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Xbox Live Enforcement — No Swastika Logo

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the pursuing-the-rare-double-godwin dept.

XBox (Games) 473

itwbennett writes "It's one of those questions that really should never come up, but as blogger Peter Smith points out, Stephen Toulouse, the head of Xbox Live enforcement, is used to fielding all sorts of strange questions. Recently, one of those questions was apparently 'Can I use a Swastika as my logo in Call of Duty: Black Ops?' When Toulouse responded with the obvious answer ('No, of course you can't, we'll ban you.') he was met with some pushback by people he refers to as 'contrarians' and 'internet pundits' who decided to educate him on the long and storied history of the swastika as a symbol of good fortune and how just because the Nazis used it, it doesn't make the symbol itself a bad thing. Toulouse covers the topic on his blog in a post titled Context and it's an interesting read if for no other reason than to get a peek inside the day-to-day issues the Xbox Live Enforcement team deals with."

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Hmmm, don't really like the guys tone (4, Insightful)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328596)

The guys tone seems to be that he knows best and that his view is commonly held, and that the people arguing are only doing so for the sole purpose of arguing.

I don't think that's true at all, and while a company certainly has no obligation to assure free speech to all customers of its service, I would expect it to at least be considered, especially when the arguments have a lot of merit.

I mean, if his point is that they won't allow things commonly found horribly offensive then he should have simply stated that, without diminishing the people making the argument. All in all, he comes across like a tool.

Re:Hmmm, don't really like the guys tone (5, Insightful)

Malc (1751) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328652)

Believe it not (and apparently you don't), his view is normal and commonly held. People arguing in this way for something like the use of swastikas tend to be immature or lying about their motives. There's nothing cool about swastikas, even for Hindus (it's a sacred symbol after all).

Re:Hmmm, don't really like the guys tone (0, Troll)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328726)

Don't you mean that you don't think that there's anything cool about swastikas? Other people might disagree.

Re:Hmmm, don't really like the guys tone (3, Insightful)

MareLooke (1003332) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328840)

For most people the thing that makes them "cool" is exactly the same thing why they are banned on Xbox Live (and in half of Europe): their link to the Nazis.

Re:Hmmm, don't really like the guys tone (2, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34329048)

? Cross shapes in and of themselves are pretty cool despite being used as the symbol of Christianity, and the swastika shape itself is cool, despite being used by the Nazis. If people can think shuriken make cool symbols, why do you find it so hard to believe that they might like a swastika simply for the shape?

Re:Hmmm, don't really like the guys tone (0)

ranulf (182665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328824)

I agree. There's nothing cool about swastikas. However, that's not really the issue here.

The problem is that Microsoft approved a game for release that allows people to use the swastika as a logo. If they find that so objectionable that it's an automatic Xbox Live ban for the player, then the simple fact of the matter is that they should have rejected the release until the logo was removed from the game. The requirements on a game's release are incredibly strict, and Microsoft has an entire team of people looking for issues like this in game. If they missed it, it's Microsoft's problem, not whichever gamer decides to use it as a logo.

Incorrect - the logos are player-generated (4, Informative)

penguinchris (1020961) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328912)

No, the players themselves have the power to create logos. There's a fairly extensive set of graphics (clip art essentially) which you can arrange in any way imaginable - choose the colors, size, arrangement, etc. - to create your logo. Lots of people find creative ways to make penises, and lots of people were finding creative ways to make Nazi swastikas. I made a much longer post about it here already, but you've been modded up, and you're misinformed.

Re:Hmmm, don't really like the guys tone (0, Troll)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328870)

"Believe it not (and apparently you don't), his view is normal and commonly held."

Normal, sure. Commonly held? Prove it.

All we have at this point is you saying "it's not commonly held" and someone else saying "yes it is." I don't care how many stories you have or how many people you've talked to, the plural of "anecdote" is not "evidence". So unless you can point to a study, I'm not taking your word for it.

Re:Hmmm, don't really like the guys tone (1, Insightful)

RockClimbingFool (692426) | more than 3 years ago | (#34329064)

Prove it? Its banned in most of Europe.

Unless your Hindi or ancient Egyption, you have nothing to stand on for using that symbol.

It was bastardized by the Nazis well before anyone currently bitching about it was born. So for all intents and purposes, its a Nazi symbol.

Re:Hmmm, don't really like the guys tone (1)

spynode (1377809) | more than 3 years ago | (#34329062)

Actually I think swastikas are pretty cool. They where used on weapons and armory by ancient Latvian warriors and also used as a Latvians Air Force logo from 1918-1940. It was symbol for sun and good fortune. Unfortunately Nazis ruined the coolness factor and now it is a global taboo. I really think it is unfair. To people like you this symbol means only horrors of WW2 but there are millions of people around the world who have one more reason to hate Nazis - they abducted swastika and never gave it back.

