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  Moderating Communication in Game-Space  
Posted 2005-11-14 by Tony Walsh
A player-created corporation in the game EVE Online recently had its name revoked and subsequently restored by developer CCP. The corporation, named "4S," ("4C" in cyrillic) was deemed to be offensive after a player petition brought it to CCP's attention. The name, said the company on its official blog, was used as a slogan during the war in Yugoslavia, and violated EVE's naming policy. The decision to revoke the name was hotly debated by EVE's players, and resulted in some players becoming disruptive. After researching the name further, CCP discovered that the 800 year-old motto is used in the coat of arms of the Serbian Orthodox Church, as well as Serbia's national flag. CCP has since reinstated the name.

A CCP employee blogger noted that the naming debacle is an example of "a case which demonstrates that the universe we live in is complicated, and what can be a proud symbol for one person can also be considered blatantly offensive by someone else." The blogger further remarked that "The biggest hot-dog manufacturer in Iceland is called 'SS', short for Slaturfelag Sudurlands. I don't find it offensive, but I know a number of people do. However, they are just two letters and we can't simply ban two letters combined ... or can we? Should we stop there perhaps? I believe you see where this is going." I know where I see this going--the more global our game-spaces get, the less sense it makes for a monocultural group to judge appropriateness in that space. Future moderation tools are probably best built from the user-level up, rather than from the administrator-level down.
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