Jimquisition: Toxic

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Toxic

There has been much talk about how the gaming world is too toxic, too negative, too full of anger and rage. Jimquisition argues there might be just the right amount of it. The issue is in how it's used.
Anger is a powerful weapon, but like all powerful things, it must be handled with care. Venom can be harnessed to our benefit, provided we be careful not to let it spill into our own faces.

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I think it is unfair that you are haveing so much fun doing your job-

No mention of Anger causing the modification of the ME3 ending? I'm surprised, that was the biggest outcry from a community I've seen until SimCity.

That's my secret Jim, I'm always angry.

This is just awful.

"Venom" is not a substitute for rational discourse, anger is not a proper alternative to logic and no amount of internet nerd rage is going to change the mind of someone who sees it for what it is: Impotent whining from someone who lacks the power to change things in the real world and has to take it to the internet, where they can hide behind an anonymous username and block dissenting opinions and comments, handwaving away legitimate complaints as virtual harassment.

"Embrace your anger"? You sound like a Sith lord.

I'd add that not only does the gaming community in particular need to be more focused in its anger, it needs to gauge the best way to express it.

Far to many explosions of gamer anger have made the community as a whole look bad. The whole Anna S thing is a prime example, in a case where the anger could only really be directed at one person the biggest issue was the way it was expressed.

We need to learn when the massive explosion of noise and when directing anger in other ways is going to be more effective. Yes to little of the noise part and an issue can be swept under carpets, but to much, or the wrong kind of noise is just as damaging.

Careful Jim that dance at the end was a little steamy. I was reaching for my wallet.

dammit Jim! You're insane! ;)

This is bollocks Jim. You refer to "us", "we", the so-called "gaming community" etc. as if you're appealing to some singular collective. What you're actually doing is shouting into a cave. There isn't this "us" really. There's just individuals that buy, play and talk about video games.

Moviebob does this kind of thing too: Lengthy seminars about what the ideals of "the gaming community" ought to be. I have to raise an eyebrow when the rhetoric gets this political. It's like there's this idea that the gaming community is a political movement or something.

The only people who your soapboxing will affect are the people that talk about video games professionally, video gaming journos (and bloggers who wish they were journos), who will go on to echo this stuff. Everyone else in your viewership i.e. average joes that play video games from time to time will give you a pat on the head for letting us here a good rant but that's about it.

You should know by now that no amount of soapboxing is going to stop the occasional few, individual haters from hating and the /v/ trolls from trolling. They're going to do what they want.

Edit: On the thing about "mekkin us luk bahd" - you do realise that the "non-gaming community" [whatever the hell that is] does not give a damn about "us"?

TL;DR: Stop taking fun so seriously, ffs.

While I agree in general about one person not being responsible for a company's bad decisions, I think Mattrick really did deserve it. He wasn't just trotting out the company line, but himself making horrendous insensitive statements over and over.

Moth_Monk:
This is bollocks Jim. You refer to "us", "we", the so-called "gaming community" etc. as if you're appealing to some singular collective. What you're actually doing is shouting into a cave. There isn't this "us" really. There's just individuals that buy, play and talk about video games.

Moviebob does this kind of thing too: Lengthy seminars about what the ideals of "the gaming community" ought to be. I have to raise an eyebrow when the rhetoric gets this political. It's like there's this idea that the gaming community is political movement or something.

The only people who your soapboxing will affect are the people that talk about video games professionally, video gaming journos (and bloggers who wish they were journos), who will go on to echo this stuff. Everyone else in your viewership i.e. average joes that play video games from time to time will give you a pat on the head for letting us here a good rant but that's about it.

You should know by now that no amount of soapboxing is going to stop the occasional few, individual haters from haters and the /v/ trolls from trolling. They're going to do what they want.

Edit: On the thing about "mekkin us luk bahd" - you do realise that the "non-gaming community" [whatever the hell that is] does not give a damn about "us"?

TL;DR: Stop taking fun so seriously, ffs.

This is the kind of guided anger I am talking about.

You learned more than you let on. ;)

DVS BSTrD:
That's my secret Jim, I'm always angry.

But we use organic Venom, not studio-mandated Venom.

