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 12:28

In regard to being welcoming and non-cliquey, maybe the first meeting of every month could be advertised on FB, Twitter and the forum as a "noob friendly session" in which we play lighter, shorter games, and possibly have one seasoned member of the club on hand to welcome the newbies and help find them a seat at a game? There's enough of us to ensure we each only have to be the "Greeter" once every blue moon.


Regarding the original subject of harassment, the majority of us (hopefully all of us) want our club to be an overtly tolerant and welcoming club in which people feel they can play without fear of discrimination of any kind. I do like PaulG's suggestion of adopting a policy similar to the Huddersfield club, but I also appreciate the difficulty in policing any rules or policies we adopt.

I've spent the best part of an hour trying to verbalise my thoughts, but the truth is I don't know the answer. Every time I put my thoughts into words, I re-read them and find fault, but I don't want to advocate doing nothing... maybe, in the short term, we just all need to be a little more observant and a little more cognisant of how our words and actions affect others.
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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  JohnH on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 12:57

PaulC wrote:In regard to being welcoming and non-cliquey, maybe the first meeting of every month could be advertised on FB, Twitter and the forum as a "noob friendly session" in which we play lighter, shorter games, and possibly have one seasoned member of the club on hand to welcome the newbies and help find them a seat at a game? There's enough of us to ensure we each only have to be the "Greeter" once every blue moon.

PaulG wrote:

Do we want a big list of rules and regulations? I don't think so.


Aneurin wrote:

We need to remember that we cannot and never will please everyone. Over the last year we have had lots of new people come to the club. So we must be doing something right. Right? Twitter/Facebook etc. Some people have stayed and some have gone. I think that's ok.

Presenting first or second timers with a card with a coherent list of club 'rules' - jeez... I'd hate that. And that would put me right off a new club tbh.

I agree with Sam, lists of rules and negative emotions don't promote what this club is about to me - a casual club where you can meet a variety of people you do/don't know and generally find a fun game to play together. Have fun with no real commitment. After all what is SBGC? Any of us could play anywhere at the end of the day.

Maybe a simple change would be for everyone to leave their games on a single table near the door... So new people can play together by just grabbing a game. There is some associated risks of lost/damaged components on personal games - would the club cover those costs?

So is it broken? Does it need fixing? Can we do it overnight? I think not on all counts.



Jamie wrote:

I also, generally, like the idea of less formality in terms of club rules (unless there is a clear need for them), and just keeping it light, friendly and fun; which I think we pretty much are on the whole.

Aneurin wrote:
"The place where Freaks, Geeks, Nerds, Jocks & Spocks; be them Girls or Boys playing with toys; Country bums, City Dwellers or Lonely folk; deemed socially privileged or poor (n.b. you must buy a drink - see etiquette rule 27a subsection 12) come together in peace and harmony - unless you want to trade 1 sheep for 2 wood".


This
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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  psychomansam on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 13:41

Aneurin wrote:
psychomansam wrote:
*I found the club to be very cliquey and fairly unfriendly at first. I now know it's just because we're mostly semi-autistic geeks who are more interested in games than people and it  isn't meant to be unfriendly.

This is what we need to work on... I would imagine this is a common finding.

What do you think would have helped you in particular Sam? It also works the other way though - Remember that game of 5 Tribes at the Redhouse we had when yourself & Pete started coming. After I had taken just 1 turn you almost point blank refused to let the game reset so Pete could join.

Perhaps new people should have a round of introductions? I'd say I only know 50-60% of names that come on a Tuesday. That's terrible (on my part). But then I'm bad with names anyway and will just ask as and when I'm playing. Name stickers could help? A welcome pack?

I also wonder if it is possible to catch the stats on the etiquette page... of new visitors. I can see adding a single line there would have little impact. It would have to go under the "It's fun when you play together" tag line on the banner...

