BioWare Supports Beleaguered Writer

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Hey, if I had to choose, I would take a game writer who can write but doesn't play games over one who plays games but can't write worth a damn. I'd take the former any day of the week. If you go with the latter, you end up with Metal Gear Solid. Ha!

But seriously, without even knowing the situation, I'd stick up for Jennifer Hepler, because fuck people on the internet. The more time I spend on the net, the more I become convinced that 99.9% of them are complete fucking morons. You know, the sort of people who would attack a writer for her writing but themselves make grammatical and spelling errors that would embarrass a third grader, and couldn't be counted on to write anything remotely coherent longer than 140 characters if their lives depended on it. The sort of people who speak and think in memes. The kind of people who were too nerdy to be accepted by the majority of their classmates and yet were somehow still too dumb to be accepted by the nerds -- the middle children of society.

So yeah, fuck internet people who will organize some kind of hate campaign against someone over some ill-informed notion that she's ruining their Precious Franchise. I say, if you've managed to garner the hatred of thousands of morons, you're probably doing something right.

Swiftkillz:

chiefohara:
Having read the entire thread up to this point, i've come to one conclusion.

Im going to buy one of Hepler's books, i don't care whether its good or not, buying her book is the biggest FU i can give to all the mindless little scumbags who felt they had the right to harass her because they didn't like a fucking computer game.

Anyone else who is disgusted by this mindless drivel that people are spewing at her. Feel free to do the same thing.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. You accuse others of being mindless and then proceed to talk about how you will mindlessly purchase her book to stick it to some anons on the internet.

Yeah that is you.

There is nothing mindless about it. It annoyed him enough to make him comment and it annoyed you the same way. The fact that some knee jerk arsewipes are upset because i have the audacity to buy her book delights me to no end. Mission accomplished.

I'm not sure what sickens me more: the fact that there are people out there who think it's okay to call someone a "fat bitch" for the kind of stories they've written; the fact that a AAA studio including the option (note the word OPTION) of male homosexual romance is equivalent to a 'cancer'; further to that, the fact that it's okay to call someone a cancer because they admit that they don't quite as much enjoy the parts of their product that they don't personally work on; or most of all, the fact that when said person and her fellow employees stick up for themselves and retort in kind, people start tutting their heads and complaining about how they are expected to just sit there and lap up all the bile like good little doggies.

Everyone complains about Call of Duty fans, but I honestly think Bioware fans - at least, the kind of 'fans' who delineate themselves by believing that the only decent games Bioware ever produced were the Baldur's Gate series and everything else has been watered down for casual players - are far worse. It's one thing to shout homophobic insults into a headset mic when you're in a heated game, and probably fourteen years old; but it's a completely different thing to basically accuse a gaming company of not being good because they won't let you have an option to avoid any of the (male) gay encounters in the game. I know which one seems more like a serious case of homophobia.

And this is coming from someone who thought that Dragon Age II was boring and insipid. So I didn't have a very good time for my 50 bucks and I thought the writing could have been better in places. Big friggin' deal. It's not like the game tried to wipe my system or something. Get some perspective, idiots.

chiefohara:

Sober Thal:

chiefohara:
Having read the entire thread up to this point, i've come to one conclusion.

Im going to buy one of Hepler's books, i don't care whether its good or not, buying her book is the biggest FU i can give to all the mindless little scumbags who felt they had the right to harass her because they didn't like a fucking computer game.

Anyone else who is disgusted by this mindless drivel that people are spewing at her. Feel free to do the same thing.

Do you mindlessly buy products with Bobby Koticks seal on them as well? Or do you think he is nothing but 'mindless drivel'?

1) Bobby kotick is connected to this how? He is with activison, this thread is predominantly about EA and Bioware.

2) the only person getting a cut of the profits from her book is hepler and her publisher, bioware and EA have nothing to do with it.

3) thank you for posting, you have set yourself up as a particularly stupid example of the type of mindless drivel i am rebelling against.

4) The fact that you are petty enough to be annoyed with my purchase has only made me all the more pleased with it ;-)

Well, that was pleasant now, wasn't it?

Calm down, I'm just wondering if you buy products from a guy who is also equally hated for saying things that cause the internet to say the exact same type of things about him personally. I wasn't implying that you are mindless, but I can see how it came off that way, sorry. Nothing personal. I'm not annoyed, nor do I have any horrible things to say about Hepler, just horrible at using words sometimes.

EDIT: Reads post below....

Brilliant.

The following is a post that I made over on the BioWare Social Network (BSN) for this topic. Unfortunately, even while I was writing this lengthy essay-like post I didn't really expect any kind of discussion from it to emerge there as it isn't on a level of extreme, which is the standard currency one normally needs to spend in order to buy what passes for discussion there. And after thinking about my thoughts on this situation overnight I find myself more compelled today to actually seek out some real discussion concerning what I've written and the topic in general, even if it's to have someone simply point out that I'm missing some vital piece of information which is skewing my perception of the bigger issue at hand. So, with that in mind I now shamelessly submit my lengthy post...

"This situation is terrible, and I honestly feel for Jennifer Hepler. Nobody should have to wade through a cesspool of verbal abuse and, in some cases pure hatred, simply for having an opinion/idea which differs from the one that others have.

