Zero Tolerance !!

“Xbox Live” – a fun-filled safe environment for gamers to come together and share in a mutual interest and hobby. A vehicle to encourage on-line gaming that supports equality and moral ideas

 * WRONG! * (Klaxon sounds)

Certainly that was probably the plan, but just like the old MSN chat website, the darker elements have crept in and tainted what we know and love. Children and women of all ages are admittedly at risk of harassment from faceless strangers, abusing from the other side of the world, and sadly it’s not just verbal abuse that they have to contend with. Since the introduction of the ‘Xbox LiveCam’ it’s opened the door to a sickening amount of people wanting to expose themselves over the internet. Not restricted to pay-per-view adult cam-sites, perverts can now reach into your homes through a psychological barrage of comments and pictures sent via the Xbox. Remember the guy on YouTube making a public apology for sitting in the nude playing Uno??

This isn’t to say Xbox or Xbox-Live are ‘bad'(although I’m sure some PlayStation-fans will disagree there!), but it is worth being aware of the dangers of any internet-using entertainment services. The old MSN website was a massive community covering nearly every country in the world, but this was riddled with stalkers, paedophiles, perverts, and of course children (and adults) genuinely wanting to make friends across the planet. What a combination, what a melting pot of trouble. Microsoft HAD to sit up and take notice that their most popular service was being abused, and hats off to them, they took the giant step to close the site down and concentrate on the private chat tool MSN Messenger instead. I can only imagine the money they lost in advertising and from third party applications they promoted. However, they took ownership and responsibility of what was becoming a very serious problem.

I think becoming a dad myself has made me more aware of what potential harm is out there, and I even find myself questioning my own use of sites like MySpace and Facebook. But what really grabbed my attention was when a young female friend in my clan was messaged by a real sicko, and it made her skin crawl. As a clan leader, I personally feel I have a responsibility for my members, almost being like an Xbox father-figure to many of them who come to me with problems and concerns. Being a Life Coach helps here of course, but I think they know I genuinely care and try to help where I can.

So when my friend announced a warning to her contacts list to avoid a certain American player she’d been stalked by, I felt my blood boiling and a sense of devastation that someone under my wing had been targeted by a pervert, AND in CoD4 of all things – a game we all play together regularly. I’m sorry, but anyone who knowingly takes pics of themselves or their ‘bits’ and sends them to a complete (and potentially vulnerable) stranger, doesn’t need their head examining at all – it needs removing along with their associated ‘bits’ and launched into the ether!! Now, not to insight violence or encourage riots at the Microsoft headquarters (PlayStation fans can sit down please), but who on earth actually believes this is acceptable behaviour?

Everyone should have a zero tolerance of any kind of abuse on the internet, especially Xbox live considering it’s wide target audience. So for the sake of our wives, partners, girlfriends and children, let’s take a moral stand against these twisted individuals. But how do we deal with them if and when we find it happening? Good question, as Xbox Live encompasses every major civilization across the world, so how do we report a faceless abuser?? Here’s what we did for my friend…

We got a note of the Gamer tag, location, and any personal info like a website from their profile, even down to noting their friends list contacts. The intention was to give as much bad feedback as possible in support of our friend, to make Microsoft take notice there was something wrong with that player. However you can’t give feedback on a player you haven’t played with, so we spammed him with friend requests to access his gamer profile. From there we could give bad feedback based on his messaging by text and voice, and also on picture abuse. I’d sent him a polite message stating what I thought of him to provoke a response, and Bingo – he replied with a torrent of abuse to me, adding fuel to the fire and more reason to report his messaging.

I also contacted Microsoft directly, spending about 30 mins on my mobile from work trying to get through, and then for someone to translate my Scottish accent LOL. But despite reassurance form the girl on the phone that Microsoft was horrified this sort of thing has happened to my friend, and that they had a firm stance against abuse over XBL, in a nutshell the only way to file an official complaint was by registering bad feedback on the Xbox dashboard… THAT was very disappointing from such a large service provider. You’d think that they’d have a more personal means for customers to raise concerns. I even contacted “Acey Bongos”, the XBL manager to ask how I go about making a complaint on a user, but again it wasn’t much help and I was directed to the dashboard. So like vigilantes, taking authority over the situation was our only real option. Microsoft assured me if we hit the perv with enough bad feedback they’d have to act upon it, and before long his Gold account was reduced to Silver. It would have been better had the tag and 360console MAC address been banned from XBL, as at the end of the day you have to agree to it’s “terms of use” and are bound by it legally when you accept. 

