February 26th 2009 9:51 pm PT

Xbox LIVE Policy on Gamertags and profiles

 

With the recent post on the Consumerist, I wanted to point out a couple of posts about Xbox LIVE policy that you may find relevant. The first post is from regular podcast guest Stephen Toulouse. Stephen and his team handle policy for the LIVE service, and therefore spend a lot of time developing the best policies that we use on the service. The second post is from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) where they give their take on the story. Hopefully you’ll take the time to read both which will give you a better understanding of the issues at hand.

Archive By Larry Hryb, Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson

  • VEGEMITE 98

    I have a problem with people having that they are gay in their bio’s. if they happy then let them be.

    Oh you talking about the slang use of the word!. well it’s just a word get over it.

    but if that is such an issue,why is the gamertag aChristianKill allowed!

  • Darth Skyjuice

    “I think expressing your sexual orientation on any social networking site is inappropriate for any reason other than dating. If I want to play Gears of War, I don’t care what you like to do in your spare time, just help me kill some noobs.”

    Well said.

  • TROGDOR 007

    I have never seen someone who, in their gamertag or bio, felt the need to state that they were straight.

    Why is it that only gay’s or lesbian’s feel the need to put in their sexual orientation in their gamertag or bio?

    Make a name that actually means something to you. Just because I’m straight, doesn’t mean my name should be StraightGamer007.

    Geez, people need to grow up.

  • Renown Recon

    The fact remains that Xbox Live is a “Social Gaming” service. Therefore, subjects like these will arise. Here is my solution:

    1. Enable two new prefrence boxes within our profiles for Gender, and Orientation. (For Adult Accounts Only)
    2. Have the option to hide information from public, or show to friends or everyone.
    3. Do not make it a requirement to fill out the boxes.
    4. Have pre-selected sexual preferences. G.A.Y, L.esbian, Straight, None.

    If you believe sexual preference should not be included in a “gaming profile” then you obviously don’t read very well within other gamers profiles. People state all the time their sexual orientation just in ways you don’t realize. Example, “I’m 34 years old with a beautiful wife, and 3 awesome kids.” If you don’t want sexual preference in bio’s then you can’t agree to that quote.

    Know one can use the excuse of “Oh, well your sexual preference isn’t gaming related so therefore we don’t need to have it in our profiles.” If that’s the case how is our, Name, Location, and a Personal Bio gaming related? People need to realize that your can’t stop harassment by just simply taking out something for everyone.

    Also people are saying they don’t want kids to see sexual orientation. Are you serious? To join Xbox Live your suppose to be at least 13 years old. If a 13 year old doesn’t know about sexual orientation there is a problem. No one is trying to convert someone to a different sexual preference if thats what you parents are worried about.

    I also know that Xbox Live is not a dating service, but neither is going into your local Walmart. People find love in the strangest of places, and their have been stories on Xbox.com of people getting married thanks to Xbox Live. Now I’m not saying turn Xbox Live into E-Harmony, but people need to lighten up. If you own a Adult account then you should have the option to state “Personal” information like Gender, Race, Orientation. Any “Social Network” regardless if its gaming or not should have this, and if you don’t want to use it you don’t have to. Just give people the option to choose for themselves.

  • oAssassin Xo

    Can someone help me? I can’t find help at XNA or…well anywhere! Even MS support is clueless!
    .
    .
    I simply want to know how you update your Community Games? Alot of them say they might release updates in the future. My question is how do you get these updates??? Will the 360 let you know and download it like with normal games? Or do you have to guess and redownload the title? Because I notice all the time older community games are relisted in the “New Community Games” section. Not sure if that means they are updated or not.
    .
    .
    I also want to know if there is a site for the Community Games. MS sure doesn’t advertise well for it.

  • Bushi no Eire

    Censorship=Fail.

