czm-b4r

CZ Minutes: Broadcast 4 Reps?

 

The debate around Broadcast 4 Reps (B4R) has recently flared up, especially on reddit, following a very unfortunate incident that supposedly happened as a result of troll responses to a B4R post. In some ways, this subject is a little out of the normal purview of CZ, in others, it is vital because it speaks to the humanity of EVE’s community and touches on some very heavy topics.

How do you feel about B4R? We see B4R posts far more often now, do you feel this is a positive sign, that people are reaching out for help and getting it, or a negative one, that people are exposing themselves to misleading advice or damage at worst? What would the ideal situation be from your viewpoint, and how do you see the EVE community handling this going forward? Should we keep personal, RL issues and EVE separate, or is helping each other this way the definition of the EVE community at its finest?

Kojaimea Sakamoto

This is a very difficult situation, I personally believe that B4R posts has a place on Reddit though it is worrying that we are seeing an increasing frequency of them. In my eyes B4R provides an easily accessible and immediate way for people who are having issues to quickly connect to others. Sometimes these people need someone to listen to their problems or simple advice that can be given by players in our community, other times they need professional opinions and can be directed in such a way.

The saddest part about this whole situation is that someone was in trouble and came to our community for help. As a community I can’t help but feel that we let that person down. It certainly wasn’t everyone and certainly wasn’t the majority of people that failed the person in need, but that person was failed in their darkest hours.

it is important that anyone in need feels that they can talk to our community

In my opinion it is important that anyone in need feels that they can talk to our community about their problems, and that we should help each other with whatever we are each going through in life. I understand that many do not want to see this and use Reddit and Eve as a way to escape from life and there are filter buttons available for those people to use.

I have no great plan as to how this situation can be mended, how we can move forwards but I think that as a community we should support each other and help each other when we can. I am not suggesting that /r/Eve becomes a place only for emotional support or even that I want to see more B4R posts in the future but if people are in need, they should not be shut out before they have their chance to discuss their problems.

Ultimately if B4R has saved just one person’s life since it has started, surely that is a result more important than anything else.

Cosmo

Before starting this I want to wish Olivia, the person befallen by this mood disorder, a speedy recovery and I hope she realises how much life has in store for her and how transient this period is.

The above sentence was not written by a professional counselor or a trained psychologist, it was written by a member of this community which feels connected to her, even if I never talked or interacted with that person. I care about my fellow capsuleer even if i’m also equally likely to shoot them in space and then go ‘gf’ in local.

That is the core of Broadcast for Reps, a subgroup of our community which has realised that amongst us, there are people having a really bad and shitty time. People come to B4R since it’s the closest thing that they may hope to find to a safe place, or a community they feel a sense of belonging to. We are talking about people which chose Eve as their break-away, as their disconnect from their lives, as the single thing that they may wake up in the morning for. While some may have corpies they feel close enough to talk with, some don’t, and that’s where B4R comes in.

We are talking about people which chose Eve as their break-away, as their disconnect from their lives, as the single thing that they may wake up in the morning for.

That places a terrible burden on the people in the B4R channel, and they’re not professionals, and they may not help, and they may just screw up sometimes with a poorly phrased sentence…

But they’re there. They might help. Even if by trying to send them to seek professional help, that’s a guidance given by someone they may feel more connected with than sometimes even their parents or their circle of friends in real life.

If B4R weren’t there, maybe we’d be seeing more people not falling into that net, no matter how shoddy or poorly set up it is, and end up doing the deed. And worst of all, we may not hear of it, because as mentioned, there are Eve players without strong ties to other people in the game but still heavily invested in our little sandbox. Being blinded by ignorance of the fact is not better than trying.

We are also part of the greater Eve community at large, which harbors some elements which also call Eve home. Keeping these two very different subgroups apart is a tough bit. For Olivia’s case, i have not seen the chat logs but i can imagine what’s been said there. Tighter moderation might have helped, as may have a lot of things in Eve as well as in Olivia’s own life. But there always will be a malevolent element, and he/she may just write that one horrible sentence even if banned right after. And then the damage would have been done.

It doesn’t help that the ‘feel’ of B4R has also expanded on to Reddit and other places where they may not receive as moderated of a help as they might find in the official ingame channel. But they still get words of encouragement and enough support to maybe put off the feeling of despair for another day. The Eve community at large has seemed to also share in the values that brokered B4R into a standing pillar of our community, as shown by the large number of supportive replies to B4R threads.

