Microsoft has made a small but vitally important step forward in improving the overall tone of the online chat and gaming banter within its Xbox Live community
If you have ever played against strangers on Xbox Live then you have most likely been exposed to a whole array of homophobic insults, regularly blasted out by frustrated teens on the gaming service.
And while it is difficult for Microsoft – and its millions of gaming customers on Live – to effectively police the service to weed out this widespread homophobia, the fact that the company has now announced a change to its Code of Conduct for the service, whereby you can describe your sexual orientation as gay, straight, bi, lesbian or transgender - is a major step in the right direction towards trying to inform and educate the many ignorant gamers out there.
Improve the tone
"Under our previous policy, some of these expressions of self-identification were not allowed in Gamertags or profiles to prevent the use of these terms as insults or slurs," Xbox Live General Manager Marc Whitten wrote (opens in new tab) on the Xbox press blog.
"However we have since heard feedback from our customers that while the spirit of this approach was genuine, it inadvertently excluded a part of our Xbox LIVE community. This update also comes hand-in-hand with increased stringency and enforcement to prevent the misuse of these terms."
"Other terms regarding relationship orientation are not allowed. In addition you may not use these terms or any other terms regarding relationship orientation to insult, harass, or any other pejorative use against other users," the document adds (opens in new tab).
"I truly believe that our diversity is what makes us strong: diversity in gaming and entertainment options, and diversity in the people that make up this amazing community. I look forward to seeing you on LIVE soon," Whitten said.
So the next time some 14-year old Texan kid abuses you with a torrent of homophobic nonsense, remember to take a note of his gamertag and let Microsoft know about the incident.
Via Ars Technica