Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Monday, June 10, 2013

What's in a name?

News flash: every time CCP has publicly hired an EVE player to be a CCP dev, it's been controversial.  Not just this time, every time.

For Heaven's sake, CCP Soundwave is one day shy of his fifth anniversary with CCP, and I still had someone tell me at Fanfest this year that they didn't feel comfortable with "a Goon" making game design decisions.  It was controversial when CCP Sreegs was hired.  It was hugely controversial when CCP Dolan was hired.  Hell, it controversial when CCP Fozzie was hired; I know for a fact that some people believe that he's balancing ships to the benefit of his former comrades in Pandemic Legion.  Only CCP Rise has escaped controversy and even he hasn't escaped it entirely.  People were annoyed that he wouldn't be making PvP videos any more.  ;-)

Only CCP employees that keep past in-game affiliations nearly or completely secret (such as CCP Unifex) escape this kind of controversy.  And in every single case above, each new CCP dev above took pains to distance themselves from their pre-CCP lives.  Rise could have easily requested the name CCP Kil2 and would have received it.  It might have made perfect sense, in fact, increasing both the audience of the videos and CCP's stature in picking up a known community leader.

How do new CCP employees pick their names?  CCP Veritas and Rise answered the question themselves recently:
Veritas: We pick 'em. It's an extremely stressful decision.
Rise: I spent like 2 months thinking about it and I'm pretty sure I would have spent a couple more if I wouldn't have had to pick now.
The name is checked with CCP management to ensure it's not going to be offensive and if it passes that check, that's that.

If you haven't heard CCP's latest hiring decision, CCP has hired Mintchip as a member of the DUST 514 Community team.  And it went public pretty quickly when Mintchip herself announced it on Twitter to a mix of both acclaim and abuse.

Now as I said, hiring any EVE player in public is going to be controversial but hiring Mintchip is doubly so.  Mintchip is a controversial figure even without being a CCP employee.  She is beloved by thousands and thousands of gamers, more than 25000 of whom have subscribed to her Youtube channel.  She is a strong woman, sure of herself and her opinions, and that sometimes draws fire in the male-dominated video game industry.


But she also has thousands of opponents, who dislike her for what they perceive as a lack of knowledge about both EVE and DUST 514 as well as her actions within EVE.  She's not above stirring up drama, and she's not above using her position as an EVE personality to try to enrich herself personally.  This might be common in other communities but is not the norm with EVE personalities.  Needless to say, she has taken fire for this.  The problem is Mintchip generally responds to this incoming fire by implying that the only reason people don't like her is because of her gender.  And the more serious the accusation, the more likely she is to fall back to this defense.  Die Hard With a Vengeance has a lovely dialogue exchange that shreds this sort of straw-man...
John McClane: I'll tell you what your problem is, you don't like me 'cause you're a racist!
Zeus Carver: What?
John McClane: You're a racist! You don't like me 'cause I'm white!
Zeus Carver: I don't like you because you're gonna get me killed!
Now, absolutely granted, some of Mintchip's accusations of sexism are warranted because she has drawn a lot of unfair and cruel sexist attacks.  A lovely example is her profile on evewho.com.  Within hours of it being up this week, it was full of any number of disgusting attacks in the comments that I simply won't dignify with a description.  evewho.com pulled the comments with the following note:
EveWho fully recognizes and endorses Eve Online's EULA and multiple violations of this have occurred, therefore, comments for this page have been disabled.
And that was 100% warranted in my opinion.  Many of the comments were unworthy of us as EVE players.  "EVE needs women!", we've all been known to shout from the rooftops from time to time, including myself.  But if EVE players are going to act like disgusting middle-schoolers when a woman appears and starts playing our game, I don't blame the ladies for avoiding our game after this behavior starts.


All that said, Mintchip has also used these sorts of attacks to engage in "woe is me" behavior that, in my opinion, is detrimental to the efforts of women in gaming attempting to be taken seriously for their ability to kick ass and take names.  Now I assure you, everyone reading this blog post will -- sooner or later -- lose faith with EVE for one reason or another and rage-quit.  I've done it myself.  But it's a bit of a strain to say you don't want to play the game any more and are completely turned off to it... then four weeks later apply to a job at CCP.

