Tabletop Simulator removes global chat amid LGBTQ moderation controversy

Dice placement game Euphoria as seen in <em>Tabletop Simulator</em>.

Enlarge / Dice placement game Euphoria as seen in Tabletop Simulator.

Here at Ars, we’ve repeatedly noted that Tabletop Simulator is one of the best ways to play virtual versions of physical games across long distances. But developer Berserk Games is now facing controversy over its chat-moderation policies and alleged treatment of LGBTQ discussion. In response, the developer has now taken down the game’s global chat feature and announced a “renewed commitment to creating a culture that values inclusivity in board gaming and the world.”

Keep it on topic?

The recent controversy began when a player going by the handle Xoe posted an extensive Google Doc documenting what she called “the suppression of gay/trans identities” in Tabletop Simulator‘s global chat. The chat logs cited in that doc include numerous instances of temporary bans issued right after Xoe discussed her personal sexual or gender identity in the chat.

In those cases, moderators cited posted rules that “there is an expectation that discussion will be family friendly and centered around Tabletop Simulator, tabletop games, and chatting with other players.” Moderators specifically told Xoe that “discussing sexuality has no place in global chat” and that “Tabletop Simulator is about playing tabletop games, not a place to discuss sexuality, fetishes, politics [emphasis added]. Keep that to your private lobbies or public chats where these things are the topic at hand.”

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