"The place where Freaks, Geeks, Nerds, Jocks & Spocks; be them Girls or Boys playing with toys; Country bums, City Dwellers or Lonely folk; deemed socially privileged or poor (n.b. you must buy a drink - see etiquette rule 27a subsection 12) come together in peace and harmony - unless you want to trade 1 sheep for 2 wood".

5 Tribes - I remember playing it. I  remember something like that but not the details. I'm sure you're right though. Did Pete play in the end by the way?
We recently had quite a few friends over for dinner/games and were playing a large game of King of Tokyo complete with Pandakai. Someone new to gaming got knocked out very quickly and I loudly vetoed them being allowed to join back in. I have since been mocked and quoted on this fact numerous time. There are rules people, RULES! I was, of course, completely in the wrong. Note the use of the word 'we' in the  phrase "we're mostly semi-autistic geeks". You're talking to someone here who regularly checks locked doors 3 times. (By the way, does anyone remember the newb we terrified by introducing them to gaming via carcassonne then Roll?  Twisted Evil I don't think they've been back sadly.)

I've recently been turning up late and/or not knowing if I'm coming until last minute. This sometimes has the effect of playing/joining games with newbs (pity the poor souls). I think we mentioned, Aneurin, while building colourful palaces the other week that more and more people are pre-planning games online. I'm not saying that needs to change or that anything official should be done, but I think it's worth just being aware of the knock on effect it can have on others. Some might like to sign up in advance and have that security. Some might walk in and be a little left out.

Screw the etiquette page by the way. It should go. Was needed at the time but not an issue at the moment, (except with a few who won't follow it anyway). The one thing most will read is 'where and when we meet'. I certainly did. I think it should become 'where, when and how we meet' and should explain that absolutely everyone and anyone is welcome to sign up to games in advance or simply pop in and join something as it happens.  Bring games, play ours, no charge. (Just buy a drink to say thanks to the bar staff for putting up with us) etc.

And no harm in adding something at the bottom in the vein of things discussed above.
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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  Lizzy on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 14:12

I’m sure many people at the club have been offended by things someone else has said. We’re not some sort of safe bubble; even if you don’t notice it, it must happen. I’m sure I've unintentionally offended people myself, I'm certainly part of the clique nature of the group and being more welcoming is something we definitely all need to work on. I think we all try our best to be decent to everyone else and I’ve never seen what I thought was someone *intentionally* hurting someone else, but accidents happen. You can never be sure how someone is going to interpret something you say.

The difficulty is what to do if something does happen. Ideally you’d think it would be best for the offended person to simply tell the other that they were offended, and that it would stop, but this is a lot more complicated than it seems. It’s incredibly difficult to confront someone about such things and, personally, it’s just not something I ever do unless it is absolutely necessary. Calling someone out on their behaviour can lead to a very awkward situation that’s worse than living with the inappropriate remarks. It’s a horrible balance to have to try and figure out. In practice I’m only going to say something if I’m both comfortable talking to the person involved and feel that it would be worthwhile in the long run.

It’s also idealistic to think that other people would necessarily notice and do anything about abuse if they saw it. How do you know if someone is ok with what is happening or not? In my experience people very rarely intervene in real life, it’s easier to not get involved. The level of abuse that can happen in a crowded room with no one batting an eye is shocking. Getting back to the OP, many of the events described happened in the presence of other people; maybe they didn't notice, or maybe they ignored it. In answer to Kes' origional question about whether this sort of thing happens at the UKGE, I would say we can never really know. Anything could have happened and gone unnoticed and unreported. We only know about the events in the OP because the woman chose to come forward and write a blog about it. What percentage of women who experience abuse do that? It's not surprising so few speak up given that the woman involved was threatened and told she was a liar for her trouble. We can only assume that there are many more who remain silent.

