As an increasing number of obnoxious teenagers and angry, misinformed racists discover their ability to exercise their freedom of speech over Xbox Live, Microsoft and Bungie must consider whether or not they want to exercise their right as the big daddy and shut them up.
Considering this issue is a two-step process. Firstly, would it even be feasible or practical to police players? And secondly, if it were possible, how would it work? It would be nice if these groups of immature people were simply met by a mature majority and eventually silenced through peer influence. In this way, every time you speak out against a racist remark in the post-game lobby or refrain from gloating you are doing your part to fight the ignorance that could come to plague XBL. Unfortunately, since this revolution will not take place without some pushing from the top, is there anything that Microsoft or Bungie could do?
The solution cannot be as simple as, say, a particular player being reprimanded if 10 people file a complaint against them since things such as petty clan wars would cause undeserving people to be punished. Some say no one should be silenced, as we can choose to ignore people. I would, however, argue that no one should have to be exposed to such offensive idiocy for even one second. So, the question ultimately boils down to whether or not the powers that be can develop a system to expose and mark these offenders, resulting in their being muted at the very least, and perhaps even suspended or expelled from XBL.
My suggestion would be a complaint system (voice and/or text based) that could then serve as a lead for Microsoft or Bungie to listen in on these people. Racist remarks (the ‘n-word’) and excessive swearing are all too common and things along these lines would result in an official warning followed by a serious punishment. Although I would be in favor of just eliminating these fools, a less extreme solution would obviously bring more praise and less scrutiny to such a controversial policy.
I must note that I admire the freedom given to the members of the Halo 2 XBL community and propose this only to weed out those who attempt to soil the cleanliness we should all be able to enjoy every time we log on to XBL. Any system of control must be lenient and target only those who are clearly out of line.
Broderick (Brick) Shoemaker
You can contact Brick at Brick@mlgpro.com. All opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Major League Gaming or its affiliates.