  • Darth Skyjuice

    “@ZprivateZ: You know what…kids SHOULDN’T be on XBL in the first place. A RESPONSIBLE parent wouldn’t allow their kids to play online unless they were playing kid appropriate games (ex: Lego games, Kung Fu Panda, etc.). If you let a child play something like Gears of War 2 or GTA IV…the last thing you should worry about them being exposed to is just seeing the word “lesbian”.”

    I’m a very resposible parent and I allow my 8 yr old to play games like GOW2 L4D and the like,but without a mic. If he uses a mic its IN A PARTY with kids his age. My sons godmother is gay and he knows that some girls like girls thats it. Why should other peoples orientation in anyway matter when he just wants to chainsaw people after putting a full effort all day into school and homework? Someone suggested a way to isolate the type of person you want to play with in a game based on age,sex,etc. I thought having a friends list and starting a party did the samething.

    This is really silly and is ditracting from the real reason we are here, to play games. I must admit that I barely use a mic because of all of the namecalling and “fratboy” attitudes. So a long time ago I started looking online for groups for xbox gamers over 26. Dads and family men who game. I seriously suggest that gay, lesbian, italian,korean or whatever group you happen to identify with, go online and make friends and make social connections that way. Then get their tags and add them to your list. Instant group to slay others with. If you dig a little bit in search engines and on Xbox forums you may find what you are looking for.

  • Silvercube

    In addition, your use of the Service is subject to your compliance with the Code of Conduct (www.xbox.com/en-us/live/codeofconduct.htm and its successors). You agree that we may also discontinue your access to the Service if you do any of the following while connected to the Service:

    Create a Gamertag , avatar or use text in other profile fields that may offend other members. This includes comments that look, sound like, stand for, hint at, abbreviate, or insinuate or relate to any of the following: profane words/phrases, topics or content of a sexual nature, hate speech (including but not limited to racial, ethnic, or religious slurs), illegal drugs/controlled substances, or illegal activities.

    http://www.xbox.com/en-US/legal/LiveTOU.htm

    When you sign up for Xbox Live, you agree to the ToU and CoC.
    Obviously some people just don’t read…

    I would completely understand otherwise.

    Happy gaming :)

  • Indigo0086

    The fact that parents let their kids play on live unsupervised is partially the reason for some of these pathetic xbox players – which many admittedly stay away from xbl with random people for just that reason – is why a child shouldn’t be playing a game online. PGR and other games are E rated, but content changes when you go online. An E rated game can turn to a T rating for language and behavior in a second. I shouldn’t have my xbl experienced ruined over useless parenting.

  • SmackEmYakEm

    “I think expressing your sexual orientation on any social networking site is inappropriate for any reason other than dating. If I want to play Gears of War, I don’t care what you like to do in your spare time, just help me kill some noobs.”

    Same goes for ethnicity. Gamertags like BlackPanther04, or SuperGuido. Why do I care what nationality they are? However they have every right to use tags like that because they are proud of the people they are. I could just as easily say “If I want to play Gears Of War I dont care what nationality you are, just help me kill some noobs.”

    Everyone is either too sensitive or just looking to cause trouble these days. Sheesh.

  • Jonabob87

    I just tried to make my gamer Motto say “God rules!”

    I’m not allowed to, for whatever odd reason. I’m not freaking out and accusing MS of hating Christianity.

  • FIERCExCHICKEN

    I could care less what someones orientation is. At the same time I dont like it forced upon me. When I go into open rooms I toss my mic in the floor. Mostly kids, start cusing like they were in the navy. If a gamer tag offends me and it does not violated the code of conduct. Then I avoid user under communication.

    How do you guys force the code of conduct in games where you are able to enter a 4 letter clan tag. Nothing seems to be off limits in those tags. I fill a inapropriate player content. Not sure if something gets done.

    I am not sure what orentation has to do with gaming. Just want to have fun. Not have a social lession.

