It's been a hugely depressing (opens in new tab) few weeks for the games industry, with critic Anita Sarkeesian being driven from her home by online threats and abuse, among other horrible events. Influential figures including Tim Schafer, Joss Whedon, Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann and Saints Row 4 developer Steve Jaros (opens in new tab) have stood up in support of Sarkeesian and the importance of self-examination, and against campaigns of online harassment, but there's obviously more that needs to be done.
To that end, an open letter (opens in new tab) condemning harassment and threats of violence in the gaming community, created by Andreas Zecher of Spaces of Play, has attracted 1382 signatures and counting from individuals working for Ubisoft, Bungie, Sony, Harmonix, 2K, Infinity Ward, BioWare, Blizzard, Microsoft, Riot, Splash Damage, Trion Worlds, Double Fine, Epic, Paradox, Mojang and look, I'm going to run out of space here. It's an enormous list, including a lot of independent developers and publishers, critics and press too.
While adding your name to a list doesn't guarantee any sort of change, it's an encouraging step to see this letter grow so quickly, and frankly any sort of positive action is heartening after weeks of hateful, angry and defensive comments being thrown around on social media. Here's the letter (opens in new tab) in full. It's entirely reasonable.
"We believe that everyone, no matter what gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religion has the right to play games, criticize games and make games without getting harassed or threatened. It is the diversity of our community that allows games to flourish.
"If you see threats of violence or harm in comments on Steam, YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, Facebook or reddit, please take a minute to report them on the respective sites.
"If you see hateful, harassing speech, take a public stand against it and make the gaming community a more enjoyable space to be in. Thank you."
(Thanks to Kotaku (opens in new tab) , from whom I nicked the above image.)