At GamesBeat Summit 2023, trust and safety issues, especially for diverse gamer populations, were top of mind, and nailing it was the focus of the panel, “How to do trust and safety right before you’re forced to do so.”

“The game industry has come of age,” said moderator Hank Howie, game industry evangelist at Modulate said. “We are no longer this ancillary form of entertainment — we have the 800-pound gorilla of entertainment. It’s time to fully take on the mantle of leadership in the arena of trust and safety, at the CEO level of every company. To do anything less risks putting your company in financial peril, in addition to being in a morally bankrupt position.”

He was joined by leaders from Take This, a mental health advocacy nonprofit, Windwalk, which focuses on building online communities and “web3” law firm, Gamma Law, to discuss the state of trust and safety, regulatory changes bearing down on games companies, and what developers can do now to put guardrails in place for their communities.

Here’s a look at the highlights of the discussion — and don’t miss the full panel, available free on demand here.

A small but violent faction

“It is frankly, really really difficult to moderate a third-party platform, especially a pseudo anonymous one,” said Richard Warren, partner at Windwalk. “What’s working really well is self moderation, but also culture setting.”

Being intentional about your moderation programs and establishing a standard of behavior, especially among diehard fans, is what sets the tone of any tight-knit community.

But the challenge, said Eve Crevoshay, executive director at Take This, is that while we know how to create good spaces, some ugly norms, behaviors and ideologies have become incredibly common in these spaces. It’s a small but very loud problem — and that loudness means that the behavior has become normalized.

“When I say toxic, I mean specifically misogynist white supremacist, neo Nazi and other xenophobic language, along with harassment and mean behavior,” she said. “We haven’t seen yet space where that stuff is actually actively prohibited or actively pushed out of a community. We a...