There's Nothing Good About Toxic Players

There's Nothing Good About Toxic Players

Toxicity in a gaming community not only gives a bad names to gamers in general, but can dissuade new players from getting involved.

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You see, people. Shamus gets it. The shit I've dealt with when I wanted to play P4A with bannings and being kicked because I was new or just wanting to try out an arcade was just responded with most part "oh thats just how the FGC is." I've dealt with the same thing with DnD dungeon masters going out of their way to kill me off in the campain. It shouldn't though. Bullies should be called out for what they are instead of revered.

Agreed. A great case study is the fighting game community, whose games allow virtually no opportunities to grief or troll other players in-game, but still has the problems Shamus describes based purely on forums, websites and real-life events. The underlying system complexity isn't the culprit - contrast with the wargaming grognard community, which is mostly kindly old men eager to explain the difference in Crusader Kings between a legitimized bastard and a child by a second wife.

Well said, everything laid out very nicely.

No more encouraging or even tolerating the rampant jerks among the gaming community. It's hurting our hobby, and hurting ourselves whether we realize or care to acknowledge it.

The last part of this article is the most important. Community managers and GM's are too worried about appearing as tolerant and forgiving that they let their communities slide into chaos. It may be scary forcibly losing a customer here or there, but it's a lot better to foster a welcoming community that is constantly growing than to watch a diminishing anarchy.

Even with the apology, I will be unlikely to even try the game after those comments, taking them as at least an indication of the attitude there (or he'd never say something so crazy at all).

Shamus Young:
A lot of people really do think that toxic players are just a fact of life, and even go so far as to give them credit for "supporting" a community. You can see it at work when people offer up the "That's just the internet" excuse for why people are so ghastly to each other online. As if this was just something we should expect.

Pragmatically speaking, there is real truth in "It's just the Internet". Maybe not in the flippantly dismissive way that phrase is often used, but the nature of the Internet is a major contributor. The "toxic attitude" exists because it is difficult to discourage such behavior in any practical or meaningful way.

For example, League of Legends has one of the largest disciplinary systems in any game I've seen dedicated to reporting toxic behavior, and it has done virtually nothing to deter said behavior or the attitude that creates it because the cost of entry is nothing. You get banned for leaving or being a complete asshole? Boo hoo, rage a bit then create a new account pro-bono.

The same logic can be extended to user forums, Twitter, or any other place on the internet where you can make a total ass of yourself at little to no real risk.

Case in point, even some of the top "professional" LoL players were acting horribly toxic, and it's literally their JOB to play League of Legends. The system is so ineffective and the attitude so ingrained into gaming culture that it took nothing short of direct intervention by Riot just to eliminate two prominent offenders.

Two out of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands; it is among the most popular games in the world).

http://forums.euw.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=1749326

Anonymity is liberty and at least some people are going to abuse that liberty no matter what measures you take (whatever their personal demons might/might not be; I've seen some genuinely nice folks transform into raging asshole demons once they start playing a competitive game).

There's little to be done but to apply a potential for monetary loss to the system. But not even that is foolproof.
Blizzard attempted to do away with Anonymity back when Bnet 2.0 launched, and it blew up in their face.

This attitude is just as harmful and toxic as the players it attempts to defend.

I'm reminded of the "Rape Culture" debate here, where one side attempts to rationalize events in such a way that blames the victim, even while this requires ignoring the bloody obvious. Typically, they will cite things related to opportunity and prudence (or lack thereof) as factors, while conveniently ignore the matters of consent and most importantly, action.

We are not responsible for experiencing temptations (that is normal), but we are responsible for how we respond to them and especially acting on them; whether the act is rape, or acting like a total asshole in an online video game.

I think the only realistic long term solution to this problem of toxicity, is social pressure.
The availability of short term solutions will vary depending on the game, but imposing a disciplinary system with bans that carry monetary loss seems the most effective.

Lvl 64 Klutz:
The last part of this article is the most important. Community managers and GM's are too worried about appearing as tolerant and forgiving that they let their communities slide into chaos. It may be scary forcibly losing a customer here or there, but it's a lot better to foster a welcoming community that is constantly growing than to watch a diminishing anarchy.

I agree with this completely. I can see why no one wants to be seen as the stodgy loser who doesn't allow any "fun" in their game or the oppressive force that tramples supposed free speech, but it really is for the best for all involved when that's the position that's being taken. You can argue all you want that acting like an ass is just part of "the internet" but that doesn't mean that your particular part of the internet can't be kept ass-free. It's not easy and it's sometimes thankless, but it's important.

