It’s ludicrous that a level 80 character can be witch-hunted into oblivion because somebody decides after 80 levels that if you re-arrange the letters in his character name a certain way, it’s offensive. The whole thing is beginning to remind me of the good old days of playing heavy metal rock records backwards to reveal the “secret” satanic messages. What a joke.

I would just like to say to the player of Cupid Stunt that I fully support you in your fight against the evil empire. You’re nothing but a vocent innictim in a warsh horld of injustice. Even if it IS possible to rearrange the letters of your name to something offensive, it’s fother mucking ridiculous to presume that anyone could decipher that unhappy accident and find it offensive.

Cupid my man, you are a snall batcher (that’s a Latvian term meaning hero of the community). You’re an absolute scairy hrotum (that’s an Indian term meaning upstanding citizen). And anyone who thinks otherwise is croking smack.

Ok ok ok. On a more serious note, I’m not going to try and defend this guy on the basis that he didn’t know what he was doing when he chose that name. He was indulging in an age-old practice of pushing the envelope with the authorities. I know it well because I used to do it myself on a regular basis. I remember fondly the restrictions of the AOL terms of service that kept you from really blistering an in-game enemy on the boards in exactly the terms that you really wanted to use. Being forced to say things like:

“You are such a moron that you can’t tell the difference between a woman and a goat. Not that I’m making a statement about your sexual preferences – that might be offensive.”

Instead of:

“You goat fucker.”

was actually fun. In all honesty it lent a challenge to a good flame war that is conspicuously absent from more permissive forums. But when you pushed that envelope you knew you were risking the wrath of the admins. There is, however, a vast difference between that situation and the one perpetuated by the UO/EQ/AC triumvirate. The difference was that back then when you pushed the envelope, you knew what was acceptable and what wasn’t far better, and you knew exactly what “punishment” would be handed out for the violation. You knew because the standards of the community were actually enforced on a regular and (mostly) consistent basis. The replacement for this in the modern gaming world appears to be this:

“Let’s write the terms of service as broadly as possible to give ourselves complete leeway on what we decide to censure. And let’s not specify what will happen if you violate this broad statement so we can give ourselves complete leeway on enforcement. AND let’s just enforce it in two ways – a) when we feel like it, and b) when someone complains.”

The above is clearly a strategy completely designed for the convenience of the company having to deal with it. It does nothing for setting the standards of the community and does nothing for defining boundaries. It just empowers the company to crash the hammer down on anything that bothers them or that bothers enough of their customers that their customers are bothering them – and it’s a load of shorse hit. One of my favorite examples of this is how Verant will change the names of characters without notice that are either offensive or not in the role play spirit. That’s fine, but if you walk around enough of the world you can find LOTS of NPCs in the game with names that would probably get changed on most players.

I DO have a substantial problem with the common practice of inconsistent and unclear standards and heavy-handed retribution that this industry indulges in. For a character with the name of Cupid Stunt to make it to level 80 in AC without correction only to NOW be threatened with complete deletion implies a few things:

a) It was ok at some point to have that name, but now that’s changed basically because someone complained. Therefore you will never know what’s ok and what’s not unless you stick to the most conservative of standards – because every player walking around that world has a different standard for offensive in their heads.

b) If you do something that ends up offending someone in the game – even if you have done it a thousand times before to no effect – you can have NO expectation of what actual consequences that will bring. You just have to call yourself Ben Dover and see what comes up.

c) Even though the “offensive” nature of the name was hard enough to spot that no action has been taken through 80 levels, it’s “offensive” enough now to merit a complete character deletion.

Usually the more conservative players fully support the above three abominations. That’s because they fully expect never to get caught up in them, not because they actually think they’re wise or logically consistent policies. It’s easy to like a gun that you perceive to be pointed at people you don’t like – it gets a little hard when the muzzle turns toward you. And I’ve seen it happen.

Change his damn name and get over yourselves. If you want to change your standard of enforcement from one that lets “Cupid Stunt” get as high as level 80 to one in which he would never have been able to get that far, then change it and enforce it – but don’t beat down people retroactively.


The False Prophet

Gratuitous RP Signature