Microsoft's Slow Response To Xbox Harassment Leaves One Woman Stunned

Microsoft's Slow Response To Xbox Harassment Leaves One Woman Stunned

The story is sad yet familiar: Last month, Jenny Haniver was playing Call of Duty online when another player started saying some nasty things. "You on your period or something?" the player said. "'Cause you didn't do too hot. Being a leader. Of the other bitches that were on your team."

Later, the player, who goes by the Xbox Live name PHATDOG, sent her a text message and then a voice message, in which he got even nastier: "I'm gonna impregnate you with triplets and make you have a very late term abortion."

You can listen to the whole thing below:

This sort of harassment isn't uncommon on Xbox Live -- Microsoft's gaming platform is well-known for having a large swath of immature users, to the point where the Xbox team built an entire system called Reputation in an attempt to improve things for their next console, the Xbox One.

But Haniver says that even after filing a complaint and sending all of the pertinent information to Xbox Live, she never received a response.

She walked me through everything she did: First, just after receiving the message on July 26, she filled out a complaint through the built-in Xbox Live system, as directed by Microsoft's instructions.

Next, Haniver sent an email to Microsoft's enforcement group. "I never received a response," she told me, "other than an automated 'we received your email' message."

A few days later, she tweeted at Xbox, but they couldn't help her. Over the next week and a half, Haniver kept checking PHATDOG's account, tweeting at Xbox's support team, and trying to follow up with Microsoft's customer support, but as of August 10, two weeks after her complaint, PHATDOG was still active.

The apparent inaction left Haniver stunned and frustrated.

"One of my biggest issues with this whole thing is that Xbox Live was not able to point me towards a human being who was actually capable of addressing my concerns," Haniver said in an e-mail. "It was a lot of repeating that they cannot comment on specific cases, I should file a complaint, and trust that it will be reviewed."

When reached for comment by Kotaku, Microsoft sent over a statement:

Bullying and harassment of any kind are not welcome on Xbox Live and are taken very seriously. Members should immediately report inappropriate behaviour through the complaint tools in the service. The Xbox Live Policy and Enforcement Team investigates complaints that are filed, and they take enforcement action -- up to and including permanently suspending the accounts of offenders -- as there is evidence to do so. We do not comment publicly on specific cases nor do we provide direct feedback on all complaints in order to prevent individuals from abusing the system and to prevent retaliation.

On Monday, Haniver shared the story on her blog, and it circulated among a number of major news outlets, including the reader-driven blog Jezebel. Since then, PHATDOG's account has been marked with labels that say "Code of Conduct" -- a sign that he has been banned or suspended.

Last night, Haniver received an e-mail from a member of the Xbox "Customer Advocacy and Exceptions Management" team. They reached out to ask for her number, saying they'd like to talk to her about what happened.

But Haniver says she's unhappy with how long it took for Microsoft to do anything -- and indeed, it seems like nothing happened until she made a fuss, and the story hit news outlets.

"In short, their customer service is pretty shit in this respect," she said. "I've been gaming on Xbox Live for almost six years now, and I'm sick of feeling like the legitimate complaints I file are ultimately kind of pointless."

If you do need to file a complaint with Xbox Live, there are full instructions right here.


Comments

    Pretty awful considering how MSoft has been touting their new reputation system that's coming. Considering we're PAYING for this service you would expect a far far better response for this kind of behaviour.

      Unless I am mistaken (former academic here, not a lawyer), if death threats are made you maybe able to ditch the complaint system altogether and report the matter to the police. But that depends on the country.

      But abuse of a sexual nature (despite it sometimes having effects far worse than threats on one's life) often require attempts to be made via any complaint system first then reports to authorities.

      Again, I am now lawyer but this kind of behaviour really has to be controller. It can't be stopped it happens all the time. But the message needs to be clear: it is unacceptable and always has been.

        A death threat will only be acted on when the victim reasonably believes the threat is able to be carried out and the victim believes the offender is in a position to carry out the threat.

        I would suggest that a simple deth threat over Xbox live/psn would need further mitigating circumstances for an offence to be made out...

          It's too bad Justin Carter didn't get that kind of reasonable consideration hey.

            Fuck knows what was going on with that poor sod! 'Merica :-/

        "Unless I am mistaken (former academic here, not a lawyer), if death threats are made you maybe able to ditch the complaint system altogether and report the matter to the police. But that depends on the country.

        But abuse of a sexual nature (despite it sometimes having effects far worse than threats on one's life) often require attempts to be made via any complaint system first then reports to authorities.

        Again, I am now lawyer but this kind of behaviour really has to be controller. It can't be stopped it happens all the time. But the message needs to be clear: it is unacceptable and always has been."

        Holy smokes, you became a lawyer during the time it took you to write that comment. You sir are a legend.

        Last edited 16/08/13 9:58 am

          *Puts hands up*

          My fault. I thought I proof read and corrected all errors but missed that.

            It was funny cause I imagined you saying "I'm not a lawyer, but hold on a second" *closes eyes, takes a deep breath, grimaces, relaxes, opens eyes* "I am now lawyer."

            Sorry, but ridiculous little things amuse me, you made my day.

            Last edited 16/08/13 10:47 am

              But there is a lot of truth to what you said. Watch.

              I'm not a lawyer.

              *Three mouse clicks on Insta-Deploma, one $30 PayPal payment and 30 seconds later.*

              I'm now a lawyer, :-)

                See, hearing you say all that law-ry stuff makes me believe you really did become lawyer.