However, even though I truly believe that Jennifer was treated horribly (and wish that things like this would never happen), the article at Gamespot (and Kotaku?) is disingenuous and sensationalistic at best. The article (unfortunately) presents a very narrow, one-sided view of the bigger issue at hand by choosing to focus solely on the obnoxious, self-entitled gamers who choose to go overboard in their criticism of products, creative personnel and companies whilst leaving the other major parties/factors out of the equation.

Something that each one of us needs to recognize and remember is that this situation doesn't exist solely with the 'extremist baddies who criticize', not by a long shot. This situation also encompasses the fans that support games and game companies (or any other product and its associated creators) with the extremist attitude of religious zealots. These people are just as bad, just as abusive and just as wrong as those who engaged in insulting Jennifer Hepler. Just look around the BSN for all the evidence you could possibly need. Both the DA:2 forum and the ME3 forum are rife with instances of abusive dog-piling on individuals who dared to offer criticism of any kind on those respective games. This occurs/has occurred not only against individuals that have gone too far in their criticism and ended up personally insulting people involved with the project(s) but also against individuals who have offered well-thought, well-presented critique. It doesn't happen all of the time (just as Jennifer Hepler doesn't get lambasted for every single thing that she puts out for public consumption) but it does happen. The number of times that individuals benignly offering their opinion have been victims of this mob mentality and have subsequently been called stupid (whether it was overtly or simply alluded to in one of a thousand different ways), useless, "basement dwellers", and a host of other insults and judgmental terms is simply staggering. Just as there is a sense of entitlement with some fans to criticize games/game developers in the harshest ways possible, there is an equal sense of entitlement in the fans that overzealously protect the games/games developers with a fair amount of abuse of their own aimed toward any and all who don't share their exact opinion of the respective product(s).

For a full picture of the situation we also have to look at the companies and the individuals that speak for them. In this particular situation we have to fairly asses the responding comments made by Hepler and Flynn. Now, while I understand that they were both angry and frustrated over what had occurred, and that Jennifer was definitely the victim in this scenario, it doesn't make their respective comments any better or any more palatable. They are in the (unenviable) role of leadership in this developer to customer relationship, and thus have to set the standard for behavior by leading through example. This can be extremely difficult to do but it is the right way to proceed/respond. For them to take it upon themselves to make abusive/judgmental statements back to the initial offenders is as much a sense of entitlement as that which fuels those individuals who feel that they can say anything because they felt ripped off/disappointed by a game purchase. In other words, because Jennifer was wronged she and Flynn felt entitled to similarly wrong others.

Now, I can already anticipate a ton of posts attempting to justify the responses by Hepler and Flynn. That being the case let me present a comparable scenario that often plays out on the BSN. Going back to the zealous fans and those instances where they protect the games and the game developers at all costs we can see the dog-piling and the associated abusive comments, and it's simply business as usual. However, when one of those individuals who has been bullied/abused inevitably strikes back, with equal or escalated comments of their own, suddenly all of those involved in the bullying point the finger and play the role of helpless victims to this 'horrible' individual who they then want called to task for their abhorrent behavior. Of course, this does happen in the reverse as well, but the attitude of the forum, the developers who participate in the forum, the moderators and gaming journalism in general is that the blame always lies at the feet of the individuals who don't like and dare to critique/criticize the products and the companies - again, even in instances where the individual didn't go too far with the initial critique and was bullied into striking back. If an action is wrong on one side of the coin it has to still be wrong on the other side as well.

As far as the gaming companies in general are concerned, there is also a fair amount of entitlement going on. Look at some of the policies put forth by gaming companies over the years and some of the DRM schemes and the large sense of entitlement that we (the paying customers) should simply and gladly swallow these things without a word of concern or protest, regardless of the situation. For BioWare in particular there is a sense of entitlement and hubris put forth in regards to public perception and reception of their games. The whole mess of generalization/homogenization with DA:2 that "people can't accept change" which morphed into "they only wanted DA:O2" (which intrinsically implied that no matter how good of a game BioWare would have made those people who didn't like it were so stubbornly dysfunctional that they wouldn't have accepted anything else - even if it was the best game ever) was nothing less than an attempt to erroneously lay the blame at the feet of those who didn't like the game rather than taking responsibility for making a game that a lot of people simply didn't like. In addition, we have the conspiracy theories put forth for both DA:2 and SW:TOR surrounding the Metacritic user scores. Of course, the large number of "9's" and "10's" for both games are completely legitimate because nobody who likes a game would spam a gaming site with high scores, just as nobody would spam a gaming site with votes for a certain game to be named "Most Anticipated". To me, and (judging from comments I've seen in various places) to many others, these things speak volumes of BioWare's particular sense of entitlement.