I myself will readily admit to behaving in a "toxic" manner on other message boards. Why? Well people have done it to me as well, plenty of times in fact. Among other things, I've been called shallow, mentally handicapped, a woman (despite being male) or been told that I should get punched in the face. When that happens, the best thing to do is fight fire with fire.

"Unaware of what year it was, Joe wandered the streets desperate for help. But the English language had deteriorated into a hybrid of hillbilly, valleygirl, inner-city slang and various grunts. Joe was able to understand them, but when he spoke in an ordinary voice he sounded pompous and faggy to them."

Nice work Joe.

Uriel_Hayabusa:
Among other things, I've been called ... a woman (despite being male)...

Absolutely. I hate it when people call me a "man", despite the fact that I'm a woman. It's so completely insulting and degrading!

/sarcasm

While I agree with the overall sentiment, I.E. shitty people are not something to be desired/sought after, I have to take issue with a few of the things said.

But regardless of what Jones was trying to say, I think this is worth talking about because this isn't the only time I've heard this sentiment. A lot of people really do think that toxic players are just a fact of life, and even go so far as to give them credit for "supporting" a community. You can see it at work when people offer up the "That's just the internet" excuse for why people are so ghastly to each other online. As if this was just something we should expect.

This attitude is just as harmful and toxic as the players it attempts to defend.

This is obscenely hyperbolic. Nobody is as bad or worse than the people that do the bad thing. Not the people that defend them, not the people that are apathetic and not the people that don't hate them enough. The person committing the act is the worst one. Others can certainly contribute, but I'm sick of this line that people helping are the ones to be reviled instead of the perpetrator.

It presents cruelty and ugliness as if they were something we need.

What's happening here is that people are confusing "unavoidable" with "indispensable".

This is false. When we accept that something cannot be eradicated and maybe look for a silver lining, that isn't the same as saying we need it or want it.

The usual excuse is, "Hey, they're just trolls. Just ignore them and they'll go away." Except, that's not true. In real life, going limp doesn't make an abusive person less willing to hit you, and remaining silent doesn't make a toxic player any less likely to atavistically howl into their microphone when they're unhappy.

This is debatable at best. Generally speaking, online trolls are looking for a response. A negative reaction is exactly what they hope to get, so unless the reaction is extremely calm and carefully calculated, the only purpose it serves is to make them happy.
The internet is not the same as "real life" and the same rules don't apply. Between anonymity and the ease at which trolls can return to a space they're banned from creates a vastly different situation than a similar one in real life.

Overall, I fully agree with what you're trying to say. Bad players are bad and they should be removed in the best way possible. At the same time, it is and always will be a mistake to look at anything in a black and white fashion.
Jones exact words were "There's probably something good about the toxic players showing up and sticking with your game." The important part is "probably." The guy wasn't saying they were needed, wanted or even good. He was looking for something to be positive about in regards to a shitty thing. That's human nature.

Bad players are like a forest fires. They're going to happen no matter what we do, reacting to them the wrong way only makes them worse, there are only a very few ways to react the right way, and it isn't unreasonable to try to find some tiny bit of positivity in the fact that the forest was thick enough to cause the fire in the first place.

With the most common reactions on uh... some forums regarding oh... I dunno... EA? Ubisoft? Microsoft? Console vs PC Gaming? Xbox One? Uplay? Origin? AAA Gaming in general? Watch Dogs, Call of Duty (spunkgargleweewee) and Mass Effect 3 in particular? I'm not sure if this opinion piece is intentionally ironic or not. It does seem like both Shamus and Moviebob are throwing barbs at their audience today.

I don't think that Jones was trying to say that trolls or "toxic" players in games are in any way good. I think his point was that the fact that trolls are present at least means there are people playing your game. My favorite online gaming community was Jedi Knight, Jedi Academy multi-player.

There was a great community there, and not that many trolls, but all 10 of the people in that whole community could probably tell you that there was not much of a need to keep the updates coming. But there were no trolls, because there weren't many people.

So when Jones says well if there is anything good that comes out of trolls being there, at least its an indicator that somebody is playing your game enough that when they're pissed off at other things they're still playing, it might not be such a bad way to look at things.

I mean as far as my understanding of what he said, his point is basically being morbidly obese is at the very least an indicator that you aren't starving to death.

It's important for his employer to clarify because we as a mass are not mature enough to read between the lines, but what he said shouldn't require this much contemplation.

