"I fucking hate this industry"
August 16, 2013 12:20 PM   Subscribe

"Developers, both named and those who wish to remain anonymous, tell Polygon that harassment by gamers is becoming an alarmingly regular expected element of game development." (Previously)
posted by griphus (105 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fans are, by definition, fanatical.

Does Polygon not have editors?
posted by Brak at 12:32 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Does Polygon not have editors?

Polygons, by definition, are gone.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:37 PM on August 16, 2013 [24 favorites]


Late last month, Treyarch studio design director David Vonderhaar took to Twitter to announce a patch to popular first-person shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. The seemingly innocuous changes included reducing the damage of one weapon and rate of fire on two others. The changes, which were fractions of a second, spurred threats of violence online

Mom always said violent video games cause more violence . . . but not like this
posted by Think_Long at 12:37 PM on August 16, 2013


Late last month, Treyarch studio design director David Vonderhaar took to Twitter to announce a patch to popular first-person shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. The seemingly innocuous changes included reducing the damage of one weapon and rate of fire on two others. The changes, which were fractions of a second, spurred threats of violence online

Hehe, I remember verbal fisticuffs on Usenet 15 years ago over how many eggs (bombs) the Focke Wulf 190 should be armed with, and whether the hit model on the aircraft appropriately simulated bullet tumbling and cannon shrapnel.

I'm not talking arguments like we see here. I mean, full on "I'm gonna rape your dog and kick your wife" flame fests. All over modelling in a game nobody has even heard of anymore Air Warrior, if you care

The more things change....
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:43 PM on August 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


"The root cause of the problem isn't in what we do, making games, it's that there are so little consequences to this wildly violent approach of communication that we are simply one audience of many that are subject to this type of focus," [Toulouse] said. "There's no real penalty right now."

That's not the root cause, not for most people.

The incident also spurred Hepler to think a lot about how to raise her children who "won't have that sense of entitlement where if they don't enjoy a particular entertainment product they think it's fair to attack the creators personally."

That sounds more like a root cause right there. Entitlement, plus the incredible ease with which it's now possible to let creators (and the whole world) know just how pissed off you are that a game designer did something that you think they should be killed for.
posted by rtha at 12:45 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Developers, both named and those who wish to remain anonymous, tell Polygon that harassment by gamers is becoming an alarmingly regular expected element of game development. Some developers say the problem was among the reasons they left the industry, others tell Polygon that the problem is so ubiquitous that it distracts them from making games or that they're considering leaving the industry.

This is an interesting about face from "stop worrying about the rape threats, women, it's part of internet talkings to hear imaginative fantasies of your violent end!"

I'm glad, it's not a good thing when people make casual death threats because they think it is an appropriate form of protest. Especially not over something like level design.
posted by Phalene at 12:48 PM on August 16, 2013 [19 favorites]


Air Warrior veteran here, thank you very much. My favorite tactic was to take the P-38 up to about 20,000 feet and circle around near enemy airfields waiting for damaged enemy aircraft trying to limp home.

Beware of the Virus in the sun.
posted by smoothvirus at 12:58 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some of the worst I've seen was the absolute vile filled hate explosion directed towards Bioware prior to and following the release of Dragon Age 2. It was not only completely unacceptable behavior but also made actually constructive discussion of what went wrong (and right!) with the game impossible.

Part of the problem is that outrage is addictive and, to many people, entertainment. You see it in all sorts of contexts not just video games. Sports, politics, you name it.

On a per capita basis it still doesn't hold a candle to, as Pogo mentioned, the Usenet flamewars of yesteryear. But the sheer volume of vitriol makes up for that.
posted by Justinian at 12:59 PM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


So the word "sheriff" embroidered on the uniforms in the stock photo showing the military troops is an inside joke of the soldiers, or a photoshop trick, right? Right?

So what is the mind-set of the internet tough guy, really? I mean, I've never been tempted, ever, to make physical threats to people online, and I'm a guy who has imagined the kindly old lady dawdling in the fast lane spontaneously-combusting. Then again, I have sat at a club meeting and watched two successful middle-aged men almost come to blows because one thought the other was intruding on his area of responsibility by offering to help, so...
posted by maxwelton at 1:04 PM on August 16, 2013


"Part of the problem is that outrage is addictive and, to many people, entertainment."

Yup. It's also a social status thing with young brahs.
posted by klangklangston at 1:06 PM on August 16, 2013


So what is the mind-set of the internet tough guy, really?

THE FUCK YOU SAYING ABOUT MY MIND-SET, BROSEPH

BETTER NOT BRAY THAT TO MY FACE, 'SPECIALLY WHEN I'M CHILLIN' 'ROUND THE MANSH' IN MY CHIPPENDALES-STYLE COLLAR-WITH-NO-SHIRT

WHICH I WEAR TO SHOW OFF MY MUSCLES

TO BABES
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:09 PM on August 16, 2013 [12 favorites]


Of all the places to stumble on fellow Air Warrior vets. I was a Spitfire guy because fuck yeah Spitfires, though I was never much good at it. I'd also hang around and crew your bombers because chilling in a gun turret talking shit and then shooting people down was fun.

I wonder how much of this is undiagnosed and untreated mental illness. I'm not excusing it by any means, but depression often manifests as anger and a lot of the gamers I know are very hurt people, emotionally speaking. And a game patch or something is just one more disruption in a carefully arranged bubble of amusement that keeps them from letting the bad feelings in.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 1:10 PM on August 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


Not just the volume, but the accessibility. Imagine if Twitter and TheBookofFace had been around when EQ1 dropped? The message boards were fiery enough - and people got banned for behavior on the message boards.

The vitriol spewed around the office this morning when someone decided to tell the world why she didn't install Steam and how horrible Origin now was ... I cringed. She's a loudmouth anyway but jeeze.

And this is probably why EA hid handwaved the fact that PVZ2 was going to be limited to newer iOS devices.
posted by tilde at 1:11 PM on August 16, 2013


Threatening tweets? Bush league amateur stuff.

The EVE player group Goonswarm Federation created a gaming news site to exert pressure on CCP, the game developer. When CCP announces changes they don't like, critical articles are quickly posted to the site. Goonswarm players are recruited to tweet the articles and spread them through social media. Soon the more mainstream gaming publications pick it up. This gives Goonswarm more-or-less complete control over the framing of the debate. It is a legitimately powerful tool for influencing the game company.
posted by ryanrs at 1:14 PM on August 16, 2013 [13 favorites]


The difference there is that's constructive criticism.
posted by DynamiteToast at 1:16 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Out of character PVP? That's amazing.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:16 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Walks into thread.