So what does all this mean? Is this an indication that pretty much everyone is showing some sense of entitlement? In a word, yes. But it's more than that. There's this overarching theme that an injustice was done and that it needs to be addressed. This is true. But, my concern is why now? Why should this persistent, all-encompassing problem be addressed only when an individual who works for a developer is the victim? Why wasn't this addressed after DA:2 launched and many that didn't like the game were verbally abused because of it? Why wasn't this addressed after Stargate Universe premiered and individuals that didn't like the way the sex scenes were portrayed were bullied and harassed as they were deemed sexually dysfunctional in a variety of ways on a number of public forums where the mob mentality became particularly ugly? Why wasn't this addressed for the thousands of incidents across the various forms of entertainment media when a person who doesn't like something was attacked in this manner? Why are the people who voice discontent with a product always generalized into some homogeneous hive-mind of filth and left to bear the brunt of bullying without a voice as they are persecuted for what nearly everybody else is doing?

What this all really comes down to is the concept that if we want to see justice done, then it truly has to be just and apply to everyone equally. We can't pick and choose where justice will apply so that it is enforced only in favor our particular flavor of bias, because that isn't justice at all. I really hope that Gamespot, and any other site that is featuring this article, will at least do a follow up piece where all of the aspects of this very dysfunctional, circular situation, which has each piece of the equation playing off of and perpetuating the others, are laid out for some honest scrutiny and discussion. Because as it is currently presented, this is just another piece which reinforces by omission the erroneous belief that those who dislike something and have the gall to voice it are always the ones to blame, while those who like and praise products are left completely out of the cross-hairs, regardless of their behavior. I've been on both sides of the coin with different media and this situation is always the same."

I realize that some of the things which I mentioned are undeveloped but I didn't want to end up with two or three more pages added to the body. I will attempt to clarify in depth any point that may be deemed weak and/or simply a product of my fancy.

Thanks for reading.

xXxJessicaxXx:

There's nothing wrong with her as far as I can see, she is just a writer who doesn't play games as a hobby.

Not exactly a crime against humanity.

I never once stated that what she did was a "crime against humanity", I just stated that there are many women to look up to(like Amy Hennig, and Mary DeMarle), and that Miss Helper is not one of them. Side note, her twitter comments show that she isn't above lowering herself to the level of the jerks who bully her.

Volf:

xXxJessicaxXx:

There's nothing wrong with her as far as I can see, she is just a writer who doesn't play games as a hobby.

Not exactly a crime against humanity.

I never once stated that what she did was a "crime against humanity", I just stated that there are many women to look up to(like Amy Hennig, and Mary DeMarle), and that Miss Helper is not one of them. Side note, her twitter comments show that she isn't above lowering herself to the level of the jerks who bully her.

Why isn't she though? She hasn't done anything wrong...

If some guys were saying that stuff to me I would tell them where to shove it too. Good on her tbh.

Also amazing how people are okay with models and 'gamer gurls' reviewing games and interviewing devs when they aren't actually gamers but god forbid an overweight woman does her job and writes a freaking storyline...

xXxJessicaxXx:

Why isn't she though? She hasn't done anything wrong...

Read her book then, and tell me if here writing skills are really something to praise.

xXxJessicaxXx:
If some guys were saying that stuff to me I would tell them where to shove it too. Good on her tbh.

As multiple people have pointed out, there is a certain level of professionalism that is expected, and she crossed the line with her comment about her gender and occupation. Also she broke the rule, don't feed the troll.

xXxJessicaxXx:
Also amazing how people are okay with models and 'gamer gurls' reviewing games and interviewing devs when they aren't actually gamers but god forbid an overweight woman does her job and writes a freaking storyline...

Are you intentionally ignoring the people who I have given as examples of women to look up to? Are you reading what I typed at all?

Volf:
snip

That last comment wasn't anything to do with you o.O just thought it was quite an amusing irony.

I don't really care about her writing skills, although it seems unlikely she would get such a job through having no skill whatsoever. No one deserves to be bullied on a personal level.
Are you suggesting she just sits there and take the insults and that giving a retort to such vicious bullying makes her fair game? Because that seems very unfair on her.

Volf:
I'm sorry but that is not acceptable, I come to this site expecting a fair amount of professionalism and for the most part, the Escapist staff have not disappointed. However, seeing how Mr. Chalk is engaging the thread for this article, I'm a little taken back by his conduct. It really is unbecoming of him to act so hostile, especially with his comments to SmashLovesTitanQuest. SmashLovesTitanQuest may be antagonizing Mr. Chalk, but as an contributor to the Escapist, it is a clear lack of professionalism on Mr. Chalk's part.

Cry more. There are a lot of websites about games on the internet. Smash started off by doing the exact same things the story is about. Calling Hepler names and making up facts about her. He deserved every bit of ire he got. Not to mention he was the one who called out Andy first.

xXxJessicaxXx:

Volf:
snip

That last comment wasn't anything to do with you o.O just thought it was quite an amusing irony.

I don't really care about her writing skills, although it seems unlikely she would get such a job through having no skill whatsoever. No one deserves to be bullied on a personal level.
Are you suggesting she just sits there and take the insults and that giving a retort to such vicious bullying makes her fair game? Because that seems very unfair on her.

Responding to these attacks really only serves to feed the fire though.