Re:Hmmm, don't really like the guys tone (3, Insightful)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328702)

To quote Stephen's blog in response: "They’ve read an article that’s contrarian to some position widely held, or they’ve found some obscure fact that contradicts common interpretation. Some of them claim to have known it as innate fact, others claim it to be widespread common knowledge taught to every single person in elementary school.Of course, usually neither is true at all. Most of them are just contrarians." I find that a perfectly reasonable argument to make. I've heard and indeed stated myself that the swastika by itself is meaningless, however I know that the context that almost any reasonable person would take it in is as a Nazi symbol. He appears to have considered the argument on it's merits as you've asked, so where's the problem?

Re:Hmmm, don't really like the guys tone (2, Interesting)

DavoMan (759653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328902)

its a game where people are shooting each other in the face. if someone is going around shooting people in the face and then sees a swastika on their back, and thinks 'that is SO wrong!' then I think they have their head in their ass.

somebody has to be the bad guy. its a war game. hell, what about wolfenstein enemy territory? its always axis versus allies.

the only person to cause any kind of conflict is the admin who is being pedantic about a logo on the player model of someone who is there to be shot at. shouldn't it be encouraged? lots of people would want to shoot nazis.

pathetic.

Re:Hmmm, don't really like the guys tone (2, Informative)

Twisted Willie (1035374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34329010)

Did you read TFA? His issue is not with a swastika appearing in the game itself, it's with the swastika appearing in a publicly accessible Xbox Live profile. Without any context whatsoever.

Re:Hmmm, don't really like the guys tone (2, Insightful)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 3 years ago | (#34329082)

The problem is his dismissive attitude of the other side as simply being contrarians.

Re:Hmmm, don't really like the guys tone (5, Insightful)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328850)

His view is commonly held. The people who are arguing, most likely, are only doing so for the sole purpose of arguing. I can't say whether he "knows best" as a general principle, but it's a good call. And an obvious one.

When's the last time you heard the word "swastika" and didn't immediately think about its role in Nazi Germany? Here's my stream-of-consciousness: "NAZIS! HITLER! WORLD WAR II! DEATH CAMPS!" and then, if I think about it a little longer, I might think, "Hindu mythology? Wait, was that Hindu or something else? Maybe Sikh? I don't think that's really a Sikh thing...they've got the turbans but I'm not sure what else...what other religions are there in India? Jainism? No, that's not right...it's not the Buddhists, I don't think...must be Hindu. Doesn't it point the other way, though? Do they do it both ways? I should check out the Wikipedia article. Maybe I should look up Sikhism, too."

When's the last time you saw a swastika in a movie or a flier or a tattoo or a T-shirt, and it wasn't this bad boy [wikispaces.com] or a reference to it?

These people live in the same universe as we do; it's merely a matter of being contrarian, and a video game (correction: this video game, I won't speak for all possible video games) is not really an appropriate platform for reclaiming the symbol.

Symbol Banned in Germany (2, Interesting)

EponymousCustard (1442693) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328854)

None of the articles seem to mention that the swastika is banned in Germany. As a result, model aircraft manufacturers (Airfix, Revell, etc) don't include swastikas in their decal sheet so they can sell to the international market.

Re:Symbol Banned in Germany (1)

Golden_Rider (137548) | more than 3 years ago | (#34329044)

None of the articles seem to mention that the swastika is banned in Germany. As a result, model aircraft manufacturers (Airfix, Revell, etc) don't include swastikas in their decal sheet so they can sell to the international market.

Exactly, that's another thing which has to be considered here. The xbox live service is available in Germany, too - and so the company could (potentially) get into trouble. Most likely not (the game has already been rated etc. after all), but I am sure it's one of the reasons why game companies make sure those symbols are not used by players.

Buddhists and hinduists aren't educated (?) (4, Insightful)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328928)

'No educated person on the planet looks at the swastika symbol (...) and says "oh, that symbol has nothing at all in any way to do with global genocide of an entire race"'.

Well, no educated person except a couple of billion buddhists and hinduists. But I suppose they're not educated, since they don't believe in our God.

When you get a city map in Japan, it's often littered with swastikas for all the buddhist temples. I'm pretty sure those have nothing at all in any way to do with global genocide of an entire race.

He could have made his point with a little more respect. I can understand you don't want swastikas on an online video game service that's used by a lot of people from western societies, but he's pushing it a little bit too far when he's talking about contrarians arguing about some innate facts.

Re:Buddhists and hinduists aren't educated (?) (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34329004)

Do you really think that Buddhists and hindus aren't aware that a variant of that symbol was used as the symbol for the Nazi party, and that the Nazis were responsible for attempted genocide?

The reality (3, Funny)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328612)

"This isn't gonna stop until Pictionary bans the word 'windmill.' "

wtf? Javascript? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328616)

I hate sites that require Javascript enabled just so you can scroll the content. Rotten sods.

