I’ll Fucking Kill You! – The State Of Internet Abuse And The Gamer Community

Standard

by Bob Reinhard

I’m a nobody. I’m just some guy who writes blogs on the internet about video games. I’m critical. I’m completely unafraid to tell you if I think a game is shit or a company is doing something stupid. I have no issues with voicing my opinions loudly, openly, and as bluntly honest as I feel is necessary to get my point across. But despite all that, I am still nobody.

I’m not a popular journalist working for a big website. I’m not an out-spoken game developer with thousands of Twitter followers. I’m not the head of a major company that produces all the products you love. I’m just some guy on the internet.

And yet, on many occasions, I’ve had things said to me that borderline on insane in any rational sense. Death threats? Absolutely. And people are colorful about how they want me to die or how they intend on killing me. But let’s not stop there. How about personal attacks? I have a strange voice as some of you may know from videos and the podcast, and believe me, people think they’re very original in taking shots at how I “sound like a girl”.

How about this one? I wrote a piece questioning if Nintendo cares about Mario once, and someone decided to take the time to tell me “no wonder your dad left you”, which was a shot at my dad leaving before I was born. I ranted about that one on the podcast: that’s a terrible thing to say to anybody.

Your Typical Youtube Commenter.

Your Typical Youtube Commenter.

It didn’t hurt me, ’cause I simply don’t take that kind of stuff to heart. But other people? Other people may not be able to handle that kind of barrage of abuse and pressure all the time. As we’ve seen recently from the likes of Phil Fish, we know that enough abuse, mixed with sensibilities or mental illness, can cause complete meltdowns.

What brought this on all of the sudden, you ask? Well, swing on over to Polygon and check out Brian Crecente’s article on harassment towards game developers. It’s a well-written piece that showcases some pretty messed up things going on within the gaming community online.

It’s pretty well documented how rage can grow out of control when mixed with the power-trip that the anonymity of the internet can give weak-minded people. Being able to, for instance, threaten people like Anita Sarkeesian with rape on Youtube comments because she doesn’t like how women are portrayed in video games. In VIDEO GAMES! Say this out loud, right now: “I told a girl I hope she gets raped because she insulted my favorite video game”. You sound like a fucking moron, right?

They Even Made This Game... WTF? REALLY?!

They Even Made This Game… WTF? REALLY?!

It’s clearly an issue. The troll nation we’ve become accustomed to is built around zero consequence for people who do these kinds of things. How do we combat it? We obviously can’t police every corner of the internet in-depth. It would take thousands upon thousands of people to comb every video, article, and blog on the internet looking for abusive comments. And I’m pretty sure, thanks to a lot of the same people abusing them for no reason, the “Report This Post” feature has been rendered almost completely useless thanks to inappropriate use of it.

There has to be something we can do to clean up the shit-stain in the underwear of our community. By all means I’m not advocating for a complete shutdown of anyone who wants to criticize or raise complaints. But it’s these vile personal attacks and death threats that are out of hand. They tend to get lumped in with people who criticize work. I mean, all I said was Skyward Sword was crap (without saying I hope everyone at Nintendo dies in a fire), and I got threatened with all kinds of awful ways to die. I don’t consider myself in the same boat as people who violently lash out at people personally on such a disgusting and embarrassing level.

Shit Game. Doesn't Mean I Want The Developers To Die.

Shit Game. Doesn’t Mean I Want The Developers To Die.

So what do we do? What is the solution to this growing problem? How do we stop the raging trolls of the gaming community from harassing developers and content makers into needing support groups or quitting the industry entirely? Outside of a full-on volunteer effort of millions of new moderators spending all day combing these people out and snuffing out their internet access entirely, what do we do? I’m honestly asking because at this point I’m not sure of a clear solution outside of something incredibly radical.

These people aren’t going to accept reason. They’re clearly beyond that. Trying to ask them politely to stop is just going to get them worked up and back into their violent rage. We can’t respond with rage of our own, because that’ll just make them even worse. It’s embarrassing to be lumped in with a community that is seen as being so juvenile and immature. And it’s not just kids that are making these death threats, though the average age of these internet nutcases is probably around 13 regardless.

This isn’t much of an article. It’s more of a flag-raising. A concerned member of the community just riffing on some disgusting behavior of people who I have to be stuck calling “peers” because we happen to share a hobby. It’s going to take a lot of work from all sides of the community, and the game industry, to figure out something. We can get there, we just have to be willing to figure it out together.

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “I’ll Fucking Kill You! – The State Of Internet Abuse And The Gamer Community

  1. Deraj626

    I had this discussion on a forum yesterday. The conclusion we came to is that yes this is illegal, but there’s nothing people can really do. The comparison we made was to piracy. Yes, it’s illegal. However, is somebody going to come to your house and take you in for downloading a rom? No, because it’s too easy for somebody to do and widespread.

  2. Kyle ETL

    Honestly, people have to get over it. It’s awful. It’s pathetic. It’s a shame. However, the alternative is teenagers being arrested and imprisoned and put on suicide watch from the depression for making a joke about shooting up a school in a League of Legends forum/chat room. I’d rather have 100,000,000 people get upset and offended by trolls than have even a single person ever be put through such despicable torment.