As someone well-versed in the ability to believe two contradictory things at the same time, I bow to a master.  ;-)

Mintchip's hiring and announcement was greeted with both massive enthusiasm from her fans and unthinking rage from people who don't care for her.  And to be fair, she's going to be working as a DUST 514 (and World of Darkness?) Community person rather than a member of the EVE Community team.  Still, an initial thread on the EVE Online forums about her hiring grew from three pages to 28 pages to 50 or 60 pages in a matter of hours.  For a long stretch, it was growing at three posts per minute, so you can judge for yourself the... ummm... enthusiasm that some people had for the topic at hand.  The thread quickly got out of control with attacks both sexist and otherwise and CCP was forced to all but delete the thing and lock it down.

The Mintchip thread on the DUST 514 forums is nowhere near as active but also addresses some of the controversy.  To his credit, CPM member Nova Knife stepped in as a calming influence, posting among other things that...
However, what you guys need to consider is that what you have seen of her in the past is simply an e-persona, and not something that indicates how she may or may not be in real life.

I can only hope she knew what she was getting herself into when she accepted the job.
From some of the posts, I assume that CCP has been busy moderating that thread but at least the thread isn't locked.  EVE News 24 is also covering Mintchip's hiring with one of their open threads which is also drawing a lot of commentary.

Nova Knife brings up a really good point, though: the Mintchip that all of us are familiar with is a persona, not a person.  But it's that very thing that has caused every previous EVE player hired by CCP that I'm aware of to separate themselves from their in-game past by choosing a CCP name quite different from their previous in-game name.  CCP Mintchip chose not to do this, even to the point that she's continuing to use her pre-CCP Twitter account as part of her official CCP forum signature.


CEOPyrex, who produces a regular series of well-regarded DUST 514-related videos, has a theory as to why CCP chose to hire Mintchip.  And it's not pretty, and it's not complimentary to CCP.  He is, in fact, convinced that this hiring is reverse sexism on CCP's part.  He theorizes that CCP was willing to exploit Mintchip's appearance, persona, and reputation as a means to draw "frat boys" into DUST 514.  As he puts it -- I'm paraphrasing only slightly -- "Here boys, here is an EVE player!  Isn't she nice?  Isn't she pretty?  Don't you want to join her in our game?"  It's a depressing theory.  I don't think it's true.  But a lot of people will be quick to believe it.

Anyway and finally, if you want to see an unmoderated view of one audience's feelings about Mintchip, there's a full-on Reddit thread with more than 600 comments and 450 upvotes.  It's a huge amount of reading but provides the broadest possible view of both people who support Mintchip and people who do not.

For myself, I'm willing to give her a chance.  Doing her job and doing it well will be the best possible revenge against her haters.  The one thing that most of the EVE players that have become CCP devs have in common is that whatever their flaws before joining CCP, they have been a positive force in the company and they have been successful in the long term.  So the odds are in Mintchip's favor here.  The real test will happen in the coming weeks and months as she settles into her new job once the initial burst of controversy dies down.

39 comments:

  1. Eve online is probably the most sexist, racist community I've ever "been a part of," though for those reasons I don't like considering myself part of the community. There's not a chance I would hire most EVE players, as most of them are a lawsuit waiting to happen (not to mention the fact that the sorts of sexism and racism ubiquitous in EVE literally ruin people's lives).

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    1. Sadly, I have to agree with the above anon poster. Eve attracts a lot of really awful people. I went through many years trying to find a part of the game while flying with people I could enjoy flying with. This has been a much more difficult endeavor than it had to be.

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    2. You must be a master artisan, because your broad-brushing skills are perhaps second to none.

      Delete
  2. Dinsdale PirannhaJune 10, 2013 at 6:49 AM

    "The one thing that most of the EVE players that have become CCP devs have in common is that whatever their flaws before joining CCP, they have been a positive force in the company and they have been successful in the long term."