Like many have said nobody deserves this kind of attack but like not as many have said regardless of morality it's an unfortunately effective means of scaring somebody into submission. It's hard to find unbiased material on the subject as it seems to be reasonable yet annoyed people defending her and mostly a maelstrom of hatred against her. Ive always thought bio ware's writing had been a step above other games but I just didn't like what I found in DA2. I'm concerned that being able to skip game play might mean that they won't improve on it to make it more enticing. Factually or not it is hard to not see her as at least contributing towards this trend and although I hold these opinions I will never reduce myself to hate mail effective or not. I happen to think that kind of behavior even on the internet makes you more of an animal than a person.

xXxJessicaxXx:

That last comment wasn't anything to do with you o.O just thought it was quite an amusing irony.

As I clearly pointed out, it isn't as clear cut as you make it out to be(look at the examples I gave)

xXxJessicaxXx:

I don't really care about her writing skills, no one deserves to be bullied on a personal level.

So now you have changed your stance, because before you were stating how there is nothing wrong with her writing, and now your saying that it doesn't matter what her ability is. wtf.

Agreed, she doesn't deserve the harassment shge got, but her response only made the situation worse.

xXxJessicaxXx:

Are you suggesting she just sits there and take the insults and that giving a retort to such vicious bullying makes her fair game? Because that seems very unfair on her.

No, I'm suggesting that she be an adult and a professional and ignore such childish comments she received. Instead, she lowered herself to their level and made a comment about her gender and occupation. If she must respond, it could have done in a more adult and mature manner.

aftohsix:

Cry more.

How very mature of you to respond in that way.

aftohsix:
There are a lot of websites about games on the internet. Smash started off by doing the exact same things the story is about. Calling Hepler names and making up facts about her. He deserved every bit of ire he got. Not to mention he was the one who called out Andy first.

As I stated, I acknowledged the behavior of Smash, but my point was that Mr.Chalk is a staff member of this site and as such, is held up to a certain level of professionalism. Instead, he has personally attacked Smash. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Volf:

aftohsix:

Cry more.

How very mature of you to respond in that way.

aftohsix:
There are a lot of websites about games on the internet. Smash started off by doing the exact same things the story is about. Calling Hepler names and making up facts about her. He deserved every bit of ire he got. Not to mention he was the one who called out Andy first.

As I stated, I acknowledged the behavior of Smash, but my point was that Mr.Chalk is a staff member of this site and as such, is held up to a certain level of professionalism. Instead, he has personally attacked Smash. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Not mature enough for you? Go cry about it. (I'll give you maturity when you stop trying to defend somebody who thinks it's okay to participate in a smear campaign of somebody over the internet)

Andy Chalk is a columnist. Which means he's allowed to express his opinion in his pieces.

The people who are using the internet to hide behind as they insult a woman because she doesn't like the things they like are shitheads.

Smash did the same thing as those shitheads. I'll say it again. It doesn't matter who you are or what your job is. If someone is being a shithead you should be allowed to say it.

Though if I were in Andy's shoes I wouldn't have insulted him back I would have just banned his ass.

aftohsix:
There are a lot of websites about games on the internet. Smash started off by doing the exact same things the story is about. Calling Hepler names and making up facts about her. He deserved every bit of ire he got. Not to mention he was the one who called out Andy first.

As I stated, I acknowledged the behavior of Smash, but my point was that Mr.Chalk is a staff member of this site and as such, is held up to a certain level of professionalism. Instead, he has personally attacked Smash. Two wrongs don't make a right.

aftohsix:
Not mature enough for you? Go cry about it. (I'll give you maturity when you stop trying to defend somebody who thinks it's okay to participate in a smear campaign of somebody over the internet)

Ok, I'm not going to address your poor attitude any further, seeing how your responding in such a immature manner.

aftohsix:
Andy Chalk is a columnist. Which means he's allowed to express his opinion in his pieces.

The people who are using the internet to hide behind as they insult a woman because she doesn't like the things they like are shitheads.

Smash did the same thing as those shitheads. I'll say it again. It doesn't matter who you are or what your job is. If someone is being a shithead you should be allowed to say it.

You may feel that way, but if you worked in customer support or if you went to a foreign country and represented a company with that kind of attitude, it would not get you very far.

aftohsix:
Though if I were in Andy's shoes I wouldn't have insulted him back I would have just banned his ass.

While I don't think Smash could be banned for such activity, I think that we are in agreement that there were alternatives to responding to Smash's antagonizing comments.

Volf:

xXxJessicaxXx:

That last comment wasn't anything to do with you o.O just thought it was quite an amusing irony.

As I clearly pointed out, it isn't as clear cut as you make it out to be(look at the examples I gave)

xXxJessicaxXx:

I don't really care about her writing skills, no one deserves to be bullied on a personal level.

So now you have changed your stance, because before you were stating how there is nothing wrong with her writing, and now your saying that it doesn't matter what her ability is. wtf.

Agreed, she doesn't deserve the harassment shge got, but her response only made the situation worse.

xXxJessicaxXx:

Are you suggesting she just sits there and take the insults and that giving a retort to such vicious bullying makes her fair game? Because that seems very unfair on her.

No, I'm suggesting that she be an adult and a professional and ignore such childish comments she received. Instead, she lowered herself to their level and made a comment about her gender and occupation. If she must respond, it could have done in a more adult and mature manner.

The examples you gave do nothing to disprove my point though do they. While there are , of course, competent women in the industry people are still accepting of hot girls who know nothing about gaming or the industry while a chubby woman whose job isn't even to comment on or design the gameplay is called out for it. She was at least honest with what she thought.