Anyway, I find it funny that Phil fish is brought up again, and his leaving is considered a point of toxicity when Fish himself was toxic. As my electronics instructor used to say, "garbage in, garbage out." Or, as Tom Lehrer would say, "Life is like a sewer--what you get out of it depends on what you put into it."

I would say that Fish himself made the "toxic" outcome unavoidable.

I do take the overall point: picking on an individual in a corporate structure is probably the worst thing you can do because they probably don't themselves deserve it. Even Riccitiello and Evil Sweater-Vest Guy from Activision don't come up with these things alone. CEO/COO/YMCA is not an acronym for free reign and these people are beholden to many masters.

And constant rage diminishes where it is validated.

While I feel the threats, and other forms of nastiness Anita received, in response to the things she was saying, were wholly uncalled for . . . I'm still not convinced her opinions were really worth defending. Certainly, we all have the right to say what we want, but the things that have come to light; her College speech, the kickstarter, the gamestop receipt of those games she bought all at once just to hold up in front of her camera and more . . . have me wondering if she didn't dupe a whole lot of people. Seeing her listed on that count of influential people in the game industry above people who are responsible for gaming as we know it existing at all was especially worrisome.

I do believe she had the right to say the things she was saying, but more and more I question why she was saying them. I wish I didn't have to, because having some games made with a gaze beyond the simply male gaze is a welcome thing. I like all brand of vision, the more the merrier, variety is the spice of life. I like variety.

I still don't think she deserved to be attacked though, and I'm not sure how to keep people from doing that. The Greek idea of the mob existed for a reason I suppose.

UberPubert:
This is just awful.

"Venom" is not a substitute for rational discourse, anger is not a proper alternative to logic and no amount of internet nerd rage is going to change the mind of someone who sees it for what it is: Impotent whining from someone who lacks the power to change things in the real world and has to take it to the internet, where they can hide behind an anonymous username and block dissenting opinions and comments, handwaving away legitimate complaints as virtual harassment.

"Embrace your anger"? You sound like a Sith lord.

It's a common conflict. Sometimes talking in calm, respectful tones doesn't accurately convey someone's displeasure with something, after all anger is just expressing the extreme of some other emotion. Publishers and developers simply will not respond or really listen to people who have legitimate gripes but aren't yelling about it, because it's assumed that those people will continue to buy the game because they didn't really hate it all that much. Expressing anger is the one way to nail the point home; people have a serious problem with the way you did something, it will hurt you in PR and will ultimately affect sales. Sometimes anger is the only real way to express what the extremeness of your actual opinion, and it shouldn't be suppressed because we all have to be stately gentlemen calmly working out our differences, because publishers and developers aren't willing to engage in those conversations. But legions of angry nerds? Yeah, they'll pay attention to that, even if they want to scoff at it or complain it's just a bunch of bile.

But as Jim said, one cannot flip their lid at every little thing, because then it just cheapens the effect of that outrage.

I'm a little bit disappointed Jim, no South Park "It's coming straight for us" or System of a Down reference.

Nice bit of Ham and Cheese for the conclusion though.

hentropy:

It's a common conflict. Sometimes talking in calm, respectful tones doesn't accurately convey someone's displeasure with something, after all anger is just expressing the extreme of something. Publishers and developers simply will not respond or really listen to people who have legitimate gripes but aren't yelling about it, because it's assumed that those people will continue to buy the game because they didn't really hate it all that much. Expressing anger is the one way to nail the point home; people have a serious problem with the way you did something, it will hurt you in PR and will ultimately affect sales. Sometimes anger is the only real way to express what the extremeness of your actual opinion, and it shouldn't be suppressed because we all have to be stately gentlemen calmly working out our differences, because publishers and developers aren't willing to engage in those conversations. But legions of angry nerds? Yeah, they'll pay attention to that, even if they want to scoff at it or complain it's just a bunch of bile.

But as Jim said, one cannot flip their lid at every little thing, because then it just cheapens the effect of that outrage.

Pubs and devs rarely respond to "venom" in any meaningful way. When talking about video games the extent of the exchange usually begins and ends with a rash comment made over Twitter, or is silenced just a few posts in on a community forum where the topic is locked with a last word in from a moderator. What they do respond to is drops in sales, not the bile and hate that comes before it, because the actual comments being made - while directed at developers and publishers - are there for the viewing of the consumer, usually from game reviewers (professional or your youtube channel uploader of choice, for case in point see: The Angry Joe Show).