    Glad you put in the word "most".

    I am sure soundwave, who ran the goons' spy division (you might have heard of them. They pride themselves on their meta-gaming and subversive techniques) before getting hired by CCP, is no doubt successful. That is if you view success through the lens of his main employers, the null sec RMT cartels. The rest of the Eve community does not view his tenure as a positive force in the company.

    Then we have michael bolton of test, who is regarded as a joke, but is loved by the same null sec cartels since he handed them ongoing control of the CSM for years to come.

    Then we have raivi of pandemic legion, who has doubled up on the efforts of soundwave to destroy high sec, and funnel as much of the Eve economy through the hands of the select few who actually run the null sec cartels, and in essence, Eve itself.

    Then we have verone, from veto, who has morphed into the Eve forum attack dog of the cartels, who working with the ISD, to muzzle and censor any vocal resistance to the cartels.

    I am looking foward to mynnna being hired as a "consultant" to improve Eve's econony, and malcanis as another game designer to bring "proper balance" to the risk/reward paradigm.

    At least MintChip is essentially harmless, and is working on a game that will soon be another on the trashheap of grandiose dreams. (only hope for Dust is if the cartels bring in a number of permanent Dust chars to maintain the 4 district quota to maximize POS and soon null sec station mfg)

    I find it quite enlightening that out of the myriad amount of people CCP has pulled out of the Eve community, that I cannot think of one that harkens from high sec. Guess CCP must consider high sec players the same way the null sec cartels do: as merely meat for the epeen grinder and sheep to take money from.

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    1. Man I seriously can never tell if your comments are real or joking. NOBODY can be this bonkers.

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    2. Possible candidates for goons receiving preferential treatment

      - Jade's dogpile war-dec receiving CCP intervention
      - goon freighter webbing incident, resulting in overnight insta-ban order for anybody duplicating the feat
      - the gifted protection granted to minor humping, which is run by mittani's alt

      but as for RMT? other than tinfoil do you have any proof.

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    3. Comment of the year, tbh.

      You forgot CCP Sreegs, though he has left CCP now.

      Delete
  3. There are problems with Soundwaffle and Spergs. As shown by their biased treatment of Hydra and Outbreak during the AT, neither of them should be given any power. They are small petty men who purposefully promote vague rules with the intention of ensnaring and punishing people they dislike. They are Goons and Goons exist to abuse the rules to punish their enemies. Their position on "cache-scrapping" is that it is against the EULA, but it's all cool, bro, we don't care, *wink.* Remember, just like AT, they will hold an investigation into how this occurred, but their decision is final.

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  4. "The real test will happen in the coming weeks and months as she settles into her new job once the initial burst of controversy dies down."

    If it dies down, she has in the past been happy to fan the flames of controversy, especially if it improves her chance of getting her Amazon wish list filled faster.

    Here is hoping CCP Mintchip is taking a different path from Mintchip the Drama Queen.

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  5. I knew literally nothing of Mintchip previous to this week. So my assessment of her hire is basically ignorant. Still, I can see the surface appearance as well as anyone.

    I agree with CEOPyrex: ultimately she was hired because she is pretty. (She seems intelligent and articulate, but there are many such. She is popular because she is those things and pretty and female.) I don't see how this is "reverse sexism"; isn't it just sexism? But I also see nothing wrong with that. Everyone -- and EVE's audience (guys) in particular -- do like looking at pretty girls. For a public face of a company, you do want someone pretty and girlie if you can get one, and CCP could. So they did. So I also disagree with your assessment that this somehow reflects poorly on CCP.

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    1. Sorry to say this Von, but the only legitemate part of your post was referring to your view point as "basically ignorant". I am sure CCP, like any other successful company in the world, will have conducted a thorough candidate pre-selection and interview process for the post. Like it or not, Mintchip (and any other previous CCP employee for that merit) will have been offered a job based upon merit alone.