I have never read her writing but I have played the Anders romance which she reputedly wrote(?) and I enjoyed it. I like the fact that he comes onto you, it was a good decision and made it feel more natural to me. I didn't like DA2 over all though.

My initial point wasn't that there was nothing wrong with her writing just that she had done nothing to invite this shit storm of childish personal criticism. Her job has nothing to do with playing actual games. I don't think people should be forced to sit there and take it and 'be professional' when the criticisms she is receiving have little to do with her work and more to do with her appearance.

If someone had said 'look this woman's writing is below par' and given examples of that and that's what the internet furor was over I would say that her retort was inappropriate. But one off hand comment from her hardly weighs up against the vast amount of insidious insults she has received.

What she actually said wasn't all that offensive and was probably right on the mark.

Volf:
At the risk of getting a warning, given your status, am I to assume that that attitude that you uphold is supported by the rest of the Escapist employees? I truly hope that is not the case, and that you/your company are more professional than that.

I don't know why you'd think you'd get a warning for asking. I also don't know why you'd find it so outrageous that I think that sometimes the most egregious of assholes need to be dismissed out of hand. Don't come into my business, shit on my floor and then start squealing about "professionalism" when I throw your ass out.

I don't see how that's at all unreasonable, but as for how everyone else feels about it, you'd have to ask them.

HanabPacal:
Glorious Snip

That post is just beautiful and closest thing I read to a genuinely unbiased overview of the situation.

Shame it's probably gonna be ignored due to it not fitting with the overall feel of the thread that is "its those fucking entitled trolls harassing poor bioware writer, to arms!".

chiefohara:
buying her book is the biggest FU i can give to all the mindless little scumbags

Even bigger FU would be to buy the book and then saying you liked it (after having read it of course, no cheating!).

Volf:
Ok, I'm not going to address your poor attitude any further, seeing how your responding in such a immature manner.

I don't think I have a poor attitude. The way I see it this is an issue where there is a very crystal clear right and wrong.

The gist I seem to be getting from most of your posts is that you don't think Ms. Hepler and her coworker should have stooped to the level of the "trolls." That they should just sit back and take it.

I disagree with you about this. In the past few years these kinds of incidents have been happening more and more. I don't think developers, employees of developers and editors of game sites should sit back and take it anymore.

The fact that they were insulting her on her personal twitter means she can respond in a personal manner. The dude who called one of them a "fucking moron" was spot on. I don't get why the "professionals" need to hide behind political correctness. These people are being fucking morons. They absolutely deserve to be publicly labled as such.

I'm sorry if I approached you with attitude at first. You stuck up for somebody who brings very little to this forum (if you look at his health meter you'd see) and it pissed me off.

Okay, I'm probably going to get a lot of flack for this, but hell, I get flack a lot anyways.

Warning: Use of the 'C' word as quoted by an Escapist Contributor follows.

These words were used while encouraging people to troll those who we may think are 'ignorant' about videogames. Telling people essentially "good job" for creating smear campaigns against those who say things we don't like.

Remember that?

I don't agree with it, just throwing it out there.

Also: -'Maturity and reason are considered virtues in the realm of debate, but when one side insists on childishness, the other can never win. That side may think it'll prove itself superior with logic and facts, but you cannot teach the terminally stupid. You can only fight fire with the fire'-

Andy Chalk:

Volf:
At the risk of getting a warning, given your status, am I to assume that that attitude that you uphold is supported by the rest of the Escapist employees? I truly hope that is not the case, and that you/your company are more professional than that.

I don't know why you'd think you'd get a warning for asking. I also don't know why you'd find it so outrageous that I think that sometimes the most egregious of assholes need to be dismissed out of hand. Don't come into my business, shit on my floor and then start squealing about "professionalism" when I throw your ass out.

I don't see how that's at all unreasonable, but as for how everyone else feels about it, you'd have to ask them.

He seems to think that customers can just say what the hell they like to professionals and they have to stoically take it and act like they are Jesus or a Jedi or something.

If I argue with you over sexism in The Witcher for example ;) I expect for you to say exactly what you think and not mince around the issue for fear of losing a subscriber.

If I insult someone I accept that they will insult me back, unless they are a PR rep and Penny Arcade is watching.

Okay guys, to try to bring things back on track for a wrap-up (because at this point I think we've pretty much said all there is to say), lemme just clarify why I've been hammering the same point over and over again, because a lot of people have obviously missed what this is all about.

First off, I didn't like Dragon Age: Origins. It wasn't terrible, it was just flat and generic, with dull, repetitive gameplay and characters that never raised themselves above boring archetypes. I finished it, but it left me so unimpressed that I never bothered with either Awakenings or Dragon Age 2. I'm also one of those guys who thinks the "BioWare Magic" is gone, replaced by ambitious overreach and an EA Studios label.

But none of that matters, because that's not what's at issue. This is about nothing more and nothing less than the fact that an employee of BioWare expressed a perfectly valid opinion about videogames and was then brutally, viciously and relentlessly excoriated for it by a significant number of "gamers." That is unacceptable, it is inexcusable, and for the larger "gaming community" as a whole, it is an embarrassment. Full stop.