/click Close

Plenty people use the British flags (-1, Flamebait)

NotInfinitumLabs (1150639) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328618)

and they've killed way, way more people than the nazis ever did (except most of them were brown, so I guess they don't count?)

Re:Plenty people use the British flags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328662)

Stop. Please, just stop.

Re:Plenty people use the British flags (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328666)

are you sure about that? i am sure we have killed many hundreds of thousands of folk over the years unnecessarily. But millions? i'm not so sure. And war wise, i can't think of many major wars against black people. Normally they were against european nations in other places. Admittedly there was Sudan and currently Afghanistan. Anyway, i'm just not sure of our facts. It sounds great, fighting talk and all, but i suspect you may be wrong.

Re:Plenty people use the British flags (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328736)

The way people talk about the Swastika in the Nazi context you'd swear it was an actual weapon that they stabbed people to death with. FCOL! It was the idiots carrying the flags with the Swastika on it that did all the killing, not the symbol itself.

To use your logic, attributing deaths to symbols and inanimate objects, you should never ever pick up a knife again or even keep one in your house. How many millions of people have been killed by knives since they were first created?

Re:Plenty people use the British flags (1)

MareLooke (1003332) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328856)

Except that the knife doesn't stand for a certain belief while the swastika did and is still generally associated with that belief.

Re:Plenty people use the British flags (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34329096)

war wise, i can't think of many major wars against black people

Ahem. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Plenty people use the British flags (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328692)

Nope. I'm a 'brown' person whose country used to be ruled by the Brits. Yes, they unjustly killed tens of thousands (e.g. the Jalianwala Bagh massacre).

However, the Nazis were far worse... 2-3 orders of magnitude worse. The Nazis killed hundreds of thousands of browns as well (e.g. Roma).

There is no comparison. Ban the Nazis!

Re:Plenty people use the British flags (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328718)

Hundreds of thousands? Sure. But MILLIONS? You're gonna have to show me some math.

Re:Plenty people use the British flags (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328864)

You're gonna have to show me some math.

2 + 2 = 4

Re:Plenty people use the British flags (1, Flamebait)

NotInfinitumLabs (1150639) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328882)

The British Raj famines [lavidalocavore.org] alone killed more than the nazi holocaust (20-29 million). I'm not looking up the rest, if you're this ignorant of history, you need to do some serious reading.

Re:Plenty people use the British flags (4, Funny)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328904)

You know, if the Nazis had chilled out a bit, stopped the whole "let's conquer Europe" thing and the other bit about genocide and racism, established a modern liberal democracy, made friends with their neighbors, but kept the whole swastika business, I don't think anyone would have a problem with it.

Context and intent (5, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328622)

While the symbol (and the name) are older, there are many ways to draw the original symbol that barely or superficially resemble the Nazi emblem: From orientation (right or left-facing; the Nazi flag always faced right) to the rotation (the Nazi flag stands on end at a 45% angle) to the color (the Nazi flag is red-white-black).

That implies a hazy line, but it redefines the offense as one of intent, context and of what a reasonable observer would see.

If you draw something like this [wikipedia.org] , you can use the "traditional symbol of luck" defense; if you draw this [wikipedia.org] , then it's a fairly obvious lie.

Re:Context and intent (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328690)

You can discuss freedom of speech, intent or degree of offensiveness all you want. In the end it boils down to:

Do they want to risk getting hit with the official banhammer in countries like Germany and lose that market for showing swastikas in-game?

Oh and it wouldn't just be the inconvenient "for the children" banhammer but the nasty "symbols of unconstitutional organisations" banhammer which is also a criminal offense.

Re:Context and intent (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328738)

From what I read, single-player games sometimes get an edition where that stuff is removed (also, blood color mods, but that might also be in American versions to get a lower rating), so it can be sold here.

The same also applies to in-game content for multi-player games (after all, textures and stuff doesn't need to be transmitted over the network), but not to user-created content like avatars - so yeah, their decision on this actually makes sense.

Re:Context and intent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328886)

single-player games sometimes get an edition where that stuff is removed

Yea, big action games are usually censored in Germany because of our idiotic youth-protection laws. The word "sometimes" is a crass understatement.

However, that's only really enforceable for fixed content provided by the publisher. As you mentioned, if players get to introduce their own content in the form of logos, it's easier to just outright ban them instead of trying to implement a complex filtering and image recognition system (whose potential ineffectiveness would put them at legal risk).

The usual ESRB argument "online interaction is unrated" does not fly here. Ratings for games are mandatory and anti-Nazi laws are non-negotiable.

Web-sites regularly get into trouble for user-created content because legally they are often responsible for the content posted by others (mostly because judges still utterly fail to understand how the web works).

Re:Context and intent (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 3 years ago | (#34329040)

Do they want to risk getting hit with the official banhammer in countries like Germany and lose that market for showing swastikas in-game?

