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November 30, 2011 • Gaming, Rants and Raves

Gamer Banned for Using ‘Inappropriate Language’ in Forum Tamer Than What Is in the Actual Game!

Early this year I wrote about two separate incidents of gamers being banned from playing games based on comments made in separately housed gaming forums – the first was about someone banned for upsetting a forum moderator by asking “Have you (Bioware) sold your souls to the EA devil?”.

At the time EA claimed it was an ‘error’:

“Unfortunately, there was an error in the system that accidentally suspended a user’s entire account,” he told Ars. “Immediately upon learning of the glitch, EA took steps to restore the user’s macro account and apologized for the inconvenience.”

My speculation that the ‘error’ was getting caught was verified a couple of weeks later as another Dragon Age 2 gamer was banned from the game (again, as a reminder, this is an offline game and the comments were in game forums requiring a different login (though the accounts are tied together). Also, it is worth noting that you do not need to own an EA game to join the forums, meaning that saying the same ‘offensive’ thing can have very different consequences based on whether or not you own a game.

Can you guess where this is leading? You guessed it! Yet another incident of EA games banning a gamer from the actual game based on a comment in a game forum. In this particular case the irony is two-fold: the expression used is ‘badass’, which I use here without hesitation, and the game was Battlefield 3, which is full-up with MUCH worse language, much of which I wouldn’t even THINK about using here! Here are the details:

Electronic Arts continues some serious hypocrisy, as it has banned a player from the forums and playing online for saying the word “badass” in a Battlefield 3 forum.

According to a gamer identified as Roger, he was being banned from Battlelog, as well as the multiplayer component of Battlefield 3, for 72 hours over using the word “badass” on the Battlefield forums. In the forum post, he wrote in an Off-Topic forum “almost as badass as germany. Switzerland: they do a lot of stuff I think that just about sums up europe.”

This earned him a ban from Battlelog by EA, receiving an email stating, “Your Electronic Arts account has been suspended for 72 hours for violating the Terms of Services for Electronic Arts Online. Violation:Inappropriate language (almost as badass as germany. Switzerland: they do a lot of stuff I think that just about sums up europe.)”

The hypocrisy comes from anyone who’s played the single player campaign of Battlefield 3, which has wall-to-wall actual profanity. This, in light of the fact that “badass” is technically not a profane word. The root of badass is “ass” as in donkey, with the term meaning a donkey that won’t behave or listen to orders. Even if the word is taken to mean “buttocks”, is anyone truly offended by terms like “kicked his ass”? Doubtful, and it’s highly questionable that there would be anyone offended by profanity in a Battlefield 3 forum.

Analysis: The solution to the problem, aside from not buying Electronic Arts products, is to simply never post in Electronic Arts forums. There’s simply no reason to put yourself in the position of idiotic bans from playing games, not with plenty of non-official game forums out there to join.

At this point, I think that the analysis from Strategy Informer is spot on: while I have found some devent folks in the EA forums (Bioware in particular), it just isn’t worth risking the inability to play a game I BOUGHT based on the whim of some petulant forum moderator with the ability to shut down your access to something you paid money to play based on a very loosely worded agreement.

What do you think? Should EA be able to lock you out of a game based on what you said in a forum so long as you haven’t crossed some line of making threatening remarks or otherwise done something that should result in the authorities being called?

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