          I was picturing him saying "Im not a lawyer but..." *POWER UP! LEVEL ACHIEVED: LAWYER!* "Im a lawyer now!"

    I've logged a number of complaints for this sort of harassment - mainly for messages (voice and text) sent during or after a game that are extreme. Stuff like death threats and extreme abuse. But I've never gotten a notification, response, confirmation of action, well anything,

    To be honest I've never followed up but then I shouldn't have to.

    This new system on XBone really needs to be better than the current system because it's clear Microsoft are not able to cope under the current situation and deal with this conduct adequately.

    It is the internet. This happens everywhere all the time. I never report people, it feels like i have lost to their immaturity if I go that far . I just do the old one button click ignore /block communication with them.

      Yeah, that's generally what I do, I can just shrug it off as just some idiot attempting to upset me or get under my skin so I don't give them the power or satisfaction of accomplishing that.

      Last edited 16/08/13 7:45 am

        Very true, but with some people, some things (Insults, abuse) stick, and play on the persons mind a lot...

      It is the internet. This happens everywhere all the time.

      Such behaviour is unacceptable in the real world so why should the Internet be any different?

      The problem here is users are paying for a service and there are terms of conduct but Microsoft is failing to up hold things on their end.

      Don't get me wrong, the ignore/block button has a place but there comments made go beyond that and should not go unpunished.

      Especially the comment about impregnation and then forcing a late abortion. What most people do not realise is that significant changes happen to a female during pregnancy both physically and mentally. So try to imagine now if a late abortion occurred.

        The internet isn't the real world though and I am quite sure that there will always be (and has always been) people who change their behaviour when hidden behind some kind of anonymity.

        Last edited 16/08/13 8:44 am

          The Internet is a communication network. Here, if I made such comments via a mobile I would face charges of abuse via a communications device under the Australian Telecommunications act.

          The Internet is not the real world, true. But those using it exist in the real world and the real world rules apply.

          Bullying has also been around for a long time, true. But it has also been unacceptable back when it was some arrogant fool in a school yard so I do not see how it can be any less unacceptable if they are doing so from another country.

          In some cases the block button may apply. But that XBL clown has gone too far. And if the authorities don't get to him, then I hope the freaking karma train slams into him. Hard.

          Last edited 16/08/13 9:01 am

            I just think as long as you let things like this affect you, you are going to lead a tougher life than those who turn a blind eye. Things like the Australian Telecommunications Act are put in place to help prevent real threats/persistent abuse. Don't get me wrong, there are times when action needs to be taken to prevent things, but I think in general the world and the media need to develop thicker skin and this will ultimately address the root issue of people being cunts.

              I don't let it get to me. But at the same time, I am of those people who do not let it slide either. And as a result I have lead an easy life. Though those who did try (and even succeeded) to cause me harm are wishing they hadn't.

              I kept at the matter and saw the process though. And I always turned out on top. The key is to not react they way the bully has predetermined: in most cases to turn a blind eye or go away.

              Also, this not about developing thicker skin, Dreamcaster. To use your analogy, bullies will always have far more insults that victims having layers of skin.

              The root issue is they do so because they think no one will hold them accountable to their actions. Bullying is controlled when they are made to face the consequences of their actions. Turning a blind eye only makes the matter worse as the bullies will continue to push the boundaries because they were not made accountable in the early stages.

              Neither we nor the media should have to change our skins. The bullies should be force fed a large slice of humble pie and a large side of common sense and respect.

                This guy on XBL is not a bully. He is a troll.

                  Trolling and bullying are the same thing.

                  Just like how trolling is to spark a reaction, bullying is the same. Bullying is also done to demean and make people feel less about themselves. Again this is the same as trolling.

                  Wrong. :)

                  EDIT: I disagree, but understand where you may be coming from if you have been subjected to a lot of bullying in life.

                  Last edited 16/08/13 10:19 am

                  @Dreamcaster: In deed I have. But I also know that Trolling and bullying are the same. The only difference is the way.

                  Just like how the Internet has provided a new way for communication networks, it has also opened a new way for abuse.

                  Thus Trolling is automatically associated with online communications. If the term did not exist, we would still be using the old term, Cyber Bullying.

                  Heck, I am showing my age here. Besides the odd news "story" on A Current Affair and Today Tonight, nobody else uses that term any more.

                  Last edited 16/08/13 10:24 am

                  @WiseHacker: I agree with you on pretty much everything you have said but I also think tht there is a slight difference with trolling and bullying, bullying is straight out trying to be hurtful but trolling can be done in a way that is still annoying but not intnded to be hurtful at all. That being said most of the time trolling is just bullying cos most people that are trolls are also just dick heads in general

                  @WiseHacker - Stolen from Yahoo answers as I don't have time for this anymore:

                  "A troll cites inflammatory or oblivious comments on public online forums to get an amusing reaction. Nobody with half a brain would take them seriously, due to the ridiculousness of their statements. The overwhelming majority of trolls just leave after a few minutes of trolling.

                  A cyberbully targets a specific person with the specific intention of hurting them, and feed off their reactions as nothing but a bonus. Cyberbullies continue to bully over a prolonged period of time. They make threats, make you feel horrible, etc."

                  Pretty much sums up my PoV. In the case of this message on XBL, PHATDOG is posing no real threat of impregnating her and forcing a late abortion, he merely has a poor sense of humour.

