supporting great online communities


gamers are supporting IRON Ribbon

Take the IRON pledge to break the digital bystander effect

  • I believe gaming is for everyone.
  • I believe trash talk & overt trolling using gender / race / sexuality / disability is a form of verbal assault and harassment.
  • I believe the gaming community can take a stand on this form of abuse.
  • I believe those who cause harm to others are accountable.
  • I will not stay silent when observing abuse against my fellow gamers.
  • I will not cause harm to others myself.

Show that gaming is for everyone

Upon adding your support you will receive an email with all the IRON Ribbon logos and graphics for you to use online.

You will also receive periodic emails about the progress of the IRON Ribbon social movement.

You can unsubscribe from these email updates at any time.

Your email address is sacred and will never leave our servers for any reason, at all.

* indicates required
comments powered by Disqus

Why are we doing this?

Iron Ribbon is a community of gamers who agree in fair play for all ,and that the current gaming culture needs to change for the better. Iron Ribbon members pledge to not only behave like adults, but also encourage others to do the same

Appalled at the treatment of female gamers from within the gaming community itself, the founders of the IRON Ribbon have banded together to create this symbol of harassment free gaming.

The IRON Ribbon is a rallying point for gamers who believe that race / gender / sexuality has no place in weather or not you should be "allowed" to game.

We want to establish this iron ribbon as a symbol for a harassment free gaming environment. Where players can game-on knowing that if dodgy comments are made, their peers and other IRON Ribbon supporters will actively defend their right to game without harassment.

The IRON Ribbon is not taking financial donations, nor does it have any financial objectives of any kind.

Is this a real issue for gaming?

The Facts
The average age of an Australian gamer is 32*. However 94% of people aged 6 to 15 are also considered gamers*...

All this points to the next generation of gamers is going to be huge!

So its time for the older majority to set the example to the next generation, and start behaving like adults.

*DANZ12 Report

*DANZ14 Report


imagine getting 10+ messages like this every single time you turned on your Xbox?! Find more examples at the community

"In the seven years from 2005 to 2011, the proportion of
gamers who are female has increased steadily from 38% to
47%. Female representation equal to males among gamers is
DANZ12 Report

In The News:
Sexual Harassment Is A Joke To These Fighting Game Fans
Kotaku March 2, 2012

Sex, Harassment & Video Games
WNYC August 8, 2012

Xbox Live Survival Guide for Female Gamers

Sexual harassment in the world of video gaming
BBC UK June 3 2012

Season 4, Ep. 11 – Harassment
Penny Arcade

In Virtual Play, Sex Harassment Is All Too Real
NY Times August 1, 2012

Harassment, Misogyny and Silencing on YouTube
feministfrequency June 7, 2012

We want to talk to you!

Media Enquiries
The IRON Ribbon is backed by passionate professional individuals who have come together to support this cause.

Unfortunately if we publish email contact information on this site there is a high chance of our emails or mobile numbers being heavily SPAMED.

Please contact us through:
Facebook or Google+

Contact Information
Initiatives like this have been hacked horribly in the past. Google "gamers against bigotry" to see what we mean. So for security reasons we are deliberately limiting our contact information on this site.

However please feel free to contact us on the following email drop-box:

Also please feel free to get in contact with us through either our:
Facebook page or Google+ page

Want to help change gaming culture for the better?

1 - Don't make others look bad so you look good

Be an example of the behaviour you expect from others. Sexist, racist, homophobic or otherwise out of control comments are not funny.

If you currently rely on these types of comments to make yourself look cool/hilarious/awesome, then you need new jokes. Don't make others look bad so that you look good.

2 - Recognise the line between sledging and harassment

In game sledging (or smack talk for the Americans) is fine. We think that this is a great part of gaming, and we are not wanting to see it go away.

The key is to be able to identify when the line has been crossed. A good rule of thumb is that if the comment is a personal attack, outside of the gaming reference, then it has crossed the line.

3 - Keep you comments on topic

Asking a player how big their tits are? Or how big their dick is? Or if they can be your "in game" girlfriend / boyfriend? Or questioning their sexual experience / skills? Or what they do when not gaming? or where they live? Or questioning their right to game? IS NOT OK.

4 - If you see it happening, say so

If you see someone who missed out on the lessons in the above three points, let them know. If you see it, say it. Remember to name the behaviour and not resort to a personal character assassination. Remember that someone can say something offensive, but not intend to offend.

That guy who just called you teammate "gay" could very well be a supporter of gay marriage .