Looks around, announces loudly, "WHEN IS HALF-LIFE 3 COMING OUT YOU GODLESS BASTARDS!!!!" Sighs heavily.

Leaves thread.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 1:17 PM on August 16, 2013 [5 favorites]



As a gamer this sort of extreme reaction puzzles me. I can understand how invested you can become in a game. I saw the forum reaction to Dragon Age 2 as it happened. I loved the first Dragon Age and bought the second on the day of release. I set aside three days to play it and while a good game it was disappointing in comparison to the first one. So I went to the forums to see if I was the only one who felt that way about it or if it was matter of inflated expectations. It was really shocking.

Some people weren't just disappointed they were angry, very angry, scary crazy angry. I felt great sympathy for the people in the company that had to deal with that level vitrol. There was a level of anger being expressed by some people that seemed as if Bioware had wrecked their entire lives. It was ridiculous. I supposed the positive was their was also many, the majority of people posting who may have been disappointed but found the crazy angry people just as ridiculous as I did and called them out for it. There was lots and lots arguments about people being crazy angry.

Still just a few crazy angry make it bad for everyone else.

I've spent a lot of time on forums since then, mainly related to some of the MMOs I've played giving my two cents about how the game is developing if I like or dislike something. My motivation in doing so is partially in response to crazy angry people. I don't want them to be the only people that developers hear from, especially when they are directly asking for feedback.

The part in the article about having to develop new social norms in online world I think is pretty right on. In forums I have participated in, the level and type of feedback people post does depend a lot on what the broader community allows. I've seen the crazy angry types shamed out or shut down by more then just the moderators which is a good thing. However that does nothing to address the other avenues the crazy angry people have to express themselves.

I dunno. Even though I've been seeing this type of stuff for years it still puzzles me.
posted by Jalliah at 1:19 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, now that Lipstick Thespian has left, we can start talking about the HL3 news!
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:20 PM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


3 line post
Email address has 3 words
Location and Occupation have 3 words
Posted at 1:17PM. 1 + 1 +7 = 9
9/3 = 3

Lipstick Thespian, you are gaben and Half-Life 3 has been confirmed.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 1:20 PM on August 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


I'm sure it doesn't justify the anger, but what was all the Dragon Age 2 anger over? Go ahead and spoil it for me, I don't mind.
posted by DynamiteToast at 1:22 PM on August 16, 2013


So between subscription credit card info and xbox hardware serial numbers, it should be pretty easy to perma-ban people who make threats. Does Microsoft do this? When someone threatens to rape or kill someone over XBox live messages/email, do are they permanently kicked?
posted by ryanrs at 1:23 PM on August 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


The EVE player group Goonswarm Federation created a gaming news site to exert pressure on CCP, the game developer. When CCP announces changes they don't like, critical articles are quickly posted to the site. Goonswarm players are recruited to tweet the articles and spread them through social media. Soon the more mainstream gaming publications pick it up. This gives Goonswarm more-or-less complete control over the framing of the debate. It is a legitimately powerful tool for influencing the game company.

Eve is also unique in having an elected council of player representatives, who fly out to Iceland to give the developers feedback. Which is mostly ignored, but it's a nice effort.

Also, say what you will about the media-manipulation meta-gaming going on in Eve right now, but I think it's that kind of media manipulation that saved the game back when CCP tried a heavy handed, ill considered monetization tactic. From my (limited) perspective, it certainly seems that outside pressure is what forced CCP away from walking-in-stations and clothes and onto gameplay improving stuff like TiDi and ship rebalancing.
posted by heathkit at 1:23 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Of all the places to stumble on fellow Air Warrior vets. I was a Spitfire guy because fuck yeah Spitfires, though I was never much good at it. I'd also hang around and crew your bombers because chilling in a gun turret talking shit and then shooting people down was fun.

nods. I liked Hurricanes for knife fighting, and P38s for BnZ. But occasionally, I'd take a 17 for a long, long walk at LEO well into Cz territory just to be all "I'm in your base and killin' your dudez".

Those were fun days. I learned alot about "Why Forum Moderation" from usenet.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:24 PM on August 16, 2013


> I'm sure it doesn't justify the anger, but what was all the Dragon Age 2 anger over?

They cut corners by repeating the same environments over and over again for all the quests and sidequests, and also made you backtrack all over those environments to get to and from the quests. That was their chief sin.

However, the story, the characters, and the writing were all quite good and gripping, IMO. And although some people took issue with the faster, somewhat more arcadey combat, I actually enjoyed the faster pace and didn't feel the tactical decisions suffered too much.
posted by gilrain at 1:25 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is an interesting about face from "stop worrying about the rape threats, women, it's part of internet talkings to hear imaginative fantasies of your violent end!"

Yeah but when guys respond to the twitter rape threats stories by saying, 'haven't you been on the internet before?' you can kind of see where they're coming from, in light of this story.
posted by glasseyes at 1:29 PM on August 16, 2013 [8 favorites]




They cut corners by repeating the same environments over and over again for all the quests and sidequests, and also made you backtrack all over those environments to get to and from the quests. That was their chief sin.

However, the story, the characters, and the writing were all quite good and gripping, IMO. And although some people took issue with the faster, somewhat more arcadey combat, I actually enjoyed the faster pace and didn't feel the tactical decisions suffered to much, on the right difficulty level.


Yeah the repeating thing was what disappointed me the most. It just didn't feel as vast and as engaging as the first one. It felt rushed and that corners were cut. It probably would not have got the reaction it did if it was a game that came out on it's own. The bar was set so high with the first one.

I didn't like the combat changes myself but it in no way made the game unplayable or horrible.
posted by Jalliah at 1:30 PM on August 16, 2013


Imagine if Twitter and TheBookofFace had been around when EQ1 dropped? The message boards were fiery enough - and people got banned for behavior on the message boards.

In fairness, there are few phrases in the English language more effective at inspiring rage than "this is working as intended."
posted by trunk muffins at 1:34 PM on August 16, 2013 [10 favorites]



I just finally got around to playing Mass Effect 3 a couple of weeks ago. I knew about the anger at the ending when it happened but purposely avoided it because I didn't want to spoil the game which I knew I'd play eventually.