                  In the case of this message on XBL, PHATDOG is posing no real threat of impregnating her and forcing a late abortion, he merely has a poor sense of humour.

                  How can it ever be considered a form of humour. This is textbook abuse.

                  @WiseHacker - Humour evolves (and devolves) and I imagine some of those textbooks you refer to may be dated.

                @wisehacker

                Trolling and bullying are the same thing.

                Just like how trolling is to spark a reaction, bullying is the same. Bullying is also done to demean and make people feel less about themselves. Again this is the same as trolling.

                in what field were you formerly an academic? for the sake of every student you may have come across, i hope to aragorn it wasn't philosophy.

                  in what field were you formerly an academic?

                  Reaching: it didn't work for Tiberath and it is not going to work for you.

                  And it doesn't matter what my field was, there are set of rules that all academics have to adhere to. In the very least, one must keep to the facts, explore thoroughly, conduct research methodologies with integrity, and above all go about one's duties with an open mind.

                  for the sake of every student you may have come across, i hope to aragorn it wasn't philosophy.

                  If you cannot address the topic and instead try to belittle me by making personal attacks (you just implied I was a poor teacher) then keep your comments to yourself. Besides being baseless your comment is unacceptable.

                  @wisehacker
                  If you cannot address the topic and instead try to belittle me by making personal attacks (you just implied I was a poor teacher) then keep your comments to yourself. Besides being baseless your comment is unacceptable.
                  i'm afraid you inferred that you were a bad teacher, and in making that mistake, validated your own inference.

                  And it doesn't matter what my field was, there are set of rules that all academics have to adhere to. In the very least, one must keep to the facts, explore thoroughly, conduct research methodologies with integrity, and above all go about one's duties with an open mind.

                  of course it matters. you appealed to your own authority as a former academic and now withdraw from speaking to what you actually did.

                  your blanket, generalised statements that trolling and bullying are the same thing were remarkably dim witted and reductive. here they are:
                  Trolling and bullying are the same thing. Just like how trolling is to spark a reaction, bullying is the same. Bullying is also done to demean and make people feel less about themselves. Again this is the same as trolling.
                  how does this come from someone who describes himself as keeping to the facts, being thorough, researching with integrity and displaying an open mind? it's illogical, simplistic, miles away from anything that resembles thorough.

                  Last edited 16/08/13 5:07 pm

                  @earlofleisure

                  how does this come from someone who describes himself as keeping to the facts, being thorough, researching with integrity and displaying an open mind? it's illogical, simplistic, miles away from anything that resembles thorough.

                  Transference: it doesn't work on me either.

                  @wisehacker
                  Transference: it doesn't work on me either.

                  another resounding example of your thoroughness, integrity and open mind! do you have a blog i can follow?

            If you ever run for PM, I'm going to be US. A least I can call someone a jerk without a prison sentence.

            Last edited 16/08/13 9:30 am

              Freedom of speech does not protect against insults and it is possible to be made accountable if you are in another country.

              Also, why are you reaching? What does me putting the point that bulling and abuse is unacceptable have anything to do with running for the Prime Ministership?

                I never mentioned "freedom of speech". You seem to be the type that is that against verbal "abuse" that you would, if you had the power, imprison someone for something not even noteworthy (for example, calling someone a jerk).

                You're also the same guy who essentially said that kid with the stupid FB comment got what he deserved the last time we clashed on this topic.

                Hence, should you ever be given any power, I'm out or here.

                (This is the impression you give me when you argue a topic you're passionate about.)

                  You're also the same guy who essentially said that kid with the stupid FB comment got what he deserved the last time we clashed on this topic.

                  And countless other users pointed out I was wrong and in a later thread I back peddled. If you are going to point out my gaffs then point out their aftermaths as well. You are showing incomplete facts.

                  if you had the power, imprison someone for something not even noteworthy (for example, calling someone a jerk).

                  No, you are creating assumptions and hoping I will say something that will make it a fact. Sorry, Tiberath, I do not react that way.

                  While I no longer participate in academia I still hold on to the principles of open-mindedness, consideration of the big picture and showing humility when I get it horrendously wrong.

                  Like in the other thread. I got it wrong: I should have said that the punishment should have been less severe but instead I said he got what he deserved. I am not making any excuses, I got it wrong. What he did deserved punishment but it went too far.

                  Hence, should you ever be given any power, I'm out or here.

                  Again, you are putting forth a fallacy and hoping I will say something that will make it a fact. If you cannot stop formulating a conclusion and then reach out to facts that fit it then please keep your hands off the keyboard. We have Kevin Rudd, Kim Kardashian and a slew of others for that nonsense.

                  I can't reply to your post @wisehacker for whatever reason. So I'll finish on: I don't keep track of you, so whether you recanted your position on the FB kid or not, I don't know. Unlike the heroin in this article, I have better things to do than stalk people I encounter online. The last opinion you shared to me was the one I entered with.

                  You also seem to be over analysing. Based entirely from what I've read in my encounters with you. I have determined. If I ever discovered you are going to be the leader of the country I'm living in. I will leave that country. This is what I call, an opinion. I'm not "creating assumptions" nor "putting forth a fallacy". I'm stating: You. As a person. That I've come to know from this website. Should I ever discover your identity and learn you are running for Prime Minister. I will leave this country. That is all I'm stating. I'm not talking in metaphors, I can't be any clearer. The follow up sentence is a quip at the now aforementioned yet not at that stage mentioned, opinion you had on the FB kids treatment being justified, to which I had no knowledge you had recanted, as you never recanted in any replies to me until just now.