Then, maybe they should say so, rather than insulting people who hold different views?

Re:Context and intent (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328696)

I don't see how anyone in this day and age could be insulted by a symbol.
Somewhat ontopic, Have you seen zer new high efficiency microwave oven? Nein? It seats twelve.

Re:Context and intent (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328706)

The left-facing swastika is a very common symbol in various Buddhist related religions. There are many temples around Asia that are completely covered in them.

Actually I once heard the tale that the swastika comes in two types: left and right facing. The left facing shows good luck, the right facing bad luck. The tale didn't elaborate on why the Nazis chose the right-facing one... it didn't help them much at least.

Re:Context and intent (4, Informative)

pookemon (909195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328918)

Yep - and I'm sure that ALL the players using the swastika in COD:Blops are using it as a sign of good (or bad) luck. Especially the ones (that I have seen in game) with the "[NAZI]" clan tags.

Re:Context and intent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34329020)

If you draw something like this [wikipedia.org] , you can use the "traditional symbol of luck" defense; if you draw this [wikipedia.org] , then it's a fairly obvious lie.

Yes, but chances are if you're playing Call of Duty and using a "Swastika-like" symbol, that you're a 13-year-old white kid just trying to be a dick - not some enlightened Buddhist wishing luck on your fellow players.

Though, I still think they should be able to use whatever symbol they'd like. But there needs to be a way for people to filter things they don't want to see.
How about banning the users if they don't tag their image as swastika-luck-sign? That way, anyone not wanting to see it can filter.

Free speech may let you say what you want, but it doesn't mean you get to force people to listen.

Re:Context and intent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34329036)

I'm afraid you might be wrong. I bet that if you draw the symbol of luck you've linked to you will be banned from XBox live.

Re:Context and intent (2, Insightful)

qc_dk (734452) | more than 3 years ago | (#34329090)

You can draw something very close to the second and still claim the defense. It was after all a common symbol in Scandinavia. Carlsberg, the Danish beer company, used it as their logo until the symbol became too tied with thoughts of a rather aggressive southern neighbour. The Finnish air force had it as their symbol, and recently, at their anniversary, you could buy swastika rings. A Swedish noble family has it as their coat of arms. Incidentally that is where the nazis got their inspiration.

The fact is that banning the use of swastikas is ignorant, prejudiced and hypocrisy. Isn't the COD series originally based on WW2, with the possibility of people impersonating nazis for their gaming enjoyment? So you can play nazis for fun, but you cannot use a 4000+ year old symbol because the nazis also used it?

It's unnecessarily inflammatory (3, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328624)

No one is playing the "Super Hindus" when they use the swastika. It is an inflammatory icon with specific anti-Semitic meaning.

Its use ought to be banned, just as if a group called themselves the "Jew gassers" and tried to claim it was a tribute to a wacky Israeli troupe.

Should anything offensive be banned? Well, MS has decided that they will cater to the lowest common denominator, so that means nothing offensive. These rules are indicated up front, so you don't really have a case that you didn't know about the rules.

Re:It's unnecessarily inflammatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328668)

The symbol has been used by far more than Hindus. My Native American friend has a swastika symbol hanging in his living room and a Taiwanese monk friend of mine gave me a bracelet that has beads which contain engraved swastikas.

Re:It's unnecessarily inflammatory (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328688)

And your point is that in-game as an icon it would not be offensive because, despite its primary association with the murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazi regime, the symbol can also be associated with other meanings?

Re:It's unnecessarily inflammatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328944)

That isn't its primary association in the entire world. My point is that this restriction is grounded in a purely uncultured, white western view.

I could say the same thing you said about the Christian cross and my Native American friend would say the same about the flag of the USA.

Re:It's unnecessarily inflammatory (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328988)

Then why are you arguing? That's exactly the point I ascribed to you.

Re:It's unnecessarily inflammatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328758)

Oh sure. So the reason why, for example, the Japanese use this symbol on maps, not to pinpoint the locations of buddhist temples, but of concentration camps. You pillock.
Here, start educating yourself. Start reading from here onward : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika#Controversies_over_Asian_products [wikipedia.org]

Re:It's unnecessarily inflammatory (0, Flamebait)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328796)

I'm sorry. Were we discussing the iconography of temples in the game?

No? Then go fuck yourself.

Re:It's unnecessarily inflammatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328874)

So you're saying that because in Asia the symbol is associated with buddhist temples, nobody on XBox Live (in a different continent with a different culture) will take offence? Or are you suggesting that anyone who wants to use that logo also provides the text from Wikipedia?

Re:It's unnecessarily inflammatory (2, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328846)

No one is playing the "Super Hindus" when they use the swastika.