I did follow it enough to know that it led them to releasing an update which expanded the ending.

The whole kerfluffle did put me off getting the game right away though. There was enough 'OMG it sucks' floating around about it that I didn't want to play full price and have the same sort of disappointment I had with Dragon Age.

I played it with the updated ending so don't know what the original was. I loved the whole game. Played it through a couple of times and even went back and replayed 2 because I didn't have a saved game and wanted to see the difference.

Still don't know what made people so angry. I thought it was pretty good. At least good enough that it says my time played is over 125 hours.
posted by Jalliah at 1:41 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Still don't know what made people so angry. I thought it was pretty good.

HAVE WE LEARNED NOTHING
posted by Jairus at 1:43 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sort of glad it's not comics...
posted by Artw at 1:43 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


trunk muffins: My co workers have just heard me swear for the second time ever in my three year tenure here upon reading your post (I'm waiting for my code to compile). "This Is Working As Intended" should be a band name - except I don't play anything and I can't say it without shuddering or grimacing.
posted by tilde at 1:45 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


HAVE WE LEARNED NOTHING

WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO LEARN????
posted by Jalliah at 1:46 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


This really feels like more of the same problem that women face on the internet, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was coming from the exact same group of people. There needs to be a solution for it.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:50 PM on August 16, 2013


How do you know old school EQ1 players? Tell them "it's not in the Vision" and hear them curse Raph Koster for a bit.

I also heard two other DA2 hate sources: gay relationships and Isabela. (Oh god, the whining about those two things can melt Tumblr, and probably should.)
posted by mephron at 1:54 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


This really feels like more of the same problem that women face on the internet, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was coming from the exact same group of people.

Wouldn't surprise me at all if there is an overlap.

I post on game forums under obviously female names and avatars. I've gotten flamed by the same people spewing the crazy, if I put in my two cents.

WHAT WOULD YOU KNOW YOU HAVE BOOBS!! BOOBS MEAN YOU DON'T KNOW WHATS GOOD IN GAMES. NOW GO MAKE ME A FUCKING SAMMICH BIYOTCH!!
posted by Jalliah at 1:55 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't doubt that this is a pretty unhealthy relationship between creators and consumers, but I'm more interested in learning about how things got so bad. What in this industry created a consumer base that feels sufficiently entitled to be abusive towards the creators. Or, if its not a relationship that developed over time, what about these products attract consumers who think this is A-OK?
posted by lownote at 1:55 PM on August 16, 2013


They let poorly socialized teenage boys set the social norms, basically.
posted by Artw at 2:03 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's probably more that the consumers can communicate back now.
posted by ryanrs at 2:03 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I also heard two other DA2 hate sources: gay relationships and Isabela

The gay thing was also what I found puzzling. It wasn't like it was a new thing. The first one had them. I think the major complaint was that it was easier to get to the almost 'gay' relationship point just through what seemed like normal conversation so "OMG ICK UGH DON'T PUT IT SO MUCH IN MY FACE' or something like that.

It seemed rather bizarre to me. I found the complaints about that to be pretty amusing.
posted by Jalliah at 2:04 PM on August 16, 2013


I'm sure it doesn't justify the anger, but what was all the Dragon Age 2 anger over?

The re-use of dungeon maps was really bad. There were only 4 or 5 actual maps in the game, and for a specific dungeon they would block off parts of them with rocks or walls or what have you—but they didn't alter the minimap, which made the re-use obvious (though there was no hiding it anyway) and frustrating. It felt really shoddy, when you played the game. The shoddiness extended to everything else.

The encounter design was not very good. There weren't very many enemies and they came in waves, basically teleporting in, in vast numbers.

The writing on it was mostly bad, and a lot of the characters were basically unlikeable and kind of fanservicey. One of your party members commits a stupid kind of fantasy 9/11 act, and there is nothing you can do to stop it. Another one of your characters is this incredibly naive elf who is obviously going to end up possessed by a powerful, evil demon. She is knowingly doing it, and instead of letting you stop her, the game is like, "Don't you want to help her, she's so kawaii.....?" There is a lot of bad moral equivalence, like we are supposed to hate the Templars because they are mean to the mages—yet, every single blood mage in the game does instantly turn over to evil at the drop of a hat, so maybe the Templars have a point? Blood mages are getting jailed left and right, but your character can blood mage walking down the street blasting spells all day and the Templars don't care? None of it really adds up or is worth thinking about.

It wasn't the most terrible game ever, but there wasn't much you could point to in it that was good, and there was a lot of stuff you could point to in it that was bad. The game was rushed, but even as rushed as it was, it didn't seem like it had a good foundation to begin with.

All of the above was compounded by the fact that the game had ridiculously positive reviews at the time it came out. The backlash was disgusting, but I think a lot of gamers felt cheated and manipulated, which created an extra amount of disillusionment and feeling of betrayal in some of them. I think BioWare also tried to keep spinning the game positively and was defensive from the get-go, though I didn't really follow the outrage or agree with it, I just thought it was a pretty bad game :-/
posted by bleep-blop at 2:04 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


They let poorly socialized teenage boys set the social norms, basically.

If it was just this demographic there might at least be some understanding of why it happens. It's not though. Some of the worst I've come across are grown men. It's not just a teenager thing.
posted by Jalliah at 2:08 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


They cut corners by repeating the same environments over and over again for all the quests and sidequests

The problems with Dragon Age 2 can all be explained by the following: Development time for Dragon Age was more than 5 years. Development time for Dragon Age 2 was barely over a year. Yeah. They may have learned their lesson, though, Dragon Age 3 is again being worked on for multiple years.

re: me3 I played it with the updated ending so don't know what the original was. I loved the whole game.

I think the ending was terrible and damaged the entire series. But I don't go around flaming people with hate filled invective over it. And I recognize that 98% of the series was great.

back to da2:It wasn't the most terrible game ever, but there wasn't much you could point to in it that was good

I disagree. I think there was quite a bit in it which was better than the first Dragon Age. The art direction was much better. The class balancing was infinitely better given it was basically non-existent in the first one. The difficulty on Nightmare was much better and actually presented a bit of a challenge occasionally, unlike DA1 where the entire thing was so trivially easy that it made it less enjoyable. Varric and Aveline were excellent. And so on. That didn't make up for the terriblly shortened development time and cheesy wave-based combat but it isn't nothing.
posted by Justinian at 2:09 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


If it was just this demographic there might at least be some understanding of why it happens. It's not though. Some of the worst I've come across are grown men. It's not just a teenager thing.