  • DesertBear360

    Here goes another fact that throws a wrench into the works of GLAAD and LGBT. XBOX LIVE is a worldwide service and the ToS, ToU, and CoC policies are their to fit the globe market and function within the guidelines set forth by the governments of providing services in the many countries. Do you think that the other countries care about the U.S. based GLAAD? Nope.

    It is simple XBOX Live is for gaming not announcing sexuality.

  • Arsenic13

    Facebook group to get the terms updated so these things wont happen again!
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=65655751833

  • MikeCaelen

    I love how SO MANY people have not even bothered to read the details in both of the topics Major has generously taken his time to post- instead decide to use his blog to make such statements as “think of the children” “not in my backyard” “the gheyz are attention seeking”

    Here are the facts (as posted by various sources) for all those whom were unable to follow the information provided:

    *Girl (Theresa) notes in her profile (NOT her gamertag) that she is a lesbian
    *Girl is hounded in game by a group due to said content in her profile, harassed from map to map in game and even followed to other games telling people to report her profile.
    *Girl is suspended from Xbox Live due to reports.
    *Article posted on Consumerist highlighting the story, it also references how Xbox Live made a person change his gamertag because his surname “Gaywood” may cause offence.
    *GLAAD post statement which states they have been working with Xbox Live admin to resolve issues surrounding current Live policies concerning abuse and hate speech on Live.
    *Xbox Live admin confirm they indeed initiated contact some time ago with GLAAD following a review where it found the policy’s it had in place were insufficient for the network. Xbox Live admin appeals for “Theresa” to contact them to discuss the incident and how they can move forward.
    *Major Nelson posts this blog in order to provide CLARITY to the situation.
    *Xbox Live admin mentions on Twitter they are in fact working on new profile features to safely address the issues.

    People should not be using this blog post as a place to make thinly veiled homophobic remarks but as an open forum to discuss the facts of the story which Major brought to our attention. Take advantage of being able to discuss like adults a subject which elicits so much passion, but abuse it and watch the chance of Microsoft taking your opinion seriously, slip away.

  • MonsterSpanker

    i personally believe that being homosexual is wrong. however, putting that aside, and without going into specifics of my beliefs concerning homosexuality i think a bio is a place to tell other people about yourself. if you think that who you are is your sexual orientation, race, color, religion, or national origin then it should be allowed in the bio. if i choose to identify myself as a heterosexual white american male i should be able to do so. if i choose to identify myself as a black militant, a nazi skin head, the grand wizard of the KKK, or a flaming homo it should be allowed. As long as the bio doesnt include any of the words not allowed on TV it should be OK. its not like its right in your face, you have to choose to look at the bio. if i dont want to read about someone i wont look. if we cant use a section labeled as BIO to tell people about ourselves then that space shouldnt be provided.
    this whole situation really is just a small part of a much bigger problem. Live is just a reflection of our society. a society where squeaky voiced kids are provided a forum to spout profanity and slurs. A society where its OK to be a proud latino, or have chicano pride, or black pride but if you have white pride you are labeled as a racist. a society lacking common since. a society who panders to the minority at the detriment of the majority. why would anyone expect LIVE to be any different.

  • Quaranj

    Unless Xbox Live! is changing focus to a dating site, I would rather the current mandate upheld. I don’t care your orientation. Do you pwn n00bs? Will you pwn n00bs with me? That’s as far as it really should go. I mean without having to force the issue of explaining the Gamertag of “HotLesbo69″ to my nephew or niece, I’d just rather this policy continue to be upheld. Your orientation is in your bedroom, you are your Avatar on Live! and that is it. Unless there’s some hidden patch somewhere that makes your avatar more anatomically correct than a Ken doll you are a *gamer* on the service, nothing more. Adding this as a feature may create more backlash than the initial complaint, as I for one would prefer to keep children OFF the “pink ribbon service”, they’re not old enough to make those decisions up for themselves yet. Oh, and BTW… I have Gay friends, even on XBL, and I haven’t heard a single one choked about this, and they pwn just fine without adding their orientation to their profile.

