162: Multiple Personality Disorders

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Multiple Personality Disorders

Our self-contradictions become more obvious as gaming matures and absorbs more people into the fold. The ubiquity of intolerant language and belligerent behavior raises troubling questions about what truly lies behind the mask of online identity.

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Good read...reminds me of Sacha Baron Cohen's (Borat, Ali G) thesis from Cambridge.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/1121/p20s01-almo.html?s=hns

The basic gist of his idea was that homophobia and racism are cultural activities. Someone makes a gay joke in the room, then others become comfortable with it and do the same. A slow mob mentality develops so that when you're criticizing homophobic behavior you're criticizing a group, not the conduct itself. That's basically the whole theme of the Borat movies but you can see it in action everywhere. Even though Cohen may have proved how quickly you can remove the public masks we wear, I think the article might be right that the only way to resist it is to form a counter-group.

Good article for food for thought.

@ Jeffries

It could be the other way around, that people come in with all kinds of expectations about online gaming. And maybe unfortunately, male high schoolers attitudes are predominant in the gaming community and with this kind of prevalence, it influences other peoples' attitudes within the gaming community into behaving this way, therefore turning it into a vicious cycle. Of course, I can't really back-up this claim since it's so hard to get a clear demographic picture of the gaming community. But you get my logic.

For me the "anarchy" that rages online is proof that authority is underated, heavily moderated sites are just plain better in every sense.

Is it true that for "years, the gaming community has sought to expand and diversify, to transform its pastime from a "fringe" activity into mainstream entertainment?"

I think it's true for game developers. Making gaming less of a fringe activity is very important for the people who want to make money from their work. More acceptability is more units sold. Even if a game dev is a bigoted person, the second he opens up the hatred to the audience, a marketing rep would have him out the door before you could say "lawsuit."

It's the "tribe" of game players who are throwing around the epithets. They don't see a benefit in n00bs filling up the slots on their squad. Do they?

The thing is, people resist change, no matter what that change entails. Gamers are still living in a very 80's incarnation of their industry. Back then, the truth was, 99% of gamers were the "young, white, heterosexual males". However, with recent advents in our industry, we're seeing exploding new demographics including other races, women, and even homosexuals. And so as gamers we resist the change. Its not that this particular demographic hates all the others, its just that its so used to a time in which the only time they dealt with another demographic was in a very sterotypical setting.

For instance, lets take a male gamer in the early 90s, and name him Fred. The only time Fred ever has to associate with females within the context of gaming is when he comes across a girl playing Barbie games, or Disney princess games. Because the truth is, 10, 15 years ago, those were the games that females played. Very rarely did women play Doom, or any other game that may be considered "hardcore".

I've always been of the belief that stereotypes exist for a reason. People wouldn't stereotype if there hadnt been some point at which that stereotype was true. However, the problem is, stereotypes change and/or cease to exist, and as we've already established, people resist change.

Young, white, heterosexual males don't necessarily hate those of other demographics, its just that we're so relatively unfamiliar with interacting with them in our pasttime that we don't know any better than to go by the stereotypes. Does that excuse it? Absolutely not.

Simply enough, watch south park episode 1-8 damien or 3-13 hooked on monkey phonics, thats how juveniles work and as long as you are marketing to juveniles, the rest of civilization will be avoiding it like the plague. maybe instead of outright banning the offensive twits, potentially costing you revenue, just herd the jerks away from the people offended by foul language (that file complaints alot). so perhaps in an mmorpg, there may be a jerk server you send people to instead of banning them. on a fps, you gear the matchmaker so the thin skins wont be matched with jerks.

Yanarix:
Simply enough, watch south park episode 1-8 damien or 3-13 hooked on monkey phonics, thats how juveniles work and as long as you are marketing to juveniles, the rest of civilization will be avoiding it like the plague. maybe instead of outright banning the offensive twits, potentially costing you revenue, just herd the jerks away from the people offended by foul language (that file complaints alot). so perhaps in an mmorpg, there may be a jerk server you send people to instead of banning them. on a fps, you gear the matchmaker so the thin skins wont be matched with jerks.

Yes, but then you're doing what you've just condemned: catering to the juveniles. It sends more of a message when you can go to an audience and say, "We ban offensive people from our game" than to say, "We still let offensive people play our game, but we do our best to try to keep them away from you."