Right. They're so sunk into childishness that they never grow up.
posted by Artw at 2:10 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I dunno. That's sort of no-true-Scotsman. I think being a crazy nutty outrage junkie isn't necessarily being a child. Look at all the crazy tea baggers and such.
posted by Justinian at 2:11 PM on August 16, 2013


Well...
posted by Artw at 2:12 PM on August 16, 2013


I, on the other hand, want to give everyone at Bethesda a big snuggly hug and some fresh baked cookies if it means Fallout 4 with a giant map full to brimming with quirky points of interest.

Tomorrows Polygon headline - "Dozens of Bethesda developers demand added security after being grabbed and given suspicious baked goods by large hairy man."
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 2:13 PM on August 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


I don't know why game devs put themselves through the hassle. Stop using Twitter. Stop posting on your public forums. Make your game.
posted by Justinian at 2:14 PM on August 16, 2013


How will I know who to give the cookies to?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 2:17 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's probably more that the consumers can communicate back now.

And in many cases consumers have been encouraged to communicate back. I played Rift for a year and a half and the developers set up communication lines for feedback and even participated in conversations. That's a good thing. EVE is another that does that. Overall I think it's a positive.

The negative though is that some people just never seem to get that just because they participated in a conversation about some change or potential development doesn't mean that the company is required to follow their particular course of action or desires. I suppose that's where a sense of entitlement can develop.

"U ASK! I say I no like this. Y U STILL DO IT? Y U NOT LISTEN TO ME!"

Snowflake Entitlement Syndrome.
posted by Jalliah at 2:18 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm starting to think that the internet rage isn't childish but is instead existential. You create worlds when you build games or websites and to the people who fall into those worlds and invest time and effort into them naturally start to rail against the creators like they would a cruel or capricious and unconcerned god. Mix that with anonymity and de-individuation and you get rage face.
posted by srboisvert at 2:20 PM on August 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


What in this industry created a consumer base that feels sufficiently entitled to be abusive towards the creators. Or, if its not a relationship that developed over time, what about these products attract consumers who think this is A-OK?

I'm pretty sure angry ranting is an "everybody sometimes" thing. For example:
I was absolutely furious and could only keep repeating "Fuck you, Thomas Harris! Fuck you!" He shat on his characters and his fans and I hope there's a hell just so he can burn in it. — languagehat
I don't think it's productive to blame it on teenagers.
posted by Nomyte at 2:24 PM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]



Thanks bleep-blop. I had forgotten about all that. Yes the meta story that was supposed to govern what was going on just didn't mesh with what happened in the game. I remember thinking I must have missed something somewhere.

Go blast spells right in front of Templars that were supposed to hate magic with a fiery passion. Templar does nothing or says "Oh hey you can help me do this quest! You look like a capable gal'

Say what?

It was just lazy.
posted by Jalliah at 2:25 PM on August 16, 2013


I think it's not so much individual teenagers (or adults) as toxic group dynamics that keep pushing everyone in the group to be more wildly outraged than the last, because of all the positive reinforcement/attention you get for being really angry about something. You can see it around here sometimes, too. Someone says, "This kinda sucks," and then another person says, "Yeah, it really sucks eggs," and then, "No, guys, this fucking sucks shitballs and it is a betrayal for anyone to feel anything less," and the whole thing descends into a death spiral of unconscious one-upsmanship to see who can be the most outrageous in their expression of pure vitriol.

I think a similar thing is going on in a completely different population with the truly bizarre #RIPLarryShippers One Direction thing. People in groups can sometimes turn their collective emotions into really weird, horrible things.
posted by Copronymus at 2:27 PM on August 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'm sure it doesn't justify the anger, but what was all the Dragon Age 2 anger over? Go ahead and spoil it for me, I don't mind.

For me, DA2, Act 3 had many of the same flaws as the end of Mass Effect 3. At some point, Anders pitches this dumb idea that you know is too good to be true because it contradicts all of the prior game narrative about spirits and abominations. Why a Hawke who is either a mage or has a mage in the family would buy such bullshit is never really explained.

You fulfill his requests, and then BOOM, you're now a terrorist conspirator in a transparent metaphor for the problems of institutional oppression and violent resistance in the 20th century. After Bioware has duped you into being a strawman in their political polemic, you are coerced into choosing between different flavors of puppy-kicking, which doesn't matter because you end up doing both. In between the fight scenes, various NPCs will lecture you about the puppy-kicking you've been railroaded into.

The combination of rewarding the player for dismembering and decapitating hordes of people who inexplicably drop from the ceiling or open air, and pedantic talking-head discourse about the evils of reducing political problems to mass dismemberment becomes more dissonant the more preachy Bioware tries to get.

This isn't particularly new for Bioware. The moral climax of Jade Empire includes an amazingly awkward scene where multiple NPCs talk about the coerced binary choice you've just made. These reactions are completely redundant to the cinematic you just watched. It's rather like watching a standup comic, followed by the stage manager who walks up to the microphone and woodenly explains the joke.

This is in addition to the limited number of maps and even more limited situational tactics. Most of the fights involve the same routine of 2-3 waves with a token mage or lieutenant. The second or third wave usually outflanks you, which doesn't matter that much because melee characters bounce around like it's a pinball game.

It reminds me of George Lucas. Both have something to say. Both bring high production values to the table. Lucas's work is marred by weak character writing and direction. Bioware's work is marred by having too many big metaphors that don't quite make sense. And maybe my standards are a bit too high because I read too much SF&F that does it better.

Of course, there was the other rage that if you consistently clicked on companion dialogue branches marked with a big fat heart, the companion might make a pass at you.

But I'm not particularly interested in threatening the developer's dog over it. I'm content to just not buy further Bioware material until it hits the budget bin.

I think a similar thing is going on in a completely different population with the truly bizarre #RIPLarryShippers One Direction thing. People in groups can sometimes turn their collective emotions into really weird, horrible things.

Then there was the fight with The Who.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:32 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wonder a bit if spending a lot of time on your computer interacting with game characters (and, I suppose players you only interact with by chat) maybe makes you forget that there are actual people on the other end of an online conversation. Add in a fair number of poorly-socialized people, the illusion of anonymity, and a culture of adolescent trash-talking, and you have a recipe for an escalation of bad behavior.