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  6. The superficiality of those mintchip videos is really quite appalling to me. I don't know how much she has been lambasted for this, probably more than she should, but when you put yourself in such a public position on all these social media outlets and apparently aren't shy to resort to emo-talk/actions yourself that's something you should be willing to deal with.

    I agree that chosing that as dev name is indeed contentious at best, and probably didn't help the situation...

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  7. Mintchip is, of course, talking about the way that EVE players have treated her, not so much the game itself.

    If there was any doubt that there was a basis for her complaint, the thread in EVE General Discussion should have dismissed it... unless you got there after the heroic efforts by CCP staff to clean up a great deal of vile, and often violent, misogyny.

    That's not to say that there's no grounds for criticizing her, of course. But I consider her allegation proven at this point, that most of the grief she gets is related to her sex. That thread is proof aplenty, especially when you compare it to the reactions to CCP Dolan's hiring.

    Personally, I'm with you in the generally-lukewarm-but-willing-to-see camp. The only surefire way to know why she was hired is to see how she's deployed. I didn't expect to see Dolan replacing Xhagen as chief CSM liaison, for instance.

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  8. I wouldn't be quite so quick to discount the conspiracy theory. CCP acknowledged that the Eve player-base is only 4% female. They had a damned Neo-Nazi running for galactic student council until subscriber backlash forced them to remove him as a candidate. My experience reporting the sort of racist and sexist blather that would get you banned from another MMO, even WoW with their money-first policies, has been essentially "Oh, really. I'll be sure to file that with the correct people once I finish this crossword." Not a shock that they are going to pick someone with a fanbase to hopefully provide a counter-story.

    Too bad they selected a rank opportunist, though I suppose you could argue that she fits the meta-game rather well.

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  9. I'd like to know who hired her and why and how - was she sought out? or did she work her way in - I doubt it was the same person who decided Rise and Fozzie would be a good match.

    My gut says maybe its a play to get more women interested in EVE - if that's the case I doubt she was the ideal candidate for that. I'm sure shes a wonderful person but I get the feeling its about her and not us - and I get the sense of immaturity from her too.

    What were her first actions? Taking photos of herself with high status men at CCP at a bar. The actions of a young woman looking to rise the social ladder of any group - which isn't really compelling to other women.

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    1. You mean attract women to DUST 514, right? Cause that's what she's working on.
      -Bantara

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    2. I'm sure it was Chribba that hired her & your tinfoil fears are all justified ( doubly so because you hide behind Anonymous posting like the rest of the conspiracy throrists that are raging about MintchipLOL )

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  10. Jester,

    I cant fully agree with your take that CEOPyrex is wrong. Was that the only reason she was hired? I incredibly doubt that. If you hire someone who can't do their job then you just have to hire a second person to do their job and have a figure head. So I have no doubts that she can fulfill the requirements for employment. At the same time CCP is a corporation and i would actually be disappointed in them if they didn't at all consider the fanbase implications of their decision..

    tl;dr: Yep she was hired with at least knowledge on CCP's part that she could be a draw for the community. Hopefully it wasn't the primary deciding factor, but CCP would have had to be stupid not to consider it.

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  11. Thank you for not using the misogyny card like Malcinis did!

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  12. I was shocked and appalled by all the trolls coming out of the woodwork on this one. Hateful, spiteful people. Even if they are a minority. I will NEVER reveal my RL identity to anyone associated with EVE now. Ever. This is one lesson I don't want to learn the hard way. Good article, this. Thanks

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  13. Here... you dropped your tinfoil hat.

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  14. I saw the title of this post and thought you were going to talk about CCP's revisions to their naming policy. I was curious to see what you would talk about, only to find out the post is actually on CCP's new hire.

    In regard to that, yes, she may have flaws but we won't know how much those flaws will impede her work for several more months. People are jumping the gun a little early.

    I do think she should have gone with a new CCP name though. Makes you wonder if a lot of this flak would have been trickled out over several months as people figured out who was behind the name instead of all at once.

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  15. EveWho also says "Any pilots, corporations, or alliances that relate to actual people or entites are purely coincidental."