To really understand this, I think you have to take a step out of games and look at the common demographic that is being represented in video games: white, male adolescents. Anybody who plays XBLA or any other online game can attest that these are at least the most vocal, if not the most common demographic, and it's generally these people who are throwing around racial and sexual epithets.

This same demographic is often seen saying similar things outside of games and Internet forums. Listen in to a group of young men speaking and you're likely to hear "gay" and "fag" being used not only as insults, but as substitutes for words like "lame" and "asshole". The fact that these words have sexual connotations may not even be a concern to these individuals -- instead, it's often just a generic term with the same power and amibiguity as "shit" or "fuck".

On the other hand, the sexual meanings of these words may be no mistake either. As a white male myself, and once an adolescent, I can attest to masculinity being a major part of growing up. No different than a pack of dogs, every male wishes to be the alpha male and any who isn't looks up to that individual. Being weak or otherwise different from the alpha male is seen as inferior and therefore shunned from the social group.

Why the hatred towards homosexuals then? It's not that homosexuals are somehow weak, but to a male population whose mind is preoccuppied with the opposite sex, a man who is not enamored by women is seen as different, strange, perhaps even damaged. I was treated no differently than a homosexual -- often accussed of being gay -- not because I had an interest in men, but because I hadn't yet developed an interest in women. As with any group trying to establish an identity, failing to identify with that groups' principles excludes you from the group.

So why the angst towards women? Myself, I find it hard to understand, but I was also brought up in a family that lived and preached male/female equality; though I was still exposed to such prejudices from outside. I think part of the problem is similar to above: women are not men and that makes them inferior in mens' eyes. This is no different of an argument than that a cat doesn't roll over, play fetch, and otherwise make a very good dog; a woman isn't suppossed to be a man, so it's a non sequiter to argue that she doesn't make a very good man.

The other problem may be one of mens' interest in women and how that's marketed. There's no denying that men look at women and think about having sex with them; likewise, women will do the same with men (so I'm told by many a woman). However, there seems to be an attitude in marketing (video games, TV shows, advertisements, and music videos are just some examples) that women are sexual objects for a man's gratification. It's hard to explain why female characters in video games are unrealistically shaped (no woman with 44"/DD breasts has a 28" waist and weighs 110 lbs. without serious health problems) and dressed in a manner rarely suitable for the beach let alone sword-fighting, without admitting that games are specifically being designed to sell based on sex. And judging by the success of games like Grand Theft Auto IV, it's hard to deny that males are enjoying the sex that's being sold to them.

So are epithets against women, homosexuals, and other races a problem of anonymity, or do they already exist? I would argue that, despite society taking a stance of "tolerance" in public, the people themselves still hold all of the same prejudices personally and when taking into an anonymous or semi-private group setting, the old tennets come out in spades. The fact that we see certain biases so prevelantly in video games is not because gamers hold those biases, but because the major demographic of gamers holds those biases independently of being gamers -- the gamers are instead a smaller section of a much larger demographic who all tend to have those same biases.

To the women, homosexuals, and every dehumanized race out there, my apologies for my countrymen. It's a shame that so many people in my demographic feel the need to certify their own superiority by denying the worth of everyone around them. Rest assured that some of us still understand that differences aren't necessarily a case of better vs. worse and that, despite having some of these impulses within us, we have the better judgement to look past them and see each other as human beings and not as outsiders or sex toys.

wadark:

Yanarix:
Simply enough, watch south park episode 1-8 damien or 3-13 hooked on monkey phonics, thats how juveniles work and as long as you are marketing to juveniles, the rest of civilization will be avoiding it like the plague. maybe instead of outright banning the offensive twits, potentially costing you revenue, just herd the jerks away from the people offended by foul language (that file complaints alot). so perhaps in an mmorpg, there may be a jerk server you send people to instead of banning them. on a fps, you gear the matchmaker so the thin skins wont be matched with jerks.

Yes, but then you're doing what you've just condemned: catering to the juveniles. It sends more of a message when you can go to an audience and say, "We ban offensive people from our game" than to say, "We still let offensive people play our game, but we do our best to try to keep them away from you."

As an advocate of free speech, I can't say I agree with any of these methods, especially since they all rely in the notion of something being "offensive". While it's fair to say that you find something offensive, is something objectively offensive? Are there things that should not be said, thought, or believed? The labelling, denunciation, and expulsion of people with differing beliefs and view points is a slipperly slope that's best avoided.