I mean, we have enough trouble with people flaming out here, and we have a reliable mod staff to bleed off the worst activity and head trouble off in advance.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:33 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maybe, like ducks that dab each other to death in crowded enclosures, we just need our bills removed.
posted by Nomyte at 2:43 PM on August 16, 2013


You fulfill his requests, and then BOOM, you're now a terrorist conspirator in a transparent metaphor for the problems of institutional oppression and violent resistance in the 20th century.

You can refuse to help Anders. He'll still get his job done without you. Afterward if you have a rivalry he will ask you to kill him before Vengeance takes full control.
posted by squinty at 3:02 PM on August 16, 2013


Am I the only one who liked Isabela? Her fights with Aveline were epic. Better than Jack and Miranda even.
posted by Justinian at 3:06 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


> It wasn't the most terrible game ever, but there wasn't much you could point to in it that was good

I disagree. I think there was quite a bit in it which was better than the first Dragon Age.

Fair enough... though I didn't say, "There wasn't much you could point to in it that was better than DA:O." :) DA2 improved on some things DA:O was bad at, but I think it really dropped the ball on the things DA:O was best at and known for. If BioWare hadn't aimed it at the audience who would buy "Dragon Age 2" but wouldn't buy "Dragon Age: Kirkwall", and had managed expectations better, they probably could have avoided the outrage. Though maybe made as much money.

I won't fault anyone for enjoying DA2, though. Assassin's Creed 3 was similar. It was a rushed, kind of a big mess, with a massively disappointing story (and so many bugs). I enjoyed it because there was still enough there to have fun with.
posted by bleep-blop at 3:10 PM on August 16, 2013


Y'know, once upon a time, poorly-socialized male youth could simply be shipped off to one or more conflicts overseas and allowed to die, unseen, unmourned, spitting blood on a hillside somewhere.

Have we fallen so far that Brown Bess cannot be prevailed upon to save us once again?
posted by aramaic at 3:36 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Of all the places to stumble on fellow Air Warrior vets. I was a Spitfire guy because fuck yeah Spitfires

Fuck yeah, Spits were all around best plane in the game. I was a FW190 partisan myself, but in the alternate universe where Air Warrior is going strong in 2013 I have a good set of rudder pedals and fly a P-38
posted by banal evil at 4:01 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Y'know, once upon a time, poorly-socialized male youth could simply be shipped off to one or more conflicts overseas and allowed to die, unseen, unmourned, spitting blood on a hillside somewhere.

Are our only choices that and a sea of death and rape threats?
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:09 PM on August 16, 2013


I can have a conversation with some people in which I say that I want to beat somebody to death with their own legs and what that means is 'I am very frustrated with this development and feel like my concerns are not being addressed'. I very much avoid the sexual language and casual racism that are often part and parcel, but it takes a minute to realize that conversations like this technically qualify as death threats. I'm not going to kill anybody, it's just how people talk on certain parts of the internet.

And that is a problem, I'm not denying it. For those of us who were part of the first crop of digital natives--I'm in my 30s and have had computers in the household literally my whole life--who formed communities largely absent of adult supervision? It takes some time to recognize that the way people communicate is not actually helping to accomplish things. I strongly suspect that the gamers in question expect the developers to all speak their language, as it were... and they don't.

That said, I think if you're spending that much time on the internet, at some point, you have to realize that some forms of speech may still totally be problematic and things we should probably not be using, but are not actually literally threatening. "Die in a fire" is not a death threat. It's an expression of contempt, but it is not a death threat. I do not want anybody to literally die in a fire. I do not want anybody to literally have sexual relations with the abstract concept of my existence when I say "fuck my life", either.
posted by Sequence at 4:25 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is an interesting about face from "stop worrying about the rape threats, women, it's part of internet talkings to hear imaginative fantasies of your violent end!"

Yeah but when guys respond to the twitter rape threats stories by saying, 'haven't you been on the internet before?' you can kind of see where they're coming from, in light of this story.


I know, most of my friends are dudes. I've learned from unmoderated PvP games that when guys say they were 'raped' in a game, they may actually mean 'if it were possible to do that with polygons, it would have been a literal not a figurative rape.'
posted by Phalene at 4:26 PM on August 16, 2013


I do remember an incident when some disgruntled players DDoSed the Minecraft website and authentication servers as they were unsatisfied with the pace of development Notch was achieving. Which, I dunno, good job everyone? He had to spend the weekend sorting all that out rather than working on the game. They were probably lucky he didn't decide that it just wasn't worth it at that point and to walk away - I would have seriously considered it if I were in his position.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 4:53 PM on August 16, 2013


Have any female gamers ever responded to "make me a sandwich" with "make it yourself"?
posted by brujita at 5:04 PM on August 16, 2013


Remember all those totally ridiculous claims that Video Gaming would turn America's youth into devil-worshipping assholes? Okay, Pat Robertson, you got ONE half-right.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:31 PM on August 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


It takes something special to make "crunch" not the worst part of working in the industry. "Threatening my family with rape and death" does it, though.
posted by andreaazure at 5:31 PM on August 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


The moral climax of Jade Empire includes an amazingly awkward scene where multiple NPCs talk about the coerced binary choice you've just made.

The most awkward scene consists of an error message when I try to load the game.
posted by ersatz at 5:33 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just sort of think that if gamer culture were not predominantly white and male, we'd have all been talking about it a lot more, and a lot sooner.

Because it is. These are white males, and the 'gaming culture' (not 'gamers' overall, but the culture of those who strongly identify with the dominant culture) reflects a lot of that. These are largely problems endemic to privileged white males.

I'd suggest that at the root is probably something like the aggrieved entitlement that's been associated with mass killings. These are angry white males who lack empathy and a sense of proportion. They've grown up in a culture where they're the center of attention. They're sheltered and coddled and their inappropriate behaviors are tolerated and not fully addressed until they're out of hand, so they never really learn how to handle disappointment or frustration, and they never really have to put themselves in anyone else's shoes.
posted by ernielundquist at 5:53 PM on August 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


hen someone threatens to rape or kill someone over XBox live messages/email, do are they permanently kicked?

It can happen, yeah. People are definitelty banned for abusive behavior. Of course it has to be reported and such, but it happens.
posted by wildcrdj at 7:00 PM on August 16, 2013


Stephen forgets he isn't on the Internet
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:06 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Remember all those totally ridiculous claims that Video Gaming would turn America's youth into devil-worshipping assholes?