Discussions about BioWare, Dragon Age, Hepler's contributions to both and other such things belong elsewhere, in threads where we're not calling people horrible names and encouraging them to commit suicide. Those may be conversations worth having, but they're not the conversation we're having here. Here, we are saying, without qualification, that Hepler's treatment was abhorrent and cannot in any way be justified.

I can't put it any simpler than that, and I have absolutely zero interesting in "debating" the matter further. If you have a problem with that sentiment, you know where the door is.

Andy Chalk:

I don't know why you'd think you'd get a warning for asking.

To be honest, I wasn't sure if there were some unwritten rules about what we can and can not say to you guys since your staff members. I've seen a couple people be overly critical about this site, and it resulted in them getting banned, so tbh I was a little concerned about the mod response might be to me responding to you. Moving on...

Andy Chalk:
I also don't know why you'd find it so outrageous that I think that sometimes the most egregious of assholes need to be dismissed out of hand. Don't come into my business, shit on my floor and then start squealing about "professionalism" when I throw your ass out.

I don't see how that's at all unreasonable, but as for how everyone else feels about it, you'd have to ask them.

Given that you are a staff member, I think there is a certain level of professionalism that is expected of you when you engage the Escapist community. For example, I think I have seen two threads lately about people who seem to hate MovieBob, and presumably out of an act of professionalism, I have not seen the man engage these people. I don't think it's asking to much to expect the same from you and your staff.

Would you not bite your tongue, if you went on a business trip as a representative of the Escapist to meet a potential client that wanted to invest heavily in the Escapist website? I would think that you would act in a professional manner towards this potential client(even if they made some off color comments), no?

xXxJessicaxXx:

The examples you gave do nothing to disprove my point though do they. People are accepting of hot girls who know nothing about gaming or the industry while a chubby woman whose job isn't even to comment or design the gameplay is called out for it. She was at least honest with what she thought.

Yes they do, because these women proof that you don't need to be a model to be a respect part of the gaming industry and that there ARE women who are part of the gaming industry that actually have a major impact on it. You make it sound as if only pretty women who are ignorant of games, are the ones that are aloud to comment on the gaming industry and that simply is not true.

xXxJessicaxXx:
I have never read her writing but I have played the Anders romance which she reputedly wrote(?) and I enjoyed it. I like the fact that he comes onto you was a good decision and made it feel more natural to me.

Good, now go read her book and tell me if you think her writing is up to par.

xXxJessicaxXx:
My initial point wasn't that there was nothing wrong with her writing just that she had done nothing to invite this shit storm of childish personal criticism.

I disagree. I was fully supporting her until I learned about her twitter comment(which I originally thought was just some rumor that a Bioware fanboy made). While she doesn't deserve hate mail, she did open the flood gates when you openly/publicly generalized everybody who didn't like her, with the ad hominem about the sexual history and employment opportunities of all her critics.

xXxJessicaxXx:
I don't think people should be forced to sit there and take it and 'be professional' when the criticisms she is receiving have little to do with her work and more to do with her appearance.

Your right, which is why she should have reported the people who were making such comments, and blocked anybody that sent her hate mail. I'm not saying should stand idle while others attack her. Just that there are more professional and mature ways about handling the situation(see:reporting and blocking/banning people).

xXxJessicaxXx:
If someone had said 'look this woman's writing is below par' and given examples of that and that's what the internet furor was over I would say that her retort was inappropriate. But one off hand comment from her hardly weighs up against the vast amount of insidious insults she has received.

I'm am not trying to justify the hate that she received by focusing on her comment. I am saying that she lowered herself to their level when she resorted to such tactics.

xXxJessicaxXx:
What she actually said wasn't all that offensive and was probably right on the mark.

What she said was a blatant ad hominem and a completely outdated stereotype about people who play video games(see:virgin).

Volf:
You make it sound as if only pretty women who are ignorant of games, are the ones that are aloud to comment on the gaming industry and that simply is not true.

I'm not entirely sure how you got that idea, my point was that women who don't know anything about games are apparently acceptable if they are pretty, even if they are involving themselves in reviewing and judging those games unlike Ms Hepler.

Volf:
Good, now go read her book and tell me if you think her writing is up to par.

Why? It doesn't have any bearing on the fact that people are insulting her appearance.

Volf:
While she doesn't deserve hate mail, she did open the flood gates when you openly/publicly generalized everybody who didn't like her, with the ad hominem about the sexual history and employment opportunities of all her critics.

All she did was say one, actually quite inoffensive and funny, comment in retort to the vast amount of vicious comments sent her way. I imagine at that point she was quite frustrated and angry and could have said a lot worse. I think you are being massively unfair to her.

Volf:
What she said was a blatant ad hominem and a completely outdated stereotype about people who play video games(see:virgin).

Let me quote Jim from the destructoid article

'It is the height of entitlement to believe you can say whatever you want, as hurtful as you like, and expect not a word of a retort.'

Yes indeed.

xXxJessicaxXx:

He seems to think that customers can just say what the hell they like to professionals and they have to stoically take it and act like they are Jesus or a Jedi or something.