That said, I also agree that people shouldn't be exposed to things they find offensive just so that they can do something completely unrelated, e.g. listening to a bigotted racist while playing WoW. This is where mechanisms like muting and ignoring are quite useful. True, it's annoying, distracting, and time-consuming to be constantly ignoring people, but it gives people the ability to control what they see and hear without giving them control over what others may do or say.

However, I'm willing to concede that there are lines which are quite clearly laid out by society. While I don't think it's fair to say that every "dirty word" should be eliminated (as nearly every member of every society uses these words on a regular basis), it's fair to say that discussions of things purely for the purpose of offending someone is reprehensible. Some amount of moderation is absolutely needed in any public forum, if only to maintain some minimum level of order. But I caution that such controls need to be based on the meanings and reasoning behind insults and slang rather than the particular words used. A man should be allowed to speak of an asshole, as long as he's not being one.

ReverseEngineered:
Why the hatred towards homosexuals then? It's not that homosexuals are somehow weak, but to a male population whose mind is preoccuppied with the opposite sex, a man who is not enamored by women is seen as different, strange, perhaps even damaged. I was treated no differently than a homosexual -- often accussed of being gay -- not because I had an interest in men, but because I hadn't yet developed an interest in women. As with any group trying to establish an identity, failing to identify with that groups' principles excludes you from the group.

This rings particularly true to me, having been of the same ilk. Throughout my adolescence and even through my first 3 years of high school I fielded accusations of being gay, not necessarily because I had not yet developed an interest in women, because I had. But simply because I didn't pursue my interest with a bestial vigor. Being from a small, rural town where being the "alpha male" is even more pronounced when you throw macho pursuits like hunting and fast cars into the mix (I actually was accused of being gay because I drove a Mercedes in high school, it was an old, beaten-up, hand-me down from an older sibling, but nonetheless I was attacked for my brand of car).

I was always a very reserved person, I still am, so it took a lot for me to get close to anyone, and even then, growing up, it had always been other boys who were my friends. So getting close to a female then is an even more unknown territory and therefore even harder for me. I just was never able to easily summon up the courage to approach a girl, whereas most guys walk up to them with a bravado that almost screams, "Want to have sex with me right now?"

I would like to think that a degree of societal acceptance has simply made words like "gay" and "fag" become placeholders for "lame" and "asshole" as you said, and that most people who use these epithets don't actually mean what they say. However growing up and living in a place where there was a significant deal of homophobia going on, I know that so often is the case that these words are NOT thrown blindly, and are said with every bit the sexual slur they are behind them.

EDIT: I somewhat agree with your stances on free speech, but free speech for its own sake doesn't help anything. If someone is in WoW trade chat being an asshole, using racial slurs and the like, I believe they should be banned for it (at least if they're doing it repeatedly). At bare minimum warned on a first offense, with subsequent offenses being punished more severely. I'll never understand why some people are assholes just for the sake of being an asshole. And when someone does that there are punishments that should be invoked. The right of free speech is not equivalent to the right to be an asshole. I believe that there are some things that just SHOULDN'T be allowed to be said in a public arena. Allowing totally free speech for the simple sake of free speech itself empowers the assholes to do whatever they want, offend whoever they want with only a "if you don't like it, ignore me" as justification.

I think you are making one critical flaw in your arguement. You assume that unintelligence, trolling, racism, and misogyny are confined to the areas of video gamers.

This isn't a problem with video gamers, it's a problem with the internet as a whole and the Anonymous figure that it gives us. There are almost always zero social reprecussions for acting like an asshole online, which is why we do it. Not only that, but acting like an asshole often causes some pretty hilarious situations, which is probably the biggest reason why people troll other people online.

Video games and the internet are tightly weaved together, much more so than a large majority of hobbies are to the internet. Therefore, it's not suprising to see so many gamers act like dickheads online. It's not that gamers are more inherently prone to acting like assholes, it's that their hobby is often tied to an area where they can get away with acting like assholes.