So we come to the thorny bit. Is B4R something we should keep?

Yes. I very much think the good B4R is doing is well worth the ‘cost’ and the upkeep. (and the lack of ability to filter B4R posts on mobile reddit, seriously dude, B4R posts bother you that much? more than filtering propaganda?)

Is there a way to make B4R better equipped to handle this endeavour?

While as Disneyland as this may sound, i would love for CCP to take a stronger stance in this, while also offering first hand support. Stricter life-long bans on horrid examples of harassment, the likes of which i’m sure the logs would show, while also taking B4R into official status by hiring a few professional counselors which would work out of the in-game channel.

In the end, even with those resources available and acting on all cylinders, i’m sure someone feeling like they have a bad time will still end up in the hospital or worse. The matter of fact is even real life professional help and suicide hotlines don’t succeed all the time.

But at least we recognized this is an issue for some within our community and we are trying.

Danikov

Attitudes to B4R seem to echo the current political schisms that are being fought over in both the current US election and politics more generally worldwide. On the one side you have protective liberalism seeking to defend minorities and individual rights to be almost anything. On the other, conservatives fight against the ability of an individual to impose on the collective, opting for a hard-love kind of world that requires a backbone and thick skin.

People will continue to argue back and forth between these two paradigms for centuries to come, but between the two compromises are found. A growing area of compromise is mental health. Unfortunately it’s in a dire state even in the more wealthy countries of the world, maybe even due to that wealth and the cultural patterns that have made them successful. There are countless tales of people whose lives are destroyed by unforgiving systems and uncaring employers. While we are making progress, things are a long way from being even remotely solved.

B4R is the opposite of a place for pushing the fuzzy grey lines of what is acceptable

But what most people seem to compromise on is that safe spaces are useful and should be protected. Mental health crises can be mitigated with intervention, so establishing safe places and sympathetic practices across many lines, whether they’re social, family, work, or wherever people are in contact with each other, maximises the chances of stopping someone before they go too far and helping them get in touch with a professional to get the help they need. Even if you don’t agree with this in principle, it’s better than either extreme of insisting that everywhere is a safe place or that nowhere is

B4R is EVE’s safe place and just on that balance I will vehemently support it as the right compromise to be reached and that there should be no tolerance for those who deliberately infringe on that space. B4R is the opposite of a place for pushing the fuzzy grey lines of what is acceptable and it’s no surprise to see the hammer dropped in rapid response. CCP are right to get behind B4R, not that their actions need any defending; whether driven by profit, legal requirement, or basic human decency, one can understand not wanting to be associated or labelled culpable in a suicide and their actions in the past follow those notions.

The greater perspective is more complex. EVE has always had aspirations of being more than just a game, of being on some level more real than mere fantasy. Succeeding in that means coming to terms with the fact that people like this exist and will behave in this manner under corresponding circumstances. B4R is an encouraging indicator that a lawless universe might not fall to utter cruelty and disarray, but CCP’s need to intervene in the egregious incidents is a reminder that true transcendence is impossible; EVE cannot escape reality, at best it can come full circle and become a part of it.


DireNecessity

Humans, being rather social, tend to socialize.  Repeated socializing tends to grow friendships.  Friends end up learning about each other’s lives.  Friends end up caring about each other.  Friends end up supporting each other.  It’s the way we humans work.  It’s the map we humans follow.  Not everybody is identical, there’s more than one way to reach the same destination, but that destination remains much the same nonetheless.

EVE is a very social game.  Accordingly, players will socialize, friendships will grow, familiarity and support will happen.  While I can’t speak to whether B4R is effective or appropriate, I can say that it or something like it will continue to exist in and around EVE.  We’re human.  These things develop.

Be patient.  Be tenacious.  Be well.  It gets better.

So Olivia, I’m not going to use your specific experience as vehicle to anything.  Rather I’m going to speak human to human.  It gets better.  It takes far too long, it grows far too exhausting and in the midst of the riptide it seems far too demoralizing but still, it gets better.  Be patient.  Be tenacious.  Be well.  It gets better.


