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In Defense of — and a Salute to — The Pro

Illustration for article titled In Defense of — and a Salute to — The Pro

Two jackasses baiting an Xbox Live moderator and getting banned isn't worth much outrage. But when they doctor a video and expect everyone to believe it on the knee-jerk faith that mods are fascists, that just insults your intelligence.

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Each week on Kotaku Talk Radio I write and record a rant/editorial titled "Something Negative." This week's was about The Pro, and if you're not familiar with what I'm talking about, read up on Luke's coverage and update, it'll bring you up to speed.

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So, below is reprinted the text of my editorial for those who may not have heard it during this morning's broadcast. But you can also download the podcast (25.9 MB mp3) and hear it for yourself. It's at the 40:00 mark, on the dot.

Something Negative, Feb. 24, 2009

Over the weekend we got a taste of the worst Xbox Live has to offer. None of it was Microsoft's fault, although the cretins involved did their damndest to make it seem that way. But it blew up in their face from the get go.

In this incident, a heavily edited video was released to YouTube pretending to show an Xbox Live moderator, Gamertag "The Pro," on a power trip with some innocent Modern Warfare 2 players. The audio was edited in attempt to make it appear that The Pro was banning people left and right for minor offenses or for asking harmless questions.

In fact, the kids behind this were too stupid to cover their tracks, as their Gamertags were linked to several other videos showing them using illegal mods in Modern Warfare 2, and engaging in other behavior that most assuredly deserves a two-week time out. At least.

Shortly after this video went out and fooled no one, uncut audio of another encounter was discovered and in it, we can hear what set off The Pro. It's some teenager activating an illegal mod, and then gratuitously provoking The Pro by boasting of having violent sex with his grandmother. That's like saying the magic word to a major league umpire, and The Pro gave him the heave ho.

I'm not a law-and-order authoritarian. Neither are most folks on this service. That doesn't mean we give the benefit of the doubt to someone just because they accuse a giant corporation of fascist behavior, and vent their tinhorn indignation, like skateboarders lecturing mall security on Constitutional law. That's because of two things. One is the preponderance of unpunished douchebag behavior on Xbox Live, especially on certain games, many of them shooters. If we're prejudging a class of people as abusive, unfair and arrogant, honestly, you're more likely describing a gamer than a moderator.

The second, and most important, is because we're paying $50 a year for the service. Reasonable people don't pay that money thinking it entitles them to do anything they please online. We pay it because we expect some portion will be spent on moderation of trolls, cheaters and others who think our paid Xbox Live experience is their personal canvas upon which they can paint a giant middle finger to the world.

Xbox Live enforcement chief Stephen Toulouse stood by his moderator, but did take issue with his tone of voice. Personally I found him entirely in the right, and I'm grateful to The Pro for taking it like one and then acting. By banning these twits, he salvaged some positive out of a situation that was truly Something Negative. I'm Owen Good.

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DISCUSSION

I said this before and I'll say it again, if you can't handle online gaming then GTFO. Talking smack violates the TOS? Please. Paying $50 a year means your paying for the service, not for a mommy/daddy figure to protect you against the mean kids. What would you say if the service was free? Bottom line: You are entitled to nothing when you are playing on the internet. That money should go to paying for infrastructure, not demi-gods.

Oh, but the kid was threatening to violently rape his grandma... I lol'd. I'm sorry, but I lol'd. This is classic gamer talk right here. What's next, being banned because you called someone a fag? And if the Mod really thought that the kid could find out his location, get a hold of his name, find out who is Grandma was, pay money to fly over to her house and then rape her then... I don't know what to say. It's ridiculous. If he was really afraid of some punk 10 year old, then he should of contacted the authorities.

Furthermore, if you are being bullied either take what you dish out or don't say anything and they'll move on.

I also believe that this mod should not have made it aware to the group he was in that he is a mod. That's just asking for it.

In the end, I lol and lol hard at the mod for even getting fired up over that kid. Just brush him off like every other game does... but no. Because he had mod powers he had to make it a vendetta.