You then wrongly assume that the counter-attack on the feminist bloggers was out of an inherent defense of mysogony and fat-hating. The only reason why gamers got worked up about it is because many of us have become crouched in a defense position due to long years of stupid and illogical attacks from the mainstream media. Gamers weren't defending misogyny (well some of them might have), but they were defending the game because it's a video game. And it's not as if the feminist bloggers were acting much better behaved, actively attacking video gamers, calling names, and calling anyone who presented a logical counter a troll.

In the end, you draw incorrect conclusions about online trolling and the video game community. It's not a problem with video games, it's a problem with being anonymous online. Also, to an extent, it's a problem with young people who have always acted like dumbshits, whom have a particular attraction for video games.

It all has to do with the Alpha Male syndrome. We want to be the biggest, baddest mother fucker on the planet. And in order to maintain that persona, you can't ever be wrong. So in order to defend yourself from being "wrong" you just begin slinging mud and name calling and such until the actual argument is forgotten and its a dick-waving contest at this point (similar to US politics, lol).

The beauty is, we have the anonymity of the internet, so that when we begin all this mudslinging and such, there are no repercussions. So we are free to do whatever we want in order to maintain that Alpha Male image.

Free speech is not a license to attack. It is a license to speak your thoughts freely. I think someone calling a person names is no longer an expression of ideas but an attack on an individual and therefor not protected by freedom of speech. Stating something like "I hate fags. or Girls are terrible gamers." are expressions of a person's opinion. Saying "Join a different game fag. or Quit trying to be a gamer bitch." is attacking. There is a big difference.

However I appreciated the statement I read in one of the posts that said censoring in any fashion is a slippery slope. I agree. Peer pressure and public humiliation could be quite affective though.

How about the game companies, Microsoft, and Sony getting behind a movement to mark offenders. If a person gets a specified number of complaints, a tag could be added to their account that shows up in all games. The tag could specify the offense they have been accused of. The would need to be accused multiple times from multiple people. Complaints could be sent in using standard items so the tags could be easily applied. Things like "Racist Comments", "Homophobic Attacks", "Sexist Remarks", etc... I know those are not great terms but hopefully you get the idea. The tags should not be nice to have associated with you. Not only would this be visually embarrassing but other gamers could setup filters so that they did not have to play with anyone that has these tags. Similar to blocking a specific person but instead you block someone with tags you don't want to deal with.

The tags could be temporary too. That way a person could have a second or third chance. However if they get the same tag two or three times it becomes permanent or they have it for a very long time.

Hasving played a few online FPS's as well as MMORPG's one of the things I have realized is that the majority of the playersd tend to be 11-14. Of course tjhey are going to act juvenile...they ARE juvenile. How bout having a verified adults only server on some of these that was us big kids dont have to deal with the silliness of catering to the wee ones...Ive seen the same thing on both SWG and CoH/V and as a result Ive been tempted to go to Conan since its mature rated/adults only.

L.B. Jeffries:
Even though Cohen may have proved how quickly you can remove the public masks we wear, I think the article might be right that the only way to resist it is to form a counter-group.

i don't think a group is necessary and in fact it probably ends up creating an oppositional perspective with the same level of social fervor and blind ignorance.

by my nature i am antagonistic, this will typically put me at odds with the swell of the masses, which is good since this natural reaction buys me time to think through how i actually feel and to express myself accordingly. what does this mean in online games? that if i'm on voice chat i end up making fun of people that say the phrase, "that's gay", rather than actually playing the game.

I think it's rediculous how people throw around those words so casually. I mean, you know it was commonplace back then, but the world is changed. It's terrible that high school kids and others have to resort to tongues like that to prove a point or humiliate someone.

Oh, and on the subject of n00b:

I'm a n00b. Always have been, always will. I like to LEARN to play games. Don't expect me to sit around and skirt the game because I don't know how to play it.

Shushyne4np2ne:
I think it's rediculous how people throw around those words so casually. I mean, you know it was commonplace back then, but the world is changed. It's terrible that high school kids and others have to resort to tongues like that to prove a point or humiliate someone.

Oh, and on the subject of n00b:

I'm a n00b. Always have been, always will. I like to LEARN to play games. Don't expect me to sit around and skirt the game because I don't know how to play it.

Personally, I've always thought there are two kinds: newb and n00b. A newb is a new player who is learning the ropes and doesn't yet have the experience most have. A n00b is a jackass and a tool who makes stupid mistakes with no effort to learn.