If I was to have a problem with someone at the club that I couldn’t tolerate I don’t honestly know what I would do about it - I expect I just wouldn't return. Assuming I couldn’t talk to them about it myself, my only option would be to tell someone else, but there’s nothing I could reasonably expect them to do. I agree with Aneurin that rules are basically unenforceable and I don’t know how we would go about banning someone, other than getting the pub to throw them out. That said, I think having some sort of code of conduct is a good idea. It may be common sense, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth saying. It doesn't need to be obvious on the forum, it just needs to be somewhere.

The main thing we can do is to try and make the environment comfortable for everyone and understand that just because no-one’s complaining, that doesn’t necessarily mean everything’s ok.
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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  Mike D on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 15:21

I would like to say how heartened I am that so many members have expressed their feelings on this matter. I'm sure new potential members will be equally pleased to read how much thought and consideration has been given to making the club as inviting and fun as it can be. I can only speak for myself, of course, but I think the club deserves some positive feedback.

Most of you probably don't know this or might not believe it, but I suffer from extreme communication anxiety affraid  with people I don't know (It's taken me about 3 hours to write this much!!!). As such, I'm sure I appear quite aloof to most members, particularly new ones, and have no hope of remembering peoples names until I've known them for at least a year. I hope I haven't offended anyone before, even in unintended jest, and I would be really grateful for the opportunity to apologise if I ever have. I think I'm getting a bit better. I've always been a bit this way but pretty much stopped socialising all together after two thugs, just down the road from the Mulberry Tavern, tried to open my head with broken bottles for failing to supply them with free cigarettes.

As such, I would never have had the courage to attend the club on my own accord without being encouraged to do so and I nearly said no, even then. After all, it had been nearly 30 years since I'd played 'Talisman' and 'Kings and Things' as a teenager. How much could things have changed it that time? I am so glad I did though, and not even sessions in the Mulbury Tavern would put me off. In fact, it turned out to be quite therapeutic and an OK venue. Just not quite as handy for parking as the Uni arms.

I still live in fear of turning up on a Tues and being left in a corner on my own with no game to play, reading rules to pass the time (I am, and probably always will be, the perpetual 'newbie'), but this has not yet ever happened, in several years, as there always been an invite to a game just starting even when several others have already started.  

Given the diversity of people, and therefore naturally opinions, I am surprised at how well such a large group of people already functions. That said, I think we should always be actively, and vocally, striving to ensure that everyone feels the same way.
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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  Lizzy on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 16:10

Your post has made me realise just how negative my comment was Mike! I still think it’s important to point out what I’ve said, but similarly I’d like to offer something positive.

Your experience sounds horrific Mike and I’m so glad you feel able to come along and join us at the club. I hope you never get lost without a game, you’re always welcome at my table! I have a similar backstory in that I struggle with people I don’t know, having a long history of social anxiety and trust issues. I’m sure we’re not the only ones in the group who occupy that space, which is why it’s so important we make an effort to make people feel welcome when it might be very difficult for them to attempt entering such a group.

When I first arrived I cheated and brought my husband along, there’s no way I would have attempted to come along on my own. In the years before joining the club I avoided socialising almost entirely so it was a big deal for me to go out and try to interact with new people. The desire to play more games simply forced me into it. It speaks volumes that not only do I still come, but I come on my own and will happily spend my free time playing games with people I now think of as friends.

The club has encouraged me to do things I never thought I would be able to do. Going to a tournament and setting myself up for failure would have been madness not so long ago, but now I do it all the time and enjoy some success. When I came to the club I was frightened to come alone, but I’ve since joined clubs at the Wargames Emporium and taken part in events when I knew no one there, whilst feeling perfectly comfortable. It’s largely due to my positive experiences at the club, and with the people who occupy it, that any of these things have been made possible, so thanks to you all.
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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  RikTheChief on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 16:14

Here are my proposed rules -  Very Happy


Last edited by RikTheChief on Tue 03 May 2016, 16:01; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Probably, on reflection, with hindsight, inappropriate and irrelevant)
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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  Aneurin on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 18:28

psychomansam wrote:
5 Tribes - I remember playing it. I  remember something like that but not the details. I'm sure you're right though. Did Pete play in the end by the way?