            Yep - if he'd called her up on the phone and said that instead of on XBL, then he'd be in trouble with the law. I don't see any significant difference. Certainly MS have an obligation - ethical, at least, if not legal - to take some action over this kind of behaviour happening on their service.

          well, the internet is part of our real world and should be treated accordingly.

          Now, now, we don't want to cross into victim blaming territory.

          Seriously though, there is no excuse for Xbox not providing the support and right to safety they promise their paying customers. Microsoft promise that "bullying and harassment of any kind are not welcome on Xbox Live and are taken very seriously," but fail to address reports of serious verbal harassment unless the victim catches their attention via public uproar.

          It's just plain, shitty service. Yes, this is internet, thick skin is definitely necessary, but it's more specifically Xbox Live, a paid for service with a code of conduct. Xbox are to blame for this (well, apart from PHATFUCK himself), regardless of what consequences we see.

        Yes wisehacker, you're right. But is it worth your time to make it enforced? Honestly, I think it's better just to learn to ignore. Do you run to find a cop everytime you come across idiots on public transport? Or do you think "wow what an idiot" and move to the next carriage?

          But is it worth your time to make it enforced?

          Yes it is.

          Do you run to find a cop everytime you come across idiots on public transport?

          I have been lucky so far and have not needed to. But if something did happen (like the string of racial slurs that have been running about public transport of late) I would make a formal complaint to the police.

          Honestly, I think it's better just to learn to ignore.

          That only makes the matter worse because it re-enforced the sense that nobody will ever make the bully accountable for his or her actions.

          This is what bullies aim for: they expect to wear you down to the point you ignore. I don't. I don't care how long it will take. Like many others I can handle that as well as my every day life.

          It's absolutely worth taking time to get this enforced. It's unacceptable. Literally. Ignoring, shrugging your shoulders and saying "it's the internet" or assuming it's too much effort is accepting it. It's implicitly condoning it.

            It's also the reason this loud minority of degenerates are representing the gaming community. We don't speak up, we don't fight against their bullshit and develop some sort of social standard, therefore they get the spotlight.

            It is getting better though.

      I can understand what you mean that it's the internet and that people can be that immature. While I think it's fine for people to say things like, "You suck", or even some more sexually targetted (ie; "Have your balls even dropped?", "You play like a woman"), this kind of crap is going too far.

      It's fine and (personally) acceptable to talk crap to each other and make sexist/sexuality jabs (within reason) but threats and private messages like these should be handled with extreme prejudice.

      Just because it happens all the time doesn't mean it's ok.

      Same. It like complaining to the teacher. Oftentimes, it's a waste of time, and you're making a bigger deal out of it.

      Ignore button. Been using em since they've been around. There's nothing worse than being stuck with douchebag text messages when playing a game. Oh wait, there's one thing worse. Douchebag teamspeak. I game for fun, I'm not listening to drivvle when I play.

      This kind of behaviour is unacceptable in any form. The fact that society openly accepts trolling on the internet just shows how pathetic we are as a race. Online abuse is something that should be stamped out completely. It is a shame that there are SO many mentally unstable people out there that seem to have compulsive disorders that require them to act like total fucking retards when they get behind a computer and/or controller. They hunt in packs too. The next generation of kids are going to be 10x worse too. Makes me think the human race really is doomed.

    Couldn't resist, HAD to look at his profile.
    Judging on the recently played games, this... douche?, may, MAY, have an over abundance of aggression...

    I play COD, Battlefield, and Halo too, so, not starting any comment fights. Just FYI.

    Thats what the MUTE button and BLOCK buttons are for....why didnt she just do that - would have saved her the grief! Out for vengeance much?

      When you ignore the degenerates, they just get louder. This is why gamer culture comes across as extremely juvenile, because we let the scummy minority speak for us.

      Besides, she addressed a major problem with XBL's service. They promise that "bullying and harassment of any kind are not welcome on Xbox Live and are taken very seriously", but they don't deliver. How many other people's reports of harassment go unsolved? Maybe this is why the XBL community is so shit, because they allow the lowest cesspool of humanity to go unpunished for their crimes against human decency.

      Yes, that last line was extremely over-dramatic. No, I won't change it; it makes me sound like a fantasy villain. GG.

      Last edited 18/08/13 11:29 pm

    freaking jerks!
    sure the internet has it's scummy places (ahem youtube comments I'm looking at you), but no-one deserves to put up with ignorant assholes sending them death threats and abuse over xbox live.
    the fact that it took such a long time for microsoft to respond pretty much tells the story of how much they care about those customers they claim to care about so much.
    Their poor attitude towards those who are paying for their service/and even those who aren't, is why I have no intention of picking up an Xbox One.
    Make liberal use of the mute button and block if need be. Keep the jerks away!

    This bloke is not very smart.
    If she was on her period, the odds of her becoming pregnant are rather slim.

    I wonder if jenny is getting a ps4

      Its worse on PS4

        You know this how?

          Because he lives in the future and came back in time in his DeLorean to warn us.

            which he powered with Plutonium, which he acquired from his nearest corner drug store.

            "What, do I become a asshole on PSN or something?"

            "Oh, no no no, you turn out just fine! It's your console, Jenny! Something's gotta be done about your console!"

            Okay, I'll stop now.

          Sorry I meant to say Ps3......got some bad msgs on my kids console, she's 9 but was 8 @ the time

          I called Sony to put in an official complaint but Sony acted like it was my fault and that's the risks you take going online and there's nothing they can do.