I've come to the realization that communication via internet forums, and live chat over Xbox Live is the modern day equivalent of bathroom graffiti.

As serveral people said, I think that it is more the fact that speaking of Internet is anonymous, that makes people act like they do. The gaming community is by no means more offensive than other communities on the internet. I've read a lot of trolling and hate speech about politics, any sort of entertainement, etc...

the other problem with the gaming community is that it is partially composed of male teenagers, who had grown up in a familial and social environnement where they could do pretty much anything they want. Plus, they were never told by their parents or their teachers what can't be done in society and why they shouldn't do it.
Therefore, insulting other people just seems like a fun way to spend time, especially when there are no consequences. I've seen a lot of teenagers, sometimes not necessarly stupid ones, insulting people in their back, just because they were different.

For exemple of such kind of behaviour, I was once on a deathmatch server, where a player was asking if a spectator could be kicked to make room for other people. I said that the spectator might want to stay just to watch the game. And the player said about me to one of his friends "Laisse tomber, c'est juste un con", which is a very offensive way to say "Never mind, this guy is just stupid".
To me, it just looked like the player was a teenager that just wanted something to get done for him, and wasn't ready to listen to anyone, because what he wanted was the most importand thing in the world, and he was the second most important thing in the world. The fact that people might we willing to watch other people playing, as they have the right, didn't mean anuthing for him. And he just threw an insult for no reason.

I think that some of the problems of hate in the gaming community partially come from the fact that a lot of players are teenagers, and even without the "Alpha male" aspect, etc... (because the authors of those hate speechs are not always handsome teenagers that want to be the baddest motherfuckers on the planet, as someone said), in their mind, they are the most important thing in the world, so everything else is s**t.

I'm a young white heterosexual male, but I don't feel the need to call people gay or fags. Maybe because people explained to me that being a woman, homosexual, or having a different skin colour is just being an other human being, just different. Maybe because people tried to explain to me that all the human beings or the planet are equals.
But I think that it's mostly because when I was a kid, I knew that if I would have been disrespectful with someone else because of a matter of differences, I would have been beaten very hard by my parents. I think that violence is always necessary, but I find hard to find a replacement for it in that case...

Calling someone racial slurs or insinuating they fuck several species of animal is not about being young, white, or male.

It is entirely a function of forbidden fruit. Fuck, shit, crap, these words are common online, and lack the naughty aspect they once held. But the still-reviled avenues of racism, sexism, and homophobia?

I would wager 10-to-1 most people who are so inclined toward this behavior are entirely fine people in normal life. But if you tell someone they can't, in most cases they will. It has nothing to do with hidden racism.

i believe its the "troll" that feels any hate speech,racism,or sexism they express to other gamers online bears no serious negative repercussions on them such as in reality calling a woman a "whore",a person of another ethnic race some racist slur,a man or woman of another religion something that could offend their beliefs,or even higher authority say their employer some kind hateful word like a "fucker" or something else could serious backlash and cause resent towards them

they can also feel as though all eyes are on them and they are receiving some sort of attention,that may come from thier lives that they feel is void of any attention and through any manner they must obtain it,and they sum up that maybe angering someone else may cause them to even pitch of a small amount of their time to maybe argue or tell of the other making the troll feel as though they are being acknowledged

if you can just ignore them dont fuel the ignorent fire of a attention hungering brat
but thanks to a couple good ideas or so...we have the mute button!

wadark:

ReverseEngineered:
I was treated no differently than a homosexual -- often accussed of being gay -- not because I had an interest in men, but because I hadn't yet developed an interest in women. As with any group trying to establish an identity, failing to identify with that groups' principles excludes you from the group.

This rings particularly true to me, having been of the same ilk. Throughout my adolescence and even through my first 3 years of high school I fielded accusations of being gay, not necessarily because I had not yet developed an interest in women, because I had. But simply because I didn't pursue my interest with a bestial vigor. Being from a small, rural town where being the "alpha male" is even more pronounced when you throw macho pursuits like hunting and fast cars into the mix (I actually was accused of being gay because I drove a Mercedes in high school, it was an old, beaten-up, hand-me down from an older sibling, but nonetheless I was attacked for my brand of car).

I was always a very reserved person, I still am, so it took a lot for me to get close to anyone, and even then, growing up, it had always been other boys who were my friends. So getting close to a female then is an even more unknown territory and therefore even harder for me. I just was never able to easily summon up the courage to approach a girl, whereas most guys walk up to them with a bravado that almost screams, "Want to have sex with me right now?"

