Earlier today, a group of fighting game Tournament Organizers and legal experts announced the official start of a new Fighting Game Community Code Of Conduct organization.* Formed in the aftermath of last summer’s horrifying revelations of sexual abuse within the community, this group has a straightforward goal: “to create a safer FGC in which more people can enjoy the fun, exciting, grassroots spirit of our community.”
In support of this goal, the FGCOC recruited TOs from across the world. Currently, its organizing body consists of over forty TOs from multiple continents as well as legal experts who are familiar with the FGC. While some are involved with larger events such as Evolution, AnimEVO, Combo Breaker, and Frosty Faustings, the majority are local TOs. By emphasizing local scenes, the group hopes to represent the FGC as fully as possible while giving the community a better opportunity to address misbehavior at its earliest stages.
In taking on these responsibilities, the organizing members of the FGCOC have significantly upped their workload for no personal reward. The group is run on an all-volunteer basis and offers no pay or monetary benefits whatsoever. But for most of them, that’s the norm: love for the community comes first; everything else comes second. And given the urgent need to clean up the scene, there was no doubt that TOs would rise to the challenge.
A Community Effort
As the group goes public, it does so in the hopes that the entire FGC will rally around its efforts. First and foremost, it encourages all FGC events to sign on to the Code. While the group is still actively recruiting new members, TOs don’t have to contribute to the FGCOC in order to adopt or enforce the Code itself. All of its rulings will be made openly and in public, and they will be enforced cooperatively and collectively by all of the TOs who participate. In this way, the FGCOC aims to be a truly communal, grassroots endeavor.
The group also intends to be radically accountable to the community at large. To this end, it has already taken steps to proactively address various issues that have plagued similar efforts in the past. One committee of FGCOC members has begun working on ways to standardize the tournament experience to better serve trans competitors, people with disabilities, and other overlooked populations. Another committee reviews the group’s work internally to ensure that issues of race, gender, and the like are handled appropriately. In addition to these steps, the group also plans to continue to solicit feedback not only from community leaders but from the public at large.
The Code itself covers game-related violations (such as registering for an event under multiple names) as well as non-game-related ones (such as assault, acts of bigotry, and so on). As with the recently disbanded Smash Code Of Conduct group, the FGCOC will enforce strict confidentiality procedures in its investigatory capacity so as to protect both accusers and accused.
Currently, there are no plans to merge the FGCOC with the Smash Code Of Conduct group, although leaders from the two organizations have met to establish the feasibility of such a move. Either way, the FGCOC intends to cover the entire Fighting Game Community, from Street Fighter and Tekken to Smash to indie, retro, and “poverty” games.
To be sure, their vision is a bold one. But it’s clear now that the community needs bold action. If you’re a TO who would like to join the FGCOC and contribute to the cause, contact the group through its Twitter page or fgcoc [dot] communications [at] gmail [dot] com. To read the Code in its entirety, visit the FGCOC website. To report an allegation, use the reporting form here. And to give your feedback, use the feedback form here. This is just the beginning, and this effort is long overdue. But with the dedication of the community’s TOs and support from its members, the FGC can look forward to a stronger, safer, and more beautiful future.
*Full disclosure: I am acting as a facilitator for this group.