Please change the title of that, lol. Saying "There's nothing good about X" is just asking for incorrectness through over-generalization. If there were NOTHING good about it, it probably wouldn't exist. Somewhere, somehow, it benefits someone. Compare the statement "There's nothing good about parasites", which is false for the same reason. I know I'm getting overly philosophical here, but the title of the article is so over-generalized that it makes me expect something philosophical.

Tarfeather:
Please change the title of that, lol. Saying "There's nothing good about X" is just asking for incorrectness through over-generalization. If there were NOTHING good about it, it probably wouldn't exist. Somewhere, somehow, it benefits someone. Compare the statement "There's nothing good about parasites", which is false for the same reason. I know I'm getting overly philosophical here, but the title of the article is so over-generalized that it makes me expect something philosophical.

Very true.

Most people in the UO community regarded the treatment of MDK as excessive and that the game was poorer for their banning. While they were unrepentant greifers they added an element of fear to a dungeon run that was not being presented by the game alone.

The problem is simply what's defined as being "toxic" behavior, after all it tends to be highly subjective. In many cases it seems to me that you have a lot of easily offended politically correct types trying to enforce their personal morality on everyone else, and declaring things they don't like "toxic" or in some way wrong.

To put this into context, let's take "trolling" in MMOs, which is pretty much people sitting around in zone chat saying "rude" and "offensive" things. For the most part this kind of thing tends to be entertaining for everyone involved, and it generally occurs because of a lot of people being in a zone, all involved in repetitive activities, waiting for spawns, waiting for activities, etc... and the chat is what keeps them occupied. As a general rule a "good" troll tends to be rather funny in what they do and is actually a boon to the community by keeping people entertained. It's actually pretty bloody rare when you'll see a community, or even most of a zone population, getting upset about someone "being a troll". Typically the biggest complaints are when people recycle the same gimmicks too many times or whatever. Usually you find it's one or two people that somehow get offended by a "Troll" "going too far" or hitting some nerve or addressing a topic they feel "nobody should make light of, ever", with these people of course being too thick to just hit their ignore button.

To put things into context the "infamous" Barrens Chat became what it was because it was an oversized zone people in WoW playing Horde had to spend a disproportionate amount of time in while leveling, and which was also part of a big hub that even high level players would need to pass through (especially to begin with) on their way to do other quests and such. Ratchet for example figures into a number of relatively high level quests. Add to this a few things like a rare "unique appearance" cat that could be tamed by a hunter (old school) leading to hunters sometimes camping days waiting for the spawn... and well... needless to say the trolling and jokes flew fast and furious, and for the most part the whole "I survived Barrens Chat" thing was said fondly, and most serious WoW players wind up with a fondness for the area, and some even pop in to "troll" specifically to help entertain those still doing the grind, with it being appreciated by the community at large.

Of course at the same time, there is no such thing as a "five minute rule" in MMO chat, which is to say that before you comment or leap to any wild decisions you should listen to a conversation for at least five minutes in order to understand context (which on forums should be extended to people reading every message in a exchange before commenting to see if what they are saying is redundant or has already been covered within the thread). As a result it seems a lot of the biggest "complaints" against trolls are misfires with people not really "getting" the schtick due to just wandering into the zone and not getting the rest of a routine that might have been going on half an hour before they arrived.

In RIFT for example when I was waiting in PVP queues (I don't play much) there was this guy using the name "Bloodytampon" who would show up and make gross and politically incorrect jokes all the time. He was kind of funny, and the name itself should tell you exactly how serious he was and what his schtick was. He was sometimes in zone chat with a female dwarf beastmaster named Pooksy or something that claimed she married her pig... and you can guess where that went at times.

The point here is that a good "Troll" can be a huge boon to a game when done right, and really the easily offended do have that /ignore command, and if your concerned about a number of people on your ignore list, a lot of these guys don't exactly need to be there permanently, since context should be obvious to anyone with half a brain.

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When it comes to player harassment that goes beyond the above, typically that has little to do with the players and is the result of bad game design. Basically if you have a group of people genuinely "griefing" other players in ways that can interfere with their gameplay (ie not just chatter that can be ignored) that's because the game itself is broken. The Devs then have to decide to fix the problem ASAP, or if they can't, whether to let it go or start actually policing the behavior. Basically if you create an MMO with open PVP for example, one shouldn't get all upset if you have a group of players who do nothing but sit around and prevent other players from doing quests and such and trying to lock them into specific areas/corner them at spawn points/etc... because that is exactly what the game environment that was created encourages. The Devs can't hand that off on the players and claim they are ruining their game or anything of the sort, it's up to the Devs to correct that. If people leave the game, it's going to be because of the design, not the players doing the griefing per se since they were simply a symptom of the problem.