So is that what I have to look forward to?

The whole problem is the anonymity of the Internet. Anonymity breeds assholes, as the great Penny Arcade comic (which I can't find right now) illustrates. Anonymity is what allows people to share their deepest, darkest secrets through a Confession. It's what people find so appealing in making prank calls; the fact that you can say things you would never say in a public/formal setting, and no one can find you out.

There needs to be a way to make communities like Xbox Live similar to a public setting where people would think twice before making a bigoted, discriminatory statement. Somehow, being the "troll" or the "badass" of these communities has become "cool". If there were a way to change that general opinion, most of these problems would be controlled.

How would people go about doing that? No idea. People's ideas on what is and what isn't acceptable change so quickly it's hard to keep up. Just last year I'm pretty sure you couldn't hear "shit" on any TV program rated TV-MA or under. Now, it seems like I'm hearing it much more often.

Maybe the problem is with defining it as "hate speech" - a ridiculous Americanism to start with.

I was called a fag, a girl, a retard, too in school. You know the difference between me and most other people though - I didn't take it personally, because EVERYONE was a a fag, a girl, a retard, to these people.

When people say "n*gger", "b*tch", "c*nt", "fag", "f*ckhead", "retard", "girl", "noob" - it doesn't matter it means all the same thing.

It's an insult, plain and simple. There's no hate. There's no homophobia or racism or sexism or what other concepts your pissant psychology thinks is there...

It's just a plain insult, designed to make you react in a certain way.

Considering most people get upset by those terms, consider those people successful.

My experience with US public servers is one... best left for the profanity filter. Aussie servers tend to have this mateship and comradely feeling, the communities know eachother well and are there to have a good time. Granted there are a few servers that are shitholes, however servers are usually hosted by peoples ISP's down here and an admin/moderator is only an email away. Undesirables are faced with a choice we call FIFO
"Fit in or Fuck Off"

NOTE: There is also a standard rule on Australian Servers:
-No excessive swearing or abuse

Keyword excessive. :D

DarthKaos666:

How about the game companies, Microsoft, and Sony getting behind a movement to mark offenders. If a person gets a specified number of complaints, a tag could be added to their account that shows up in all games. The tag could specify the offense they have been accused of. The would need to be accused multiple times from multiple people. Complaints could be sent in using standard items so the tags could be easily applied. Things like "Racist Comments", "Homophobic Attacks", "Sexist Remarks", etc... I know those are not great terms but hopefully you get the idea. The tags should not be nice to have associated with you. Not only would this be visually embarrassing but other gamers could setup filters so that they did not have to play with anyone that has these tags. Similar to blocking a specific person but instead you block someone with tags you don't want to deal with.

The tags could be temporary too. That way a person could have a second or third chance. However if they get the same tag two or three times it becomes permanent or they have it for a very long time.

I liked this idea, until I realized that for trolls this becomes an achievment award.

"Check it out! I got Racially Intolerant tatooed on my avatar's forehead AND Sexist Comments! If I get Homophobic Language I'll complete the set!"

I think the article makes an important point in that it's not only our own fun and enjoyment that's at stake here, but the public perception of our entire demographic (the gamer subculture). Most of us have found ways to deal with trolls online because we encounter them all the time--we ignore them, chastise them or try to have them banned. The real trouble is that the thoughtful, more socially acceptable aspects of gamer culture tend to be drowned out by loud trolls screeching hate-filled epithets at everyone who is new or different. No wonder we can't get people to respect our hobby and stop thinking of it as the main agent of society's destruction.

FunkyJ:
Maybe the problem is with defining it as "hate speech" - a ridiculous Americanism to start with.

I was called a fag, a girl, a retard, too in school. You know the difference between me and most other people though - I didn't take it personally, because EVERYONE was a a fag, a girl, a retard, to these people.

When people say "n*gger", "b*tch", "c*nt", "fag", "f*ckhead", "retard", "girl", "noob" - it doesn't matter it means all the same thing.

It's an insult, plain and simple. There's no hate. There's no homophobia or racism or sexism or what other concepts your pissant psychology thinks is there...

It's just a plain insult, designed to make you react in a certain way.