    That brought an amused smirk to my face. And someone needs to apply a spellchecker to that message. "Entites" indeed...

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    1. damnit.. fixed that spelling many months later....

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  16. I had a lot to think about this but it all kind of degenerates to "Eugh!".

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  17. The problem as always with such an unchecked male dominated social place like eve: You get a lot of young/dumb people. I am sure there are many players who have valid reasons for not liking mintchip, but they are drowned in a sea of drolling "GIRL!!!IN OUR GAME!!!"screaming-idiots.

    Mintchip is nothing special, she is not pretty and I do not like her voice. Is that a reason to harass her with sexist remarks? No, surely not.

    Her opinions are most of the time crappy, she hides behind the "misogyny"-shield and her channel wasn´t worth a dime. (at least the few videos I watched) Is that a reason to dislike her working for CCP? Yes, yes it is.

    But as she uses the "misogyny"-shield, so the loud, snorting, drolling woman-hating (probably not in RL) bunch actually helps her. Idiots, all of them. Well, I hope she does a good job or gets quickly fired if not.

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  18. I don't have any problems with Mintchip, in the game, or at CCP. She certainly can't do any worse than Dolan, the epitome of fail.

    As for marketing herself, I think she has done quite well, esp. in the a**hole-dominated EVE Online community. And, if she uses her gender as both for offense and defense, as well as to garner some RL income, then good on her. Anyone who complains is obviously just sucking the sour grapes of envy.

    As for CCP's decision in hiring her, and her decision to keep her old name... both smart decisions. Hiring a controversial female personality in a male-dominated game is good PR, and keeping the name by which she is well-known only make additional good PR sense (btw, Kil2's decision to change to Rise was actually a pretty bad PR decision - and if Mittens ever joins the CCP team, he'd be smart to keep his in-game name, as well). She has adequately proven in-game that she has no problem dealing with either admirers or detractors, and that is going to make her a great forward asset for CCP.

    +1 CCP. +1 Mintchip.

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  19. The Main thing I took for all of this is how revolting a lot of EvE players are. And I'm talking about in REAL LIFE, not in game.

    Some of the revolting hatred coming from the EvE community regarding the hiring of CCP Mintchip makes me ashamed to admit that I play EvE. Unfortunately, I and all other decent human beings who play EvE are now associated with the bullying thugs.

    Anyone can call me whatever they like in game and I don't care. But making it personal and about me in real life is a whole different ball game. It ceases to be "meta gaming" and it ceases to be amusing. It's personal and aimed at another human being, not some in game persona. All of the abuse I've seen has been aimed at CCP Mintchip, the real life person, not some virtual role playing in game persona.

    Going by the most "up voted" comments on open forums, there is one thing I can accurately conclude from all of this:

    MOST EVE PLAYERS ARE A BUNCH OF REAL LIFE ASSHOLES.

    P.S. The most amazing thing about all of this: EvE players are abusing someone who isn't even going to be working on their beloved game. They are just abusing her for "fun".

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  20. Hmmmmmmm, Mintchip..... now CCP Mintchip.... does that mean that CCP now owns "Mintchip" will be funny if she has to give all her wishlist "mine... mine... mine..." to CCP.

    But, thanks for taking the high road on this one Jester, will be interesting to see how it plays out. If she can get under the radar and becomes a contributer then it will work out for her, CCP and maybe even Dust514, however if she continues as she has will her EVE personna with the drama and give me stuff :) the controversy will continue and she will be more work than she's worth and she will fail within the CCP organization. (Unless she marries into the staff :), I will bet U that happens in the near future)

    Sly

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  21. She uses the fact she is a 'somewhat' attractive female as a weapon to get stuff. As most male Eve players are nerds and would have ZERO chance of ever having such a woman talk to them IRL (doubt this? watch fanfest videos)this is all too easy. She then makes videos bemoaning all the attacks on her sex that she uses to get free stuff thus soliciting the nerds to give her more free stuff becuase they feels sorry for her. Newsflash, EVE is filled with asshats who are racist and sexist for the simple reason that they think it makes them look cool. In the real world these people would get thier ass kicked saying the same things.

