One dad wanted to give people on the autism spectrum a safe space to play Minecraft, so he made a troll-free server called Autcraft that has ballooned in popularity.
Stuart Duncan, also known as AutismFather, created Autcraft in 2013. Today it has more than 8,200 members, The Mighty reported, and people outside the community are taking notice.
In a video, Duncan explains what exactly Autcraft is and why it's important for people — kids especially — to have a safe place to Minecraft and be themselves.
Minecraft, like almost every game with an online element, suffers from bullies and trolls who come in and create toxic environments.
“[Autcraft] gives children with autism and their families a place where they can play the game they love with people just like them, and they can feel safe and confident to just be themselves,” Duncan said in the video. “It's not about getting other people to accept them but getting them to accept themselves.”
Duncan himself is on the autism spectrum and understands how important it is for kids to play in a welcoming environment. Being able to play with people who don't judge you for who you are can be a big boost to self-confidence, he said, which helps people succeed in area where they may have previously struggled.
“People that have never made friends before are now making friends and parents not only have less meltdowns to help their children through but they're now bonding with their children in ways they've only ever dreamed of before,” Duncan said in the video.
“If I can help thousands of children around the world with practically no resources… then you can too”
With the recent increase of attention on the server, Duncan wrote a blog post last week explaining that more toxic people are trying to get into the Autcraft server.
“Tonight, two trolls did make it through the whitelist and onto the server and were promptly removed within minutes,” he said. “It's because we devote our time and energy to ensuring that these children don't have to worry about that while they're here. They are bullied at school. They have enough struggles in life as it is. While they're on Autcraft … they only need be themselves, play a game and have some fun.”
Duncan devotes quite a bit of time to Autcraft — so much time that he quit his job to run it. Duncan and his family now rely on Patreon donations.
As more people hear about Autcraft, Duncan wants to spread the message of action — doing what you can to improve the lives of others.
“If any part of my story inspires you or makes you feel any sort of positive emotion at all… don't just click away and go about your life. Do something. Do something for someone else that needs you,” Duncan wrote. “If I can help thousands of children around the world with practically no resources… then you can too. Don't just be inspired. Do something.”