Considering most people get upset by those terms, consider those people successful.

Just because they don't mean it as a racial slur doesn't mean it isn't one though. Clerks 2 is funny enough, but "Porch Monkey" is still considered a racial slur. Its not about what you mean, its about what you say. And, just like you, I didn't take it personally either. I gave them a courteous smile and went about my day. We're not talking about the effects these statements have on people we're talking about the mere fact that these statements exist and why?

Why does someone feel the need to be as belligerent as possible, especially online. Anonymity is the main reason because, as I stated previously, its all about being the Alpha. The biggest, baddest (most looked-up-to) MFer. And part of attaining that role is putting other people below you, but moreso, as I said, its about never being wrong. And if it looks like someone is about to prove you wrong, you just start spouting off the most insulting crap, because if you can't destroy them logically, destroy them socially. However, in society, using such words as "nigger" and "fag" is extremely frowned upon (usually) and there are consequences, whether they be in the form of legal punishment or societal punishment. Now we get to the anonymity of the internet. If you're anonymous, they can't find you, and if they can't find you, they can't punish you. And so now we're free to use whatever means necessary and/or whatever words necessary to throw others to the ground and climb to the top.

It doesn't matter if they're racially or sexually charged words, and it doesn't matter if the person saying them means them as a racial or sexual slur. The fact is they're said, and they're said with malice, perhaps not the same malice as the word implies, but with malice nonetheless.

P.S. Gains: I was thinking the exact same thing, but you put it into words. Anyone who's using such language probably doesn't care, as long as they can still play the game. They'll just play with others who use the same language and have all the more fun because of it. Banning, unfortunately, seems the only thing to even remotely work.

Also, I forgot to mention that I didn't censor myself above because even if I shove an * in it, you still know what I'm saying and the word doesn't change. So what's the point of trying desperately to look politically correct?

FunkyJ:
Maybe the problem is with defining it as "hate speech" - a ridiculous Americanism to start with.

I was called a fag, a girl, a retard, too in school. You know the difference between me and most other people though - I didn't take it personally, because EVERYONE was a a fag, a girl, a retard, to these people.

When people say "n*gger", "b*tch", "c*nt", "fag", "f*ckhead", "retard", "girl", "noob" - it doesn't matter it means all the same thing.

It's an insult, plain and simple. There's no hate. There's no homophobia or racism or sexism or what other concepts your pissant psychology thinks is there...

It's just a plain insult, designed to make you react in a certain way.

Considering most people get upset by those terms, consider those people successful.

I agree with this. I think the reason people say 'fag' or 'gay' or whatever is because all other swears have been overused to the point that they have lost all meaning. If someone tells you to 'fuck off' or calls you a 'motherfucker' it means nothing to you because you have heard the terms used thousands of times in movies, music and tv. If you really want to insult someone, you want to shock them. Notice Yahtzee's reviews didn't contain the word (and excuse me) 'cunt' until later ones? I watched a few episodes of Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares a while back and didn't hear the C-bomb dropped until one of the very last episodes.

So since it means nothing to call someone 'shit', 'asshole', 'motherfucker' or any of the most common ones, in order to hurt and shock, people resort to cultural incensitivities.

'Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar'. In my opinion (and in this context, that is online gaming) an insult is just an insult.

Bakery:

FunkyJ:
Maybe the problem is with defining it as "hate speech" - a ridiculous Americanism to start with.

I was called a fag, a girl, a retard, too in school. You know the difference between me and most other people though - I didn't take it personally, because EVERYONE was a a fag, a girl, a retard, to these people.

When people say "n*gger", "b*tch", "c*nt", "fag", "f*ckhead", "retard", "girl", "noob" - it doesn't matter it means all the same thing.

It's an insult, plain and simple. There's no hate. There's no homophobia or racism or sexism or what other concepts your pissant psychology thinks is there...

It's just a plain insult, designed to make you react in a certain way.

Considering most people get upset by those terms, consider those people successful.

I agree with this. I think the reason people say 'fag' or 'gay' or whatever is because all other swears have been overused to the point that they have lost all meaning. If someone tells you to 'fuck off' or calls you a 'motherfucker' it means nothing to you because you have heard the terms used thousands of times in movies, music and tv. If you really want to insult someone, you want to shock them. Notice Yahtzee's reviews didn't contain the word (and excuse me) 'cunt' until later ones? I watched a few episodes of Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares a while back and didn't hear the C-bomb dropped until one of the very last episodes.