Sometimes people just say dumb shit and it is okay for you to point it out to them. There is a big difference between 'what you just said was not cool' vs ' I'm taking screenshots you asshole' ... one leads to awareness and the other leads to conflict.

Personal Attack Examples Include:

Identifying or referring to a player as a bitch, faggot, nigger, etc etc Instead of using the individuals name or game tag, is personal attack and has crossed the line.

If you think a comment could be taken out of context, (especially when on group chat to strangers). Then it probably will, and is better off unsaid.

Comments such as 'that's so gay' or 'kill those dessert niggers' may seem innocuous to friends. However in a group environment they can really piss people off and result in wholesale abuse. If in doubt, see point one above.

Anything that directly declares a player as being inferior to you (in real life) Typically on the basis of gender, disability, race, sexuality or other personal features is also a personal attack and has crossed the line.

How to deal with a bad situation

1 - Nab it quickly

Of course letting offenders know they have crossed the line and asking them to "cut it out" is ideal. But when things go bad, take screenshots (even with your phone is good) then report them to whoever is appropriate.

We are not going to give you a lesson on how to do this on each gaming platform. Just remember that you have the right to report this kind of trolling and not feel bad. Sure… they will probably just go and create a new account and change their name, but they should get the message. Eventually.

2 - Back up other players

If you witness players coping more than their share, then don't be a passive bystander. Let them know that you think that this should not be happening – they are deserve better than to have people talk to them like that. Remind them to take screenshots and support them they let the trash talker know they have crossed the line.

Everyone has the right to free speech online and everyone also has the right to game without harassment.

Appeal to the other gamers playing for example phrases like "can we get <insert player tag> out of here!" or for girl gamers "get this creep off me" can be very effective at getting a player booted or kicked.

3 - Be empowered by the Iron Ribbon

There are heaps of people who feel gaming culture needs to change for the better. Even if they haven't signed the Iron Ribbon pledge.

You may feel you are being dominated by this awful behaviour, but remember there is a whole community of gamers who are willing to make the change.

You are not just one voice, and gamers who participate in this kind of trolling behaviour are not the majority of players.

Who are we?

Iron Ribbon is a community of gamers who agree in fair play for all ,and that the current gaming culture needs to change for the better. Iron Ribbon members pledge to not only behave like adults, but also encourage others to do the same.

IRON Ribbon began as an idea by Kym Herbert, a gamer himself and the guy behind PCG4M3R.

There came a point where he decided enough was enough. After seeing yet another media hype-up about the dangers of online gaming and the effects of "Cyber bullying", Kym decided that it was time to shine a light on the good stuff that goes on.

It seemed that a very small proportion of people who acted like tools were getting all the attention they didn't deserve. It was time to give players who acted like adults a voice and method to rally support for change.

Iron Ribbon is not a government initiative to "stop the bullies". It is not a vigilant response that just spurs the trolls to try harder. It is a simple plan to acknowledge that majority gamers do not act like what is displayed in the media, and that most gamers agree that gaming culture could be allot better.

Players need need to feel empowered to take comment they see something wrong, knowing that they have the backing of others who feel the same way.

After coming up with this plan, Kym rallied the support of those who he knew would be on the same page. It didn't take much to get IRON Ribbon off the ground, as the momentum was already there.

IRON Ribbon is no micky mouse operation. Kym has worked in the digital media industry since before Google and has been running PCG4M3R for a few years now.

Kym's partner in crime (aka wife) is a Psychology Academic who has built a foundational model for Iron Ribbon. Based on empirical research on human behaviour, social systems and processes of change, the IRON Ribbon initiatives are evidence based and outcome driven.

The foundational supporters of IRON Ribbon have been gaming since Donkey Kong and now work/live/breathe all things gaming. This shit is real and it is here to stay.

  • Supporters of IRON Ribbon are organisations / communities and groups of gamers who all support fair play.
  • Supporters do not pay to be part of the IRON Ribbon administrators do not select supporters based on any sort of pre-determined criteria.
  • IRON Ribbon does not accept any financial donations, nor have any financial objectives of any kind.
  • IRON Ribbon development and support is done by those who believe it is a worthwhile cause to spend their spare time and effort on.

How can I use the IRON Ribbon?

The IRON Ribbon is a railing point for gamers who believe that race / gender / sexuality has no place in weather or not you should be "allowed" to game.

The IRON Ribbon aims to highlight the negative behaviour that's currently considered "normal" in gaming culture is in fact anything but normal.