But I think we can do better than that. I think we can make our points, stand our ground and vote with our wallets without fuming at the ears over DLC or some nonsense and making broad, generalizing statements about pubs and devs.

EDIT: I don't think we need to get angry, and what's more, I think the kind of emotionally charged language we see from people who want us to get angry dilutes the message of what would otherwise be seen as calm and thoughtful criticism.

A video where Jim explains that anger is not bad and wants us to correctly focus it, to use it as a tool more appropriately?

Holy crap, Jim IS Palpatine... it isn't a galaxy far far away in distance, it's far away in time. Jim is the future emporer of the Empire we'll inevitably form...

Jim, I agree with most everything you said. Though I'm hesitant to relieve CEOs of the lion's share of responsibility when the buck generally does stop there.

UberPubert:

"Embrace your anger"? You sound like a Sith lord.

The Jedi were all dicks, so where's the downside?

Petromir:

Far to many explosions of gamer anger have made the community as a whole look bad. The whole Anna S thing is a prime example, in a case where the anger could only really be directed at one person the biggest issue was the way it was expressed.

Anita is a figurehead for a larger issue, one that's been building up in gaming for quite some time. As such, she's been rather scapegoated for the larger issue, so I disagree with the concept that it could only be directed at one person.

A lot of gamers are mad or resentful that women are being allowed into their tree fort[1], and she came along and represented these things to a lot of people. In effect, this is the same result as yelling at a CEO for something that likely wasn't their doing. Or, to borrow someone else's botched comparison, it would be like blaming Rosa Parks (A rallying point) for the civil rights movement (something which had been going on well before Parks sat down on that bus).

Moth_Monk:

You should know by now that no amount of soapboxing is going to stop the occasional few, individual haters from haters and the /v/ trolls from trolling. They're going to do what they want.

How fortunate, then, that it doesn't have to. The goal isn't getting /v/ to stop acting like fuckwads, but rather the rest of us. And even then, it doesn't have to be all of us. See? It works out after all.

Thanatos2k:
While I agree in general about one person not being responsible for a company's bad decisions, I think Mattrick really did deserve it. He wasn't just trotting out the company line, but himself making horrendous insensitive statements over and over.

In fairness to Mattrick, he was in an untenable position of being President of the division which was selling a completely toxic product. The worst thing he said was a joke to friends, which really only should teach the lesson that you should be careful what you joke about when you're on a public forum like Twitter. The rest was dumb, but he was defending a dumb product as per his job as head of the division making that dumb product.

[1] you can actually find many such sentiments on the Escapist forums

What? You mean I just can't fly off the handle and start foaming at the mouth every single time someone says something I don't like? I have to be selective with my anger? You ask too much of me Jim.

reading the description, i was ready to defy you for the first time. but naturally, i was wrong, and you were addressing something completely different from what i was expecting and you were right. so, keep bein' awesome. off topic; i think the true problem with the toxicity in gaming isn't the venom from gamers to industry, but the venom from gamers to gamers. that's the stuff that's out of hand and should be addressed.

Eat your heart out, Britney Spears.

Jim, your dance got cut off too short! Where's the rest of it; must have!

I think your overall position got confused halfway through (don't blame EA but do blame EA?) yet overall I think you're right. Opinions can no longer be opinions because one needs to have substantial "fact" that your opinions are valid, which would no longer make them opinions at all. See video game reviews and the hate usually spit back at them for what is, essentially, an opinion piece. As for publishers...just about on the money. Problem is, we don't always know what goes on between the publisher's and the devs, looking specifically at crammed in multi-player for the masses, so directing our anger may not always work the way you intend.

With all your funny antics you do at the beginning and end of a show, I always find it hard to complete anything coherent when replying. Then again, I try to stay out of the hate circles as they never make anyone feel better. Hell maybe that should have been in your video: stop mindless hate because it all sucks for everyone! Just use a laser pointer.

Zachary Amaranth:

UberPubert:

"Embrace your anger"? You sound like a Sith lord.

The Jedi were all dicks, so where's the downside?

And the Sith weren't?

I'm not even making a plea to side with the lesser evil here, I'm just saying not to embrace the philosophy of the side that is CLEARLY evil.