I play the great warrior Arjun [wikipedia.org] you insensitive clod

Re:It's unnecessarily inflammatory (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328868)

No one is playing the "Super Hindus" when they use the swastika. It is an inflammatory icon with specific anti-Semitic meaning.

Its use ought to be banned, just as if a group called themselves the "Jew gassers" and tried to claim it was a tribute to a wacky Israeli troupe.

Should anything offensive be banned? Well, MS has decided that they will cater to the lowest common denominator, so that means nothing offensive. These rules are indicated up front, so you don't really have a case that you didn't know about the rules.

I think some cultural imperialism is present here. I suspect that if someone wanted the cross banned because of the Nazi's use of the Iron cross, or the crusades they would not have much luck

Re:It's unnecessarily inflammatory (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328966)

It's definitely biased towards Western culture, but that may have more to do with its primary market than anything else.

I'm not so sure MS is out there trying to cram Western culture down the throat of every gamer. They simply only have their own cultural signposts to guide them. If you were to make a convincing argument that a particular icon was terribly offensive in another culture, I'm sure they'd update their list of banned iconography.

Re:It's unnecessarily inflammatory (2, Interesting)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 3 years ago | (#34329060)

if a group called themselves the "Jew gassers"

In Luxembourg, there is a small village which has a road called "Judde Gas" (Jew Gas). Of course, in Luxembourgish, "Gas" also means "small road", but after WWII, it's still a bizarre name. Strangely enough, the name hasn't been changed...

Buddhists would disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328626)

since the swastika is much older than the german bastardization of it.

Re:Buddhists would disagree (3, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328642)

Buddhists would say that the meaning of the icon lies in the mind of the one ascribes the meaning to it. Therefore the icon has no intrinsic meaning in and of itself and thus they would have no problem finding another meaningless icon to use in its place.

Re:Buddhists would disagree (1)

cappp (1822388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328694)

The problem is that we're not, as a species, able to dissociate symbol from meaning. Our entire lives are spent navigating symbols and meanings and interpreting the subtle, subconscious, or merely obtuse. I've heard it described as us being "Homo Narrans" i.e. storytelling animals. The fact of the matter is simply that we tell stories - our lives and histories are processes of constant narrative using common cultural symbols as shared points of understanding. The swastika is a symbol that has become embedded with significant cultural short-hand and its impossible for people to divorce that specific alignment of lines from historical events.

Re:Buddhists would disagree (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328754)

Buddhists strive to make that dissociation, but that's their issue, not the one at hand.

You are absolutely right. The question becomes whether one culture's significant artifact is better or has more importance than another's. Does the cultural significance of the Nazi swastika imbue the non-Nazi swastika with the same negative connotations of the former? As the blog writer said, it depends on context.

However, the context here is the XBox servers and the game playing public who accesses these servers. MS has decided which icons are unacceptable, and they have used Western culture as the context for most of their decisions.

Right or wrong, in Western culture, the swastika has a very specific negative meaning. It is one of hatred, murder, and intimidation.

Re:Buddhists would disagree (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328962)

Buddhists would say that the meaning of the icon lies in the mind of the one ascribes the meaning to it. Therefore the icon has no intrinsic meaning in and of itself and thus they would have no problem finding another meaningless icon to use in its place.

That cuts both ways - you can count on the neo-nazis just using other symbols [adl.org] in response to the ban too.

Re:Buddhists would disagree (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34329008)

It's a good way to separate the wheat from the chaff. The idiot kids who do it to be edgy change their icons to something else. The idiot neo-Nazis change theirs to be another WP symbol.

All the better to see you with, my dear.

mod 30wn (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328650)

Sounds like an overreaction to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328710)

I can't think of another time in history when someone was so repressive.

Re:Sounds like an overreaction to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328922)

Do you mean now?

Symbols have power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328720)

The Nazi regime accomplished, besides killing millions of innocent people, to pervert the meaning of a previously harmless symbol. It is now a symbol of inhumane bestiality. Worldwide. This might seem a pretty cool feat to gamers, especially in the context of a war game. I mean, hey, who doesn't want to be the evil overlord for a little while? On the other hand, the attempt to appear dangerous and rebellious by rubbing off the image of evilness seems a little ridiculous to me. In my opinion, the use of the swastika should not be forbidden, it should be made fun of. Oh, and http://ipostr.com/pic-632-Sieg-Fail

Context is kinda why I can see it would be used (1)

MrDoh! (71235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328724)

Not played it (yet), but considering it's a game about running around and shooting each other...
Doesn't seem out of context if one side, being the bad-guys, is wearing the attire of those bad-guys does it? Or is the enemy shown just as amorphous gray blobs?
If this particular game doesn't have Nazis in, then fair enough, please ignore THIS post. I'll post it again when there is a recognisable enemy! But when CoD had WWII as the theme, did the enemy not have any markings showing which side they were on?

