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Friday, January 12, 2018

Wizards Updates Terms and Conditions for WPN Store Owners - Background Checks of Store Staff now Included


So, that post from the weekend here at The Tavern talking about how stores can protect your children while they participate in the hobby, a post that I made due to a story circulating in social media. Well, it looks like the story that was circulating got Wizards to do something. WPN is Wizards Play Network.

Here's a quote from Vice President of Global Brand Strategy Elaine Chase:
Recently, a few former judges and players had their sex offender registries posted to social media. In accordance with our policy, the majority had already had their access to Magic organized play suspended indefinitely, and are not active in the Magic community. 
We learned, however, that an individual reported to the Judge Conduct Committee was inadvertently not decertified by Magic Judges nor reported to Wizards. You can read more about that here. However, once this was brought to our attention, Wizards immediately coordinated with Magic Judges—an independent community-run organization that operates and manages the judge community and its Judge Conduct Committee—to address the situation. That individual has now been indefinitely suspended as a player and the Magic Judges decertified the individual’s status as a Magic judge. When Wizards learns that a DCI member or a Wizards Play Network (WPN) retailer is on a sex offender registry, we take immediate action to remove them from organized play and our promotional programs. We have a zero-tolerance policy. Sex offenders have no place in the Magic community. 
As part of our commitment to safe and inclusive spaces, tournament organizers and retailers will be explicitly required to conduct background checks for all staff (as permitted by applicable law). This includes CFB Events' Grand Prix, local store events like Friday Night Magic, and professional events like the Pro Tour and World Magic Cup as well as convention play run by Wizards. 
We remain committed to working with tournament organizers, local game stores, and the Magic community to foster safe and inclusive environments. The proper channels for reporting misconduct are as follows: report judge misconduct to the Judge Conduct Committee at magicjudgefeedback@gmail.com, and retailer or player misconduct to investigations@wizards.com.
I give Wizards credit for getting ahead of the narrative in this situation. Ir can only make gaming a safer environment for all.

23 comments:

  1. Or, y'know, it's all nonsense that we've seen before to rile folks up:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day-care_sex-abuse_hysteria

    Think they'll go for the whole Satanism thing again next?

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    1. When i was a kid, arcades were the child molester's haunt of choice. I think its just changed with the times.

      I'd rather be sure sex offenders are NOT running games for my kids and I'm glad Wizards took this step.

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    2. Where does it end? Does everyone in the open play portion of a game store or anywhere else that children may wander have to get a background check and wear a badge saying "not a child molester"? On that subject...

      Approximately 180 police officers were charged with sexual misconduct with minors while on duty in 2010 (easiest year for data I could find). That's about 180 more than MtG judges during the same year. None of them were registered sex offenders, and no sane person would claim that cops as a class are child rapists.

      https://www.policemisconduct.net/2010-npmsrp-police-misconduct-statistical-report/#_Sexual_Misconduct

      It's not the sex offenders I'm concerned about, although releasing them if they're still dangerous enough to require tracking seems odd - and I'd think that a game store would be a parole violation. It's adding another layer of useless red tape that some checking agency makes a profit off of at everyone else's expense that I oppose.

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    3. and how many of these cops were sex offenders prior to their arrest? none

      would you want a convicted sex offender working in law enforcement? as a teacher? as a physician?

      you can't spot a sex offender who hasn't been arrested or convicted, but you can certainly keep the convicted ones away from from children

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    4. Except that this won't keep any predators away from the children. They can still just enter the tournament or gather as spectators, provided that they're not on any kind of electronic monitoring. It *does* require a whole lot of honest folks to prove their innocence at personal expense.

      Separate question, since you're in a better position to know on such things - why doesn't official ID (driver's license or equivalent) note such things as felon/sex offender/clear to purchase/carry firearms instead of requiring nebulous "background checks" using "proprietary algorithms"? It's already got whether or not it's okay to harvest my organs and that I need to wear glasses.

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    5. As store employees or those running events, they are in positions of power, which is a position that makes kids vulnerable.

      As for flagging IDs with indicator's and such, I believe most states hold that would be an invasion of privacy.

      There is no such thing as a perfect system in these circumstances. Flagging your ID as a sex offender when you are showing it to make grocery purchases would violate your civil rights I suspect. Showing you as a organ donor or your eyeglass restriction (a restriction to your privilege to drive) does not.