The sad thing is, discussing this with other female friends I’ve discovered that too many girls are being affected and not reporting the abuse. It happens more than we realise. We need to step away from the attitude of “well, he’s not really done anything to me personally, as he’s in another country, so no harm done”, and turn it around to one of ZERO TOLERANCE !! We don’t accept it – we don’t accept it for our families, we don’t accept it for our friends, and we don’t accept it for the rights of gamers everywhere!







11 responses to “Zero Tolerance !!”

  1. Dave avatar

    That’s good you got his membership bumped down to a silver. Is that indefinite though?

    It’s a bit worrying it took so much hassle to see a result. There should really be clearer lines of making complaints in that situation although, perhaps there are but they aren’t well advertised?

    Great post.

  2. Chris avatar

    Exactly the concerns I raised with M$ Dave. There has to be stronger and quicker ways of reporting and dealing with offenders. There’s not any clearer guidelines as far as I know and I poured over for hours trying to find a route. I actually thought I’d get a better response from contacting Acey Bongos directly, but hey, one can only dream they are interested in their customers!

    Thanks mate

  3. Dave avatar

    That’s it isn’t it? Ask Acey, he’ll know what to do 😛

    Nah, in all seriousness I agree with everything you said. I’ve come across some really foul-mouthed and abusive folk online who really don’t deserve access to the service for the disruption they cause.

    But what can we do? Neg rep and avoid them…the next generation is here!

  4. Michael avatar

    I had to endure some American chick hassling me ages ago, after my brother had been playing using my account… so I told her I was a priest.

    I know for a fact he wasn’t up to shenanigans there as I’d have given him a slap upside the head if he had!

    It’s pretty good that you did that for your friend but I don’t think people taking action like that will make any difference on a grand scale, sadly. Because, as you say, it happened with MSN so Microsoft must’ve anticipated similar issues cropping up with XBL. No?

  5. Laura avatar

    If I did feel the need file a complaint I wouldn’t expect any real results to come from it. They probably get loads and to investigate thoroughly every one would take forever.

    I’ve not yet had any bad experiences perhaps cause I tend to block anyone who even remotely seems creepy. Any “Are you really a chick?” or “Do you have MySpace?” messages and it’s delete or block time.

    If I could see my block list it’d probably be much longer than my friends list lol 😀

  6. Chris avatar

    LOL “Are you really a chick?” I guess they dont like to be beaten by a girl then! Which I expect you revel in 😉

  7. Tony avatar

    Heh. I just sent an inappropriate picture to a female gamer. It was to Ready Up’s very own Kirsten (instead of my fiancee), by an unfortunate slip of the finger.

    Luckily it was only a picture of some new shelves I just fitted in our kitchen cupboards and nothing more inappropriate!

  8. Chris avatar

    Nice knowing you Tony… 🙂

  9. Emily avatar

    I’ve only had a few bad experiences on XBL due to being female, it did ruin the experience somewhat. There were great times, but it’s easier to remember the annoying ones. I wasn’t exactly compelled to continue my subscription.

    When I joined PSN and started gaming online on my PC, I used an androgynous name. I have no idea if it’s the nature of the different services, or the different people who use them, but problem = gone!

  10. Laura avatar

    I’m not a sensitive person and I can stick up for myself. Obviously girly gamertags get more attention and I considered changing mine even though I love it. Instead I made another gamertag that I use online when I’m really not in the mood for being singled out for having a girly name.

  11. Chris avatar

    Thanks for the comments Emily & Laura! Im sure there’s an element of the same people in every on-line game system unfortunately, although I think pay per play networks or pay monthly MMORPG’s tend to respect what they pay for more than Xbox subscriptions.

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