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Inside the culture of sexism at Riot Games
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-08-09 19:07:42

Riot Games, founded in 2006, has become one of the biggest companies in gaming on the back of its sole release, League of Legends, which had 100 million monthly players in 2016. With 2,500 employees across 20 offices, Riot is a powerhouse. In 2013, Riot was named one of Business Insider's 25 best tech companies to work for. Two years later, it made $1.6 billion in revenue. Its Los Angeles campus is cushy in the way you'd expect a money-bloated tech company's offices to be. It's got a gym, a coffee shop, a cafeteria with free food, a LAN cafe. Employees often stay late to grind out competitive skill points in League of Legends with their Riot family and are communicating on Slack well into the night. Women who don't fit in with Riot's "bro culture"- a term I heard from over a half dozen sources while reporting this story - say these amenities help make the job bearable for only so long.

Over the course of several months, Kotaku has spoken to 28 current and former Riot employees, many of whom came forward with stories that echo Lacy's. Some of those employees spoke on the record; most spoke anonymously because they feared for their future careers in the games industry or they were concerned that League of Legends' passionate fanbase would retaliate against them for speaking out. Many of those sources painted a picture of Riot as a place where women are treated unfairly, where the company's culture puts female employees at a disadvantage. Other current employees, speaking on the record, disputed that account, with some top female employees telling Kotaku they had not personally experienced gender discrimination at Riot.

A very detailed and well-researched article, with ample room for both sides of the story. It covers the experiences of both women and men with regards to harrassing behaviour, but also relays the experiences of people who never felt any sense of harrasment, while also allowing senior leadership and the company itself to properly respond to the claims made.

To go along with this story, there's the experiences written down by former Riot employee Meagen Marie, which are quite chilling. This retelling is obviously of a lot more personal nature, but it does seem to align with Riot having a deeply sexist culture.

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Sad Assumption
By Bill Shooter of Bul on 2018-08-09 19:54:58
But, I just pretty much assume a lot of places are terrible to work at. I mean my job is great, but I'm not a member of a class that would be discriminated against. I have no idea what it would be like if I were a different race/gender/orientation, but I've always made an effort to make people feel comfortable.
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It's reflected in the community
By CaptainN- on 2018-08-09 20:22:41
A toxic bro-man-boy culture is what drove me away from that game. They tried for a while to pretend to do something about it, but have largely removed everything that looks like an attempt to curtail that unaccountable masculinity thing they have going on in the community. Some truly awful people play that game.
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RE: Please, not here too
By piratepuppy on 2018-08-09 21:28:06
FTFY:
"I didn't read your post. How soundly its principles are argued are irrelevant. Can we PLEASE agree to stop whining about sexism on a site ostensibly about alternative operating systems? No you say?"

Ugh. If you don't like the post then ignore it. Instead, you were so worked up by it that you chose to write a fuckin thesis. Why did it bother you SOOOOOOO much, mmmmmm?

Bottom line is this: Stop being a whiny manchild. Accept that some people don't want to hear your kindergarten level potty mouth all day long at work. Some people are more sensitive as in the case with Ms. Marie. It sucks when someone is offended by what I would call playful banter but grow the fuck up and deal with it. It's a job, not after school hours at the mall with your loser friends. Do your work and go home where you can be as big a shit head as you want.

Some of the things she described are outright ridiculous for any professional workplace. That boss who jokingly asked one of his subordinates girlfriends if she was DTF or down to fuck on facebook would have had the shit stomped outta him if it were my girlfriend. Don't give a fuck if the cops were called either (been there, done that, got the mug shots). Bet the guy was a bit sheepish and miserable man child boss was in need of a "ego" boost could get a few digs in to establish dominance. People like him need a good ass kicking to remind them just where they stand. And the team who though "bros and ho" was funny is just as fucking gross. There are some grody motherfuckers out there. Don't be them.

And while we're at it, let's talk about this so-called bro culture. In this case, bro is a pleasant euphemism for overgrown manchild. Most tech jobs are full of these immature clowns. And the worst part is it goes all the way to the top allowing it to survive throughout the chain of command. A proper workplace would shut that shit down in a heartbeat. If you experience such behavior, leave. The place is an unchecked daycare center and not worth the headache.
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boys?
By project_2501 on 2018-08-09 22:03:08
I read a serious article by a psychologist last year which suggested that a major cause of tech sector bro culture is not as complex as some make it.

It's just children, not sufficiently developed in character and experience, getting their hands on far too much money and power.

What would a bratty 8yr old boy create as his very own company - free food, loads of games, pizza and beer, and you can guess how 8yr old boys treat girls...

Myself, I resisted the simplicity of this analysis .. but it feels annoyingly correct.
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RE[2]: Please, not here too
By WorknMan on 2018-08-09 22:51:42
> Bottom line is this: Stop being a whiny manchild. Accept that some people don't want to hear your kindergarten level potty mouth all day long at work. Some people are more sensitive as in the case with Ms. Marie. It sucks when someone is offended by what I would call playful banter but grow the f--k up and deal with it. It's a job, not after school hours at the mall with your loser friends. Do your work and go home where you can be as big a shit head as you want.

I have two minds about this. On the one hand, I agree with what you say here. On the other hand, if a bunch of 'bro' douchebags want to start a company where they can trade dick jokes and call each other vulgar names all day, they should be able to do that. Not that they should be able to outright discriminate, but tell people, 'Hey, this is how we do things here. If you don't like it, there's the door'.

