World of Warcraft Guild Forced to Drop the Word ‘Gay’ From Its Name

After first being taken down, the “Gay” in the “gay boys” guild was restored after it was changed yesterday from “the Gay Boys Guild” to “Guild ZFXPK.”

After a Blizzard customer service message confirming that the guild name should be back to normal and citing a “careful investigation of your account warning,” the unnamed moderator made clear that this kind of automatic takedown may very well happen again: “There isn’t a way to stop people from reporting this name, as some find the way the term is used offensive. If you get actioned again, you can appeal like this, and we can look at it once more. For now, though, you have your guild name back!”

According to Ars Technica, “The “GAY BOYS” guild within the recent World of WarCraft Classic fork had its name changed late Wednesday to the machine-generated gibberish “Guild ZFXPK.” An email, apparently sent by Blizzard Customer Service, indicated that the guild’s name-change process began because “your fellow players reported your in-game name as inappropriate multiple times.” From there, the email cites “a thorough investigation” that also led to the guild’s creator receiving a temporary account suspension. The suspension was later overturned, but the guild’s name remains “Guild ZFXPK.”

A cursory scan of existing WoW guilds shows another one named “GAY BOYS,” which had a temporary name change in 2016, followed by a Blizzard forum thread asking why it had been changed.

Blizzard’s End User License Agreement includes the following wide-ranging clause about what content is or is not acceptable in the company’s online games:

You further represent and warrant that you will not use or contribute User Content that is unlawful, tortious, defamatory, obscene, invasive of the privacy of another person, threatening, harassing, abusive, hateful, racist or otherwise objectionable or inappropriate. Blizzard may remove any User Content and any related content or elements from the Platform at its sole discretion.

Boing Boing said, “After confirming that the guild name should be back to normal and citing a “careful investigation of your account warning,” the unnamed moderator made clear that this kind of automatic takedown may very well happen again: “There isn’t a way to stop people from reporting this name, as some find the way the term is used offensive. If you get actioned again, you can appeal like this, and we can look at it once more. For now, though, you have your guild name back!”

After a predictable amount of opprobrium, the company finally reversed itself, but apparently it has no institutional memory because it has literally done exactly the same thing again.

“To say there is anything inappropriate about the words GAY or BOYS is, in and of itself, inappropriate, childish, and discriminatory,” Jilani said. “Individuals that found the name inappropriate should be the ones taking a good look at themselves in the mirror, because this is 2019, and we have a right to exist as a community.”

 

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