A colleague recently spoke about how she enjoys spending hours together playing games. Most of these games are multiplayer and online. Random strangers in one gameplay. She also spoke about choosing a “male” or “neutral” username and tries not to speak when she plays with other people. Growing up, she remembers being selected as a character to be eliminated because of her username and how she has become better over time to deal with online gameplay. She stuck around even after all the harassment. I am sure a lot of people have quit.
I remember reading about Gamergate controversy and was shocked to learn about this side of the internet. Likewise, I remember reading about online harassment and was also surprised when I learned about this side of the internet.
We should do better. We can do better. Internet, for me, has always been a place where you get to interact with people from around the world. Most of them are a few messages away. I have always used it for good. It has given me my bread and my butter. It has helped me connect with friends, learn new things and learn about different aspects of life.
I want more people to join, more people to feel welcome. Maybe it’s a game, a new social media app. I want everyone to experience the good internet has to offer. Building better tools to tackle online harassment, tools that detect bullying, hate speech. As a software developer, I pledge to do better and look at how I can help.