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Representing the Community: Learning from the European Championship

Originally published at: https://stimhack.com/representing-the-community-learning-from-the-european-championship/

Discuss the latest article here.

bblum mod edit:

Please keep the following in mind when posting new comments.

On stimhack we view conversations about feminism and sexism as essential to keeping our community healthy. In threads like these, some comments inevitably show up complaining that feminism and netrunner should somehow be kept separate. But the reality is you cannot ignore feminism when building communities because even a stance of inaction can be exclusionary. Erring on the side of inaction is precisely why tabletop gaming communities are so male-dominated even today, and our stance at Stimhack is that we need to make up for lost time.

If all you want is netrunner talk without feminist discourse, just ignore this thread - there are plenty others - but also be aware that most community regulars will hold you to a higher standard of social conduct than you might find in other gaming communities. If rather you want a netrunner community whose official stance on sexism is inaction, laissez-faire, status quo, sorry, but you’ll have to leave Stimhack entirely for that.

A lot of points and counterpoints have already been made in the 100+ comments below. If your post only serves to repeat old arguments, I will remove it.


I really appreciate how tactful and positive this article is.


This was a constructive article.

I turned off the stream audio in mild disgust; having read the article, I realise I also should have made a comment at the time about the unacceptable nature of the commentary.

I’m sorry it happened. I’m glad it has been recognised as a problem. Let’s make sure it doesn’t happen again.


04:15:40 The fore shadowing is real. with the last comment from the previous commentators.

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Super article, good constructive input.

I’ll make a specific comment about behaviour in slack - responding ‘here go the SJW’s again’, or anything like that, in response to a message which addresses diversity, or which speaks to behaviour in channel, is an automatic red flag that you haven’t grasped what Ajar is saying, and you should go read it again.


I haven’t had a good spot for this, given I missed most of the flow of conversation that followed the event and I didn’t want to detract from other necessary voices - as someone who was initially encouraging of the antics on twitch and then silent (arguably far worse) when things went grossly off the rails, I feel culpable in what happened. I’m very appreciative of this and other discussions that have allowed me to reflect on what happened - Behind whatever face was on stream saying these troubling things there’s a sea of faceless people like me, not saying something. The community outcry and response has been a testament to the diversity and engagement of the Netrunner community, and I’m deeply sorry that on that day I was not worthy of it.


Thanks for saying that, @inactivist.

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Thank you for the article.

The incident that transpired and subsequent response downplaying, or worse, normalizing it hit home with the admins of Netrunner Dorks. We formulated our response rather quickly and are in process writing a clearer set of community guidelines for our group. The is much to inspire that here.

With that said, we cannot be everywhere. It is incumbent upon this community to speak up when our values are being violated.

A Netrunner Dorks Admin


Thanks for writing this. It’s so important for any community to be clear that exclusionary language and behaviour is never OK, but you’ve managed to highlight this in a really positive way.

As regards the commentary, I’m glad they’ve stood up and accepted their mistakes, whilst also acknowledging and condemning the poor response of some other members of the community.


(Posted this under the Facebook post too, but figured I should do it here, since this is where the discussion happens.)

Nice article and good to have a page with all those things listed.

The apologies at the bottom still don’t come through for me personally. I feel like they are a bit hypocritical if anything. I might just be saying that cuz I’m biased though, since I made a few mistakes publicly in the past myself and after apologizing, those people specifically made sure I was ridiculed even more for what I did.

So yeah, sorry if I can’t accept an apology from people that made me feel like that. As the netrunner dorks moderators very nicely said, just because they apologized, doesn’t mean their apology is widely accepted.

Own up to your mistakes and be better people from here on. I don’t care about how sad you are anymore. This is an important matter, but I’d rather read about community behavior guidelines instead of having to go through the same apology letters for the 10th time 2 weeks after the Eu champs.


I think that’s fairly reasonable. I made a conscious choice to reprint the apologies after some deliberation with a few other people (including confirming with everyone whose words I printed that they were OK with it, of course). I decided it was worth showing them to some readers again in order to make sure that they were collected, published, and preserved in a single obvious public location. As it was, they had been posted on Slack and / or Netrunner Dorks, neither of which has a particularly searchable history. Slack in particular cuts the history off, which is how @johno’s apology was lost in the ether (and thus not reprinted in this article). I didn’t want that happening to the others, but I was definitely aware a lot of readers would have seen them already.

Actions speak louder than words, of course, so I also made sure to state that explicitly right after reprinting all of the apologies.


Many people said we need to make our voices heard in times like this for the better of our community. I just thought I should share my opinion on the matter and how I felt about reading those apologies.

As I already said, you did an awesome job with the article and the fact that you included the apologies was only fair, since as you said, some may not have read them yet. So in any case, I did not mean to say that it was a mistake to include them again, since, if anything, this is the first formal article we get (as far as I’m aware at least) addressing the whole ordeal, so it only made sense to have them there.

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While I agree that the commentary during the EU Championship finals were unprofessional, I feel as though the community is turning this into a witch hunt. If you were upset by the commentary, you have every right to be; please express that. But even if you don’t accept the apologies of the commentators, at least move past it, and we as the community can learn from this as a whole.