IRON Ribbon aims to highlight that a large population of gamers do in-fact support a positive gaming culture, and would love to be involved with influencing change.

We want to establish this iron ribbon as a symbol for harassment free gaming. Where players can game-on knowing that if dodgy comments are made, their peers and other IRON Ribbon supporters will actively defend their right to game.

The IRON Ribbon is not taking financial donations, nor does it have any financial objectives of any kind.

First Time Gamers:
IRON Ribbon symbolises as a safe environment for people to introduce themselves to the online gaming environment.

By joining online communities who support the IRON Ribbon, emerging gamers can help ensure that their first online gaming experiences are positive, fortifying them for any unfortunate future gaming experiences.

Current Gamers:
The more individual support we have for the IRON Ribbon the more voice we will have in making the move for positive change common knowledge.

Iron Ribbon shines a light on the good stuff that goes on, giving the people who act like adults a voice. If you game on without harassing people, are sick of seeing atrocious behaviour online or feel that bullying/trolling behaviour goes too far, then IRON Ribbon is your community.

Gaming Communities:
Existing online communities can join the IRON Ribbon by incorporating the IRON Ribbon values into their existing code of conduct / policies of acceptable behaviour.

Its all about spreading the word that the crappy behaviour that's considered "normal" in gaming culture is highlighted as anything but normal.

IRON Ribbon aims to highlight that a large number of gamers support a positive gaming culture.

If you are running LANs / Comps / Teams or any other gaming community you can point to the IRON Ribbon as an example of what you expect form your members /attendees.

News of online communities who support the IRON Ribbon will be sent out to all existing IRON Ribbon supporters, ensuring the good message gets out to those who care the most.

Gaming Brands:
Its possible for established brands to align their values with the IRON Ribbon code of ethics.

Any brand who wants to become an IRON Ribbon Ambassador is welcome, so long as they help spread the voice of the IRON Ribbon to their existing customers / members / subscribers or followers.

Ideally brands can align their values with the IRON Ribbon pledge by making a public statement about their own stance on ethical conduct in gaming.

Gaming related brands lend weight to IRON Ribbon, and helps to prevent the Ribbon from attack by gamers resisting change.

This is not a personal crusade this is a movement from within the gaming industry itself.

Media misuses the phrase "Trolling"

The phrase "Trolling" in often misused in popular media. We see the term "trolling" used all the time as an interchangeable term for Cyber Bullying, harassment or generally offensive online behaviour.

Lets just set the record straight:
IRON Ribbon has no problem with actual Trolling.
But we have to use the term "Trolling" sometimes because it is so widely used albeit incorrectly.

Here's what Trolling means from Wikipedia:
"...In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion..."
Read it here

Note that the definition above is all about disruption and reaction. Trolling is not personal.

However Trolling does very quickly cross the line into harassment when it repetitively targets an individual, continues over a length of time, or singles out a player in several matches.

All out verbal abuse is obviously not Trolling either.

Trolling also becomes full blown Cyber Bullying when a player is continually harassed through several online channels such as email, messenger, in-game chat etc.

In these circumstances the victim feels like they cannot "escape" their attackers online, and unfortunately all of this behaviour is referred to as "Trolling" by the media. This is bullying or harassment.

Trolling can be an acceptable form of humorous behaviour. When done right, its hilarious. When done wrong its harassment / bullying / offensive.

Trolling is best thought of as an absurd "one off" … the online equivalent of a fart in an elevator... aka a single, random comment or event / action, designed to disrupt and cause a reaction.

2 Examples of Trolling as it was originally known:

The above is a fake scenario created by a single player (playing both voices):

This is an "in game" Trolling / Griefing example, the Troll is silent and does not continuously target the same player. Although, the troll definitely succeeds in getting a reaction (warning.... language.....). This is a pretty entertaining example of how to troll without offending:

3 Examples incorrectly defined as Trolling:
Verbal abuse is not Trolling This guy is still playing well, but unnecessarily targets individual players in the game and crosses the line into abusing other players many times:

Continuous sexual harassment is not Trolling If this type of thing happened to you every single time you played online you would lose it. The girl gamers in this video are needlessly targeted and singled out from the group. It's not funny or complementary towards the girls. Any players can leave the game at any time, however the way these two female players continue to play despite the continuous harassment is an example of how common this behavior is.

General fun or "mucking around" is also not Trolling and shouldn't be described as such. More like LOLz incorrectly described as Trolling. Trolling is a solitary act, but in these examples all of the players are in on it. It still looks like lots of fun:

and also (because its hilarious) ...