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When it comes to "E-Sports" and MOBA games and the like, a big part of the problem is that the companies running them love the money and fame that come from these kinds of games, and the attention they get for being so competitive, but they don't actually want to put the money or manpower into taking them seriously. You wind up with all of the worst aspects of sports, with few of the benefits. The bottom line tends to be that the companies wind up needing the pool of players who all want to act like out of control big-shot dillweeds, and thus are very limited on what they can do to enforce the rules on them, because there are only so many draws in a very limited pool of players. What's more you start banning people that might have hundreds of thousands of followers, and they take their fans with them, and you lose a lot of revenue. This is why it takes something really beyond the pale to get action taken, and really it can be argued that when E-sports companies do take action it winds up hurting them as much as the guys they take action on (and understanding this is why the behavior largely persists).

To be honest, I don't think E-sports will really take off until it becomes a lot dirtier as far as management is concerned... along with other things. If you've ever followed the early days of sports, or how messy a lot of amateur sports on their way to becoming big have been, you sort of understand it. Even sports that became legitimate wound up needing the gangsters and such to get started, in part because it was a way to keep the talent in line and adjust attitudes without losing it. If your a limited sport or venue, with only a few (comparatively speaking) names that are beginning to draw people in, and some of those people are jerks that can do damage to the business as it develops, you didn't regulate them, you sent Vinnie and Luigi to do a job on their girlfriend, family members, or whatever (you don't want to damage the talent itself) as a message to chill out, but keep performing, or else bad things happen. Once sports got bigger and there were enough draws, regulation became more viable, because at the end of the day people losing tens of millions of dollars is a huge deterrant, and if it's not, there is more than one superstar, so while the fans might be upset, given enough time todays "super athlete" that disappears in a scandal is tomorrow's "where are they now" story. Of course behind the NFL, NBA, Boxing, etc... were all kinds of micro-venues to begin with, and behind them were people who kept the Vinnies and Luigis around. Some people will of course be saying "wow, Theru, your screwed up and warped" but the point is that this was all part of the process.... and it's also why I don't think this problem will ever be dealt with or that E-sports will evolve in the near future, you don't have the vision, ruthlessness, and willpower, behind it. Not one gaming company seems to keep a slush fund around for shipping muscle internationally to take care of business as an open secret. Not one of these "toxic gamers" who has done something to impact the sport
has come down with an accident tragically busting both ankles (they don't need their ankles to work a mouse & keyboard or a controller). At the end of the day people are content where it is now, the companies are making money they are largely happy with, and letting "Cyber athletes" and well known personalities behave like "Team Siren" is just part of the equasion... and that's where I think the original article is coming from, you get people that dedicated, and a community persistant enough to notice the attitude and care, and it's a good thing, as chances are it means the bank
is just going to come rolling in.

That's my thoughts on a wide range of "toxic behavior". For the most part I don't see it as a problem. But then again I'm pretty thick skinned, and can zone it out. What's more I do my part, I haven't had a chance yet (busy) but I made a character called "Dominar Gorean" to goof off with in STO, he's a male Orion pirate, and I figured I'd have him run around making exaggerated "Gor style" anti-feminist comments and encouraging gender slavery (which is actually kind of Canon for Trek... Orions have been depicted numerous ways, and even if you use the matriarchal definition one could say a free male running his own ship might have issues)... purely IC RP of course for the laughs. Of course, while 99% of the people will probably get it and laugh along with it (especially if it's clearly at least quasi-RP) all it takes is that one special person who decides to take it seriously and get offended... and that's usually where the "toxic" complaints come from. I'm not the only one who occasionally does something like this for fun. :)

I'm a big League fan (who NEVER rages, and can pretty much zone out the rage of others at will) and the thing that amazes me about toxic players is that they don't realise how self-defeating they are. Most angry players, when challenged, will talk about "just taking the game seriously" and wanting to win, but they are oblivious to the fact that they do the opposite, derailing their team so that at best there's no teamwork, and at worst people start ragequitting. Producing a comeback in a team with a rageaholic is next door to impossible. I once had someone lamenting in the pregame that they had been so unlucky as to lose 10 in a row. That same person then started to intentionally feed after 7 minutes, when the team was leading, and he was leading, because his jungler hadn't ganked his lane yet. And when I pointed out that this was probably why he couldn't get a win, he just went on about being "fed up with noobs". It boggles the mind. (Although honestly, I think League's rep is a bit overblown, most games are fine).