Rixx Javix

I had to wait a few hours after hearing about this to collect my thoughts. My first reaction was not good, or fair, or tempered, or very adult. Frankly when these incidents happen and “blow-up” on forums, or on Reddit, or anywhere else for that matter, it does little to help anyone – much less those real human beings that have been affected. People comment about something they know nothing about, show sympathy or anger about an incident they were not a part of, and generally go on and on about things they usually have no real knowledge regarding. Much like what I’m doing right now.

Except I do know two things for certain. I know there are a lot of good people in the B4R community that genuinely want to help. And I know, from personal experience, what the effects of mental anguish can have on friends, family and those people we share our lives with. Those calling for a wall between real life and gaming don’t seem to understand that such a wall cannot ever be built. Gaming is life because people play. Not machines. We cannot divide these things, just as we can’t divide any human activity into component parts. Humans are complicated, complex, messy, and invasive creatures. And dealing with them is a complicated, complex and messy enterprise. That is, sadly, often filled with mistakes, faults, and unintended consequences.

I’m not a professional. Helping people in need is part of what it means to be human.

I’m not going to specifically address this most recent incident because I don’t feel qualified to do so. Out of respect for the humans involved. In the eight years I’ve been playing Eve, I’ve tried to help countless players in countless ways. I’m not a professional. Helping people in need is part of what it means to be human. You can’t stop it. Nor should you try. This is where the B4R community comes from, this basic human need to help. It isn’t perfect. We are not perfect. And neither are any of you reading this now. But we are all human. And sometimes we need a shoulder to lean on, or a friend in the darkness.


Tarek Raimo

As a disclaimer up front, I would personally never talk about my own psycho-emotional issues in an online environment that is fully public and where I don’t know the people. That being said, I also fully understand why some can come to a point where they feel the need to do so. The metaphorical cry for help coming from a person who is suffering from a personal crisis will often become a literal one. Under such duress many people will try to reach anyone who might be willing to listen and offer support. Naturally, the quasi-anonymity and one-to-many communication of the internet facilitates that. Under those conditions, I consider it admirable that there are people who are prepared to offer what support they can provide. It does not necessarily matter that this will not be professionals in the field, because in many situations people who are going through a personal crisis benefit vastly from the feeling of just being heard, being understood, being cared for and knowing that they are not alone with their problems.

Unfortunately, reddit – or any public platform for that matter – can not provide a guarantee that this will be the only reaction. No matter how on-the-spot any moderators might be, there is a real danger that malicious or plain nasty reactions will get through to the person who asks for help. If someone is so desperate and feels so lost that turning to a public community is their only solace, then they are already in a very sensitive state. Under those conditions, the provocations by trolls have a serious potential to make things much worse, as we have seen in the recent incident. Reddit is not and can not be a safe place for such things. All reactions by users would have to be screened, ideally only those with good intentions are allowed to read and react to B4R at all. Sadly I have to agree with the people who point out the unfortunate truth that this is not a suitable place for everyone who needs to deal with psychological or emotional trauma.

Sadly I have to agree with the people who point out the unfortunate truth that this is not a suitable place for everyone who needs to deal with psychological or emotional trauma.

On the other hand, I also do not see a reason to be ashamed of the EVE player community, quite the contrary. Unreflected nastiness for its own sake is ubiquitous on the internet, the will to care for and help others is not. It is admirable that the EVE community has brought forth an initiative like B4R. I just think they should reconsider their method. Reddit could be the clearinghouse, the place where the most general cry for help may be published by the desperate, but the actual story involved should be taken to a more controlled and secluded area.

Concerning CCP’s role in all this, I do not think they could or should get involved in any way that directly sanctions reddit users as players. It would not only be beyond their capacity, but they would also overstep their boundaries by doing so. CCP simply does not have the authority to police player behaviour under all circumstances. They can sanction players if they step out of line during fanfest and of course if they use the game itself as a platform for harassment, but reddit is beyond their sphere of influence and competence. The way I understand the story – however – suggests that at least some of the harassment has occurred in-game. As far as that can be ascertained, the consequence for the players in question should of course be the ultimate means of punishment that CCP has: a lifelong ban.


Dunk Dinkle  

Everyone is dealing with some bullshit in their life. Some have tools to help deal with this, others don’t and can end up in a bad place with coping mechanisms that have negative results, like addiction and suicide.  To expect Eve players to be free of problems and never mention them is to ask people to be robots.