So since it means nothing to call someone 'shit', 'asshole', 'motherfucker' or any of the most common ones, in order to hurt and shock, people resort to cultural incensitivities.

'Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar'. In my opinion (and in this context, that is online gaming) an insult is just an insult.

All true. But the main issue at stake here is that so many gamers feel the need "to hurt and shock" others in the first place. Sure, we all dealt with this crap in school, but I'd like to think that as adults we've learned a little more emotional maturity. And it would be easy to blame all the hate-speak on 14-year-old idiots, but we all know that there are plenty of trolls in their 20s and 30s (and even older) who are likely acting like complete grown-ups in their day-to-day lives (at least, I hope). What is it about gaming culture that brings out the worst in these people? Whether or not their behavior can be justified, it's dragging down the medium we love.

Most games have mute for voice communication but only a very few have allowed me to mute someone's text chat.

When it comes this kind of behavior, I detest it, so I actively seek out servers that do not put up with it, period. If a game does not support ways to let me filter out that behavior, I do not play that game and will even return it for a refund. Some of this is finding like minded people who want to have fun with others, rather than at the expense of others, and the other part of it is the responsibility of those making the games.

I'd like to propose an alternate theory:
It's simply the Law of Fan Jackassery at play here. For people too lazy to click on the link, the Law of Fan Jackassery states that "The jackassery of a fandom is a unimodal function of the fandom's obscurity."
In other words, a fandom gets more an more unpleasant the less popular it is, until its popularity reaches a certain point at which it begins to drop off again. I would like to propose that the gaming community in general happens to fall rather near the drop off point.

NotPigeon:
I'd like to propose an alternate theory:
It's simply the Law of Fan Jackassery at play here. For people too lazy to click on the link, the Law of Fan Jackassery states that "The jackassery of a fandom is a unimodal function of the fandom's obscurity."
In other words, a fandom gets more an more unpleasant the less popular it is, until its popularity reaches a certain point at which it begins to drop off again. I would like to propose that the gaming community in general happens to fall rather near the drop off point.

While I think this theory seems sound in and of itself, I don't think it applies well to the gaming community as a whole. The hobby is moving towards the mainstream, not away from it. For individual games (like Fallout), it could apply; but WOW and Halo are some of the most popular games out there, and also known to have two of the worst griefer/troll populations. When it comes to particular games, the atmosphere the game encourages might have a more major impact than obscurity on the percentage of its fans that are jackasses.

This is what it looks like to me.

A certain amorphous minority of people discover an anonymous venue for expressing either their own deeply-held hatred, or for saying emptily hateful things that they couldn't get away with in the real world. Such people tend to be loud. Everybody else follows along because that's what the rest of them seem to be doing.

Politeness can be spread in the same way, though it's harder, because politeness is quiet and harder to notice. The faster a community grows, the more likely it is that enough newcomers will miss the point and proceed to be jerkoffs, tipping it back in the other direction.

I was a picked-on nerd as a kid, called "fag", etc. Probably has something to do with why I don't treat other people that way. Or maybe I'm just a reasonably nice person with at least half a brain. It bums me out that most of my fellow nerds failed to make the connection. Do unto others, yeah? But nah.. the persecuted geeks, when they finally find somewhere to feel safe, just wanna turn it around and persecute someone else, to be on the other side of it, to feel cool and powerful, to be a macho asshole. When I was a kid, at first I romanticized my nerdy D&D/video games niche. I thought "cool, I wanna hang out with people like me.. we're probably all a bunch of smart, sensitive, esoteric motherfuckers!" Man, was I wrong.

Of course, I guess it's not all dorks anymore.. the "frat boy" types all have Xboxes now.. but I think the uh, "cycle of nerd abuse" accounts for a lot of it. (nothing against frat boys, necessarily. I'm sure there's plenty of nice fraternal fellas out there.. I'm just referring to the stereotypical "kick-sand-in-the-nerd's-face-at-the-beach" kind of macho bully thing.. uh, yeah, I'll shut up now) -anyway, my point is that, mostly, we (nerdy/insecure/picked on white kids) do it to ourselves, and if we're as smart as we think we are, we should freakin' get civilized already.

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