Tabletop Simulator caught up in competing review bomb campaigns over transphobic moderation complaint

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Tabletop Simulator has found itself at the center of Duel review-bomb campaigns on Steam following complaints from a user that was kicked off and temporarily banned from the game’s global chat channel, saying they were gay. And there are trans.

The problem began earlier this month when a tabletop simulator user named Xoe said he was repeatedly kicked out of the game’s global chat channel because he is gay. Subsequent efforts to clarify the specifics of chat moderation policies eventually led to a temporary ban from the channel; An email sent to tabletop simulator developer Berserk Games remained unanswered.


Xoe then went to the tabletop simulator Discord, where she was told that the global chat channel was primarily for players joining the game, and “is not a place to discuss sexuality, festivities, [or] Politics.” But subsequent attempts to push boundaries in chat by speaking out in favor of being straight or abolishing prisons, or in favor of homosexuality and politics, yielded no such response.

A moderator, Tyme, attempted to convince Kick during the discussion, saying that Berserk Games was only trying to avoid worse outcomes. “The fact that nearly every instance of that kind of language in global chat is being used in some way other than what Xoe advocates has led to those topics being placed on the ‘not appropriate’ list since the inception of global chat.” Gone,” he wrote. “As much as I enjoy discussing the merits of internet moderation, there are keywords that will get banned, honestly most of them temporary and automatic.”

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Trouble with that approach, Zoe said long google document Detailing his experiences, it is “impossible to find queer community in chat, or to ask for queer games in chat.”

“You can’t ask about gay/trans representation games or gay/trans experiences because you will be kicked,” she wrote. “It’s considered against their rules.”

“Identity repression tells people it’s not safe to be in those places. I sometimes see some people celebrating their weirdness, people saying they love being gay, and I think I was kicked the same way I joined. It sets a precedent that you are not welcome here, that as long as you leave your marginalized identity at the door, You can stay here.”

Shortly after Xoe posted the doc, Berserk Games issued a statement saying that the whole thing was a misunderstanding: not for Xoe to express his identity, but by “spaming out different key words in an attempt Disruptive behavior was deemed, so he was fired from the channel. For flagging.”

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a day later, it global chat disabled To completely rework your moderation policies.

“The purpose of the moderation team was to maintain global communication on the subject of board games and to reduce toxicity and hatred,” the studio said. “Tabletop Simulator recognizes that the current moderation process of our global chat has failed to uphold its original intent and we apologize for this as well as for causing anyone to feel hurt or unwanted over the past few days because of this. That was never our intention.”

Cry, one of the moderators involved, also apologized for the “poorly thought-out responses”. [that] created distress, caused emotional hurt and damaged reputation.”

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Zoe’s complaint is justified: “When other people are allowed to speak up about their heterosexual experiences, but gay and trans people are silenced, you can only use your platform to embrace hetero and cis people here.” are to find,” she wrote. Intrepid’s response also seems appropriate as far as that goes. Xoe also admitted that he does not think Berserk is “deliberately and deliberately trying to harm the LGBT community or that they have an anti-LGBT agenda.” But as her experience became more widely known, it quickly—inevitably, in fact—turned into a culture war conflict. Steam,

Negative user reviews of Tabletop Simulator began ticking on January 8 and intensified two days later, driven primarily by complaints that the developers were transphobic and homophobic, and statements in support of trans rights. But there has been a similar increase in positive reviews, many of which unfortunately express genuine transphobic and homophobic sentiments.

(image credit: Steam)

The number of reviews in these competitive bombing missions is relatively small compared to the overall total: 674 negative reviews and 568 positive as of January 8, a small fraction of the approximately 30,000 “highly positive” user reviews given to Tabletop Simulator since its launch. Is. 2015. Still, the sudden influx was enough to trip up Steam’s automatic anti-review bomb system: all user reviews posted after January 7 were marked as positive and negative as “off-topic” , which means they will remain visible but will not affect the review score calculation.

But while the raw numbers may not add up to much, it seems clear that toxicity is a real problem among the tabletop simulator community, and Berserk needs to take steps to address it. The studio’s initial reaction seems sincere and encouraging, but Zoe hints that she isn’t coming back no matter what happens.

“Thank you for calling trans rights human rights, but it goes hollow when you told me earlier that it would be unfair to share it with others,” she wrote. “I will share my pride elsewhere, Looks really promising.”

I’ve reached out to Berserk Games for comment and will update if I get a reply.

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