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Representing the Community: Learning from the European Championship

‘involved parties’


We are literally in a thread discussing some extremely disrespectful, un-thoughtful and sexist behaviour. Maybe that gives a clue as to why few women feel welcome in this community.

I agree.


Oh, sorry – I meant heard and understood the objections some people have to using “guys” to describe multi-gender groups. I tried to elaborate on those objections in particular.

Yeah got a bit confused there. Thanks for clearing that up! :slight_smile:

Is everyone okay? Or do we have people who are a problem? The fact is that those involved in this incident a) are among some of the best known figures in the community and b) were allowed to voice these terrible things on stream at the European fucking Championships. Their actions reflect and represent us. That’s why we have to show objection to it, that’s why we can’t stand by or make half-hearted apologies or suggest that “oh well some people are just being sensitive” as many people continued to do after this incident. Gaming as a whole has a problem with toxicity and exlusionary behaviour, and sexism is a huge part of that. If we want to break away and claim that Netrunner is somehow a better community, we have to be perfect about it.


Objectively, this isn’t true. Look at the list of standings in any tournament run in the last years. The number of women players is < 5%. By no means is our community inclusive. Nice though we may be.

No-one is singling out a group to ‘recruit’. We’re trying to make it more likely that those who are not in the current core demographic feel welcomed, whatever their gender, sexuality, or other characteristic.


They apologized for their actions, what more do you want? Would you like to “drain the swamp” of these people? There are simple actions to take in response for this. Don’t have them commentate on the next tournament. Don’t have them commentate if they’re drinking if you’re lenient. What would you suggest as a good source of action?

This number does dishearten me, considering I thought this number to be closer to around 10%. However, when I made that comment, I was thinking of the variety of races, age groups, along with sexes that play netrunner. In almost no other game have I seen such a large variety in these factors.

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Tha’s a different point. You’re making the argument that ‘everyone in this community is respectful, critical and thoughtful’. Again, objectively, that’s simply not true. In the last six months, we’ve had to ban people from slack, and from netrunner tournaments in at least two occasions, because their behaviour was unacceptable - neither respectful, critical, nor thoughtful. @echo is challenging that statement.

I’m actually quite okay with most of the actions taken by those involved following the incident. The apologies possibly could have been a step better in some parts but I think intentions were mostly in the right place. What I’m less okay with is the response from some sections of the community who suggest things like.

This would not have been okay. I don’t want this sort of shit anywhere near anything I am involved with. Stop trying to justify it, it looks like you’re trying to find a way that we can have more of this in the future which I sincerely hope you (or anyone) wouldn’t want.


At the European Championships, as far as I can tell, around 220 of the 240 or so competitors were cis, white, males. That’s a pretty narrow demographic. There were 5 or so women players - that’s 2.5%

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I do not know much about other LCG communities, or board-gaming communities, or even video-game communities. But I do think the Netrunner community puts forward an unusually strong effort toward being inclusive, even if we are still faced with depressing statistics like the above. (Frankly, that may actually be an improvement on previous years.) That’s a good thing.

That’s probably why we’ve had such a strong reaction here. Because a lot of people really are putting a deal of time, thought and effort into making sure that nobody is made to feel unwelcome. That’s a good thing.

To clarify, the issue with the commentary was not that it was ‘silly’. It was not the quality, or professionalism, or relevance that anyone is concerned about in this thread (we can have a separate, much more light hearted discussion about that!). Rather it was content of the commentary: the words used, and the views expressed.


It was a mistake to write out my comments without taking an hour or two to sit down and evaluate exactly what I wanted to say without causing confusion, both for myself and for others. Sorry about that.


I don’t think there’s the expectation people spend an hour or two in contemplation before posting.

If it has helped clarify your thoughts, perhaps it has helped with those of others, too. So that’s no bad thing.


@dragar I think this is generally true, yes - the game flavour is incredibly inclusive, and as a community, I think we’re better than many. As you say, though, it’s events like this one that hit so hard. We aren’t where we need to be.

At my Regional in Chicago there were only a couple of female players in a field of 37 (I think that was the number).

I noticed that there were a couple of female players in or near the cut at the recent DC Regional, but I have no idea how many were in the entire field.

What would a benchmark ratio be where we would say we are probably creating a good environment?

I have a hypothesis that I cannot test. We know that not every human on earth likes to play competitive card games. I would hypothesize that if you could do a random sample of the entire adult population, you’d discover a fairly pronounced gender split when it comes to interest in a game like Netrunner.

Part of that is probably due to the male-dominated state of the meta. That alone might discourage female interest. But I suspect – and I may be wrong – that you’d find more men than women have a base level interest in playing this sort of game.

If that is true – and even if you think it is not – what ratio of male-to-female participation would you want to see in order to feel like the game was doing a good job in being inclusive in this area?

[Does anyone know what the gender split is in Destiny right now? At my FLGS, the Destiny crowd tends to be much more diverse in terms of ages of the people and it does draw more females than my local Netrunner group.]


Frankly, I’m not sure it’s productive to be thinking in terms of ratios. I’m deeply skeptical about the possibility of gender differences in Netrunner-liking, but that’s not to say that I think we should be aiming for 50/50. Still, there are different ways to approach the question. For example, we can start with “are there remotely enough women participating?” I don’t think we really need to start asking about specific numbers until the answer to that question stops being "no."
Another non-quantitative benchmark we can use is “are things like this still happening?”

That said, I do want to emphasize how pleased I am with the response to this situation. Precious few gaming communities would be having this conversation at all, much less as well as y’all are.


I don’t know what you mean by “base level.” There is no physiological predisposition for a gender to like “this sort of game.” Women play videogames, men can like dolls, etc. That’s the same attitude that caused 90s videogames (and the associated advertising) to be terribly sexist-- it was a cyclical argument. So, yes, I think you may be wrong. Though, I know you meant well with your post.

The ratio that reflects the general population. Until that point, the balance is not good enough.


Historically, of course, this has been used to explain why women aren’t interested in all sorts of things. The effect seems to vanish the less women expect, and are expected to, conform to this stereotype.

Expectations take time to change, but I’d like to live in a world where half the population are not missing from male-dominated activities I enjoy. Best get started now.


Anyone else watch this stream just because of this article? I have to say I was a bit disappoint–expected more craziness after such build up haha.

Still an excellent article and very fair points. Certainly some of the comments went beyond the scope of acceptable banter. It stood out as particularly “wrong” being the finals of a major event. I can also see the argument for it being quite low content commentary for a finals game. I would also have been disappoint if I had watched this hoping for quality analysis. But to be fair, the game was also quite boring/low content, and there was still some quality analysis packed in between some obnoxiousness, eeews, and some real humour.

In any case, the silver lining of the whole thing is it shows how amazing the netrunner community is in coming down hard on these issues instead of brushing it aside. The most important thing is to not normalize it, and to not let it become acceptable. There are lines you don’t cross–even if the majority of your audience thinks it’s funny/ok. Thanks Ajar!

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