Problem is, if they don't allow women into their professional frat party in order to avoid an SJW shit storm, then they get accused of being sexist. And when they DO allow women, well... you see exactly what happens in cases like this.

Edited 2018-08-09 22:57 UTC
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Comment by kurkosdr
By kurkosdr on 2018-08-09 23:22:24
Any feminists reading this article decided to help solve the problem of underrepresentation of women in computer programming jobs by enrolling into a gender studies course in order to better study the effects that make this happen.

As long as the people willing to put the hours and perseverance that computer programming and computer science courses require are mostly men, we are going to have "bro culture". These "bros" won't magically change their ways because someone wrote an article, and most people need software, so these "bros" won't go bankrupt anytime soon.

Edited 2018-08-09 23:41 UTC
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Comment by kurkosdr
By kurkosdr on 2018-08-09 23:39:47
Now I know some people will respond to this by saying that modern culture frightens women away from the field. Sorry folks, modern culture heavily incentivises women to study computer science, and any female graduate with a CS degree is either readily employed or unemployed by choice because a female CS employee makes any tech company's diversity stats look better. A simpler explanation is that women (or modern women) don't want to put in the perseverance and mental wear that computer programming requires and instead prefer to study fields which require lots of memorization and repetition (women are very good at this) or fields that involve writing essays where everyone can be right at the same time and everyone can feel warm and fuzzy.
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RE: Comment by kurkosdr
By Thom_Holwerda on 2018-08-10 00:08:47
> or fields that involve writing essays where everyone can be right at the same time and everyone can feel warm and fuzzy.

You don't interact with women on a daily basis, do you?

What utterly sexist drivel, completely out of touch with any semblance of reality. I feel sad for you.
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RE[2]: It's reflected in the community
By Soulbender on 2018-08-10 03:56:40
Dude, calm down. You seem a a bit overly upset about video games. I's just video games, right?
Which is not even the topic here.

> BTW nobody is holding a gun to their head and forcing them to work at "Dudebro .inc" last I checked, they are free to offer their labor someplace else.

Oh yeah, that's how it works. We should just accept terrible behaviour instead of doing something about it. Like civil rights. If black folks had just shut up and moved somewhere else things would have magically gotten better.

> "toxic black culture" at a black owned and operated company
Maybe you can give an example of this actually happening.

> Or a man complaining about a company run by women with a hard feminist slant
Yeah, that happens a lot. It's almost a fraction of the opposite.

> My guess is not.
My guess is that you seem to be a bit threatened by women and minorities.

Edited 2018-08-10 03:58 UTC
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RE: Comment by kurkosdr
By galvanash on 2018-08-10 06:30:10
> A simpler explanation is that women (or modern women) don't want to put in the perseverance and mental wear that computer programming requires and instead prefer to study fields which require lots of memorization and repetition (women are very good at this)

I have been a computer programmer for 25 years and I think I can say with reasonable certainty that the vast majority of computer programming jobs consist of about 95% memorization and repetition.

Everyone thinks its all about creativity and ingenuity. Sure, there is a bit of that at first as you repeatedly "invent" clever solutions to problems, until you slowly realize somebody already did what you did a hundred times over and you just hadn't learned of it yet. That 5% of the time when you actually do something clever or unique makes it worth it to me, but mostly I'm just refining my ability to do the same things I did 20 years ago, just in new languages or in a more disciplined fashion. That is the job, constant learning and discipline, definitely things I think everyone can agree is not biased towards either sex (or anything else really).

As for perseverance and mental wear, in my experience women handle that at least as well if not better than men. Its just that most of them do it quietly without whining about it all the time, or worse flaunting it as if putting 80 hours of work in a week is somehow honorable and not stupid and self destructive (which is what it actually is)...

By the way, this is coming from someone who is sick to death of hearing all the moaning from the SJW crowd about whatever-ism in video games. I largely adhere to the philosophy that the industry would be better if games were more diverse in their target demographics instead of watered down to be palatable by all demographics... Games largely targeting men and boys are not the problem, its more of a lack of games targeting other groups. There are some, and they have been largely successful, so there is hope - but eventually if the current outrage-about-f*cking-every thing culture keeps going, the pendulum will just keep swinging back and forth and it will never end - everyone pissed about everything their sex, race, tribe, or whatever doesn't like. If you don't like a game don't buy it - I have never understood the problem with that approach.

You don't see all this outrage about the clothing industry, because generally speaking men and women have different taste in clothes (duh), and somehow no one is offended by that. Why is that? Maybe its because both sexes are largely having their individual tastes serviced in a fairly equal fashion. And if your a guy that likes women's clothes (or vise versa) guess what, your covered too! Everyone is happy, I really just don't see the problem... Lets all complain about it until everyone is bullied into making clothes for everyone so that it doesn't fit anyone well anymore! How is that a solution???

Anyway, back to the point. Just because I think the above doesn't mean I'm sexist or anything-ist - I'm just tired of all the manufactured drama. I actually consider my female peers to be at least as capable as me or any other man (and yes, even at coming up with the clever and ingenious solutions that we seldom get to relish in). Most female programmers I know are really good at their job. If you think they are somehow ill equipped for it your an idiot.

Edited 2018-08-10 06:45 UTC
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