Our first concern at Crowded Group is to create space for everyone who wants to be part of our community where they feel safe and valued. Without that first step, the great conversations and fun times we all love cannot happen.
One of the ways our community space can become compromised is through abuse and harassment. Whenever people gather online in a semi-public space, these behaviors may arise. To combat them, it takes the entire community being clear on what is and what is not acceptable and consistent moderation.
Therefore, we wanted to spell out our policy so you know exactly what will occur should these circumstances arise and can know that the Super Admins are committed to responding as described here, without compromise or favoritism.
How We Define Online Abuse and Harassment
Firstly, we have to be clear about the types of behavior we are talking about. Let’s define some terms to get started:
Abuse refers to any action that causes physical, emotional, social, or psychological harm to another person. Abuse comes in many forms, but a few common examples in an online environment include:
- Hate Speech — We define this as abusive or threatening speech or writing that expresses prejudice against a particular group, especially on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, or trans/cisgender status.
- Doxxing — Sharing an individual’s personal details online when they did not choose to do so. This can include sharing a person’s phone number, address, real name (if they do not disclose this), and any other personally identifying information.
- Threats — Any speech or writing which seeks to intimidate another person by suggesting that harm will be done to them if they do not comply with a demand.
- Public Sharing of Sexual Details/Private Photos — Sharing details of an individual’s sexual experiences or compromising photos. It makes no difference whether these items were acquired directly from the person or through illicit means.
- Physical (Real-World) Abuse — While this is unlikely to occur in our community currently, imagining a future where our community may meet in-person, it’s important to define physical abuse now so it’s on our list for that possibility. This category includes any physical harm to another person, including sexual assault in all its forms.
- Telling Another Person to Kill Themselves — Suicide is not an appropriate subject for joking. Advising someone to kill themselves is explicitly a form of abuse. There have been documented cases of individuals tragically going forward with this act after experiencing this form of abuse.
This listing is not intended to be exhaustive, and we may choose to add or subtract individual items over time.
The distinction between abuse and harassment is sometimes difficult to gauge. Harassment, in general, is defined as “aggressive pressure or intimidation.” It usually does not cause tangible harm directly but can be considered a precursor to abuse in many cases. When it occurs, it usually causes the receiver of harassment to feel unsafe and, in some cases, to leave the online community. Here are some of the ways harassment manifests itself for online communities:
- Sexual Harassment — This form of harassment includes any unwanted advances or sexually explicit speech to another person.
- Verbal Harassment — This less-specific form of harassment includes any speech or writing which seeks to belittle or shame another person publicly.
- In-Game Harassment — This form of harassment is any other type already listed but in an in-game environment, perhaps using game-specific channels.
- Aggressive Trolling — Many games, unfortunately, have specific actions which bad actors (trolls) can take which annoy or prevent others from fully engaging with a game or the community. Aggressively using these methods on others can be considered harassment, especially in cases where an individual is singled out.
- Physical Harassment — Again, looking ahead to the future, if the community has a physical event in the future, we need to be vigilant of physical harassment. This is difficult to define but should be considered a lesser version of physical abuse. The most common example we can point to is unwanted touching of any kind, especially if the person has made it clear that the behavior is not acceptable.
To ensure the safety of our community, the Super Admins of Crowded Community commit to taking the following actions in response to the above.
In cases of abuse
We have a zero-tolerance policy for all forms of abuse. If we are aware of this occurring, the individual involved will be permanently banned from the community immediately. If criminal activity occurred, we will alert appropriate authorities and provide any evidence requested.
Our plan for addressing cases of harassment
Harassment is less cut-and-dry, in many cases because the definition is less clear and, because gaming appeals to individuals of all ages and levels of knowledge, sometimes people are unaware that what they have done is considered harassment. To ensure we respond appropriately and fairly, we will follow this general plan of response when incidents of harassment occur.
- Upon the first occurrence, we will evaluate any evidence submitted to determine the severity of the harassment. If we determine that the harassment may have been unintentional, we will confront the aggressor and ensure they know that what they did is considered harassment and should not be part of our community.
- Upon a second or a more severe occurrence, our team will issue a temporary ban of the individual, no less than 30 days. This includes not just the Discord group but all associated communities. In addition, if the person holds a leadership role within the group, that role will be removed.
- If the action is considered even more severe or a third occurrence happens, there will be an immediate permanent ban of aggressor.
Again, we reserve the right to be more severe than this policy if we determine that the action committed was intentional, malicious, or approaches the level of abuse; but we will not be less severe in any cases.
Reporting Abuse or Harassment
If you are the victim of abuse or harassment, send a private message to one of the Super Admin of the community to start this process. A few notes:
- Include any screenshots that may help determine what occurred, especially if the incident occurred in private messages or may have been deleted from a channel.
- You may report anonymously. We do not disclose that you provided the report unless you explicitly ask us to do so.
- If the incident involved a Super Admin, please contact another Super Admin. The Super Admin in question will not be involved in discussions on the appropriate next steps.
Our goal in defining this policy is to ensure that all of us are held accountable for building a safe, fun, supportive community. Our hope is that this policy will never need to be referenced, but realistically, it may occur despite our best efforts. Therefore, we want you to know that we have considered what should occur and the steps that should be taken.
The goal of abuse and harassment is often to make the victim feel powerless. We want you to know that you are not powerless; you can take action, and we have your back.