That is not at all what I was stating, I'll even quote myself to an earlier response to you...

which is why she should have reported the people who were making such comments, and blocked anybody that sent her hate mail. I'm not saying [she] should stand idle while others attack her. Just that there are more professional and mature ways about handling the situation(see:reporting and blocking/banning people).

To get a better understanding with what I am trying to say, compare this commercial tand the actions of the child and the fathers response....

Now you see how the child acted in that commercial and how the father responded? That is what I am referring to, that the father should act mature about the situation and respond in a adult and mature manner, not a childish one. If the father was to respond by yelling at the child and throwing a tantrum himself, he would be lowering himself down to the level of the child and he would not be acting mature about the situation.

Miss Helper could have reported/banned/blocked/ignored people but instead she lowered herself to the level of the people bullying her when she made the antagonizing response to some rude person. Her actions do not justify the unnecessary harassment that she received, they just show a lack of professionalism/maturity on her part.

aftohsix:

Volf:
Ok, I'm not going to address your poor attitude any further, seeing how your responding in such a immature manner.

I don't think I have a poor attitude. The way I see it this is an issue where there is a very crystal clear right and wrong.

Your attitude towards me is justified because its a black and white situation? Really? Why? Why can't you approach me in a civil manner?

aftohsix:
The gist I seem to be getting from most of your posts is that you don't think Ms. Hepler and her coworker should have stooped to the level of the "trolls." That they should just sit back and take it.

I disagree with you about this. In the past few years these kinds of incidents have been happening more and more. I don't think developers, employees of developers and editors of game sites should sit back and take it anymore.

No, not to just take it. That she should have blocked/reported/banned/ignored the people instead. I'm not asking for her and her coworkers to sit idle, just for them to behave in a civil/professional manner(see:by blocking/banning/reporting those who harass her).

aftohsix:
The fact that they were insulting her on her personal twitter means she can respond in a personal manner. The dude who called one of them a "fucking moron" was spot on. I don't get why the "professionals" need to hide behind political correctness. These people are being fucking morons. They absolutely deserve to be publicly labled as such.

I'm sorry if I approached you with attitude at first. You stuck up for somebody who brings very little to this forum (if you look at his health meter you'd see) and it pissed me off.

While I don't agree with Smash's attitude(personally I don't care much for this person given his past history with me), I just feel that Mr. Chalk could be more professional in responding to somebody who is obviously trying to antagonize him/get a rise out of Mr. Chalk.

From a number of posts that I've read in this thread there seems to be a recurring (and very erroneous) belief that acting professionally means not acting at all. This is absolutely not the case. There are a million ways that Hepler and Flynn could have addressed this awful situation that would have fallen within the bounds of "professional" and "tasteful", and thus would not have included insults and judgments of worth and character (judgments fueled by knee-jerk anger and not fact). Had they chosen this method of response, fueled by logical argument and presented in a very business-like manner it would have sent a much louder, much more powerful message and would have truly put the initial offenders in their place, even though the offenders probably would not have realized it.

And while I'm under no illusion that those initial offenders would have suddenly seen the light and changed their ways - maybe someone would have. Maybe some, or even just one, of those very hardcore BioWare supporters would have thought to himself or herself that the professional response was really cool and subsequently tried to emulate it at some point in the future. Choosing to answer insult with insult only went to further validate the overarching attitude that permeates the internet - that every insult should be answered with like insult, or even escalated. This is absolutely the wrong attitude to take.

Hepler and Flynn had a golden opportunity to set the right example to which others should aspire. They chose not to take it and instead freely opted to swim in the same cesspool with those who insulted Hepler. By choosing this path they didn't accomplish anything positive. They didn't put these people in their place. They didn't set these people on the path of right and instill a sense of justice. They didn't defuse the situation. The only things that they really accomplished were to (again) escalate the situation and send a clear message that they are just as willing to get into the mud as those people that insulted Jennifer.

In this situation nobody was a winner and nobody should be commended for their actions.

xXxJessicaxXx:

I'm not entirely sure how you got that idea, my point was that women who don't know anything about games are apparently acceptable if they are pretty, even if they are involving themselves in reviewing and judging those games unlike Ms Hepler.

You keep focusing on Ms. Helpers looks as if that is the sole reason why people are upset with her, which it isn't. People are pissed at her for what she said in an interview, her actual(or accused)role as an Bioware employee, and the comments she made on twitter. If you read the comments in this thread you will find other people that have taken issue with her, and these issues don't have anything to do with her looks.

I for one, take issue with her poor choice in handling the wrongful harassment that she received.

xXxJessicaxXx:
Why? It doesn't have any bearing on the fact that people are insulting her appearance.

As I have just mentioned, there are people on this very thread that have taken issue with her writing, what she said in an interview and/or the conduct of her behavior in regards to how she handled the hate she was receiving on twitter.

xXxJessicaxXx:
All she did was say one, actually quite inoffensive and funny, comment in retort to the vast amount of vicious comments sent her way. I imagine at that point she was quite frustrated and angry and could have said a lot worse. I think you are being massively unfair to her.