  • USG The Doctor

    If this is gonna be a problem on LIVE, why not get rid of UNO, i’ve been seeing naked men for the past 5 months!
    Yeah I can turn my privacy setting off or what not, but I don’t want to.
    So why not just pull UNO if you’re going to make this such a big fuss.
    Hell why not pull all the M rated games from shelves as well.
    I myself had my sexual orientation in my bio not to long ago, BISEXUAL!
    I am BISEXUAL, though I’ve never gone any farther then kissing a guy, because I’m happily married to a beautiful woman I met in high school.
    Half my friends are GAY and LESBIANS.
    Now, Transgenders I have a problem with, but normal GAYS and LESBIANS I don’t mind.
    So let’s all go into a HATE RAGE here.
    Let’s all be immature and say things against the G&L&B communities in America.
    Wasn’t this country supposed to be a haven for freedom?
    What happened?
    Where is that freedom?
    Where is our freedom to be who we are, and do what we want, that is allowed by law, huh?

  • FOOLKILLER X2

    There should be no profile page info for orientation, age, sex, religion or anything else. That is pointless, XBox is for gamers. This is not Adult Friend Finder, Myspace, or Wikipedia. It is not appropriate to the forum. It is actually illegal to mandate these kind of questions be answered, so why open that can of worms by asking people to “volunteer” this info. Major Liability concern for Microsoft. If the gay and lesbian community forces this issue they are going to invite a lot of hurt on themselves from immature gamers. I really don’t want to go down this road.

  • The Last Eskimo

    A1337Haxor (and anyone who agrees) is totally right. What do sexual tenancies have to do with gaming?? It makes no difference to me if i’m owning a homo- or hetero- sexual in halo or gears or any game!
    Great, some people are proud to be gay. I don’t care, when i’m trying to kill you (in game). A person’s sexual preference doesn’t define them!

  • Raiden BR

    People who reported her are the real ones that should be banned.

  • ZprivateZ

    No the ones who reported her should be commended theres no place on live for anyones sexual preference in an manner shape or form period!

  • a peeking duck

    It’s a sad world when a community software censors a word like “Lesbian”, I mean… really?

    Furthermore, the whole reporting system on Live is horrendously flawed and can be easily abused.

  • blinker flewid

    people need to grow up and cut the sensitivity nonsense. welcome to the real world. stop throwing up walls and starting lawsuits because someones feelings were hurt. it’s hard to believe that no one in this day and age – has come across a gay or lesbian in life or on the net, or even heard that they are out there. it’s sheltered people out there, who cower before things they dont understand and expect big brother to shield them that brings the rest of society down with them. STOP STANDING IN THE WAY OF PROGRESS!

  • Nurd Alurt

    This stuff is so gay.

  • UNSCleric

    I have no problem with gay or lesbian people, they can get married for all I care, but there is NO reason she needs to talk about being a Lesbian on an Xbox Live profile.

  • SPARKY123

    One recurring thing I keep seeing on this issue is people who state that sexual orientation has no place on LIVE. I disagree, join any game on live and you usually only have to wait seconds before hearing your first insult about how ‘gay’ someone is etc. Who knows what this girl was thinking when she mentioned she was a lesbian in her profile, maybe she thought it might help her to expand her friends list so that she could find other like minded frineds on Live and be able to enjoy some gaming without the constant barrage of ‘gay’ related insults.

    I get that some people might find it offensive, but it isn’t your profile it’s hers. I get that you might be thinking ‘Why feel the need to mention it!’, again, it’s her profile not yours. If it offends you then don’t read it. If it’s to late and you’ve read it, then just don’t add her as a friend if it bothers you so much.

    And as for the issue with ‘won’t someone think of the children’, I’m sure if your someone who lets your kids play on live running around chainsawing people in gears, or getting headshots in Halo, then I think they can handle exposure to someone who is gay. If not, then they shouldn’t be on live in the first place.