Yes he did - and has stuck around so you never know...
I guess the lesson is banter can be perceived one of two ways.

A recent game of Dominant Species with 2 newbies was a bit furious and I would have thought very off putting. 50% of them I've seen again though.

And I want to add 1 rule to Rick's list...

- Rick shall not make rules Razz

Lizzy/Mike - Believe it or not I was the same. When I first found the club one dark Tuesday evening in Darnall (when it was part of Sheffield and Rotherham Wargames Club - a.k.a GIMPS... see things have come on a long way!) I didn't go alone. I dragged along London Steve and Australian Dave. We more than doubled the membership. It might be interesting to see the numbers on who else brought support in with them... and stayed in our current membership...
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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  Aneurin on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 18:35

Lizzy wrote:The main thing we can do is to try and make the environment comfortable for everyone and understand that just because no-one’s complaining, that doesn’t necessarily mean everything’s ok.

We could all donate our Meeple cushions... nothing says comfort more than those!

But yes people generally suffer in silence to avoid confrontation. Lets all be more mindful and friendly towards each other.
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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  Jamie on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 20:09

Aneurin wrote: - Rick shall not make rules Razz

Rick's rules are essentially okay, if you just re-arrange all the words in to a different order, they make perfect sense! Shocked
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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  Dale on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 20:38

I would agree with PaulG that there should be something on this site that acknowledges that harassment and discrimination are not tolerated. Just having a simple unambiguous statement can be enough to encourage someone who is apprehensive about this to come along and try out the club. By not addressing it it can seem that the issue has not been thought about or is being ignored, even if that's not the case.

I co-run Sheffield Skeptics in the Pub and we have a http://sheffield.skepticsinthepub.org/Default.aspx/217/Harassment-Policy statement on the site and have done for some time now. We don't hand anything out during our events, almost everyone finds us online first. The policy also names the people someone can come to if they feel harassed.

It doesn't have to be called a harassment policy, it could be called a civility policy or inclusiveness statement or suchlike (I've been considering updating ours recently to something like this). Hopefully the club will never have to deal with any incidents like this of course.
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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  karl_b on Sat 09 Apr 2016, 07:37

Some really well considered points here, I'll try not to repeat too much!

I think there's definitely merit in having some sort of informal, fun statement that says what we're about but I'm less keen on a set of rules. The current etiquette thread is a different thing, it's about making sure we give back to the Uni Arms but I'm happy to look at it again.

I think on the whole we're an exceptionally friendly group, growing from an average of 6 people to around 30 every week is hopefully representative of that. That's not to say we can't do more.

The point about newbies is a good one, I'm mindful that I often play with the same group of people and I think that's something we can easily address. I like the idea of a 'newb-friendly' session every so often, more focussed on gateway games but I think I'll also start planning my games ahead less, leaving more opportunity to get in to something with new/other people.

I'm also aware that I can be guilty of getting carried away and a bit sweary, which with new people could be off putting and certainly with some of our younger members around it isn't appropriate.

This mostly doesn't address the original post but I'm glad to see how it's opened up a discussion about how we present ourselves to the outside world and how we behave.
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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  Lizzy on Sat 09 Apr 2016, 14:53

Aneurin wrote:Lizzy/Mike - Believe it or not I was the same.

GROUP HUG. (Not really - did I mention my personal space issues?)

karl_b wrote:The point about newbies is a good one, I'm mindful that I often play with the same group of people and I think that's something we can easily address. I like the idea of a 'newb-friendly' session every so often, more focussed on gateway games but I think I'll also start planning my games ahead less, leaving more opportunity to get in to something with new/other people.