I hate to break it to you but youths were assholes long before video gaming.
posted by Justinian at 9:14 PM on August 16, 2013


Wow, I had assumed this post was going to be about the BioWare writer who just quit over death threats to her children.

This really feels like more of the same problem that women face on the internet, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was coming from the exact same group of people.

Wouldn't surprise me at all if there is an overlap.


Guess we have our answer. Jesus.
posted by emjaybee at 9:15 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Um... that article states directly that Hepler didn't quit over death threats.
posted by Justinian at 9:36 PM on August 16, 2013


Jesus, the death threats to people's kids....that is crazy.

I suppose the experience of anonymity, and lack of consequence for poor behavior (no body getting banned), combined with the fact that many of the games have a strong component of violence probably not experienced in real life-once again without the consequence of that violence (no one really dies), and that anyone, no matter how poorly socialized can join for the price of the game, along with the fact that the games require a certain level of commitment of time and energy making some people feel like they are 'owed' something, experience-wise, just all combine into a perfect storm of pretty violent, anti-social behavior. Unless any of those factors change, I can't really see any of the behaviors changing either.

But the very real death threats towards someone's kids over some triviality about something that is essentially an artifice; that is literally my definition of a society wrestling with madness. I figure if you can get caught in the grip of responding poorly when something in the world is not turning out the way you want, you're going to behave that way whether it's someone not designing a game 'worthy' of your time, to someone taking 'your' parking spot. But those facets of gaming that I mentioned before seem to be exacerbating unhealthy, wildly out of proportion, behaviors. It's all lord of the flies, 1984 and animal farm weird, where there seems like something is off in the community but no one has the imagination, will and/or strength to do anything about it on a fundamental level.
posted by anitanita at 9:50 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I haven't played games online much for at least 6-7 years, but back then, playing MMORPGs, mostly, not CS-type affairs, I can't really remember anything even approaching the level of vitriol that gets flung around these days.

That game developers have to deal with this is a symptom of rampant entitlement; that online gaming minorities (women, lgbt people) have to deal with callous name calling and harassment is a symptom of a community that is homogenous to the point where the vast majority don't feel affected or singled out by the abuse, in turn leading to an overall lack of internal policing and any semblance of shared norms of politeness.

Far be it from me to place blame on any one in particular, but it feels like we as a society failed to instill into younger, ever more online generations that relative anonymity does not constitute a carte blanche on behaviour.

Facelessness and lack of accountability as a catalyst for abusive/unfiltered behaviour didn't start with the Internet: CB radio saw its fair share of unfiltered spewings. But Ham radio operators were a small subculture. Today, everyone is on the Internet.

John Suler's Online Disinhibition Effect (2004) deals with all of this, but is due for an update.

And, on a lighter note (and, ironically from Penny Arcade): The Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory
posted by flippant at 10:08 PM on August 16, 2013


Has nobody worked in customer service, specifically answering phones or emails? It's normal for customers to yell, curse, be racist, and pretty much take on a threatening tone of voice for something as trivial as not getting a five buck rebate. It's worse on emails and other internet communications, because they're more anonymous and impersonal.

Gamers resort to death threats, but let's not kid ourselves that people who buy other products and services aren't also entitled, rude, short tempered, don't read instructions, and just plain nuts.
posted by FJT at 10:16 PM on August 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


I haven't played games online much for at least 6-7 years, but back then, playing MMORPGs, mostly, not CS-type affairs, I can't really remember anything even approaching the level of vitriol that gets flung around these days.

I honestly think that this has to do with the more or less complete mainstreaming of video gaming as a form of entertainment in the last decade or thereabouts. These things we are complaining about, they are the main stream. The fact that we are still joking about poorly socialized teenagers and overgrown adolescents shows just how unwilling we are to face this simple possibility. This is us.
posted by Nomyte at 10:17 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Were I Jennifer Kepler, the last thing I would do is admit I left Bioware because of the threats. Even if it completely ruined my life, I would calmly attribute my resignation to any other marginally plausible reason. Because admitting it eggs those assholes on, it plays into the idea that women are weak, it potentially damages Bioware's rep as an employer that looks after its creative people, and it potentially damages the likelihood she can come back to the industry after freelancing.
posted by gingerest at 10:58 PM on August 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


The major problem, from my perspective, is that this kind of nonsense carries no particular penalty for perpetrators. I mean, what is the company going to do to them? Ban their forum account? Oh noes!

It's really Gabriel Internet Theory, when it comes down to it. (Thank you Penny Arcade for having a NAME for this).
posted by Archelaus at 11:55 PM on August 16, 2013


You can't use the fact that Kepler said the threats weren't the reason she left as evidence that the threats were the reason she left. She might have denied they were the reason even if they were, but she'd also deny they were the reason if they weren't. It seems best to take her at her word?
posted by Justinian at 12:26 AM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some thoughts come to mind:

1) Hardcore gamers (the 5% vocal minority who post on various forums online and dedicate 20+ hours per week to a game) tend to draw from the Rational quadrant of the Kiersey / MBTI personality type. Every personality type has a trait they hate: Rationals can forgive any other flaw - but they hate stupidity and incompetence, and especially hate stupid and incompetent people in a position of power and control.

2) Hardcore gamers like raiders in WoW or EVE are prepared to dedicate 20 hours a week towards achieving the goals the game gives them. If a change to the game invalidates 100 hours of progress, what do you expect the level of anger to be? 200 hours?
posted by xdvesper at 1:22 AM on August 17, 2013


Hardcore gamers like raiders in WoW or EVE are prepared to dedicate 20 hours a week towards achieving the goals the game gives them.

The thing is that if all of the hours you're putting in a game are only for the goal, and not for fun, you are making bad choices in video games, because that is pretty much the same thing as working a shitty job that only pays you in virtual money.

Unrelated to that-- I thought a lot of Dragon Age 2 was heavy handed but thought that there was a possibility for the moral choices being really interesting for DA3 (though y'all saw how that worked for the big decision at the end of ME2 basically slightly changing a Cerberus plot and war assets). But I liked Anders a lot and thought that the romances in that game came with some really interesting decisions (his and Merrill's in particular), and since Kepler wrote Anders I have a lot of respect for her. Honestly the length of the fucking Deep Roads quest got so annoying that I didn't really like it very much, though the writing was OK, and it's kind of ironic that the biggest thing she's known for in internet hate circles is saying that games should have a "skip battle" button and the most irritating part of her chapter of DAO is that you have to trek through a million caves and fight a bunch of annoying, grindy battles. (I really love the DAO and DA2 stories both to death and have replayed them an embarrassing number of times, and DAO replays are like 10x more fun, if somewhat less immersive, with a "skip combat" button that you can get as a mod. The fact that no one has made one for DA2 yet really cripples how much I want to replay that game.)

