Have Your Say In The Classification Review

Have Your Say In The Classification Review
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The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) is currently seeking volunteers for a pilot focus group program as part of a review of the Australian classification system, so if you want to help shape the way games, movies, and publications are classified, now is your chance.

The classification review is not exclusively for video games. Rather, it is a pilot program that aims to determine community standards. Two groups consisting of 15 volunteers will be asked to view and discuss films, video games, publications and online content, some of which the ALRC has warned may be “offensive, confronting and disturbing”.

Participants must be over 18 years of age and be available in Sydney on 22 October, 31 October and 2 November. The pilot focus groups will run for half a day on one of these days — the precise date is yet to be confirmed. And if you live interstate, the ALRC are willing to cover reasonable costs that you incur in getting yourself to the session, such as economy flights, one night’s accommodation, taxi fares to and from the airport, and lunch is provided on the day.

To apply to be in the focus groups, head to ALCR website and fill in an application form. The ALCR is looking for a wide range of people to represent the community, so it would be great to get some members of the gaming community on there.

Applications close 19 September 2011 — there are a few sections you will need to complete including a statement explaining why you are interested in taking part, as well as how you cope with viewing confronting and offensive material. If you apply, let us know how you go!

Good luck!

Thanks for the tip, Sam Timmins!


    • I think the best thing we can do is try and get some gamer voices in there. Other groups will always have their own agendas and act accordingly, so while there’s not a lot we can do about their actions there’s a whole lot we can do about ours. 🙂

      • I’m just not a fan of “community standards” because if most people don’t care, they won’t bother doing anything so only those who object really get a voice.

        “I don’t like this but have no objection to it existing” doesn’t seem to carry as much weight as “ban it!” for whatever reason.

    • I agree, that’s why I signed up to present a mature gamer’s point of view. Now I just have to hope that the selection process isn’t biased.

      It’s only paranoia if they’re not out to get you! :p

      • “the ALRC will cover reasonable costs that participants incur in order to attend the viewings and discussions, including economy airfares, one night’s accommodation if necessary due to travel requirements, and taxi fares to and from the airport”

        Not quite as convenient, if it was all the days I’d be happy applying but I can’t afford the rest of the accomodation

  • 15 (probably mostly ACL) volunteers… Yup… Sounds like a good cross-section of the Australian public =\
    Hope lots of Sydney gamers sign up.

    • Hah, good point. However, this is a pilot focus group. Pilot meaning it’s an initial test run for data (e.g. to see what responses might be like) and creating a proper focus group study (e.g. they can tailor what they think worked in the pilot to the actual study phase). Also focus groups contain significantly less participants than quantitative methods (i.e. surveys). Results are generally entered into systems that code things thematically, rather than on programs that are used for quantitative stats analyses (e.g. SPSS). I think this is meant to lead to a larger focus group phase, and then to perhaps a larger quantitative design with the information from the former assisting in construction of the latter. Of course, if the media gets there hands on a response denouncing sex/violence/drugs in video games I’m sure all of this very methodical research will be spun into changes for the worse, as is always the case. Just have a look at the FOX News debate on Mass Effect and character relationships. Eventually it turned in our (gamers) favour, where the credibility of a self-help writing pop-psychologist was destroyed because of her stupid comments, but before that it looked grim.

  • Bugger, I’m over in the USA on those dates. Wouldn’t have minded a free trip to Sydney 😛

    I urge anybody who can get there to put their names forward and actually get some community standards into the “community standards”, rather than just the ACL’s standards getting passed off as the broader community’s.

  • As a parent as well as a gamer I may as well put my hand up for this. I just hope they come through on covering airfares and stuff if I end up going.

  • Tracey you should probably include the following in the article;

    “However, the ALRC will cover reasonable costs that participants incur in order to attend the viewings and discussions, including economy airfares, one night’s accommodation if necessary due to travel requirements, and taxi fares to and from the airport. Lunch on the day of the focus group will also be provided.”

    • is it legal to record conversation if they abuse you record it then hand a copy of the evidence to the ACLR at the end of the day and explain that the process is a failure due to abusive and subersive tactics by said persons aka ACL

        • I don’t think it’s legal to record a conversation without the consent of those taking part in the conversation (unless you’re law enforcement with a warrant or whatever they need to do surveillance on people). That’s why they always tell you when you call a call centre that the call may be recorded etc.

  • Would be nice if that took a proper amount of people in different city’s not just 15 sounds like too small a demographic to ask

    • In the form they ask if you’re a parent and where you’re from and you have to say a bit about yourself so I’d say they’re trying to get a varied cross-section within the small two groups of 15.

  • Application sent in. I’m sure there’s a slot for a young dude who’s been playing MA15+ games since 4 years old and hasn’t once violated anyone. In fact I’m quite docile…

  • There we go, my application has been filed. It’s amazing how this campaign for the R rating has led to a complete overall of classification in the country. It’s more than we could have asked for! Lets just hope it doesn’t lead to a situation where everything on the internet has to be classified before we can access it *cough*internetfilter*cough*.

  • Im assuming they will stop gamers specificly because we “attempted to rig the jury” so to speak.
    I recommend not stating your a gamer anywhere before its approved.

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