I agree with the article I just don't think the little blurb that leads into it is necessary.

The comment itself didn't seem to have anything to do with toxic players being good, just a small joke about their existence in the game is some kind of indicator of the quality of the game itself unrelated to other things like game communities.

Something like, just to make up an example, "You know your webcomic is popular when people start cosplaying your characters at conventions."

I think the problem is toxic people should not be given too much opportunity to 'bed in' within an online community. You can see the problem is microcosm if you've ever played on someone else's dedicated server with bad admins. Toxic play is the norm in these places and it is reenforced by 'veteran' or 'regular' players feeling they have a right to be prioritized over new players.

If this starts to happen in a game's entire online ecosystem it starts to become a place where toxic people go to flex their muscles and you end up with a small group of people who squat on your game to feel better about themselves, putting off new users. If you tolerate regular toxic players all you end up left with are toxic players because usually they keep coming back because they feel they have some power or status in your game brought on by their dickishness.

I think the problem is toxic people should not be given too much opportunity to 'bed in' within an online community. You can see the problem is microcosm if you've ever played on someone else's dedicated server with bad admins. Toxic play is the norm in these places and it is reenforced by 'veteran' or 'regular' players feeling they have a right to be prioritized over new players.

If this starts to happen in a game's entire online ecosystem it starts to become a place where toxic people go to flex their muscles and you end up with a small group of people who squat on your game to feel better about themselves, putting off new users. If you tolerate regular toxic players all you end up left with are toxic players because usually they keep coming back because they feel they have some power or status in your game brought on by their dickishness.

What we really need is more games that tell someone when they've been ignored and by who.

Get a message someone couldn't handle what you're dishing out? Pussy!

Get a slew of messages that everyone else in your match is following suit? Suddenly that paints a different picture...

See, this is one of the reasons I miss running my own games, and running my own networks, in online games (and why I left the FPS scene despite playing competitively in Q2). I grew up in MUDs, where it was not language that was barred (because that's usually irrelevant), but actions and mentality, and instead of banning people outright we had room to help them become actual gamers. I saw a lot of trolls become solid gamers.

When I was running in EQ and UO, I found a lot of people interested in running properly, and learning the histories of gaming, and their legacy... today, I find people who swear to love Mass Effect and have no idea what Starflight is.

That's a price we pay as a community for being more inclusive, and the people who *make* the games don't give a shit, because more assholes means more money, and they bring their shit friends in. Social marketing is the current style, and that'd be hard to change...

In reference to one of the above, I tend to think of "toxic" players as the "fagbasher" stereotype, which are still rather common and are extremely obnoxious. Proper entertaining trolls would be fine, but now "trolling" has a completely different meaning, and generally lacks any sort of wit.

Granted, there were still assholes in yesteryear, but they were fewer in number when you had to be able to type competently as a barrier for entry <__<

Therumancer:
When it comes to player harassment that goes beyond the above, typically that has little to do with the players and is the result of bad game design. Basically if you have a group of people genuinely "griefing" other players in ways that can interfere with their gameplay (ie not just chatter that can be ignored) that's because the game itself is broken. The Devs then have to decide to fix the problem ASAP, or if they can't, whether to let it go or start actually policing the behavior. Basically if you create an MMO with open PVP for example, one shouldn't get all upset if you have a group of players who do nothing but sit around and prevent other players from doing quests and such and trying to lock them into specific areas/corner them at spawn points/etc... because that is exactly what the game environment that was created encourages. The Devs can't hand that off on the players and claim they are ruining their game or anything of the sort, it's up to the Devs to correct that. If people leave the game, it's going to be because of the design, not the players doing the griefing per se since they were simply a symptom of the problem.

Overall a good post, but I think this is putting the responsibility for bad behavior were it doesn't belong. To Borrow Shamus' drunk driving example, we could practically eliminate it by enforcing all cars have a breathalyzer/retinal scanner coded to the owner of the car positioned in such a way that it is impossible for two people to activate it at the same time. Of course this would add extra cost to the price of the car and restrict the ability to have additional drivers.

No mater how hard you try and make something idiot proof, someone out there will surprise you and all you end up doing is adding frustrations for the (silent) majority of normal people. At some point you have to accept that prevention can only go so far and then you have to trust people to act responsibly and punish those that can't.

