Gaming culture has been the province of teen-age boys of all ages for decades, and it’s only comparatively recently that gaming demographics have grown to include all ages and genders. Regrettably, there are still many repulsive cockroaches that scurry out of dark corners of the Internet to sully the good name of gaming. Recently these actions of risen to the level of criminal activity, and this is something that all gamers and members of the gaming industry need to take seriously.

Anita Sarkeesian, producer of the Feminist Frequency series of YouTube videos, has received threats deemed serious enough for her to leave home and stay with friends, she reported via Twitter yesterday. The tweets, from a throwaway account under the name @kdobbsz, made graphic threats of murder, rape and sexual violence against Sarkeesian and her family, as well as publishing her home address. Sarkeesian reprinted the threats via Twitter, with trigger warnings firmly in place. The video which drew the troll’s ire focused on the use of women as background decoration in games, and that they are often included only to suffer violence.

This occurred during a week in which we saw bomb threats from a hacker group made against Sony Online Entertainment head John Smedley, which caused his airplane flight to be diverted. Other game developers like Tim Schafer have been harassed for supporting Sarkeesian, and designer Phil Fish had his Twitter account and website hacked. A number of prominent game companies had their websites struck by DDOS attacks from hackers.

The recurring, repellent behavior of trolls has started shading into criminal acts that deserve prosecution and jail time. The behavior exhibited by this small group is hurting the entire industry, and it must be condemned in the strongest possible terms whenever it crops up. Criminal behavior like death threats needs to be reported and hopefully prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Those responsible for such commentary and behavior need to be made aware rapidly that they are not welcome and their views are not shared. Disagreement is fine, but it must be kept in bounds. Those crossing the lines should face the consequences.

Let’s not let the trolls ruin anyone’s fun. Companies and individuals alike need to spread the word to stop trolls in their tracks. Help make the game community a better place, please.

Source: Polygon