Thought of the Day: Gaming, 23 Feb 12

Posted February 23, 2012 by Palantas in Gaming
Hi. Obviously, I have not been blogging much. The reason, basically, is that I haven't been playing any new games. I'm becoming increasingly disinterested in The New Big Game III (gotta pre-order it!!!) or whatever's coming out next. Perhaps this will change at some point.

I saw a story on GameSpot recently that caught my attention. Here's the link:

I’ll précis the article if you don’t want to read it. Someone named Jennifer works at BioWare, and in 2006 (yes, six years ago) proposed in an interview… Actually, her idea’s not important. I’ll talk about it later. The point is that this interview was posted on Reddit (a place I avoid), where it generated huge controversy. All over Reddit and her Twitter (another place I generally avoid) she was referred to by every insult imaginable, and “criticized for her gender, appearance, and religion. Attacks on her have referenced Hitler, bestiality, rape, cannibalism, and prostitution.” There’s since been a backlash to this criticism, almost entirely on the grounds that it’s politically incorrect (e.g., “How dare you criticize a woman who works in a male-dominated industry!”).

I find all of this pretty nauseating. I find the attacks nauseating, and I find the paucity of critical thinking in the response nauseating.

Let’s deal with the attacks on poor Jennifer first.

The Internet is full of arrogant blowhards. It’s full of people who mouth off in fashion that they would not even dream of doing in real life. (Well okay, they probably dream about it, but they’d never actually do it.) When you say “F*ck you” to a person in real life, you have to take ownership of that statement. You also have to take responsibility for it, and accept the consequences that come from it (i.e., getting smacked in the mouth). Online, there is a social disconnect where people are not required to take responsibility for their statements. Statements are anonymous. It takes absolutely no courage to say “F*ck you” to someone, because you won’t be held accountable for it.

The Internet also has plenty of stupid people (mirroring the world population). When combined with the anonymity mentioned above, this results in mindless insults taking the place of conversation, as given by this formula:

Internet Anonymity + Low IQ = YouTube Comments

This creates a culture where instead of using reason, people simply express their emotions. When someone disagrees with you, you don’t try to persuade them of your opinion; you just tell them you hate them. It’s like dealing with a tiny child. If you take a toy away from a baby, it doesn’t try to reason with you as to why you should give the toy back; it just starts screaming, expressing its unhappiness. The Internet has a great number of tiny children.

Now let’s talk about the response to the attacks on poor Jennifer.
The closing from GameSpot’s article: “...this behavior has no place in the gaming community, to show them that every sexist, racist, comment only serves to undo years of growth and progress in changing outdated attitudes in the industry.”

Oh God...

Really, these comments undid years of progress? The game industry has only been around for about three decades, so this sounds really serious!

In modern culture, accusations of hate are thrown around constantly. If you A.) Want to discredit someone’s argument, but B.) Don’t want to put much thought into doing it, you just call them a racist. Or a sexist. Or a homophobe. Or whatever. This is an obvious logical fallacy.

The problem with the attacks on poor Jennifer isn’t that these gamers are racist or sexist, it’s that they’re tiny children! Do you think the idiots writing these comments were actually sitting around thinking, “I can’t stand women who work in the gaming industry. I’m going to slam this b!tch who works at BioWare”? That’s giving them way too much credit, as that actually describes a thought process. These gamers just saw an opinion they disagreed with, and acted like tiny children, generating as many insults as possible. In response, GameSpot (and others) called them sexists.

To put that another way, some people (the gamers) read something they didn’t like, and responded by insulting the author. Then some people (GameSpot) read something they didn’t like, and responded by insulting the author. Way to go.
Racism, sexism, or whatever are not the problems. The problem is a lack of critical thinking. The problem is a lack of critical thinking and the notion that applying a label to someone (be it “b!tch” or “sexist”) constitutes a valid rebuttal.
1 Vote
Morrigan February 23, 2012 3:03 pm
Ah yes, the ever-present shield of anonymity that the Internet provides.
And you are exactly right, people who behave like that are generally children or even worse, adults lacking maturity.
Another problem is that these type of people are what's becoming the "face" of gamers and representing us as a whole.
Nevermind that some of us are educated and well-spoken with jobs,families and social lives, we are slowly becoming deemed as basement dwelling troglodytes.