I want to see one company, just one, have an official policy against anticivil behavior in their games and actually have the infrastructure in place to enforce it. Some talk a big game about wanting to police player behavior but either wind up having nothing to show for it a year later (Valve, with DOTA 2) or wind up creating a system that's used by the trolls to kick everyone else out (Valve again, with CS:GO). As time goes on, I'm more convinced that it simply can't be done, and if that's the case, then maybe we'd be better off just hanging it up and going back to games you can only play with friends.

Therumancer:
The problem is simply what's defined as being "toxic" behavior, after all it tends to be highly subjective. In many cases it seems to me that you have a lot of easily offended politically correct types trying to enforce their personal morality on everyone else, and declaring things they don't like "toxic" or in some way wrong.

After three drafts, I concluded that there was no way I was going to be able to respond to this in a non-accusatory way, so let me just make it clear that I do not have much patience for people who use the phrase "political correctness" unironically, and that, as far as I'm concerned, most if not all of the people you described in the WOW chat room sound like the sorts of people I'd be just as eager to kick out of my game as the all-out trolls that Shamus was talking about. If someone's idea of "fun" involves making jokes at the expense of minority groups, then they probably don't deserve to have fun of any sort, let alone the kind they prefer.

Steve the Pocket:
I want to see one company, just one, have an official policy against anticivil behavior in their games and actually have the infrastructure in place to enforce it. Some talk a big game about wanting to police player behavior but either wind up having nothing to show for it a year later (Valve, with DOTA 2) or wind up creating a system that's used by the trolls to kick everyone else out (Valve again, with CS:GO). As time goes on, I'm more convinced that it simply can't be done, and if that's the case, then maybe we'd be better off just hanging it up and going back to games you can only play with friends.

Therumancer:
The problem is simply what's defined as being "toxic" behavior, after all it tends to be highly subjective. In many cases it seems to me that you have a lot of easily offended politically correct types trying to enforce their personal morality on everyone else, and declaring things they don't like "toxic" or in some way wrong.

After three drafts, I concluded that there was no way I was going to be able to respond to this in a non-accusatory way, so let me just make it clear that I do not have much patience for people who use the phrase "political correctness" unironically, and that, as far as I'm concerned, most if not all of the people you described in the WOW chat room sound like the sorts of people I'd be just as eager to kick out of my game as the all-out trolls that Shamus was talking about. If someone's idea of "fun" involves making jokes at the expense of minority groups, then they probably don't deserve to have fun of any sort, let alone the kind they prefer.

Well you could always just say you don't have a problem with political correctness or the tenets it represents. Whether you like it or not there is nothing "ironic" about those trends and the effect they have on modern politics and discussion. As much as many people hate the label, it's a term that comes up even in classes on sociology and ethics.

To put things into classroom context (though understand it's been almost two decades since I was in school) the tenets of political correctness is that anything negative directed at a large group of people must be a lie, or treated as one, and acting against or criticizing a group of people for trends is inherently wrong. Of course sociology as a science is all about identifying trends among large groups of people, and of course finding ways to manipulate and exploit them for your own purposes. It also gets into points like how dealing with a person on an individual basis is far different than dealing with groups on a societal level, as well as looking at how dynamics changes based on the makeup. A point used in old movies like "Men In Black" when they pointed out "A person is fine, but people aren't" when talking about why they needed to keep the aliens concealed. The same basic logic can be used when dealing with cultures and the problems on a large scale.

In ethics (which is an examination of different ethical systems, as opposed to telling you what is right and what's wrong) there should be a whole section dedicated to the pros and cons of political correctness. The basic idea being that every problem needs to be addressed on an individual level, divorced from overall context, and that social policies should of course totally ignore sociology and it's predictions. This of course gets into questions like how one can also argue a moral responsibility to engineer things for the best using sociological data, and to resolve individual cases in a way likely to have the best large scale success.

In a practical context, which is an example so I'm not going to argue, look at say "The Middle East" and the whole set of issues about profiling and acting based on cultural and sociological realities as opposed to creating an environment where every individual can be an exception so nothing can be done on a large scale. Along with the point that when you do not act on a large scale you allow a culture and attitudes to proliferate, along with the problems, refusing to act on a large scale arguably makes those in a position to act who choose not to do so in part responsible for the actions that come about from a culture allowed to operate unchecked. This can range from making arguments that the west shares responsibility for the plight of women in Muslim nations for refusing to act against the culture, to situations where you deal with Muslims coming into countries in large numbers and cause all kinds of problems in terms of anti-societal behavior, violence, threats of terrorism, and other things... problems which generally can't be resolved by going after one person at a time. Indeed isolating a Muslim from the pack might find him quite reasonables as a person, but put him together with dozens or hundreds of people like him and leave them to their own devices without any controls... and well, the results typically aren't pretty. If you don't like me using Muslims, this argument can be made about a lot of groups... and of course it can also be argued from a number of perspectives. A Muslim could argue the same way about western culture and how we say damn all our women to hell by refusing to keep them in line, and point out that they can usually get some sympathy from individual Americans, but address the issue of Sharia and Muslim rule on a large scale, and they hit a stone wall.