          I can understand how ppl get angry with douchebags....thats why I prefer LANs :D

        Err it's really not. Like this article says, Xbox Live is famous for having abusive immature users. PSN has a few here and there, but it mostly only happens when two people get angry at each other and start trolling each other. It never happens in the way that it did in this article.

    I have had this happen to me too. Ms support in this regard is shit house, no action taken or follow up with me.

    I bet they ring in 5 mins flat if your live sub doesn't get charged properly though.

      I actually thing they do. Most of the emails I ever got from them was my Gold Membership was due to expire.

      And word from my co-workers is when you try to cancel the staff do everything they can to try and talk you out of it.

        Sure do, that's why there is no simple 'cancel membership' button anywhere on Xbox live. You basically need to ring them and beg them to let you go.

        Which is why I haven't signed up to Xbox live Gold again. And I never will.

          You can cancel your membership on xbox.com, under My Account.

            I think that depends on the time and place your are at. For me and some of my co-workers in the past, while there was a My Account link the cancel link was only there for a while and was later taken down.

            I myself never did see the link so I simply let my account expire. But even then Microsoft tried to make me renew to the point that my span filter nearly packed in.

            It may have changed now but for the few occasions I took gold membership (only the odd months worth just to try the odd online game) I never saw a cancel link.

            Now, I know I only got the odd month worth but the link still should have been there if I wanted (for whatever reason) to cancel early. For example, if I was not happy, I should be able to cancel early so I do not have to worry about it later.

            Last edited 16/08/13 10:20 am

    Should have just called a SWAT team like everybody else does.

    That all sounds pretty legitimate to me.. They never say that they ARE going to even ban him.. They have their complaints handling system and none of it is about making her feel like she "got her way", which is what they say in their statement also..

    You can and will come against people with extremely objectionable ideas in this world.. not all of them will be conveniently removed from society for you. Better harden up or go into seclusion.

      I think they fairly weighed both sides of the conflict.

      On the one hand she was abused, on the other hand he is giving them money each month. To Microsoft this is a very difficult thing.

      "Bullying and harassment of any kind are not welcome on Xbox Live and are taken very seriously."

      That's a promise she paid for, and a promise that was not delivered. Ethics and slice of life aside, she paid for an online service with a code of conduct, and they did not provide that service. She was told that she had a right to safety and was deceived.

      It's an issue worth addressing, just to highlight the fact that Xbox obviously don't care about their paying customers.

        You (and a lot of other people) seem to be viewing it from a matter of "this is TOO offensive, to me" - where in reality such companies set clearly defined guidelines for how such things are handled, and it's the only realistic way to go because everyone has different moral guidelines. To go outside of that sets a very bad precedent. Once censorship starts, it can be incredibly hard to control - and in an age where people on the whole if you ask them would claim to be champions for free speech.. Which obviously cuts both ways..

        In this case, if in the end they were not banned, they were no doubt reprimanded. I know I as a customer would be pretty upset if I were simply 'removed' with no avenue for appeal and no warnings prior.

        Also, (this will probably get me some downvotes heh) we have no idea what actually happened. For all we know she was calling him everything under the sun in game, and that is why he continued it out of game. Just because she SEEMS respectable doesn't realistically mean anything. We don't know her or the situation.

          He bullied her in a way that violates the Xbox Live terms and conditions, she reported him, he had no action taken against him. If he did get a warning, they did not inform her. If she was bullying him first, he did not report her.

          Microsoft knows the full story, we don't, but from the way Microsoft have acted, in regards to PHATDOG's banning, we can deduct that PHATDOG was bullying her and received no punishments or warnings, due to the fact that she was not notified of any warnings or action after her report and that he was promptly banned after the public outrage. If she was bullying him first, then maybe it would have been a good idea to report her, instead of retaliating with bullying.

          You (and a lot of other people) seem to be viewing it from a matter of "this is TOO offensive, to me"

          I have no idea where this has come from. In my original comment, I made no references to my own set of ethics, only to the ethics that XBL subscribes to, written in both their terms and conditions and in their written response to her report (which also acknowledges that PHATDOG was breaching their policies).

          where in reality such companies set clearly defined guidelines for how such things are handled, and it's the only realistic way to go because everyone has different moral guidelines.

          They write a terms and conditions and use a report system. Hanvier followed all protocol and XBL didn't fulfill their side of the agreement, and thus, PHATDOG, a user who had breached their policies, received no warnings and no ban, which illegitimizes the policy in the first place.

          Also, (this will probably get me some downvotes heh) we have no idea what actually happened. For all we know she was calling him everything under the sun in game, and that is why he continued it out of game. Just because she SEEMS respectable doesn't realistically mean anything. We don't know her or the situation.

          We know XBL's situation, and again, of the actions we've seen from XBL, we can deduct that Hanvier was telling the truth.

          Personally, and this will be the only personal note in this comment, I find it a bit of a stretch to think that saying what PHATFUCK said could somehow be justified, unless you are a genuine sexist pig (to ME - to appeal to this awkward subjectivism we've got going on). By all means, I'm a relativist, but I just think that, if you subscribed to a more common or liberal set of ethics (subjectivism aside - if you weren't a fucking asshat), the only justifications would be quite obscure and enough to warrant some sort of appeal to authority on PHATDOG's side, but even still, what he said seemed aimed to offend her based on her gender, so really, his comments extend to more than just Hanvier, they extend to all women who find such comments extremely degrading (for reference: most women). And again, he did not report her, based on the actions of XBL, but retaliated instead with a comment that implies more than just offense to Hanvier (it's like saying "fuck you nigger" to a black man and then trying to say that you're not racist, you're just trying to insult this one specific black man).

