Star Citizen Moderator Removed After Banning Girl Gamer From Forums

Star Citizen Moderator removed after banning a girl gamer from the forums who asked for "Girls' Only" group.
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Over the weekend there was quite a scuffle over in the Star Citizen forum when user “Lauresh” from Adelaide, Australia, made a statement as to her intention of creating a community exclusively for women.

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The thread entitled “Female Gamers Group” sparked numerous negative trolling to say the least, and surprisingly, many were by women themselves.

Here’s part of the thread:

Lauresh: “Hi SC backers and fans.

After a conversation today I realized that there’s not really a place for the females in Star Citizen to hang out and talk about random stuff in a safe environment so I’m starting one.

I have no idea what the group will be called yet as I’m bad with picking names so for now I’ll just call it the Female Gamers Group of Star Citizen (Yes, this WILL be changing).”

She then goes on to lay down some rules on how to get into the group.

“To qualify to become a member you need to identify as a female (absolutely no guys!) and that’s it. There will of course be group rules such as anything said in the group must not be repeated outside of the group without the permission of the person and such but generally it’ll be a pretty relaxing place to hang out and chat.”

Sounds fairly simple to me, like any other private group; but then Lauresh adds this.

“Girls, If you’re keen on getting involved please PM me here on the forums and I’ll setup a voice interview with you and a general background check. I should have a jabber server setup for us to chat on soon.”

Excuse me? A background check? Really?

Now if that’s her way of verifying that you’re really a female rather than take your word for it, I can understand. Yet stating things like that can provoke all kinds of haters in my opinion. Most of the feedback from females didn’t understand the need for a gender specific group.

Pippy: “Hi lauresh,

While I understand what you are trying to do and wish you luck with your org, I can’t help but feel a little frustrated at the idea that we must isolate ourselves from men in order to feel “safe”. 

As an adult I have long since outgrown the ” no boys allowed” phase of my life, and while online gaming communities do still tend to look like boys clubs, I don’t see starting a gender only specific group as a mature or useful thing to do.

Gender is not and should not be the single most important feature that defines you, and I would much rather join an org that focused on the character and merit of it’s membership instead.

Not really intended to sound rude or judgey, just wanted to put in my two cents.”

Now I agree with user “Pippy” very much so in what she says here, but I also know (depends very much on the game being played) that wanting to play in a “safe” environment isn’t a bad thing either. I have been exposed to so many immature boys who are so disrespectful I wanted to wash their mouths out with soap. It’s also these types of people who make female gamers not want to play or at least, not want to speak.

So was calling for a Girls’ Only group so bad?

According to Cloud Imperium Games’ Ben Lesnick, it isn’t.

Women online, and especially women in gaming, have it very, very tough in ways that men absolutely do not understand. This isn’t an argument for the community to have, it’s a fact. Our moderators (and game designers and programmers and everyone else involved in Star Citizen) should do everything possible to create a safe environment, not encourage typical internet knife-fighting in this regard. And as if it even needed to be said, there is more than enough room for a female-only group in the ‘verse. Making connections like that is what our Organizations system is for, and there’s absolutely no additional room to argue with that.”

Lauresh ended up being banned by the forum’s moderators. Cloud Imperium Games responded today by lifting the ban, reinstating the Female Gamer Group thread to the forum, and removed the moderator who issued the ban “pending further review.”

“Let me begin by stating what I’m surprised isn’t obvious: Cloud Imperium Games is not in the business of preventing women from playing our game,” Lesnick wrote in a post on the Roberts Space Industries forum.

“Part of the Star Citizen dream is to build a game that crosses traditional gamer boundaries and includes an experience that everyone can enjoy. Certainly, we are not sitting around in smoky boardrooms dreaming of ways to exclude 50 percent of the planet in our space adventure.”

Lesnick went on to say that Lauresh was part of a group from the Something Awful website community that had been “using this as an opportunity to troll the forums.”

“The user in question is also part of the Something Awful group, which made the moderator dealing with the issue believe the entire thread was a setup. This would not be the first time SA Goons have created an issue. However, on review and in spite of the sheer volume of concerned Goons coming out of the woodwork on this, I do not believe the thread was necessarily a setup and that several mistakes were made in terms of moderation.”

A personal apology was made to Lauresh over Twitter by Lesnick, but she’s still quite upset, and asked for CIG to change its moderation policy–which I don’t disagree on.

“I feel that the community manager is neglecting the community by not being involved in the issues beyond the absolute bare minimum and there has been no word on whether the moderation policies and procedures are going to be changed since they seem quite heavy handed and it’s quite obvious their record keeping is shoddy at best,” Lauresh said last night.

What do you think? Please tell us in the comments.

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Venisia Gonzalez
Venisia is a public relations professional, video game industry contractor, published author, freelance entertainment journalist, copy editor, a co-organizer of the Latinx Games Festival, and a member of the Latinx in Gaming and the Puerto Rico Game Developers (PRGD) community. Her passion is video games. She loves the adrenaline rush from a multiplayer match and understands the frustrations of a brand-new raid. Venisia finds immense value in gaming especially in the realm of mental health.