I agree that there's no way she could say that she got bullied out of the Bioware position, but honestly it does seem that Bioware at least tried to protect her and it's been long enough since the DA2 backlash that it seems like an odd time to quit over it, though I suppose most people have a breaking point for that kind of thing.

Only peripherally related to the rest of what I've said-- I think Anita Sarkeesian, though not a developer (unless she makes the game that she had Jennifer Hale narrate in that last video oh god please please) seems to the the elephant in the room for prominent women in the gaming community (as devs, commentators, reviewers, comic artists, etc). I feel like the trolls that go after her are sending a message to women in gaming that if you don't do what they want, you will get a practically unprecedented level of abuse heaped on you, and if you don't have a company to support you (as Kepler, luckily, did), you'll pretty much have to deal with the fallout from that yourself. There just is a lower bar for what constitutes a "good reason to abuse someone" for women, it seems-- not that men don't get abused in gaming, just that they seem to get abused less and in ways that are less personally threatening. So a woman making a crowdsourced free video series can get higher levels of harassment as a man leading an Xbox division. (I assume they're higher because sometimes I click on her tweets, see the replies, and want to chuck my computer out the window, and that happens with EVERY SINGLE TWEET SHE SENDS.)
posted by NoraReed at 1:50 AM on August 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Hardcore gamers like raiders in WoW or EVE are prepared to dedicate 20 hours a week

You meant per day, surely? 20 hours per week is nooby.
posted by Justinian at 1:52 AM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Rationals can forgive any other flaw - but they hate stupidity and incompetence, and especially hate stupid and incompetent people in a position of power and control.

I somehow fail to see the rationality of death threats over a game. It's more of a mob mentality and lack of empathy if you ask me.

Honestly the length of the fucking Deep Roads quest got so annoying that I didn't really like it very much, though the writing was OK, and it's kind of ironic that the biggest thing she's known for in internet hate circles is saying that games should have a "skip battle" button and the most irritating part of her chapter of DAO is that you have to trek through a million caves and fight a bunch of annoying, grindy battles.


Yeah, fight mooks, heal, wait to recharge and so on ad nauseam.
posted by ersatz at 4:03 AM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Final Fantasy XII kind of had "skip battle," or at any rate you could program your allies to fight it for you.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:59 AM on August 17, 2013


Between videogames and boardgames, I don't know why anyone makes anything for gamers.
posted by Legomancer at 5:38 AM on August 17, 2013


I am a gamer, but I am not going to yell at devs because of the changes they make to the games. Just like when a movie I rather liked almost totally removed what I liked about the movie in its sequel. I am not going to threaten death to the filmmakers.

Why?

I can play other games. I can watch other movies. I have choices.

In fact, I think that the worst game related quasi-abuse I have ever committed was asking a Steam/Valve tech support person had actually read the issue I was encountering, as their response was generic, canned, and seemed to be completely ignoring the issue I reported as well as making me wait two weeks for a response.

I think it went something like this

"Really? This is the answer I waited two weeks for? Did you actually read the trouble ticket I put in, or is your head still stuck in your three ring binder?"

Note - No commentary on the TS rep's ancestry, sexual preference, or right to be alive. Just a frustrated commentary on the lack of help.
posted by Samizdata at 9:03 AM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


People here who are interested in progressive games might want to check out Gone Home, which was just released. It's lovely and compelling.
posted by painquale at 9:09 AM on August 17, 2013


I honestly think that this has to do with the more or less complete mainstreaming of video gaming as a form of entertainment in the last decade or thereabouts. These things we are complaining about, they are the main stream. The fact that we are still joking about poorly socialized teenagers and overgrown adolescents shows just how unwilling we are to face this simple possibility. This is us.

This is how I feel. Imagine that a woman was named head coach of an NFL team, and that team went on to have a losing season. Then imagine the level of discourse on sports fan message boards. To the extent that voicing violent thoughts is a result of poor socialization, that socialization is what is the norm for people growing up in North America for as long as I can remember.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:40 AM on August 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I somehow fail to see the rationality of death threats over a game. It's more of a mob mentality and lack of empathy if you ask me.

posted by ersatz


That's also true - The Rational quadrant is where most of the psychopaths and sociopaths come from. It's a pure cost-benefit analysis calculation with no empathy involved. The logic goes, a stupid developer has hurt me, so I will strike back the only way I can (social media harassment) in a way that has zero cost to me (no consequences). And why not? Also, this is the only feedback mechanism gamers have towards the game developers: at this point, the money has already been spent on the game, and as they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Talking nicely gets ignored 99% of the time: an entire angry mob stirring hell on your forums gets noticed fast.

It's purely Rational behaviour, and also completely antisocial. Fortunately people from the Rational quadrant only constitute about 5% of society.

---



The thing is that if all of the hours you're putting in a game are only for the goal, and not for fun, you are making bad choices in video games, because that is pretty much the same thing as working a shitty job that only pays you in virtual money.

posted by NoraReed


That's effectively the same as telling people they're watching a movie wrong, or reading a book wrong. People play games for different reasons. Your way of approaching games - for the "fun" of it - is certainly one which a large proportion of the population follows. But there are many people for whom games serve other purposes. For example, there are professional gamers who make a living off playing games, and for them games are a job. And there are a lot of people who treat games as a personal challenge.
posted by xdvesper at 9:42 AM on August 17, 2013


The logic goes, a stupid developer has hurt me, so I will strike back the only way I can (social media harassment) in a way that has zero cost to me (no consequences).

Why is that rational? Or, why is that the only rational choice? Another totally rational choice is: A stupid dev hurt me, so I will strike back by taking to social media to tell my friends and their friends about how shitty this game is; I will go on game forums to talk about the ways in which this dev choice made the game worse.