You keep pointing out how what she said wasn't offensive. Well seeing how being offended is subjective, I would appreciate it if you didn't try to tell me what it was that I find offensive. Her comment about the sexual history and career opportunities for the people that bullied her were very rude. Yes she was being bullied, but two wrongs don't make a right. I except a random internet troll to respond with comments like "you mad bro? you just jelly that you can't get sex", but I don't except a Bioware employee who expects to be taken serious to respond in that matter.

xXxJessicaxXx:
Let me quote Jim from the destructoid article

'It is the height of entitlement to believe you can say whatever you want, as hurtful as you like, and expect not a word of a retort.'

Yes indeed.

Let me just paraphrase from Voltaire,

"A witty comment proves nothing".

As I stated before, I'm not saying that no action should be taken by Ms Helper or the Bioware staff. Instead, I am saying that there is a professional way of responding to such hateful comments(i.e. by blocking/banning/reporting/putting them on ignore).

HanabPacal:
From a number of posts that I've read in this thread there seems to be a recurring (and very erroneous) belief that acting professionally means not acting at all. This is absolutely not the case. There are a million ways that Hepler and Flynn could have addressed this awful situation that would have fallen within the bounds of "professional" and "tasteful", and thus would not have included insults and judgments of worth and character (judgments fueled by knee-jerk anger and not fact). Had they chosen this method of response, fueled by logical argument and presented in a very business-like manner it would have sent a much louder, much more powerful message and would have truly put the initial offenders in their place, even though the offenders probably would not have realized it.

And while I'm under no illusion that those initial offenders would have suddenly seen the light and changed their ways - maybe someone would have. Maybe some, or even just one, of those very hardcore BioWare supporters would have thought to himself or herself that the professional response was really cool and subsequently tried to emulate it at some point in the future. Choosing to answer insult with insult only went to further validate the overarching attitude that permeates the internet - that every insult should be answered with like insult, or even escalated. This is absolutely the wrong attitude to take.

Hepler and Flynn had a golden opportunity to set the right example to which others should aspire. They chose not to take it and instead freely opted to swim in the same cesspool with those who insulted Hepler. By choosing this path they didn't accomplish anything positive. They didn't put these people in their place. They didn't set these people on the path of right and instill a sense of justice. They didn't defuse the situation. The only things that they really accomplished were to (again) escalate the situation and send a clear message that they are just as willing to get into the mud as those people that insulted Jennifer.

In this situation nobody was a winner and nobody should be commended for their actions.

^^^This so much! This is what I've been trying to say(and it seems failing to help others see).

Volf:
^^^This so much! This is what I've been trying to say(and it seems failing to help others see).

For some reason many people believe that addressing an issue with professionalism means simply ignoring the situation, or at best limply putting forth some politically correct appeasement. This is not true by any stretch of the imagination. Unfortunately, all too often, people that put forth this belief simply want an excuse to bite, or bite back. Applying a cool head and a firm but just hand to a situation always resonates more powerfully than getting into the muck.

HanabPacal:

Volf:
^^^This so much! This is what I've been trying to say(and it seems failing to help others see).

For some reason many people believe that addressing an issue with professionalism means simply ignoring the situation, or at best limply putting forth some politically correct appeasement. This is not true by any stretch of the imagination. Unfortunately, all too often, people that put forth this belief simply want an excuse to bite, or bite back. Applying a cool head and a firm but just hand to a situation always resonates more powerfully than getting into the muck.

yeah..um..that's what I just typed that I agree with....

Volf:
snip

The initial issue with her was that she knows nothing about gaming and yet is writing stories for games correct? The insults about her appearance accompanied that. Meanwhile models with absolutely no clue about games are reviewing games and interviewing Todd Howard and people are absolutely okay with that.

Do you see how that is a ridiculous double standard?

Again you seem to think someone who is verbally attacked has no right to say anything back which is kind of unfair and unrealistic.

Volf:

HanabPacal:

Volf:
^^^This so much! This is what I've been trying to say(and it seems failing to help others see).

For some reason many people believe that addressing an issue with professionalism means simply ignoring the situation, or at best limply putting forth some politically correct appeasement. This is not true by any stretch of the imagination. Unfortunately, all too often, people that put forth this belief simply want an excuse to bite, or bite back. Applying a cool head and a firm but just hand to a situation always resonates more powerfully than getting into the muck.

yeah..um..that's what I just typed that I agree with....

Sorry, Volf, I was simply reiterating because of the fact that people don't seem to want to grasp onto the fact that what Hepler and Flynn did was wrong, regardless of the events leading up to their comments.

xXxJessicaxXx:

Volf:
snip

The initial issue with her was that she knows nothing about gaming and yet is writing stories for games correct? The insults about her appearance accompanied that. Meanwhile models with absolutely no clue about games are reviewing games and interviewing Todd Howard and people are absolutely okay with that.

Do you see how that is a ridiculous double standard?

You keep going back to her appearance, WHY? With the exception of trolls, everybody who I have seen that is pissed at her, seems to feel that way because of her occupation, what she said in the interview, and her twitter response. You make it sound like people who be less critical of her if she was attractive, which is nonsense, because I would still be offended by her twitter comment.

xXxJessicaxXx:
Again you seem to think someone who is verbally attacked has no right to say anything back which is kind of unfair and unrealistic.

No, I feel that a employee of a company should approach consumers of the company's product in a professional way.

Also....

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