It’s admirable for the B4R groups to try and help people take the first step toward getting help, but as many have mentioned, they should not be considered the only step in getting help.  Other groups are far better trained and equipped to help over the long term.  That said, B4R groups are often the most accessible source for help for people that may not feel comfortable turning to more “professional” groups.

It’s also understandable for people to want to enjoy their video game for it’s escapism and not want to be reminded of “real life” problems.  For the most part, the people on /r/Eve that don’t want to hear about B4R fall into this category.  For me personally, there are times, after having a long day and dealing with my own bullshit, I read a B4R post and think “what the fuck is this person whining about…”.  But as I was taught, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything”.  There’s nothing wrong with skipping over B4R posts or ignoring the whole thing if you can’t or don’t want to add to your daily burdens.  

It’s also understandable for people to want to enjoy their video game for it’s escapism and not want to be reminded of “real life” problems.

But there are small minority of people that enjoy antagonizing these people, who are in clear pain over their troubles.  This is unacceptable behavior in any community.  Going far beyond a lack of empathy, they exhibit enmity toward these people, actively working to make them feel worse.  This kind of behavior usually comes from people who have been damaged themselves and somehow feel positive about making other people feel bad, a literal sociopathic behavior.

There is no reason to excuse this kind of antagonistic behavior and it doesn’t belong in our community.  Groups that encourage this kind of behavior are worse than individuals acting alone as they try to give some justification to inexcusable behavior.  I have no sympathy for edgelords and their attempts to dance on the line of “too far”.  Ban ‘em and move on.


Ashley Traynor

Keeping this real short because I’m trying to multitask Alliance Tournament practice with writing. This is however a rather important issue and it deserves attention.

In the past I have had to deal with the people at B4R myself. I’ve played both sides of the coin, as someone seeking help and also while trying to make others feel better. I have to say that while I never felt it really helped in the long run, these sorts of channels do serve their place. They help to reinforce this sense of community, they create this group of friendly players who you can look to for support any time. When you’re down at your lowest that can sometimes be an absolute godsend, just having someone to listen.

When you’re down at your lowest that can sometimes be an absolute godsend, just having someone to listen.

Beyond that, though, nobody should expect a miracle to come from B4R and as we’ve seen recently, you should temper your interaction with such groups carefully. They aren’t a replacement for actual therapy or self-improvement and you may not come out in a better state than you started in. An ideal situation would see B4R continue to operate as it does but perhaps with a more moderated approach to avoid the above issues happening again. Really the main benefit of this group is to stand as a ‘beacon of hope’ for those lost in their own darkness.

 

 

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Tags: Ashley Traynor, b4r, Broadcast4Reps, Cosmo, cz minutes, CZM, Danikov, DireNecessity, dunk dinkle, Kojaimea Sakamoto, rixxjavix, Tarek Raimo

About the author

Niden

Perpetrator of thuggery in low security space, artist, and known as “The Stalin of Crossing Zebras” - Niden is the Editor-in-Chief of CZ.

  • Messiah Complex

    A ‘service’ like B4R is something you can’t afford to get wrong. Not even once. And the task becomes exceptionally difficult when you have no control over who walks through the door.

    I love both the impulse and the capacity to help others. But part of that affection comes from knowing those traits are not universal. And, as it turns out, the traits are especially rare in combination. It’s difficult enough to have the constant presence necessary to deal with the trolls, but to do it right you also have to deal with the people that are trying and failing to help. Trolls aren’t the only ones that can make things worse. How many Reddit moderators have both the perception and the grace to assume responsibility for the well-meaning inept?

    Moderation is not the answer, because a public internet forum is not the answer. The only role for B4R/Reddit is to direct those that ask for help to actual counselors.

  • Uncle Dunk

    “Sometimes these people need someone to listen to their problems or simple advice that can be given by players in our community” The problem is that you are not one to make any of these distinctions or look for solutions in the situation. Bring these people in contact with professionals, as fast as you can. I really like the B4R initiative and we are better of with it. But there is a reason all people who deal with life threatening situations (which being suicidal is) are highly trained.

    • Cosmo

      You could be dealing with suicidal people in your real life without knowing it, your every phrase affecting them, in B4R’s case, you know it. While we should hand off cases to professional help, not all people that enter B4R have suicidal thoughts, or really considering them. Some just need an ear.

  • Viince_Snetterton

    Why is anyone surprised this happened?