I agree that we need to try harder here, it's natural to gravitate towards playing with your friends, but it's not healthy for the group. I'm not sure what the best way to involve new people is though. Introducing people is a nice idea and it's good to make sure you get everyone's names sorted before playing. Other simple things we can do is to make sure we look around for new players before starting our games and to be prepared to not play what we expected to play so that others can be accommodated. Also, if somone asks to join a game, maybe check it's appropriate for them given what they've played before/like. Someone who's only played Carcassonne might not enjoy Trickerion or Dominant Species. Someone shy might not like Avalon etc. If we explain what the game involves before someone joins they're less likely to have a miserable time.

There are so many people coming now it's difficult to know who's new and who's been before. I try to introduce myself and say hello to new people I come across when taking photos, but I've offended people before when asking somone if it's their first week, to be told they've been coming for months Embarassed I'm not good with faces so not really the best candidate for welcome wagon. I will try my best though. We could have a pile of games on an obvious table, maybe with a sign explaining if you're new to just pick up a game, or to feel free to introduce yourself and we'll sort you out with a game? Might make it easier to spot new people if they're gathering around the welcome zone.

I like the idea of newbie friendly sessions. Advertising such events might encourage people to come who are worried they need to know what they're doing beforehand. I was talking to a lady at choir yesterday about the club and when I suggested she came, she said she's only played a few games and wouldn't know what she was doing. People often think they need to have played loads of games before they can come, but I don't know how we can address that misconception.

It's also a good idea just to mix up who you play with each week, not just with new folk but the rest of the group. A few people have mentioned avoiding playing with particular people, which is understandable, but not always the best reaction. I've made the mistake before of avoiding playing with someone I initially found to be rude and obnoxious, but later found them to be perfectly nice once I got used to their unusual manner. So, give people a chance, they can surprise you Smile

karl_b wrote:I'm also aware that I can be guilty of getting carried away and a bit sweary, which with new people could be off putting and certainly with some of our younger members around it isn't appropriate.

We're also victims of our culture here where insulting someone can be a sign of affection. It can easily be misinterpreted by the people involved or anyone listening and different people have very different thresholds of acceptable swearing and banter.

Minefield.

Dale wrote:Just having a simple unambiguous statement can be enough to encourage someone who is apprehensive about this to come along and try out the club. By not addressing it it can seem that the issue has not been thought about or is being ignored, even if that's not the case..

This is a very good point. It's not important to everyone, but it's possible some people will be put off by the fact we don't have a policy. It's reassuring to know that it's been thought about. It's also good for people to know who they can go to. I'd be happy to be named as a point of contact.
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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  Jamie on Sat 09 Apr 2016, 15:11

Have been thinking for a while now, how I tend to play games with the same sub-set of people at the club, and that it would be fun to try new (other people's) games with folk I don't normally play with.

Thinking about it now, I don't imagine this kind of behaviour is at all intentional. We just gravitate to playing the kinds of games we like, and naturally have more gaming interest in common with some people than with others; so we fall in to the habit of playing our favourite games with the same people over and over. Be nice to mix things up once in a while though.
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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  psychomansam on Sat 09 Apr 2016, 17:51

Jamie wrote:Have been thinking for a while now, how I tend to play games with the same sub-set of people at the club, and that it would be fun to try new (other people's) games with folk I don't normally play with.

Thinking about it now, I don't imagine this kind of behaviour is at all intentional. We just gravitate to playing the kinds of games we like, and naturally have more gaming interest in common with some people than with others; so we fall in to the habit of playing our favourite games with the same people over and over. Be nice to mix things up once in a while though.

True for most of us. Should say though actually that your constant recruiting for that nonsense you call a game at the end of most nights is great for involving newbs. As is beardy toms tiny box gaming.
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Re: Harassment within gaming

Post  Kes on Sat 09 Apr 2016, 20:12

I've mentioned this before and there was some talk of doing it. I think if we removed a lot if the useless headings from the site and added a simple info page to explain who we are and what we're about it would cover a lot of the points mentioned here. Pictures included of course.
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