CCP Investigates Eve Online FanFest Panel for Mocking Suicidal Player

March 26, 2012 -

With the Bully Project being released in theaters this Friday, it seems ironic that we would be reporting on people mocking another player who is "suicidal" and encouraging other people to do the same in the hope that the individual would "do it." This is the same kind of behavior highlighted in the aforementioned documentary. But instead of happening in a game it happened at school to an 11-year-old boy. He ended up listening to his school mates.

The game in question is EVE Online, and the comments came to light during an Eve Online panel at its FanFest convention over the weekend. According to a user named "Kestrel" who contacted both Eurogamer and EVE Online maker CCP Games, during Thursday's Alliance Panel presentation (moderated by a CCP employee and delivered by two CSM council members) panelists mocked a suicidal player and encouraged other players to join in in-game. The presentation featured an in-game communication between two Eve Online players where one of the players said he had suicidal thoughts and "showed obvious signs" of severe depression, according to Kestrel.

"When this communication was shown to the audience the presenter, along with part of the audience of players and CCP representatives present all had a good laugh," Kestrel told Eurogamer. "The presenter went on to encourage other players of Eve Online to harass this player in the hope that he would eventually be compelled to act on his suicidal thoughts.

Kestrel went on to say that the player's in-game contact information was provided to the audience. The presentation was also streamed online during the FanFest event.

When CCP Games was made aware of this, the company issued a statement expressing its disgust for such behavior and promised that an investigation would take place.

In response, CCP issued a statement criticizing the "abhorrent behavior" that occurred.

"I want to reassure you that CCP in no way condones the harassment of players, especially those who suffer from depression or suicidal thoughts, as we understand the possible consequences of such abhorrent behaviour," CCP public relations and social media specialist Ned Coker told Eurogamer. "Our Terms of Service (TOS), which can be found here, mirror our company's stance on this matter."

"While the content of online interactions between players cannot realistically be gated within our game worlds, we do take very seriously accusations of such behaviour between our players."

"Furthermore, we have a suicide hotline protocol which has, in specific cases, made a difference for several unfortunately troubled players. We appreciate you voicing your concerns on this level, and CCP will be very vigilant in monitoring any behaviour directed towards the individual named in the presentation."

"We are undertaking a full internal review of this panel as well as the process used for vetting the panel's materials. Even though this panel was billed as unfiltered by CCP, we expect public presentations to be courteous and professional towards others."

While online game operators often do not have the ability to control all players behavior 24 hours a day and seven days a week, a panel broadcast over the internet and moderated by a CCP Games employee should have a higher standard of conduct and behavior. Mocking a player who is having mental health issues to thousands of people and encouraging that person to commit suicide is wrong and should not be tolerated.

Source: Eurogamer by way of Andrew Eisen.


Comments

Re: CCP Investigates Eve Online FanFest Panel for Mocking ...

As an EVE player, I think this mess has been a tad overblown, certainly beyond what it could be or what it actually is. I'm not surprised that there hasn't been more digging in on this story (since when is anything like this actually researched), but given the amount of information on this story that's availabe in the community, well... 

Here's a few links for you

http://www.evenews24.com/2012/03/27/csm7-suicidegate/

(initial story regarding coverage and reaction)

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&find=unread&t=86980

Mittani (Alexander Gianturco)'s public apology and mea culpa

http://www.evenews24.com/2012/03/27/failing-in-so-many-ways-the-mittani-%e2%80%93-hero/

(Further research into characters involved)

 

Did the Mittani cram both his feet into his mouth on that? Yeah, he did. But I'll be honest with you. EVE's not a gentle playground, and frankly this kind of thing's pretty light for what HAS been done (I've heard stories of DDOS's done on teamspeak servers, intrusion attacks on 3rd party alliance forums, to say nothing of more classic slander and smear jobs). You'll note that on the third link, there's a transcript of someone asking the actual person to go kill themselves, his reaction to the entire mess. You'll note it's a bit... different than what you'd expect from someone who supposedly is suicidal. And what we have is the supposed statement that they have a mental disorder in the first place. If they do, fair enough and the criticism is valid. But forgive me, but I've seen more than once on the intertubes for someone to claim that they're someone they're not.

As an aside (and I don't have a link handy) someone in EVE a while back actually threatened CCP (the game devs) with suicide if they didn't give him back his banned accounts (gold mining, essentially). The devs reported this to police, handed off all relevant logs, and the Italian police went in and checked the kid out. And found out that he was just blowing smoke.

As for why I play? I play because what I do changes things. I don't run instances in a demented quest for an all purple gear set. I manufacture goods for player use. I'm not competing with NPC sellers. I'm able to see a market opportunity and exploit it. And, if I have to, I can hire someone to make sure that a potential threat ceases being potential. I play because I might, one day, have my name etched in the EVE mythos as someone who did something, and be remembered for the rest of the game. My world might be a harsh, unforgiving place, but it's a place where you can do something that can stand the test of time.

Best keep your wits about you: The gears of life are always spinning, and ignorance eventually means you'll get caught in them.

Re: CCP Investigates Eve Online FanFest Panel for Mocking ...

I'm happy that Kestrel brought this problem to CCP's, and the public's, attention.

Re: CCP Investigates Eve Online FanFest Panel for Mocking ...

This culture of griefing is basically why I could never get into EVE Online.

Re: CCP Investigates Eve Online FanFest Panel for Mocking ...

Hi, welcome to the internet. Let me show you aorund.

Unfortunately it's not EVE at all that's the problem - it's the anonymous responsibility-free culture we've created for ourselves on the internet. I'm sure every single person on this site has teased someone where it would be grossly inappropriate in "real life."

Re: CCP Investigates Eve Online FanFest Panel for Mocking ...

And I'm pretty sure you'd be wrong, because if you were, the best parts of the internet would be worse than any of the things that kept advertisers bailing on Encyclopedia Dramatica. Because as bad as the internet can get, most people aren't misanthropic assholes.

Some communities are also undeniably far worse than others. Most forums aren't all that bad, frankly, and most of the bad ones still fall far short of this sort of thing. Then there's ones that have bad elements, like the vast majority of the internet, but they're generally opposed if not actively silenced.

And then we have ones dominated by bad elements, and the rest of the community who will defend that bad element as the defining feature of the community, like we saw not long ago with the sexist youtube rant and racist blog rants of particular Street Fighter tournament players.

When it comes to games, the design of the game lends strongly to where the community lands. WoW tends towards the lower-middle: The bad elements are substantial, but the opposition is loud enough to break the forums, mirrored in the game design that limits griefing opportunities. EVE, on the other hand, falls to the extreme. This hasn't been the first time something utterly disgusting has come out of a member of that community only to be embraced and defended across the internet as "what makes EVE EVE" by evangelizers to the uninitiated outsiders deigning to pass judgment. Again, mirrored in a game designed to allow if not promote griefing on epic scales. The games attract one type of player and discourage another, and as such shape the community.


And all that's irrelevant. This isn't a problem of anonymity. At all. This was done in a real face to face venue with the aggressor's real names involved.

Re: CCP Investigates Eve Online FanFest Panel for Mocking ...

This should get interesting since one of the people doing the mocking just won the election in a landslide and is the Goon's current front man.. so it kinda highlights the culture of that particular group of players and did so in a public enough way that it is harder to ignore.

Part of the problem here is bullying is a pretty major game element in EvE, it is pretty fundamental to the culture the original developers wanted to culture.  It is one fo the few games where griefing is not only allowed, but encouraged and things that might hurt it are taken into account when doing changes so as to not make it too difficult.

 
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