All those ways also have no consequences, and as an added bonus don't make you look like a psychopathic tool who thinks it's "rational" to threaten to rape or kill the dev and their children.
posted by rtha at 12:27 PM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wasn't using her explanation for leaving as evidence that she was leaving for some other reason. I wasn't even questioning her veracity, really. I just noted that there are several obvious good reasons for her to be untruthful.
I am sure there are people who resign solely to spend more time with their families, but we question their veracity outright without a second thought.
posted by gingerest at 6:38 PM on August 17, 2013


That said, I concede it's also totally plausible that she is talking about this now because it feels safe enough and the opportunity arose and it really had nothing to do with why she resigned.
posted by gingerest at 6:41 PM on August 17, 2013


About a month after I started working for my online game company, my boss got a call on his office phone, which was the first time we'd ever heard it ring. He picked it up, confirmed that he worked for our company, and talked for a few minutes. After he hung up the receiver, he stared for a minute, and said, "that was very odd. A nine-year old managed to find our phone number online, and called up to thank us for making a game he likes."
One of our developers spun around in her chair and relayed how one time, she had also gotten a call from the internet. Apparently, 4chan used to perform raids on our corporate site, and at one point had gotten ahold of her personal cell number, and called her up and told her they were going to rape her husband and murder her children.
posted by duende at 8:12 PM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


The logic goes, a stupid developer has hurt me, so I will strike back the only way I can (social media harassment) in a way that has zero cost to me (no consequences).

Why is that rational? Or, why is that the only rational choice? Another totally rational choice is: A stupid dev hurt me, so I will strike back by taking to social media to tell my friends and their friends about how shitty this game is; I will go on game forums to talk about the ways in which this dev choice made the game worse.

All those ways also have no consequences, and as an added bonus don't make you look like a psychopathic tool who thinks it's "rational" to threaten to rape or kill the dev and their children.
posted by rtha at 12:27 PM on August 17 [1 favorite +] [!]


I'm not telling you why this way is correct or wrong or rational or irrational. It's a specific quadrant specified by Kiersey and MBTI, based on observed human behaviour. That's just how the world is. Maybe you disagree with the wording, but if you ever create and publish a psychological framework you can name it whatever you want.

Anyway, it's really not hard for me to understand, even though I may not do it myself. If a guy gets punched by someone, maybe 5% of the population may choose to punch back, if he could do so with zero consequences to himself (his friends grab the other guy and hold him down, gave him a clean shot to do maximum damage). It's "justice", and "eye for an eye", in some people's mind. Is that not hard to understand? We're not passing judgement, we're just observing what happens in the world.

I'm not sure what percentage of people would go, nah, I'll just complain to my mom instead. Or his mom. Or actually take the trouble to go file a police report for assault. Or go on "social media" and shame him on Facebook (lol). I'm betting a significant proportion would take the path of instant gratification, and then move on with their lives.
posted by xdvesper at 10:52 PM on August 17, 2013


Anyway, it's really not hard for me to understand, even though I may not do it myself. If a guy gets punched by someone, maybe 5% of the population may choose to punch back, if he could do so with zero consequences to himself (his friends grab the other guy and hold him down, gave him a clean shot to do maximum damage). It's "justice", and "eye for an eye", in some people's mind. Is that not hard to understand? We're not passing judgement, we're just observing what happens in the world.

Really, 5% of the population is going to swing back after being physically struck? After a physical assault has been initiated, 95% of the population is just gonna sit there and take a punch (and the subsequent ones that usually follow?)

I mean, maybe the physically-atrophied, poorly-socialized console-warlords and joystick-jerkers like "Stephen" upthread aren't gonna risk breaking a button-pushing finger, but out in the real world of real f2f social interactions, striking someone usually gets a response in kind.

That is, unless the original puncher has so significantly dominated the punchee with one shot that responding would invite even more punches for which the punchee is ill-prepared to receive.

Which in the case of mouthy ninjas making death/rape threats through the safety of the internet actually sounds pretty reasonable.

"Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength."
-Eric Hoffer
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:47 AM on August 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


foo, that shoulda been "mouthy pixel-ninjas..."
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:00 AM on August 18, 2013


This is an interesting about face from "stop worrying about the rape threats, women, it's part of internet talkings to hear imaginative fantasies of your violent end!"

About face for whom? Polygon? Threatened developers?
posted by ODiV at 11:58 AM on August 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


ernest hemingway got driven to suicide by the FBI for what he made, pretty sure burroughs spent actual time in prison

i guess this is bad too
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:16 PM on August 18, 2013


Far be it from me to place blame on any one in particular, but it feels like we as a society failed to instill into younger, ever more online generations that relative anonymity does not constitute a carte blanche on behaviour.

this probs has nothing to do with the total and absolute accountability young people feel in real life (your job prospects/hope for a decent future hinging on your behavior in high school, everything that can be tied to your name being crowd-archived indefinitely on the internet so that you have to guard yourself completely against saying anything anyone might take offense to at any future point lest you be rendered unemployable, your worth as a person being tied to shit like your GPA, academic history, and credit score, your being peer-pressured into letting your relationships and desires and feelings be publicly cataloged for evaluation and critique on Facebook, your face being recorded everywhere by cell-phone cameras, etc.)

I mean why would people who feel completely monitored, naked, and powerless lash out when they think they can get away with it, especially if it has to do with the escapist entertainment they use to divert their attention from how shitty things are for them

p obvs the solution is less anonymity, more personal responsibilityaccountability, more authoritarian control of the internet (but only by educated, well-off Quality People over 30), and more barriers to entry because the wrong people are having their say

with any kind of luck we can turn the internet into an omnipresent thing that keeps track of everyone and enforces norms upon them like in my self-published transhumanist stories
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:44 PM on August 18, 2013


ernest hemingway got driven to suicide by the FBI for what he made, pretty sure burroughs spent actual time in prison

i guess this is bad too


"Some people have it a lot worse therefore there is no problem here" is an illogical and inhumane argument, and it makes me resist my fundamental agreement with every point in your subsequent comment. Threats to a gamewriter's children don't justify locking down the internet but it is still a terrible and wholly unnecessary experience for the gamewriter and their family.

Commentary from The Mary Sue.
posted by gingerest at 6:07 PM on August 18, 2013


The problems with Dragon Age 2 can all be explained by the following: Development time for Dragon Age was more than 5 years. Development time for Dragon Age 2 was barely over a year. Yeah. They may have learned their lesson, though, Dragon Age 3 is again being worked on for multiple years.

The Next Dragon Age Is Crazy Ambitious
posted by homunculus at 3:21 PM on September 1, 2013


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