          And also, PHATDOG can represent his case in the same way that Hanvier has. She has merely used social media to appeal to the public; if PHATDOG was really getting the short end of the stick, he could do the same, and trust me, he would definitely get the time of day and everyone's attention, particularly because we're in the gaming community.

          Last edited 19/08/13 4:42 pm

            You claim they did not fulfil their side of the bargain; but why would they not adhere to their own policy? What possible benefit would there be, just the subscription fee for a few months until the guy undoubtedly does the same thing and moves on to the next phase (presumably suspension, then banning for a third offence but I am 100% clueless as to their actual process)

            I mean it's possible - but from what I took away from what I read, it is also routine to not reply at all. Their process isn't about making the person reporting feeling vindicated now that their voice was heard and justice prevailed..

            Most of the worlds biggest games in the world I am familiar with use reputation systems much as the new Xbox will, but considering they definitely don't use that now - I would assume it would be a basic strikes system and as per the example process above the logic pattern would look something like:

            Report comes in
            "Offensive language" or something, "Harassment" - whatever their categories may be..
            Potentially no previous reports for that account
            Hit a button to issue first warning
            Continue on to the 2392349239 other reports

            And finally in reply to your personal comment I in no way, NO WAY, feel the guys comments are in ANY WAY justified. The guy is a real dickbag and that's probably even clear to him.... But I do believe in the freedom of speech as more than a set of buzzwords people say they support. History is clear, censorship is a slippery slope and serves very little purpose. In the end in a private community like XBL or any other, it should be a static policy universally applied, which to me APPEARS to be exactly what Microsoft have done - and I don't find it a terribly bad policy on a personal level... If it were not in this instance this dumbass was banned, it 99% likely would have been a few days later. And even then, they can and probably will spend the time and money to get right back to it.

            I also don't really like your implication that anything I said was in any way sexist.. I guess I did refer to her as 'her' and him as 'him' rather than 'the person in question' said to 'the other person in question'... lol ^_^

            Edit: Changed 'her' to homogeneous equivalents - wouldn't want to appear sexist in any way lolz
            :(

            Last edited 19/08/13 9:34 pm

    Wait. This wasn't a week long string of abuse but rather a voice message and a couple of text messages?

      and your point is...? abuse is abuse and the systems put in place to make sure it doesn't happen didn't seem to do anything.

        You've never moderated a forum before, have you?

        I get worse abuse in PMs all the time. My trick? "Oh hey, a message from that guy I don't care about *delete*"

        They grow up if you ignore them. Give them attention and they come back with proxies and friends.

          she wasn't moderating a forum, she was a user that has paid a subscription to a service where others like herself have agreed to the terms and conditions prohibiting abuse. she used a reporting system - like she was supposed to - and didn't seem to receive an appropriate outcome. i guess my point is that the victim should not be responsible for ignoring idiots, the idiots should not be there in the first place.

            Good luck with trying to ban everyone who shit talks in or after a game. I wish you well on your quest.

            Meanwhile, I'm going to just ignore the ones that shit me and continue playing games happily. I wont however, track the people I report (people I'm very unlikely to encounter again, or encounter on a rare or predictable basis) just to make sure someone is banning or restricting access to another subscriber (one whom may have violated TOS, but still, games cause raging. If MS terminated every single shit-talker, they might as well give their money to Sony and call it a day). Because, I have better things to do with my time. Like argue on the internet. =)

              But he took it out of the game and sent her text and voice messages outside the game. The way I see it, that's an escalation which takes it beyond just some idiot who "shit talks in or after a game".

              And just ignoring the person instead of taking any action isn't really a good option, because the person will just go on and do the same thing to somebody else. Better for everybody if people like this are removed from the service, from society, and from the gene pool.

                I see that happen all the time. I witness my friends get the exact same thing. You know what they do? They ignore the message, that's it. The "problem" suddenly goes away.

                And onto the next part, you don't honestly think the people who say this shit are in any actual way serious, do you?

                  The problem doesn't go away, the problem is given a place to thrive. If he gets away with it once, what is stopping him from doing it again? If he gets away with it a thousand times, then it's just commonplace for him, and millions of others like him.

                  To ignore it is to commend that behavior. To commend that behavior is to be just as awful as these degenerate pigs who are destroying the internet and gamer communities' chances at ever being taken seriously. They're the reason these publishers are trying to relate to an audience that will never be happy, the reason they are throwing their money at games like Call of Duty, where this festering minority thrives and shouts louder than people who seriously enjoy the hobby and want to see it successful, because we ignore them instead of shutting them up.

          They grow up if you ignore them. Give them attention and they come back with proxies and friends.

          Given that I was a victim of bulling for part of my school life, I know first hand that what you say is factually incorrect.

          Ignoring them tells them they can do as they please because it means there is no consequence. Bullies do not grow up. They are children with adult bodies and even behave like them when you brake that glass jaw of theirs.

            Not entirely true. I know people that were absolute cunts and bullies when they were in school but have since matured into nice people. So yeah, bullies do grow up. If enough people ignore a bully and don't pay them any mind, they will eventually give up.

              Your experiences are akin to my own.