Re:Context is kinda why I can see it would be used (1)

MareLooke (1003332) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328908)

It's the difference between placing a party in it's historical context (with attached imagery) vs associating oneself with said imagery and attached context.

If someone uses a british flag as his profile image the vast majority of the people will assume he (or she) is British, if someone uses the WWF logo the vast majority will assume they are, if not a member, at least concerned with ecology. If someone uses a swastika...

Re:Context is kinda why I can see it would be used (1)

pookemon (909195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328964)

Aside from within Zombies the game does not have Nazi's in it (it's based around the Bay of pigs/Viet nam). The symbol is not on the players, it's something they can include in their Tags (Though you might be able to etch it on your weapons - haven't tried). The symbol has no context with respect to this game beyond some people thinking that Nazi symbolism is "cool".

This is nothing new (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328734)

This is really nothing new, most places that have any kind of moderation will instantly assume that anything that looks even remotely like a swastica is bad or intended to cause offense.
A few years ago, I had made a map for C&C: Red Alert 2. Part of the map design, by coincidence, had an area that looked a tad like a swastica on the minimap (it was basically an "X" shape with a few lines coming off of it) in one small corner. I'd had a screenshot of it on photobucket and that was removed because it was potentially offensive.

My network, my rules. (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328740)

Wellcome to the Wallet Garden, ... or maybe you was born there, so you don't know what you miss.

Freedom is something you learn.

It was unbelievably rampant in COD Black Ops (4, Interesting)

penguinchris (1020961) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328752)

I bought the game when it came out because I'm unemployed, living in my mother's basement, have nothing else to do, and haven't bought a game in a year or so (besides Civ 5 but that's different).

I love the fact that you can customize your logo. Other than unlocking better weapons, it would be difficult for me to care less about customizing the appearance of the weapons (which you can do) or your character model (which you can do to a limited extent). But somehow, designing your own little logo really appeals to me.

I'm obviously not the only one who feels that way, because there are a lot of really intricately designed logos that people have made. I am always sure to look at everyone's logo when we're sitting in the lobby between rounds to look for interesting ones. You see them each time you kill someone or they kill you, too, so you can keep track of players you're playing with by their logo. Of course, there are a lot of typical design styles that you might expect, like skulls and penises and what not. Even with those, though, it's often amazing the creativity that went into them (using the set of graphics available, it's amazing the different ways people have come up with to illustrate ejaculating penises).

However, for the first several days, there was almost always at least one person with a swastika. Not a hindu or buddhist one - a red, white, and black, rotated 45 degrees, unmistakeably Nazi one. I was in one lobby where no less than three people had them. It's kind of funny actually because, since there's no pre-set swastika symbol, they had to be just as creative when designing their swastika as other people are designing other things.

Now personally, I believe fully in the freedom of expression, and all that. I am not offended by swastikas, even Nazi ones, by themselves. It depends entirely on the context. Here, it's mostly teenage boys donning them. They're ignorant of history and what the Nazi swastika represents, and the crap that spews out of their mouths if they have a microphone only confirms their ignorance. It really does become offensive. And, I don't need my parents (or anyone else) seeing me interacting with a bunch of idiots with swastika logos - the type of person you'd avoid at all costs in any other context, but who are difficult to avoid on xbox live (or playstation online in my case).

I believe they must be doing something about it on the PS3 too, because for the past few days I can't recall seeing any swastikas, and I've been playing quite a bit. From a purely business standpoint, it definitely makes sense to ban things like swastikas. To their credit, that's probably the only thing they're going to care about. There certainly hasn't been a decline in the number of ejaculating penis logos.

Re:It was unbelievably rampant in COD Black Ops (2, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328906)

>>Here, it's mostly teenage boys donning them. They're ignorant of history and what the Nazi swastika represents

Pfft. Nazis and their swastikas are pretty much the most recognizable figures out of history to the modern teenager.

If for no other reason than that all the early Call of Duty games featured Nazis.

While I understand banning the swastikas, it seems rather fucking hypocritical from a series that has made billions of dollars off WWII.

Re:It was unbelievably rampant in COD Black Ops (3, Insightful)

penguinchris (1020961) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328978)

Yes, you're right. But it's entirely a context thing. If I'm playing a WW2 game, I expect to see a lot of swastikas. I expect to see them on my character if I'm playing as the Germans, which you can do in any WW2 game with multiplayer.

However, here it has nothing to do with the context of the game. It's being used to be provocative - and you would only do this using a swastika if you're a neo-nazi (which probably some of these people are), or if you're ignorant as I suggested. Every teenage boy recognizes the Nazis, yes, but it's ridiculous to suggest that they all *truly* understand the implications of donning the swastika - primarily, they don't understand that it makes them look like an idiot, and it doesn't make them look cool. Especially once you've played this game online with them and you've heard what they have to say - they're ignorant.