    Mintchip made the bed she sleeps in and used sex as a weapon against nerds. She played it quite well and I applaud her. Just stop with the sanctomonius BS o woe is me crap.

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  22. As a person, she doesn't bother me one way or another, but I was on the other side of those twitter posts.

    Aside from the way she feeds troll behavior with her woe is me attitude, to be in the midst of the hiring process (it takes longer than 6 weeks to go from interview to starting your job at CCP) for a job as a *community* rep at a gaming company while you are lambasting it's community disturbs me. Those comments are going to be at the back of my mind with everything she says regarding this community going forward for some time to come.

    The full conversation that was had that day, started with her comment about playing Dota2 with eve players which she deleted. As the rest were in response to me, they still appear in my thread as she deleted these as well.
    https://twitter.com/FunkyBacon/status/325463450979549184

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  23. She seems about as mature as I would expect someone in their mid-twenties to be. I see no red flags there. Just some yellows pertaining to how long that level of maturity is going to work for her. None of this is unique to her.

    As far as her recent career choice goes, in her IRL vlog she has mentioned a desire to be a teacher, which is a crowded field these days. In the meantime she was doing youtube videos promoting games. It seems totally sensible for her to pursue/accept this opportunity. I've had to do far worse to stay afloat. Good luck to her.

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  24. She is a community manager, not a dev, games designer etc - her job is communicate with the community. Given CCPs track record with Dolan you won't be seeing much of her. I fondly remember Dolan telling us they had lots of new ideas to promote the CSM elections and then radio silence. I’m sure they’ll break him out during alliance tournaments…. lucky us.

    CCP Mintchip has probably got an easier time of it however, Dolan has tens of thousands of Eve player to deal with. CCP Mintchip is covering DUST514 which has 36 players (9 of them alts) this means she'll be able to get to the known them all on a first names basis and DUST meet-ups can happen at her house.

    Good luck to her, she’s got a job at a company that makes products she loves. Frankly I can’t believe people are getting that agitated over what is essentially a low level PR gig.

    Lastly for those who call her unqualified remember this, she managed to get random people on the Internet to buy her stuff by talking about video games and smiling. That’s sales and marketing in action.


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  25. "She is a strong woman, sure of herself and her opinions, and that sometimes draws fire in the male-dominated video game industry."

    This sort of nonsense is being repeated so much that it's become cliche and lost it's meaning. It is less about her being a "girl in a male-dominated place" and more so about her being an immature, drama-generating attention whore.

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  26. The thing that raises the most red flags with me is the vitriol from EVE players in respect to this.

    Otherwise intellectual posts with "whore" posted more often than some verbs, on top of holier-than-thou coated hate reflects worse upon the EVE community than CCP's choice of community rep.

    That's probably the only good aspect of this whole dealy-noppen, though - it shows us how fucking toxic some of the community is. Jester outlined the basic notions behind the whole thing, but what does the response say about who we are, or who we play with?

    Rampant mysoginy aside, there's just plain old hate-speech and shitposting aplenty happening.

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  27. "Toxic" is right. Misogyny and homophobia when discussing combat, anti-Semitism when discussing ISK-earning operations, and there's probably more and worse examples out there.

    Granted, occasionally people will lose their composure and speak words in anger that they normally wouldn't, but there's a wide gap between "understandable" and "acceptable". That's true regardless of the target of the ... heated words.

    I put it out on Twitter and got gigged for it, but I'll say it here and put my name to it: some of the invective that got thrown around in this case wouldn't have been remotely acceptable even if their target had been entirely and solely responsible for the Jonestown massacre.

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  28. jonestown suicide - nasty nigel and the teenage hellcats
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVZRlilxvu4

    I remember a much crisper version on the radio, back in the day.
    And so I will NEVER FORGET the horror that inspired it.

    Anyway, on the updated naming policy - if I name my Iteron "Ripard Teg's Curse" that's now a bannable offence?

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