“This is the Fighting Game Community Code of Conduct. Its goal is to prevent and expel predatory behavior and emotional, sexual, verbal, and physical abuse to create a safer and more inclusive [Fighting Game Community] in which more people can enjoy the fun, exciting, grassroots spirits of our community,” the Code’s preamble says.
A collective of community volunteers have written the Fighting Game Community Code Of Conduct.
This document is an open resource and was created to help community members take confident and uniform action against abuse and misconduct in the scene.https://t.co/IZ8vksozAA
— FGCoC Communications (@FGCoC) January 13, 2021
The Code was developed in the wake of several high-profile scandals that rocked the fighting game community [FGC], particularly scandals related to sexual abuse. Allegations regarding sexual impropriety dogged the community in 2019, and allegations against Evo organizer Joey Cueller in 2020 ended plans to host a digital Evo Online event that year.
Most recently, the Super Smash Bros. community has dealt with a widespread sexual abuse scandal that resulted in Nintendo issuing a statement to IGN on the matter.
The Super Smash Bros. community in particular has never had official support from Nintendo, which longtime members say is partly due to the disorganized and grassroots nature of the scene.
David “UltraDavid” Graham, a fighting game player, attorney, commentator, and Governing Signatory of the Code of Conduct went further in-depth on the process of drafting and creating the Code of Conduct.
“This is the product of the last half year of discussions by volunteer TOSs, players, streamers, etc who wanted to help our community improve & move forward after the terrible acts that came to light last summer.”
Graham says that the list should be “largely uncontroversial,” outlining clear violations and enshrining enforceable rules. The Code was drafted “based on previous codes of conduct” Graham drafted for legal clients in the past.
“So why do this? Because our old piecemeal system put too much pressure on individual TOs to make community-wide decisions and incentivized a dog-piling type of enforcement that nobody enjoyed,” Graham says. “Having more (but not exclusively) uniform rules/enforcement can avoid this problem.”
The @FGCoC group has put out its Fighting Game Code of Conduct!
This is the product of the last half year of discussions by volunteer TOs, players, streamers, etc who wanted to help our community improve & move forward after the terrible acts that came to light last summer. https://t.co/97AzXGGf8q
— Just UltraDavid (@ultradavid) January 14, 2021
Since the Code was unveiled last night, there have been some discussions regarding the rules on Twitter and other social media sites. The Code of Conduct has a feedback page that encourages users to submit suggestions, and it does appear the document has been revised since going live after taking into consideration the suggestions.
Although the Code of Conduct is a community measure, it is encouraging to see steps being taken by tournament organizers to clean up its spaces and take steps towards enshrining official rules regarding abuse, harassment, and personal conduct.
Matt T.M. Kim is a reporter for IGN.