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  2. Considering the sex offender registries contain people who performed such heinous crimes as public urination and consensual relations with other people their own age who happen to be under the age of majority, I fail to see how this is a productive move.

    If you want to make gaming a safer situation for all, ban driving to events.

    How long are people convicted of sex offenses supposed to suffer, when their recidivism rate is among the lowest of all classes of criminal?

    The data doesn't support continued ostracism of sex offenders. Only fear does.

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    1. Most of the time they are on lifetime parole. They are the supervised of all criminals that have served their time.

      I'd rather err on the side of protecting the children than protecting the feelings of a convicted sex offender.

      If it sounds harsh, so be it.

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    2. er, MOST supervised.

      My wife is a Social Worker. So, you don't just get my highly biased opinion but relevant facts ;)

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  3. Sounds good, but Greyhawk Grognard suggested it may deter stores from running Magic at all.

    Tenkar, you're a cop, you may have more insight into this than most. Does the following look practical as an alternative?

    I would think the best way to do it would be:

    EITHER

    (1) Background Checks

    OR

    (2) No unaccompanied minors

    And let the stores decide which.

    My Meetup has a "no under 18s" policy; precisely in order to avoid the issue of being responsible for the wellbeing of minors. Does WoTC have the opposite, a requirement that MTG organisers let minors play?

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    1. If I was a store, the no accompanied minors will be my downfall. Am I going to ask for valid ID like a bar?

      The either / or is never a position that protects an establishment - it will hang them in the end.

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    2. I guess an "If you look under 21 you will be required to present ID to show you're 16+/18+" type policy as used for alcohol purchases would be what makes sense to me. At least here in England, tortious liability of the store owner would be for Negligence, not strict liability for failing to prevent all minors playing despite their best efforts.

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    3. (I know in at least some US states you have to produce ID for any alcohol purchase, even if you're a senior citizen. Obviously that is pretty extreme.)

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    4. The fee of a background check will be much less then the amount organised play like drafts and prereleases brings in. Any store who decides not to run anything magic related because of this is cutting off a lot of revenue for no real reason.

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    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. So, where's the outrage brigade from the previous post?

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  5. The key point is controlling positions of power. You obviously cannot lock goofs out but you can deny them authority and that is an important distinction. Coordinators and judges for WotC events should be considered no different from a scout leader or soccer coach (both of which require background checks here in Canada) and its reasonable to require such.

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  6. I'm a little surprised by all the Devil's advocate commentary. While it may be grossly unfair to treat a young man who had relations with a 17 year old girl the same as a child molester, these precautions can only help.

    Magic:the gathering is not a right, but a privilege... and a rather lame one, if I'm being completely honest.

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  7. Yep, better safe than sorry; and if all employees of stores running M:TG or D&D games have to criminal background checks it’s not a bad idea. It won’t make the stores safe but once people get caught the first time they’ll never work in that environment again.

    Will it also sweep up innocent people? Probably. But honestly, if you live in a state that puts two teenagers on the sex offender registry but thinks it’s okay for a lawyer and judge to prey on teenage girls, than the place to start is with changing and/or actually enforcing the law, not complaining about Wizards trying to make things safer.

    Was Milo actually trying to make things safer for kids rather than just trying to make trouble for WOTC? Probably not. But Wizards needed to respond appropriately whether there was an actual problem or not. Just think of in terms of medicine - we benefit all the time from medical knowledge and procedures that were pioneered under very unethical or even illegal conditions; do we reject the knowledge we gained that way? Clearly not.

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  8. I don’t see stores having any issue checking a few judges and employees. Magic generates too much profit and it is not hard to do.

    I don’t see why the judge association doesn’t just do it as part of certification so the stores only need to worry about their employees.

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    1. I think the judges guild doesn't because it doesn't actually make any money from there being more judges. The stores get more people in if they run a draft through, so them paying it makes sense.

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  9. Thank God I don't have to run background checks on my players who come to my house...

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  10. Most people that sexually abuse children are not pedophiles or even on the sex registry. The misinformation regarding sex offenders has stooped to a new low.

    And please don't start with any attacks or straw men that I'm condoning violence against children.

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