The point of this rant (in a long message) is that many, many, people will use the term "political correctness" without irony and oppose it for a large number of reasons. It shouldn't surprise you at all, even if you strongly disagree with the other side of the equasion... this kind of thing is a major issue because there are strong arguments on both sides of the fence, and one can make strong ethical arguments both for and against the point of view and policies that go with it. The fact that you seemingly can't see, or respect, the other side, and don't seem to understand it, is not uncommon and is pretty much why the US remains so heavily deadlocked politically. The middle ground we need is somewhere between the two extremes, which are pretty much society having to deal with everything individually, and society being able to deal with problems on a sociological level. In actual issues it tends to come down to the rights of a human, as opposed to the needs of humanity... so to speak. Nobody wants to see the middle ground on pretty much any issue, especially those favoring political correctness who are against any kind of group regulation in any context.

THAT said, it goes well beyond the whole point of what I'm talking about. As a general rule in your typical zone chat you generally don't see anything more "anti-minority" than comedy movies. As a general rule, groups of people do laugh at themselves and with say Blacks you see this in Tyler Perry movies, Eddie Murphy movies, Wayans Brothers movies and tons of others. With jews you've had things like "The Harlem Hammer" and "You Don't Mess With The Zohan", and you see this with pretty much every group out there.

A typical situation might have some troll who might not even be Canadian, coming into a zone chat and commenting about all the toxic rain which obviously comes from America. To which a partner might respond "really, I thought it was run off from all the unwashed Frenchmen north of the US border" followed by comments on whether Quebec really counts as Canada or not, and then someone saying "Hey, leave Canada alone, it's one of the nicer states... and we love our hat", followed by someone saying Canada isn't a hat, but is riding on the big dumb beast that is the USA... etc... and it goes on and on in this vein and everyone is getting a chuckle... then someone comes in, assumes some of the comments are serious, and gets all offended. In such a case the guy getting offended is the problem (and he has an ignore feature) not everyone else who is just having fun.

Context of course matters, the point here being that you rarely, if ever, see any kind of serious racial, or socio-political statements in MMO chat. If people start to get too serious, usually ice spreads across the chat and things take care of themselves that way.

Basically if someone in zone chat goes "Q: What's the difference between a truck load of babies and a truck load of bowling balls? A: You can't use a pitchfork on the bowling balls" and you get 30 people going "lulz" in chat and your getting all upset because "how dare someone make disgusting jokes about hurting babies", your the problem, and if you start making complaints and otherwise ranting in chat about it, being a general Mr. Buzzkillington when everyone wants some distraction from their grind, you just became the actual troll/problem.

The key point is context matters, and it's also why I mentioned the whole "Five minute rule" thing, basically you can't get context if you just run into an MMO zone and hear two lines of an ongoing dialogue or don't like one joke. You know someone who says "You know the real reason the Germans invented the autobahn right? It was the keep up with the French retreat..." likely isn't a Nazi sympathizer or seriously anti-French.

Sir Thomas Sean Connery:

It presents cruelty and ugliness as if they were something we need.

What's happening here is that people are confusing "unavoidable" with "indispensable".

This is false. When we accept that something cannot be eradicated and maybe look for a silver lining, that isn't the same as saying we need it or want it.

Clearly, you have never played EVE Online. There are quite a few members of that community who frequently argue that such toxic behavior is a necessary part of the game, and many of the worst perpetrators are lauded for their actions.

That Kasparov/Fisher analogy was pretty spot on. Gary Kasparov is an all round good guy, not just because he's polite, a gentleman, and all that, but because he's used his fame to bring light to many of the issues in Putin's Russia (Which has put him in considerable danger on at least one occassion). He's a personal hero of mine, and games could do with a lot more Kasparovs than Fishers.

