CCP has a naming policy. It can be found here. Recently CCP made some changes to the policy which they outlined here. It was a short post so I'll quote it leaving out the preamble, etc.
"First, we changed the name of the policy from “EVE Online User and Character Name Policy” to “EVE Online Naming Policy” in order to better fit the actual purpose it serves. Then, we changed the heading of section 2. from “CHARACTER NAMES” to “IN-GAME NAMES” so that it is made clear that the policy covers much more than just the names of characters. As further clarification of this, section 2. b. has been expanded to say:
“In-game names include, but are not limited to: Character names, corporation names, alliance names and any other player-nameable item or entity within the game world.”
Also, we have added section 2.c. which states:I have emboldened and underlined the change that really caught my attention. This is a far reaching change. Think of all the things you name within Eve Online. If you are like me, you name things practically e v e r y - s i n g l e - d a y. All of that activity now falls under the purview of this policy. What does that mean in practical terms? What can we use and not use?
“c. No player may use the character name of another player to impersonate or falsely represent his or her identity. Player created corporation and alliance names also fall under this policy, as does any other in-game entity named by players”
To answer that question we need to look at all of section 2.b:
"b. In-game names may not:
- Impersonate or parody any employee or representative of EVE Online, CCP, Customer Support personnel or volunteers.
- Impersonate or parody an NPC type from the EVE game world (i.e. CONCORD or other official NPC corporation or organization members) for the purpose of misleading other players.
- Reflect, glorify or emulate any real-world group or organization, terrorist society, criminal elements, discriminating organizations or their leaders and figureheads. This includes the use of names of real-world military, political or religious groups.
- Be obscene, vulgar, sexually explicit, offensive, hurtful, harmful, promote drugs, profane, anti-gay, and ethnically, racially or sexually offensive or impart any real-world hostility toward a specific nationality, race or religion.
- In-game names include, but are not limited to: Character names, corporation names, alliance names and any other player-nameable item or entity within the game world."
The last point is the new addition to this list. Above it are the specifics. It is standard business practice to ban all of the types of terminology identified. This list could have come straight out of my company's HR policy handbook. Indeed, I have written such paragraphs for the online usage policy of said handbook.
In a culturally progressive society this is what responsible people do. The additional language clarifying the policy includes ALL items players can name is a long overdue clarification. I especially applaud the banning of sexually explicit and offensive terms. I can only hope this extends to the word "rape" in all of it's current juvenile and blatantly offensive manifestations. Names like "rape cage" and "mega rapist," promulgations of which I have seen in game many times, make light of tragedies the authors of such names clearly have never undergone themselves or been exposed to through a loved one. These are not adjectives, they are affronts to all that is decent. I report such names to CCP at every opportunity. I only wish CCP did something about them. Perhaps they will now. Only time will tell.
But CCP has certainly left the option open. Further down they state:
"b. Blatantly offensive names created in direct violation of the EVE Online Terms Of Service and the User and Character Name Policy will not be eligible for name change approval under any circumstances. These characters and their assets will be immediately deleted upon discovery and disciplinary action may be taken against the player’s account."
This draconian response is also possible for a violation of the Terms of Service. I had to go there to find even more reasons a player could have their character and assets immediately deleted. You know, as I read down through the ToS again, as it'd been a long time (almost 5 years in fact) since I'd actually read it, I was surprised at how many things were listed I see violated on a weekly basis (and almost a daily basis while I lived in high-sec.) For example,
"9. You may not advertise, employ, market, or promote any form of solicitation – including pyramid schemes and chain letters – in the EVE Online game world or on the website."
When I go to Jita and someone there is spamming their new Eve Online oriented gambling site, does it not violate item number nine? What about the last clause of item number one?
"or implying favoritism by a CCP Employee."
How many times have I read something alluding CCP Soundwave promotes Goonswarm's agenda? Doesn't that fall under this provision too?
The answer to those questions, and others, is "maybe." The definitions are broad for a reason. It gives CCP the latitude to act on irresponsible and offensive behavior without having to react to every single incident of anything. It allows them to be selective.
But there is a danger there. The danger is they will be seen to show the favoritism they attempt to ban mention of by their policy. That is no way to run a business. We are CCP's customers. They are obligated to treat all of us equally regardless of who we are, etc., etc., etc. They came down hard on Alexander “The Mittani” Gianturco. But was that because they deliver "blind justice" which cares not for a person's status or station, or because it was a very public and embarrassing transgression?
What about the less than congratulatory responses about the announcement of CCP Mint Chip? If you don't think there are inappropriate things being said about that you need to go read reddit, since the official forum post about it had to be removed. And looking at that short reddit search result, it's evident to me perhaps CCP can, when motivated, enforce their policies - even outside Eve Online. But again, did they only do it because it was publicly embarrassing or because it was the right thing to do?
Make no mistake, I am thrilled the CCP and reddit admins acted so quickly in regards to this. What was being done, and is still being done, in regards to CCP Mint Chip is inexcusable and in my home state illegal as well. And I believe CCP's response to last year's affront by Mr. Gianturco was also appropriate. But what I am not thrilled about is this does not happen every time, regardless of visibility.
The world is full of enough hate to fuel the fires of war until our sun novas or we wipe ourselves out. I play Eve Online to escape that hate if only for a short time. But when people drag their hate, or just there inconsiderate and thoughtless bigotries, into the game it makes me want to leave. CCP has to realize this. Otherwise, why would they have recently revised their policy on naming? It only remains to see if they will act on it. Here is my unsolicited advice CCP. Go for it. Start changing names and delivering temporary bans on first time offenders. Let your customers know they can PvP all they want, so long as it is in a ship and nothing other than "good fight" and other such pleasantries are said in local. Take a stand against offensively insensitive terms like "rape cage" and you will make a name for yourself, and it will be a good one. It will be a name of which you can be proud. A name I will be proud to support.