              The ones who got the attention and continued being called bullies as they grew older, treated and reprimanded as such, continued to be idiots.

              The ones who got a couple of scoldings but were otherwise ignored, grew out of the phase when they realised people listened and gave a crap about what they had to say when they weren't being assholes.

                You're both generalizing too much, bullies are not a group that act in predetermined ways depending on how they are treated. They're individuals with varied problems each needing individual treatments. Some might grow up and just stop being cunts, others won't, You can headbutt one guy into submission but with another guy it'll just encourage him.

                  I wasn't generalizing at all. Just was disagreeing with Wisehacker saying that bullies don't grow up. Hence why I said not entirely true. Thanks for contributing with your knowledge bomb!

            actually, I was bullied a lot too for pretty much my entire highschool live. And I can say that he is correct. If you ignore them, they get bored and eventually leave. Stop taking the bait.

          while i see your point ignore/delete doesn't solve the problem. you can ignore your credit card bill ignore that parking fine ignore whatever problem there is in the world but the problem is still there. i could list an encyclopedia of things that were ignored and came out bad but this kind of behaviour needs to be addressed not ignored.

            ignoring a person is not the same as ignoring a problem. He's not saying "ignore the issue of bullying" he's saying ignore the specific bullies targeting you. Two very different things.

    I think the appropriate response would be to brick the console - I bet the kid would twice about that behavior if he's had to ask his mummy or daddy to buy him a new console.

    On the other hand, my question is did she respond to MS and provide her number? While late & pushed by the negative press, the have now responded - but to fall on "oh, they took too long" seems pretty childish.

    As for MS not actioning their code of conduct, I did get banned for 24 hours for having 'dilligaf' as my motto...

    People are offensive online and sometimes even off-line. But like real life you can walk away / mute / ignore.

    It would be nice if someone could act as an arse filter, but i dont take this default stance that microsoft should be the gatekeeper / policeman with people communications directly aside from making it easy to effectively walk away.

    What are the legalities of them stopping someones account which they have paid for? Do they even have the right?

    I hope people dont take offence to this (probably will anyway people are like this see first paragraph(including me)) but blaming a 3rd party instead of the arse is weird. Perhaps contacting the police would have been better.

    The crap thing about in game grievances is that, it always takes more than 1 report on a single player for any action to be taken at all. They won't look into evidence at all. If one person has sent in a single report on any particular player, it will be ignored. If 10+ people report any single player, action may then be taken and so forth. The same goes for hacking/exploiting the game.

    This is disgusting. This sort of thing should be stamped out.
    I mean, we've had a few odd comments that have been terrible but they are immediately reported. I think making a fuss is a good idea because these people need to learnt hat is not acceptable behaviour. At the same time, don't let it get to you.

    I appreciate the fact that Microsoft cannot comment on specific cases, and it's disappointing that the incident had to be reported on for Microsoft to get in touch with her. But I have to wonder if that kind of personal response is possible in an ecosystem of millions of users. Are there even enough employees at Microsoft to address every case of severe harassment in a similar way? I'm not asking rhetorically, I'm genuinely curious at how many cases get reported.

    There's got to be a better way in two aspects.There's gotta be a better way of policing Xbox Live be it a more efficient punishments for bad behaviour or more incentives for good behaviour. And secondly, with the internet in general, we can't go on excusing pitiful behaviour of people with platitudes like 'it's the internet, that's just how it is, get used to it'. The internet is simultaneously amazing and broken because of this.

    This is exactly why I don't like playing online unless it's with people I know in real life. It's one thing to trash talk to your friends, it's quite another to just flat out abuse someone.

    Yeah sure, we can just mute them, but not doing anything about it is telling them that it's ok to behave this way because there's no repercussions. This guy, and everyone like him needs to be dealt with swiftly and harshly.

    You know it would be interesting to see if this douchebag would have the balls to say it to her face.

      You know it would be interesting to see if this douchebag would have the balls to say it to her face.

      They don't. A common trait about bullies (and why they become trolls) is they have very fragile glass jaws. They can dish it out but go ballistic and even abusive if they are made to take it.

        A youtube search of 'bully gets owned' yields some entertaining footage.

      I have a friend on XBL and her gamertag is An Evil Monkey, is this you? If not, then just give me a high five and we'll go about our day.

        Nah, my gamertag isn't Evil Monkey, It's just the handle I use here.

        *raises hand for high five*

    I've found MS support to be lousy in general. They changed my country to "Australia" from generic in hotmail automatically a couple of years ago which wiped about $20 worth of points from my linked xbox live account. There was absolutely no debate about this, they were the ones who provided the information. They kept telling me the points would be reimbursed. Weeks later and after many hours of phone calls, I finally get told that support doesn't have the authority to reissue points in this instance. I asked to speak to their boss, but they refused to transfer me. I gave up - as far as I'm concerned they stole from me, but what are you going to do over $20?

    Which is probably why the restrictions on the xbone as it was originally conceived really rubbed me the wrong way. I'd prefer to not have an account at all with MS.

      $20, $5, $1. it's the principle of it. I could see myself spending hours chasing up $5 from MS because it feels wrong for a company worth millions to take take that away.

        It was a zero sum game. Maybe I would have gotten my money back eventually, but by that point I'd wasted probably five or six hours on hold for a measly $20. Maybe I should have invoiced them for my time.

          surely it's your fault for not setting your account up properly in the first place.

    I'm surprised that nobody has made a comment on how to mitigate this kind of behaviour. Maybe Kotaku should do a post about that.