    Ask yourself this: if you know someone is a stupid asshole who will say anything to get under your skin, are you smart enough to acknowledge the source of the attacks and realize nothing can come of it or are you dumb enough to take the words of a complete imbecile – and most likely stranger – to heart and then pretend that their pathetic behavior is worth getting upset over and giving it so much credit that you actually claim it to be a real problem?

    Feeding trolls with replies may be the worst response, but giving them so much credit that we actually view them as a threat to the “sanctity” of online communities or the human race at large has to be damn close in terms of effectively giving these morons what they want. Instead of pretending they are a threat or a problem, we should just be mocking them or ignoring them. They have no power or influence unless people give it to them and everyone seems to constantly validate their tactics and behavior as effective by saying it’s a problem.

    Anita Sarkeesian for one practically has orgasms every time she talks about how trolls attacked her and she continually uses outlying douche bags to generalize an entire community of diverse people so that she can get attention and people will feel sorry for her and sympathize with her position more. But I digress…

    • See, this big problem here is the first sentence: Honestly, people have to get over it.

      Honestly, not everyone can. I already mentioned in this rant that people don’t take into consideration the sensibilities of others. Frankly: just ’cause you can say they should get over it, doesn’t mean everyone can deal with getting fucking constantly berated.

      You underestimate the lengths people go. Physical mail, e-mail inboxes, hell there are hackers that fuck with people on seriously dangerous levels over this shit. That’s not something to just “get over”. Until you’ve been on the receiving end of thousands of people destroying you personally on the internet, I think it’s a bit hasty to immediately play the “get over it” card.

      This is a lot more than just “fuck you!” on comments. It extends all over the place, even on their personal accounts that they use for business, their livelihood. And the number of these that must eat up inboxes of actual, legitimate complaints, making it harder for them to do their job and work with consumers? That’s bad for business AND for us as consumers.

      If you don’t think it’s a problem, at least your head is warm that far up your ass.

      • Kyle ETL

        I think you misunderstood me, Bob (aka Beardstrong Manchin, aka cunt). I’m not talking about the insane outliers that do malicious and invasive things to harass people, I’m talking about the notion that these people aren’t outliers, that they are a large part of the “gaming community”. They aren’t. These people are the “rapists and murderers” of online communities. They are far and few between, but their horrible actions make them stand out.

        Would you, for instance, judge North Koreans based on Kim Jong Un? Or Germans based on Nazis? Then why do the same with the “gaming community”? By and large gaming communities are decent passionate people. We never talk about that. We always talk about the scum and how impactful they are. The problem of course with most online communities is that reputation is a much more fickle thing and punishment is often ineffective. Talking about how it’s a problem and saying it’s a problem doesn’t address the problem and what I was getting at is that treating these cretins as a virulent plague makes them seem more important than they are and in a way it encourages these people to be vile wretches, because they know it gets to people. And let’s face it, all these people want is to spread their suffering.

        But you’re right, some of my wording was misleading and dismissive of things I didn’t intend to be dismissive of. There is a problem–with certain, outlying, nasty, people…NOT the gaming community. And I do feel that anything said online that doesn’t include hacking, spamming, and other invasive shit, should be entirely ignored or mocked. Nothing deflates a bully like knowing they either don’t bother you or are below your notice. And the reason I suggest those measures most prominently is because the alternative is current modding/banning/warnings/etc. and reputation systems. The problem of course with reputation systems is that they are highly susceptible to misrepresentation and abuse. Imagine if you or I had them on My IGN…

        So what do you say? Have a stroll with me in my anus? There’s room for two!

      • I think the problem is the assumption these are rare, isolated cases. They’re not. Have you been on Youtube, Steam’s greenlight pages, NeoGAF, ANY game-specific forum. They may be little drops in the bucket, but that shit adds up. Of COURSE the gaming community is generally good, I’ve spent a lot of time devoted to the charity work gaming communities do and things like that, but ignoring the ever-growing presence of shitty children in our midst is a bad idea.

      • Kyle ETL

        In response to what you said below (can’t reply there) you didn’t like my comment for glossing over the big and awful acts that are far more rare, but then you attempted to rebut what I said by bringing up the little stuff that’s all over the internet 24/7. If you look outside of gaming specifically to the internet in general, you start to notice that it’s not gaming that’s in trouble, it’s just that people are shitty in every single area imaginable. The internet gives shitty people just as much opportunity to be heard as anyone else and they really abuse the privilege. Basically, you seem to want to hunt the trolls, I want them to commit suicide or starve to death. Maybe we apply your strategy to the biggest and baddest and mine to your run of the mill assholes. 😉

      • The only reason I’m applying this to just the gaming community is: A) Because this is a gaming website B) It is a response to an article about the effects of this on the game industry C) Because it’s the community I’m most in-bed with D) Because it’s a community which also has a lot of interaction in the activity itself. In, for instance music, the only time you may see the shitty people is at a concert. But in gaming, you may find yourself with these abusive twats yelling in your ear directly while playing online. It is much more upfront in gaming than in most other media due to the direct nature of gaming today. But this is mainly focused on the abuse of industry workers. Flooding legitimate complaint services with threats and bile interrupts actual progress in fixing real problems. The reaction to Diablo 3, for instance. Or the Mass Effect 3 ending. This kind of insane abusive behavior has had a negative effect on the industry.

        I didn’t say hunt the trolls. I literally said I have no idea what to do about it. This wasn’t a solution article, it was a rant. There is no real solid solution.

Sound Off!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s