    I really hope MS amend their terms to allow Live to be a much more GBLT friendly place. I know that as a straight gamer, even I get sick of all the ‘gay’ insults on live, MS should concentrate on fighting that rather than banning accounts due to things like this.

  • Warrengonline

    @SPARKY123
    Most of the people here are not mature enough or intelligent enough to know that there are some people who are different, have different mind sets or which have you. The title ‘lesbian” is no different than a person putting “Mac”, “Apple”, “MS”, or “Atari” on their profile. Why do people do this? To attract people of liked-minded interest, such as you said. Now if it said “Looking for other hot…” THEN that would be a bit offending, such as the dance scene in the Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li (yes, I saw that slap in the face of a ‘Street Fighter II’ movie – though as an action movie for those who do not know the Street Fighter story, it is an alright movie).

    SPARKY123 your reply is what people, ESPECIALLY parents, okay, RESPONSIBLE parents, Uncles, Aunt, childcare (so few there really are) need to understand. It’s just like people who have HBO and Showtime, “Parental Discretion is Advised”. Do parents still do that or just click away from the channel? No discussion as why they should not be watching or listening to such said material?

  • HFC

    Jee Whiz. While I detest racism and homophobia as much as the next reasonably minded person, I sometimes wonder if the world is losing it’s perspective on reality. While Western economies crash and burn and the real threat that this brings to all of us, people are suggesting we have a gay/straight checkbox etc etc. Why not go the full PC-hog and have every gender type category known to man. Why not have a “midget clown snuff porn lovers” checkbox for those who want to broadcast their desires to the world? Come on folks – we’re seriously losing perspective here. I have taken a load of sh1t on XBLA from people who are just a-holes. There are plenty of them and there is plenty of crap dished up to non-coloured, non gay people, non jewish folks. I’ve had abuse about being Scottish/British. I just ignore it and block the perpetrators.

    File a complaint and make sure you select the ‘Avoid player’ option. I’m sorry people get abuse and Ihave no problem with people in their bio stating they are gay but people please, if you do that – some folks out there are going to give you static. Like I said – the a-holes on live aren’t just hompohobes or racist – they tend to be like that with everyone. Deny them the oxygen of publicity and use the built in controls to filter/report them. The minute the service is changed from a gaming service into a niche forum for people of different types is the day that I’ll quit XBLA. As far as I’m concerned, we are united through games and I will play with anyone regardless of their gender, colour or religion. United through games. That’s all need consider in this debate.

  • RuairiAU

    This is a gaming network not a dating site. I do not need nor want to know someones sexual orientation, their marital status or what they like to do in the bedroom. It has nothing to do with games – at least any games I can play on the Xbox.

  • The Phazer

    “This is a gaming network not a dating site. I do not need nor want to know someones sexual orientation, their marital status or what they like to do in the bedroom. It has nothing to do with games – at least any games I can play on the Xbox.”

    Presumably you would also support banning Stepto himself then, as his bio mentioned he was married with a wife until he stealth edited it out yesterday after people noticed the hypocrisy. Oddly he did not get the 24 hour ban anyone else would.

    Curious that.

    Phazer

  • Anonymous

    People do know what a bio is though don’t they? Its meant to be a biography of the person playing so i decided to set mine up to look kind of like something out of a sci fi, like a log account and even though i’m gay i merely wrote in my sections loves, partner. I thought this would be best as although i have no problem with seeing anything like sexual orientation in anyones profile i would rather not have insults like when i was sent a message calling me an ‘anime loving faggot’. As for why do only gay people write their orientation and tell people. Well i think it has more to do with the fact that most people are indeed straight. I feel more confident if people (not in gaming circles i might add) know what i am so no awkward moments, questions etc pop up.

  • AgingSoul

    All I have to say is that if being gay is the only thing you have to express yourself, to describe who you are, then I feel sorry because I have never once used hetero as a description of who I am. Just Game on! and if you really want to put who you really are, do it so only Friends can see it.

 
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