A few weeks ago I head judged my very first PPTQ. I was super excited leading up to the event, and eager to establish a working relationship with a new store. However, in the time leading up to the tournament, something came up that slightly curbed my enthusiasm.
I feel obligated at this point to post a trigger warning, as the topics, while not particularly sensitive, might still be unpleasant for some readers.
The store has a Web page where people can pre-register for the event, which is fine, but the registration is done using a username rather than a personal name, which means there are some… Creative entries.
One of the user’s names caught my eye though: “iswearshewas18”.
This username is… problematic, to say the least. While it’s clearly meant to reference a common joke, the joke itself isn’t funny. Disregarding local laws and opinions on maturity and consent (which are definitely conversations worth having, but this is not the core of the issue), the “punch line” of this joke is basically rape.
Very funny, right?
So right here, we have a few things going on. Firstly, the registration page and the usernames chosen aren’t really under a judge’s jurisdiction. We can talk to the TO, but how do we represent our concerns here? How do we deal with the player in question, and do we even have that kind of jurisdiction as outside judges?
My solution was to write an email to the TO voicing my concerns. I wasn’t very familiar with the TO, so it was difficult for me to judge the tone to use with them. I opted towards pointing out that, these kind of usernames, as visible as they are, send a very negative message to anyone who might be browsing the site or looking to pre-register. I especially pointed out the notion of a young person who might want to start playing at magic events, but whose parents see this registration board with that user listed. What are the chances that parent will let their kids go to that event? Or any future one, for that matter.
But of course, there are other people who might be turned away. People who have experienced abuse before, perhaps. People who feel unsafe in a place that condones rape jokes. People who just plain don’t think rape jokes are funny and don’t want to associate with others who do.
The point is, allowing people to use these kinds of names contributes to Magic not being a Safe Space, and action really should be taken to avoid this.
Now, in my case, the player with that username never showed, nor could I find out their real name. I’m not sure what I would have done if they had enrolled in the tournament, so I thought I’d ask the community:
If someone pre-registers for an event with a username that is clearly problematic, how would you address the issue? What would you say to the player? Would you feel justified in issuing a penalty under the IPG, and, if so, what infraction would you see?
Comment below, or feel free to email me at Timmyjohnnyspike@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you!