Friday, 19 February 2016

Up On A Soapbox - A wretched hive of scum and villainy

The Internet.  Yes the punchline to my joke/comment is the Internet, but does it have to be?

I had a few of those experiences this week where I end up asking myself what the hell is wrong with some people on the Internet.  Having said that I have to call out the fact that looking back its been more than 6 months since I last found a group of people who could do with a nice tall glass of 'shut the f**k up' so maybe we're getting better?

When I decided to share my thoughts I first thought I really didn't have anything new to say and if I bothered to type all of this out I would be re-hashing old ground again, but as my thoughts took shape and I stopped to consider why I was disappointed I realised I'm starting in old familiar territory but I kind of end up somewhere new (new to me anyway).

Last night on line I was following a thread in a discussion connected to one of my current favourite miniature games.  A new person to the group asked a rules question that was very rules-lawyery but not inherently unreasonable or confrontational.  Within seconds the group split into two armed camps.  Side one took the position that if the rules don't say you can't do something than you can do it and finding these sort of opportunities in the rules are what make the game challenging and fun.  Side two took the position that the rules exploit clearly broke a part of the game and turned something that should have been simple fun and made it a rules-lawyer/power-gamer dick move.  From a personal point of view I identify more with the second group but I think that's more a question of play style than a position on what is right versus what is wrong.  But what came at the end is what really bothered me.

After a not-surprisingly hostile and immature debate from both sides one of the participants on side two declared he was leaving the group permanently because this kind of nonsense is what makes things not-fun for him.  A number of people called out the person leaving the group as being a poor loser and the memes flowed freely.  And that's when the troll (because as of now in the story he's not a person, he's a troll) who asked the initial question started doing his victory lap.  Because for a Troll the goal is never really to have a question answered, it's really just to be declared right in the eyes of his imaginary peers and to see someone else hurt and vilified for questioning him in the first place place.

Now again, I'm not naive enough to claim this is unprecedented behaviour on the Internet, but should we all just live with it?  The first sign to me that someone is being a bully is when they feel the need to constantly assert that they are NOT being a bully.  Should we all not be calling people on this kind of crap when we see it?

Years ago the NFL passed rules against excessive celebrations in the end-zone after a touch-down.  Is the Internet hobby gaming community really less civilised than the American football community?


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