We expect a level of professionalism from commentators.I would have loved to hear some professional hype commentary on the final game, and would have had fun going over to a different side-stream to listen to Dan and the boys crack open a cold one and just have fun commentating the finals. Silly commentary is fun, but it should be reserved for a “b-stream” where people can go to have a fun time and just mess around with commentary. I feel like the EU commentary would have been a non-issue or less of an issue if it was on a “b-stream”.

The only point of contention I really have is that the use of the word “guys” being “potentially problematic”. Today, it is nearly impossible to say anything without stepping on someones toes, and for the most part, ‘guys’ is a word that is used to describe a group of people, regardless of gender. I know plenty of women who use the phrase ‘guys’ to describe their group of friends or the group that they are with. (I know this is a fallacy but bear with it please). It feels ridiculous that there is a perceived need to change the language used to describe a group using a word that is now gender neutral for the majority of the population just to satisfy a small group who believe this word to be noninclusive to be satisfied. I personally, just find this point to be out of place in the article and a nonissue.

Overall though, fantastic read and incredibly well written. Thanks for including the apologies at the end, I had not been able to read them yet.


I’ve been near the middle of this since the beginning, and don’t think it’s turned into a witch hunt at all. I think @Kelfecil has been reasonable. It’s fine for some people to not accept the apologies, but there haven’t been (to my knowledge, anyway) very many people who did so. If there were some kind of organized effort to shout the offenders down in every public Netrunner space, that would be a witch hunt, but I don’t see that happening. A few of the offenders are a little withdrawn right now, but I think that’s equal parts self-reflection and upcoming US Regionals.

I disagree with this very strongly. I agree with you that offtopic commentary is fine in a vacuum, although in my opinion less so when it’s the grand finals of one of the biggest, most multinational tournaments in the game’s history. But the blasé sexism on display in that stream would not have been okay in any context. That’s a big part of why I wrote the article: I and many others think these are reasonable ground rules for inclusive participation in this community, and while there’s obviously no way to explicitly enforce such things, we’ll certainly keep speaking up when it’s warranted.

I put the “guys” thing in very much intentionally. It’s a prime example of a thing that seems totally normal only because so many people do it. If you stop and look at it, though, it’s only ever actually used to apply to a group that is either all men, or has men and women. That is, it implicitly refers to men by default, optionally including some women as well. It is not used to refer to groups of women, or when referring to groups one might assume default to women or assume to be majority women.

For example, have you ever heard a woman say she was going away for a weekend with “the guys,” when meeting up with several women for a vacation? Or that she was talking to “the guys” from her pregnancy support group, unless there were men in the group?

That means it is inherently not gender neutral. Whether it is definitively a problem, or to what extent, is something I think reasonable people can disagree about – that’s why I said “potentially problematic.”

I’m not suggesting that we should start shouting down anyone who ever uses the word “guys.” I’m saying it’s a great example of something many people say without thinking about it, but that can leave some people feeling excluded. And the fact that it’s so commonly used makes it harder, not easier, for people who feel excluded to speak up.

A more obvious or egregious example would be easily dismissed as “oh, I never say that.” But many, many people say “guys.” It’s a good way to get people thinking about this kind of stuff.

This is in some ways the first step toward becoming aware of this kind of stuff. I think people tend to go two ways from this statement: one is bemoaning modern “politically correct” culture; the other is listening to the objections and thinking about why people have those objections, as I suggested in the article. You can do that and then conclude you don’t agree, but it doesn’t seem like you’ve really heard and understood the objections yet. I hope this explanation combined with what I already wrote helps with that, even if you don’t ultimately change your opinion.

Thanks for the feedback and for expressing appreciation! :slight_smile: This article wasn’t easy to write, and I really wanted to be testing for my upcoming Regional a lot more than I have been. But this was important, and the Stimhack front page was the right venue.


Let me add just a little to what Ajar’s written in response. The vast majority of the netrunner population is male. One of the reasons for that is that the language and behaviour of the currently male-dominated community is off-putting to other demographics - so it becomes self-reinforcing. We should be going out of our way to change our behaviour in all ways possible if we want to have a community which is truly representative of the world we live in. Language is important.


Maybe I don’t see this as a problem because I myself am male, but I didn’t join this community or enjoy being in it due to the language being used. I enjoy the game, the people playing the game, and I have fun. I think that is the best way to get more people to play; getting them into the community. I don’t see many women playing netrunner, and in all honesty, I have no idea why that is. The game is great, the people are great. Everyone is respectful, critical and thoughtful and I wish more communities were like that.

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“Guys” might be used to talk about groups of mixed or indeterminate gender, but it’s still a gendered word. It’s a simple enough form in language to replace and ought to be considered for anything being broadcasted, especially a broadcast for a group that wants to project and embody inclusion.

I appreciate the sentiment of this article even though I didn’t find what was being said personally offensive. That the community is able and willing to face this criticism with directness and a dash of humility is very promising.


I wonder if we might stop referring to the people involved as “the offenders.” How about “the people who have apologized” or something else that does not rhetorically define them as outsiders to the norms of the community? If they are forgiven, it seems to me that we should speak of them in ways that do not hang guilt around their necks.


Yeah, that’s fair, I couldn’t think of a concise way to say it, and forgot that “offenders” comes with tons of other baggage.

Language is hard!


A limiting issue with privilege is that it blinds us in exactly the way you’ve characterised.