    CCP revels in the actions of a number of sick fucks in this game who get their jollies by hurting other people. CCP’s marketing even begs them to join the game (Be the Villain). All these wanna be Vikings who live on that god-forsaken rock in the North Atlantic seem think that this HTFU attitude they trumpet day in/day out is great in-game behaviour. But then they are shocked when the sociopaths cross over the line into RL, or whatever you want to call the B4R’s channel. ,

    The biggest problem with this game is the culture of it. Look at the tag line of Niden: The Stalin of Crossing Zebra’s….really?
    One of the worst mass-murderers in history, and you are proud to
    display that? Yup, there is a big reason right there why the sub base has fallen off a cliff, and why CCP is desperate with this free to play crap. There is no way CCP can expect to draw in and then retain any significant amount of players unless they put the hammer down on the sociopathic behaviour in-game and out of game.

    CCP wants to send a message? They perma-ban the nazi’s that dropped the gas in the AT tourney, very publicly, very loudly, and then bans every director of that alliance for 90 days. That would be a great start. They then go after all the pricks in the B4R channel with criminal actions, if possible. Then wipe out every single IP address of anyone who trolls in the rookie channels.

    Instead of spending who knows how much money on this Vegas circle-jerk with the null sec cartels, how about using that money to hire GM’s and moderators for the rookie channels and any other channel that needs to be kept clear of the psycho’s that CCP until now has welcomed into Eve with open arms.

    • DireNecessity

      Hurray for ‘null sec cartels’ – Drink!

    • Kamar Raimo

      Actually we originally wanted to make Niden’s tagline “The Hitler of Crossing Zebras” but we reconsidered because Stalin’s greater staying power and tendency to execute even his closest associates fitted much better with Niden’s personality and behaviour.

      So, we really do put quite some serious thought and consideration into those things, I reject the idea that this is somehow a sign of a lesser culture.

  • Bill Bones

    Due to personal cirumstances (survived suicide, a process wich goes beyond healing the physical damage), I’ve been split over B4R since it was first introduced to the larger EVE community. My gut feeling was and is that EVE is not the place for such initiative.

    Some claim that EVE is just a game and what happens in game is just a game, not real. That’s bullshit. We don’t stop being real persons just because we are playing a game. Yet EVE relies heavily on the idea that what someone does in the game, remains in the game, is not real. That makes too easy to forget that there’s a real person behind the symbol, the character. EVE players are not hurting persons, just messing with characters. Yet the persons are there, and they are real, game or no game.

    B4R leads into the false impression that the person can reach out to persons, not symbols, characters, and leads to thnking that he or she will be treated like a person, not as a symbol, not as something unreal because “it’s just a game”. And that msut happne 100% fo he tiem, or things will get very ugly once the person is being abused as a character, as a non-person. As happened now. Yet who guarantees that persons using B4R will be treated a persons? The players? CCP?

    I do know how and why B4R was born, but as good willed as is the initiative, EVE is not the place for it. Most players are neutral or hostile to most players. It was just a matter of time until someone slipped into exactly this kind of incident or worst.

    I dont say that B4R should shut down. But god have mercy of anyone else slipping into the worst grounds opened by EVE Online. All in all, not so many years ago, this girl could have been Erotica1’s target.

  • Telegram Sam

    Really nice that CZ had the heart to address this issue and discuss it. o7

  • One Two

    “Concerning CCP’s role in all this, I do not think they could or should get involved in any way that directly sanctions reddit users as players. It would not only be beyond their capacity, but they would also overstep their boundaries by doing so. CCP simply does not have the authority to police player behaviour under all circumstances. They can sanction players if they step out of line during fanfest and of course if they use the game itself as a platform for harassment, but reddit is beyond their sphere of influence and competence. ” – Tarek Raimo

    We hear versions of this anytime some eve player exhibits appalling behavior outside of the game. But it is wrong. CCP can deny access to their property for any reason at all. If they decided to ban a player, for whatever reason, then that player has no legal recourse.

    Personally, I would hope that CCP would permanently ban any player that acted like what has been reported, regardless of where it happened. We do not need them here.

    • Kamar Raimo

      It is a rather difficult territory, CCP can not police player behaviour all the time and everywhere. In particular because they can not always do the necessary investigation, this would open the door for false accusations and witch hunts. Apart from that, they really don’t have the people to do that. They can’t even maintain a wiki or an in game browser these days, so how would they have the capacity to police player behaviour outside of their own servers>