Yesterday, members of the official Star Wars: The Old Republic asked developer BioWare to "rethink" its policy on filtering the words "gay" and "lesbian" from posts. The official moderator response was not exactly... elegant.
Star Wars: The Old Republic community manager Sean Dahlberg quieted talk of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender themes in the forthcoming MMO by writing "As I have stated before, these are terms that do not exist in Star Wars" and locking the discussion thread. That lead to further allegations of GLBT "discrimination," with knowledgeable fans pointing out instances of same sex relationships in the extended Star Wars universe.
Gamers looking forward to the new massively multiplayer Star Wars game were largely civil in their requests for BioWare to reconsider its stance.
"I understand where it comes from, but my advise to Bioware is to rethink this," posted user Elikal. "Blizzard got some really bad press when they tried to forbid the usage of these words, and it would be really disappointing if Bioware would follow such a conservative policy in their forum - and their game."
Today, BioWare reps have decided to remove any filters that bar homosexual topics of discussion, reopening the thread and issuing a mea culpa. Star Wars: The Old Republic community manager Sean Dahlberg issued the following apology and explanation:
I would like to personally apologize to "Elikal" and anyone I may have offended. My intention was not to demean anyone but simply to help promote a community that could discuss topics in a mature fashion. When I first built the word filter list, I added a variety of terms to the word filter that have been used numerous times in derogatory messaging. There were some words added to the filter that should not have been – we corrected this today.
I apologize for the confusion that this has created but I would like to be clear that there was never any intent to limit discussion. That said, I have overstepped my boundaries in my original statement and I sincerely apologize for doing so.
Dahlberg went on to clarify that no Star Wars: The Old Republic forum members were banned for discussing matters of a gay or lesbian nature "with the exception of individuals who were being derogatory and insulting to others."