Hostility on the Interwebs


I’ve grown a little… tired… with the prevailing attitude on the internet of late. If you’ve been following Ghostcrawler on Twitter recently you’ll have seen the abusive language types who feel that the game doesn’t meet their standards. In fact, there’s a fair bit of abuse, bullying, and otherwise unsavoury behaviour going on twitter these days.

Since Ghostcrawler turned up on Twitter, probably half of his tweets are in response to such messages as “When are you leaving Blizzard? You are an overpaid hack that lost the plot a long time ago” or “ya ur a total bitch”. It’s both amusing and sad at the same time to see people saying such things in response to changes within a game.

It’s rare to see a well reasoned justification for claims from players. By “well reasoned” I mean something that contains a bit of thought, and not just linking the latest raidbots or simcraft graph as if this is complete proof that everything is as they claim. Unfortunately, if it were as simple as looking at a graph and tweaking numbers then everything would be perfectly balanced.

There’s more going on than just that though. Abusive and/or bullying tweets are fairly frequent, and I was the subject of one such incident last week. It started off as a conversation between myself and another person about whether the fact that the author of a “news” post about feminism was Men Saving The Day or just a case of Whoever Is Available To Write. I say “news” post because it was essentially a tweet collection around a recent hashtag.

I occasionally have philosophical discussions on twitter like that, so I didn’t think much of it until a few other people started chiming in saying I was wrong, and how could a man know anything relevant to the story. I tried making my point that the article should be judged based on the content of that article, whether it be good or bad, not because of the gender of the author. This didn’t go down too well with the other people in the conversation (all of whom had actually self-inserted them into it, the other person from the original conversation had long since stopped participating).

The conversation got quite heated in the end, especially with such comments as “I don’t understand why women can’t even just fucking /discuss/ these things” + “without some dude stomping here upset that we even applied critical thinking” + “Sometimes, there’s just some conversations you don’t -have- to drop into and give your opinion. See: women discussing sexism!”, as if I’d inserted myself into their conversation when it was the other way around.

As you may have noticed from one or two of the other posts here, I’ve had bit of a rough time recently with Natural Disasters (aka the few thousand noticeable earthquakes that have occurred in Christchurch, New Zealand in the past two years) not to mention a few other things I’ve been dealing with, so the responses I received didn’t exactly put me in a cheerful mood. Quite the opposite, actually. I deactivated my twitter account for a short while just to get away from it, and after re-activating I’ve changed to a protected feed & deleted about 650 followers.
I’ve also decided to put all the usual stuff I do on haiatus, in part because of that afternoon. I’ve copied a bunch of the tweets in here for reference.

“I have a special sub-zero tolerance for shitbag elitist WoW theorycrafters, my bad my bad”
“because they are usually the apex of snotty mansplaining nonsense and hyped on their own intellect and people yes’ing them to death”
“Sorry but when it comes to discussing Social Justice Issues, your a) WoW math expertise b) Dude Opinions mean little to nothing”
“A couple people from the ELITE HIGH END RAIDING THEORYCRAFT scene have just gotten so on my nerves for that shit.”
“shit, see, if I had known he was Elitist Jerk I would have asked him how he’d feel if a casual was given the Brewmaster thread”
“I have felled mightier Math Dudes in my time”

So because I’m a guy, and I post (or at least, used to post) at EJ, and do math stuff, this makes me a justifiable target for this sort of behaviour?

No, I don’t think so.

However, I don’t really hate these people. I’m just sad that they can’t see their behaviour as something bad. The only action I can really take is to block them, make this post on my personal blog, thank various twitter friends for their comments that day, and move on. The moving on bit is where I pull back from the internet world, post less, restrict access to my twitter account, and wonder how long it will be before that voice in the back of my head that says “you shouldn’t say that” gives up its newly acquired megaphone.

About binkenstein
I'm a geek, living in Christchurch, New Zealand.

One Response to Hostility on the Interwebs

  1. draNgNon says:

    don’t let them get you down! the internet is about mob mentality and the relative safety of posting bad things to/about a stranger ends up with people ganging up on a person du jour.

    definitely don’t let them drag you down becuase you are better at something than they are, like Wow theorycrafting! they are probably a bunch of Americans who picked on Nate Silver for being wrong in October.

    all will be well in a couple days, the mob will move on to the next target.

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