Yeah, I agree. We should be sparing with our anger. But it shouldn't be said it's a bad thing to get angry over these things. And worse, to say that we're entitled like it's a bad thing. We spend much more for our product than a lot of other media consumers, that makes us entitled.

The rage might have finally shoved Bioware in a new direction
The rage (responsive btw) to Fish's own toxicity made him leave
EA stated that they might "consider" an offline mode for Sim City
Auction house is coming down from Diablo III
Gearbox was held to task over A:CM

My main gripe with the online toxicity is when it lacks content. Going to the BSN to tell them how bad they fucked up in a not nice manner is fine, as long as there is a reason for why they fucked up. Just telling them to fuck off isn't helping anything.

UberPubert:

hentropy:

It's a common conflict. Sometimes talking in calm, respectful tones doesn't accurately convey someone's displeasure with something, after all anger is just expressing the extreme of something. Publishers and developers simply will not respond or really listen to people who have legitimate gripes but aren't yelling about it, because it's assumed that those people will continue to buy the game because they didn't really hate it all that much. Expressing anger is the one way to nail the point home; people have a serious problem with the way you did something, it will hurt you in PR and will ultimately affect sales. Sometimes anger is the only real way to express what the extremeness of your actual opinion, and it shouldn't be suppressed because we all have to be stately gentlemen calmly working out our differences, because publishers and developers aren't willing to engage in those conversations. But legions of angry nerds? Yeah, they'll pay attention to that, even if they want to scoff at it or complain it's just a bunch of bile.

But as Jim said, one cannot flip their lid at every little thing, because then it just cheapens the effect of that outrage.

Pubs and devs rarely respond to "venom" in any meaningful way. When talking about video games the extent of the exchange usually begins and ends with a rash comment made over Twitter, or is silenced just a few posts in on a community forum where the topic is locked with a last word in from a moderator. What they do respond to is drops in sales, not the bile and hate that comes before it, because the actual comments being made - while directed at developers and publishers - are there for the viewing of the consumer, usually from game reviewers (professional or your youtube channel uploader of choice, for case in point see: The Angry Joe Show).

But I think we can do better than that. I think we can make our points, stand our ground and vote with our wallets without fuming at the ears over DLC or some nonsense and making broad, generalizing statements about pubs and devs.

EDIT: I don't think we need to get angry, and what's more, I think the kind of emotionally charged language we see from people who want us to get angry dilutes the message of what would otherwise be seen as calm and thoughtful criticism.

ME3 was a prime example of a developer responding directly to outrage over the ending. But furthermore, pubs don't seem to understand why people stop buying their product. EA is a prime example of this: they respond to lower sales by saying "well we have to broaden the appeal and make it more likable." when in reality that is why people hate it, and all of a sudden Mass Effect is just a Halo clone. So yeah, we can "vote with our wallets" but there's no guarantee that they'll actually get the message.

I'm not talking so much about message board venom or whatever, but an outrage amongst a very large group of people, that spans beyond the local message boards? That can and has made companies respond in the past, and even if they don't directly address it at first, it could very well affect their decision-making going forward. You better believe that Bioware is going to put more thought in their endings from now on, not just a vague and ambiguous "we didn't like it" in the form of not buying it anymore, but letting them know exactly what people didn't like about it and what they can do to fix it. Publishers have proven they're not going to listen to it unless people are yelling, so that's what people do.

Ugh. I just couldn't watch that last bit, from the expo panel scene and whatever may have followed. Jim's meglomania schtick is just getting a bit too silly for my tastes. Maybe it's time for a new game.

Anyway, the usual counterargument against the preachy part, is that gamers not a hivemind.

Now you could make some generalizations about the active Escapist crowd, but then we're not behind the death threats to miss Hamburger Helper and stuff like that.
There may be angry flamers here and maybe even a couple funny trolls among the regulars, but that cannot reflect on this community as a whole.

There's not so much hate. It's disapproval, criticism and disappointment that's filling those long threads.

Jimothy Sterling:
Toxic

There has been much talk about how the gaming world is too toxic, too negative, too full of anger and rage. Jimquisition argues there might be just the right amount of it. The issue is in how it's used.
Anger is a powerful weapon, but like all powerful things, it must be handled with care. Venom can be harnessed to our benefit, provided we be careful not to let it spill into our own faces.