Re:It was unbelievably rampant in COD Black Ops (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328940)

And, I don't need my parents (or anyone else) seeing me interacting with a bunch of idiots with swastika logos ...
To their credit, that's probably the only thing they're going to care about. There certainly hasn't been a decline in the number of ejaculating penis logos.

But you're good with your parents seeing you interacting with a bunch of cum-spewing dicks?
I guess you gotta draw the line somewhere...

Re:It was unbelievably rampant in COD Black Ops (1)

penguinchris (1020961) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328982)

Hehe, that's a good point, but the Nazi swastika is certainly a lot more eye-catching.

Re:It was unbelievably rampant in COD Black Ops (1)

Hoolang (1946568) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328980)

Hey http://www.hbledlight.com/ [hbledlight.com]

Why do people have to be jerks on the internet? (1)

John Pfeiffer (454131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328770)

I'm all for freedom of speech and expression, but why can't people accept "No, you can't. Some people may find it deeply offensive." as an answer? I think we can all agree that it is reasonable to not want people running around on XBL with swastikas plastered everywhere.

Yes, the symbol in question has many other meanings, but in an online community where users dedicate no small percentage of their time to finding new ways to spell fa**ot and ni**er to get around content filters, you can bet your ass they probably don't care about any context the symbol had prior to WWII.

Re:Why do people have to be jerks on the internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328866)

I don't believe anyone has a right not to be offended.

Re:Why do people have to be jerks on the internet? (1)

Golden_Rider (137548) | more than 3 years ago | (#34329016)

But people do not have a right to offend others, either, if I create an online game and state in my terms of service "we reserve the right to ban you for offending other players". And that's what's being discussed here.

Re:Why do people have to be jerks on the internet? (1)

Ziekheid (1427027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34329030)

You should never keep your mouth shut just because someone might find what you're saying offensive. But now I'm talking about real life, a blog/forum post, etc. You can add context then and that's exactly the point of this guy, eventhough I don't like the cocky way he presents his opinion.
I do have a major problem with developers having to censor out swastikas in games that are supposed to be in the time of WW2 though. Eventhough games are usually not 100% historically correct I feel like you're censoring history when you replace/delete swastikas from these games.

Hell, the Germans are going way overboard when it comes to this. I pasted a video involving a hitler parody (hitler vs darth vader rap battle) to a guy I know in Germany and the video was blocked in his country. I'm not talking about copyrighted content here, just some youtubers who made that video.
I later discovered it was banned in France too though..

javascript (5, Insightful)

forwardhairbrush (714823) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328774)

What the hell? I really can't scroll down on your site without javascript enabled?

I'm sure your content was compelling though.

Can't help but wonder (1)

dvdx (1535155) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328782)

Can't help but wonder if they'd let one use the communist `hammer and sickle' logo in game. Commies committed more genocides than the german fascists [[citation not needed]]. They also lasted much longer.

If they'd let, it's hypocrisy -- and no excuse about different possible interpretations is available. If not, it would be a very uncommon case... you can see people walking around with such logos on T-shirts every other day. You can easily buy gadgets with the commies logo and nobody seems to mind :(

Re:Can't help but wonder (3, Insightful)

MareLooke (1003332) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328976)

The USSR (whose flag you are referring to, lumping them all together as "commies" under that flag might offend a couple of other nations) was especially good at getting it's own inhabitants killed and in doing so didn't differentiate between various ethnic groups, for actual genocides I'd say a citation IS needed.

The Nazis specifically prosecuted and eliminated Jews, gays, lesbians, Roma, handicapped people and probably a slew of other groups that didn't fit into their world view, quite a difference if you ask me.

One of those questions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328806)

It's one of those questions that really should never come up...

Why? Nobody should be afraid to ask a question.

The only thing we have to fear from history, especially one so dark and foreboding as the goings-on of WWII Nazis, is being unfortunate enough to repeat it. It should be openly discussed. It should be remembered. And it should never, ever be repeated.

Re:One of those questions... (1)

pookemon (909195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34329002)

"Can I do something that will offend an entire country, entire religion, entire race of people?"

Why the hell would that kind of question ever need to be asked? People that feel the need to ask such questions should be taken out and summarily shot - or maybe they should be taken to watch their family gassed - under their beloved symbol. Then perhaps they'd understand why it's such a stupid fkn question.

One of those questions that should never come up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328816)

I don't agree with this.

Isn't it interesting (3, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328830)

Isn't it interesting that Slashdot edits out svastik characters. There is a line of them below

Re:Isn't it interesting (3, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34329028)

No, it's sad that slashdot edits out almost all non-roman characters. You cannot even type cyrillic, greek, chinese etc. I guess they do this to try to keep people from spamming in different languages, but it can be annoying.

meh, same all over (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328838)

This would be the same as most customer service centers for forums/mmos and the like fiat gm rules, stated policies, and operations directives. Cmdrtaco looses his WoW character name, let people still have that name, someone gets banned for saying "/1 thats gay", and yet while bacteria cultures engage in the "/2 anal [spell]" Its gotta be tough business on the ops end of this.