I think that the first step that most MP games need to implement is at the very least selective muting, of voice channels, or text channels. These things are pretty basic tools, and it's disappointing how many games lack it. Usually it's at best remove all chat, or mics, which is a handicap to the players playing the way they should be encouraged to. Second, some of the most vile language should be blocked. It won't stop people from being terrible, but at least then playing Battlefield 4 won't just be a stream of "Nigger, nigger, sandnigger, faggot, whore". That adds nothing to the game, but it does do a pretty good job of painting most gamers, and the gaming demographic, as sexually frustrated, immature, white, boys and manchildren. I've never seen a game with such a prominent problem of toxicity, although I haven't delved into MOBAs. The best you get is private servers banning the "C-bomb". Which is ludicrous when you consider the language that gets used instead (Infamous among the Australian Day of Defeat Source servers was the WAD clan, and their admin "Oldfart", who ruled the server with an iron fist, kicking and banning madly, with an insane hatred of the word, who filled the alltalk channel with curses, man had a talent with the word fuck, and borderline racial slurs. Moment someone dropped the "C-bomb", permaban).

It's not as good as policing the community, which definitely needs to be done, but we need the tools to at least be able to play the games without those players ruining it.

Blackbird71:

Sir Thomas Sean Connery:

It presents cruelty and ugliness as if they were something we need.

What's happening here is that people are confusing "unavoidable" with "indispensable".

This is false. When we accept that something cannot be eradicated and maybe look for a silver lining, that isn't the same as saying we need it or want it.

Clearly, you have never played EVE Online. There are quite a few members of that community who frequently argue that such toxic behavior is a necessary part of the game, and many of the worst perpetrators are lauded for their actions.

I think EVE is a terrible example of what you are talking about. In EVE, players are the content. You don't complain that the NPCs are toxic when you aggro 10 of them and die, and in the same way you shouldn't view EVE players as toxic if they try to kill you. EVE isn't based only around combat, so when players attempt to cheat you out of your money, that is content too.

Toxic behavior in EVE is NOT encouraged. The recent incident of vandalism of the EVE sculpture was a great example of how CCP and the EVE community do not encourage behavior like that. Everyone likes to talk about the member of the council who "encouraged" someone to kill himself as an example of pro-toxic behavior, but that player later apoligized and was removed from the council. Even if that punishment isn't as much as YOU would like, it is punishment for "toxic" behavior, which means people don't think it is a necessary part of the game.

If you havn't played EVE much, you might believe other people when they say "EVE players say toxic behavior is necessary", but it is simply mis-labeling toxic behavior. EVE players do say that their (nearly) FFA PvP is necessary, and that the freedom to scam/be scammed is necessary because that is where the large scope of content for the game comes from. If anyone says that racial slurs are necessary in the game, they are the vocal minority.

Majinash:

Blackbird71:

Sir Thomas Sean Connery:

This is false. When we accept that something cannot be eradicated and maybe look for a silver lining, that isn't the same as saying we need it or want it.

Clearly, you have never played EVE Online. There are quite a few members of that community who frequently argue that such toxic behavior is a necessary part of the game, and many of the worst perpetrators are lauded for their actions.

I think EVE is a terrible example of what you are talking about. In EVE, players are the content. You don't complain that the NPCs are toxic when you aggro 10 of them and die, and in the same way you shouldn't view EVE players as toxic if they try to kill you. EVE isn't based only around combat, so when players attempt to cheat you out of your money, that is content too.

Toxic behavior in EVE is NOT encouraged. The recent incident of vandalism of the EVE sculpture was a great example of how CCP and the EVE community do not encourage behavior like that. Everyone likes to talk about the member of the council who "encouraged" someone to kill himself as an example of pro-toxic behavior, but that player later apoligized and was removed from the council. Even if that punishment isn't as much as YOU would like, it is punishment for "toxic" behavior, which means people don't think it is a necessary part of the game.

If you havn't played EVE much, you might believe other people when they say "EVE players say toxic behavior is necessary", but it is simply mis-labeling toxic behavior. EVE players do say that their (nearly) FFA PvP is necessary, and that the freedom to scam/be scammed is necessary because that is where the large scope of content for the game comes from. If anyone says that racial slurs are necessary in the game, they are the vocal minority.

I've played EVE since 2005; I very much understand the difference between the normal PvP that is central to the game and true toxic behavior. And yes, it has been encouraged, both by players and even some developers. The developers only bother taking action against it when it becomes too public and draws outside attention.

If you don't believe me, spend five minutes holding a conversation in local chat, or better yet, have a quick browse through the forums. Or for that matter, look up the "Erotica1" debate, and all the players who actually defended that crap. That was certainly some of the most toxic behavior I've seen in any game, and there were a good number of players arguing that it should be allowed.

There are many good people playing EVE, but there are also plenty of bad apples trying to poising the bunch.

 

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