Watch Video

There's a lot of pokemon in this episode. Have you been playing X or Y recently?

hentropy:

ME3 was a prime example of a developer responding directly to outrage over the ending. But furthermore, pubs don't seem to understand why people stop buying their product. EA is a prime example of this: they respond to lower sales by saying "well we have to broaden the appeal and make it more likable." when in reality that is why people hate it. So yeah, we can "vote with our wallets" but there's no guarantee that they'll actually get the message.

I'm not talking so much about message board venom or whatever, but an outrage amongst a very large group of people, that spans beyond the local message boards? That can and has made companies respond in the past, and even if they don't directly address it at first, it could very well affect their decision-making going forward. You better believe that Bioware is going to put more thought in their endings from now on.

But there was also a lot of rage about one of the ME3 characters - a very crucial character - being barred from user access by a paywall, and yet nothing was done. Everyone was really angry about EA including microtransactions into Dead Space 3 and yet they still exist.

Implying that the changes were made due to internet outrage where the results look checkerboarded at best seems like confirmation bias: You can't point to a complaint in the past and say that any change (heck, Jim even argues that EA "addressing" the Sim City anger meant progress) made after is a direct result of that complaint, it just means that there was a lot of anger surrounding the issue at the time, where the actual reasoning behind the decision being made pub/dev side is mostly obscured to us.

But I'd be willing to bet drops in sales and terrible metacritic scores had more to do with it than angry complaints.

UberPubert:

"Embrace your anger"? You sound like a Sith lord.

In my mind, he's a (rather portly) Death Knight general, now.

"Harness your hatred. Make it useful."

image

Honestly, it's perfectly alright to feel angry. But it's of no use if it isn't aimed at the one who buggered it all up in the first place. Usually someone in the boardroom, and not some nameless developer who've spent the last month texturing twitter speak scrawled on guns for the next useless DLC on the line.

UberPubert:

I'm not even making a plea to side with the lesser evil here, I'm just saying not to embrace the philosophy of the side that is CLEARLY evil.

From the Jedi perspective, perhaps. But then, only a Sith speaks in absolutes. :p

Zachary Amaranth:
Anita is a figurehead for a larger issue, one that's been building up in gaming for quite some time. As such, she's been rather scapegoated for the larger issue, so I disagree with the concept that it could only be directed at one person.

A lot of gamers are mad or resentful that women are being allowed into their tree fort[1], and she came along and represented these things to a lot of people. In effect, this is the same result as yelling at a CEO for something that likely wasn't their doing. Or, to borrow someone else's botched comparison, it would be like blaming Rosa Parks (A rallying point) for the civil rights movement (something which had been going on well before Parks sat down on that bus).

This is what I hate with Sarkeesian; her supporters (or the defence of her). Rosa Parks, really? How long have Sarkeesian been in jail? Where do the comparison become more than superficial? Nowhere, that's where. Rosa Parks is only mentioned in a desperate attempt to borrow sympathy. Every argument defending Sarkeesian is about sympathy, like it's a valid argument in itself. Every support relies only on sympathy.

Well, that is not strictly true. I have seen people defend her points, but they also criticized her weak film making.

[1] you can actually find many such sentiments on the Escapist forums

Muspelheim:

UberPubert:

"Embrace your anger"? You sound like a Sith lord.

In my mind, he's a (rather portly) Death Knight general, now.

"Harness your hatred. Make it useful."

The juxtaposition of that quote and the image of him sitting on a horse made me smile.

Yes, I know it's a saddle on the horse, not a harness, but I still like the idea of a cart being driven by pure rage.

Zachary Amaranth:

From the Jedi perspective, perhaps. But then, only a Sith speaks in absolutes. :p

Well, the Sith are clearly evil, but I wouldn't call them absolutely evil.

After all, in his final moments, even Darth Vader tried to redeem himself.

Zachary Amaranth:

How fortunate, then, that it doesn't have to. The goal isn't getting /v/ to stop acting like fuckwads, but rather the rest of us. And even then, it doesn't have to be all of us. See? It works out after all.

What are you on? How are we going to "get" the rest of us to stop acting like fuckwads. Nevermind the fact that the rest of us aren't acting like fuckwads, you can't force people to do things. And especially not by talking in a video on the Internet. The only people that will take home Jim's morals are the people that weren't the "problem" in first place. Sort of like gun control.

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