Toulouse & Team are being prudes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328862)

...about what Nintendo has been ambivalent for decades now.

http://faqsmedia.ign.com/faqs/image/engel_zelda03.gif

Re:Toulouse & Team are being prudes (1)

pookemon (909195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34329012)

Hmm - which side were the Japanese on again? (lol @ the map btw)

Well someone had to post it (2, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328896)

This is the famous picture [wordpress.com] of Jackie Bouvier (later Jackie Kennedy/Onassis) wearing a Native American costume as a child, complete with swastika. The Swastika is a sacred symbol [western-hindu.org] to many cultures.

Re:Well someone had to post it (4, Insightful)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328984)

Which is why I should totally use it while I'm running around calling people "Noobs" and blowing their heads off with automatic weapons, then teabagging them.

If in some other game, you're roleplaying a buddhist monk who has it around his neck as a good-luck symbol, its all good and dandy.

Context people, Context.

You know your game is about killing people, right? (4, Insightful)

mozumder (178398) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328900)

Like, you made a whole video game to accurately recreate the violent deaths of people for sport, right?

And you have problems with people expressing their preference for a group that violently killed lots of people?

MORAL DILEMMA!

necessary but probably futile (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328910)

Clearly Microsoft / Treyarch / Activision are free to set their own terms and conditions on the service, which might include banning logos which are obscene, offensive etc. So if you do a swastika and they say its banned then you're best to take them at their word. I don't own COD: Black Ops so I don't know how you customize your logo. But assuming you can draw pretty much anything you like, you only have to look at various ways neo nazis get around this ban to think this is all a futile effort. They substitute the swastika for something with a similar radial symmetry and colour scheme. I can imagine the hilarity that will ensue when someone uses the Isle of Man logo and gets banned for their troubles.

We're talking about xbox live here... (2, Informative)

IronSight (1925612) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328914)

...not someone's personal religious blogspot page. If you haven't been on xbox live, let me fill you in. It is not filled with nice people that have a fun game, then talk about their cultural differences in a calm manner over tea. When you turn on your headset, you hear screaming 9 year olds telling their mothers to fuck off when asked to do homework, then tell you how they are going to teabag your corpse. Then they blast gangster rap in your ears over the mic and make it so your team can't talk to each other. You hear people shouting over the microphone's at each other screaming racial slurs every 2 seconds. In my experiance with xbox live, I saw more racism and hate than anywhere else in my life. So if I saw a clan with a swastika as their logo, *yes* I would automatically assume it was the racist/nazi version. And I would also wonder why in the hell I ever went *back* to xbox live in the first place compared to my relatively tame gaming experiance on pc.

Xbox live = prudes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34328958)

http://faqsmedia.ign.com/faqs/image/engel_zelda03.gif

I fully agree with that guy (1)

Golden_Rider (137548) | more than 3 years ago | (#34328990)

I 100% agree with everything that guy posted in his blog.

Yes, the swastika symbol does not always stand for nazi Germany, but in our western culture, pretty much EVERYBODY will think of that meaning first - especially if the symbol is drawn in exactly the way used back then (same orientation, same colours). All the "but it has a different meaning in certain religions" arguments are just crap. If you'd ask those people to explain in more detail what they know about the symbol, why it is designed that way and why exactly their 20 people clan so badly wants that symbol as their logo, they would not be able to explain it (or you'd just get a copy of the wikipedia article) - because in reality they actually want the swastika symbol BECAUSE they want to offend people and all the "oh it's a good luck symbol in certain religions" arguments are just bullshit to try and get around the terms of service. Using a swastika as a clan logo in a first person shooter game because it means "luck"? Come on.

So we're back at "is it ok to intentionally do something which offends people in an online game?", and the answer to that is obvious - it depends on the terms of service of that online game, the game company CAN state that they will ban you for it (free speech does not apply there, same as it does not apply on a private message board).

DIggin through the old bunkers (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34329006)

I really wish they'd find some evidence that Hitler liked Justin Bieber. Poof, another problem becomes socially awkward to admit liking.

sounds familiar (1)

underqualified (1318035) | more than 3 years ago | (#34329054)

You know the type I mean. They’ve read an article that’s contrarian to some position widely held, or they’ve found some obscure fact that contradicts common interpretation. Some of them claim to have known it as innate fact, others claim it to be widespread common knowledge taught to every single person in elementary school. Of course, usually neither is true at all. Most of them are just contrarians. They would never dare to wear a swastika openly, but they love to argue about how the world has “misunderstood” this symbol. Or they view any opportunity for human interaction, no matter the appropriateness, to push their point. You know, like you do.

yup, that definitely sounds like someone from /.

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