    I receive unsolicited email/mail all the time - do I read it? No.
    If I get a message on XBOX Live from someone not on my friends list - do I read it? No.

    You can usually mute players in a games lobby, and you always have the option to simply leave.

    Once you have left a match, you can press the Block Communications button to block anyone from sending you a message. Unlike real life, it is incredibly simple to distance yourself from anyone on the XBOX Live.

    You are no longer in the lobby and they can't communicate with you over XBOX Live (due to the block) - what can they do to you now?

    Just get back to gaming, instead of playing judge and jury on whether or not you think someone should be banned from the service (which seems to be the case here).

    She even replied to some of his voice messages - why!?

    Last edited 16/08/13 10:54 am

      Because muting is post-hoc. She wants to prevent them from abusing others?

        It still would have stopped the escalation. Instead of her saying "Keep talking dude. Let it all out. Let all that anger out. It’s okay- we’re here for you, man." she could have simply muted him/the lobby and played it out - she ignored that option.

        This is the transcript: http://www.notinthekitchenanymore.com/man-with-a-plan/

        If XBOX were going to ban everyone that called me a fat nerd or a faggot, there wouldn't be any XBOX Live left.

        If this wasn't a story about a female gamer, would anyone even care? Why do females inherently need more protection than males.

          Wow, I read that transcript. Sometimes your instinct is to engage the person and try to be the better person. But I think a lot of people just need to adopt the insta-mute policy. If I'm in a lobby and someone talks shit it goes like this.

          Idiot: Hey Shadow
          Me: hey, what's up?
          Idiot: You're a f***ing Fa**ot mate
          Me: *mute them*

          It's that simple. Then I presume they talk a little longer until they figure it out which gives me a twinge of satisfaction.

          They don't. I think the argument is that they cop more abuse. Regardless, if people who behave badly were given the boot, it would be a nicer community and I might be actually able to play with strangers without having my mic set permanently to mute.

          Because they inherently cop different, more personal, more extensive and more threatening abuse for the sheer fact that they do identify as female. It's not that they need protecting. It's that somehow there are actually vermin in the world who need to be taught that this behaviour is not ok.

      While I'm all for Microsoft taking more steps to making XBL better, there's a lot of people who probably don't realise how easy it is to mute, block etc. Some games even have a mute feature separate from the guide, in Halo you can mute someone by holding 'back' to bring up the score, scrolling to the person blasting hip hop into their mic (there's even a graphic highlighting who's making noise) and pressing X. It takes less than 4 seconds.

      Giving users more powers and options is always a good idea.

      Last edited 16/08/13 11:35 am

      I approve of this message.

      I was bullied for pretty much my entire high school years and developed a pretty thick skin because of it (it also turned me into an emotionless lump but hey). If you let it affect you, then you will only make it worse for yourself. Think seriously on "I am going to impregnate you with triplets", how, where and when? if there is no legitimate reason to believe that it could happen, then why let it affect you? Is he going to put his penis through the microphone and deliver semen through the internet?

      Laws exist for bullying and harassment in real life because if someone abuses you to your face, then there is the very real risk of them following it up with a physical act.
      If that same person abuses you over facebook (A completely optional part of life, regardless of how important people think it is) you ignore it, you block the person, you report it. The internet can't hurt you and the perpetual belief that it can is one of society's largest weaknesses as it puts people in the mindset that it can, and then it becomes a placebo effect of sorts.

        Are you me? :o

        Not only have you mirrored my opinion, your school bullying experience and result also mirrors that of my own.

          I always thought age was the cause of the overall sense of apathy.

    Considering the numbers of complaints they receive, is it any wonder they don't take action immediately? I know they have an automated system for prioritising complaints against each user ("Vulcan", I believe it's called - last time I checked, at least), but even so, there are a lot of idiots online, and only so many people employed to handle these complaints. Hell, it took over two months to sort out my hacked account; surely you can't expect anything to be done in just two weeks...

    It's really alarming to see how many people think this behavior is ok, and should just go ignored. @WiseHacker is right, if you witness this isn't it your obligation to do something about it? if not for yourself then for there next victim? Ultimately regardless of where it happens; online or in the real world, people treating people like this is NOT ON.

    Some of you are saying it's up to the target to be able to "put up with it" what if that target were someone new to the community who couldn't defend themselves?

    Bottom line is it is bullying regardless of the definition, it's making others feel terrible.

    "Evil only triumphs when good men do nothing"

    Last edited 16/08/13 2:57 pm

    I listened to back and forth conversation between players in a Halo pregame lobby once, which at first I thought was teasing between friends. Then some of the stuff said makes you want to punch the idiot saying it, right in the mouth, after you realize he was just being a total dickhead i.e. "I'm going to k*ll your family and... anyway, just stupid, stupid crap which should never be said. And he wasn't a kid either, which makes it very disturbing.

    I'd like to see a message system in the Xbox that notifies you when someone has muted you - and YOU specifically i.e. not just a system wide mute. I hope the reputation system being readied for Xbox One works as well as it is supposed to.

    But when things get out of hand, verbally, there should be faster actions taken by Microsoft to get rid of this scum, especially with verbal and written proof of what the idiots say

    Even with an easy mute or not, people like this need to be removed, or at least taught a lesson which might make them rethink their behaviour online because by doing nothing, we are in some way accepting the stupidity

    Wait... "Jenny Haniver"? That's some esoterically cruel parents, right there.

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