Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

The Current State of the Community

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

For those who don’t know what the Internet Dickwad Theory is, here’s a link. It’s important that you understand that theory before you continue reading.

Now that you’re versed in that theory, I’d like to talk about the current state of the community. I know this is a WoW blog but this isn’t a WoW issue, this is a gaming issue. Any game that has a community will have this issue. Granted, it might not happen at first, but it will happen. Just give it time.

The issue is the “dickwad”, or the “asshole” or, in my terms, the “fucknut”, and how they have, are, or will, ruin the community of which you are a part.

Please don’t think this is only in gaming communities either, it’s a part of the internet. The anonymity of the internet can take that sweet little lady that you saw on the bus earlier turn into a raging fucknut in the time it takes her to load her favorite website. That anonymity, which great for us, the commenter, can lead us to say things that would (or rather, should) get our asses kicked if we ever said it to a “real” person. Here’s the problem, though: YOU’RE TALKING TO A REAL PERSON.

Now I have to bring this back to WoW because it’s the community I spend the majority of my time as a participant. Our community is, quite frankly, horrible.

Don’t believe me: Go to a major city and enter “trade chat” and listen to things said. You’ll hear racial jokes, sexist jokes, homosexual jokes, rape jokes (not kidding), you’ll hear people calling each other all sorts of names and vile epithets… And you’ll hear all this in the first five minutes.

Want to see another example. Go back to trade chat and ask them where you should quest at level 20. The answers you’ll hear will be astounding. And, not helpful in the least.

Go to the forums and you’ll see even worse than that. If you decide to quit WoW you’ll have to fill out a short survey. At the end of the survey it suggests that you write anything not covered by the questions. So, you’ll often see people go to the forums and write these very lengthy posts about the good times in WoW and how bad they think things have become… The first answer to these posts: “Can I have your stuff?”

Sure, you can say, “Darth, these are trolls. Don’t feed them and they go away.” That was true 15 years ago. Today, however, trolls feed other trolls. A second troll will come along quoting the first and add “You’ll be back. LOL!”

It’s gotten to the point where even trying to post a question or problem on the forums isn’t worth it. The issue of dailies in MoP has come up so many times it’s no longer countable. Each time we get the same responses: You don’t have to do them. Dailies are fine. Gear isn’t being gated, shut up.

Here’s the deal. We don’t have a direct line to Blizzard. We cannot pick up a phone and call Ghostcrawler and have a 15 minute conversation with him. So, what do we do? We use the forums. It’s the closest thing we have to a direct line. But each thread is quickly derailed by fucknuts who would rather be a… fucknut… than allow a thread to be looked at by the greater community.

In fact, I just remembered this, an epic post by a former Blizzard employee:

When you can understand how a group of belligerent and angry posters can drive away people from this game with an uncrafted and improvisational campaign of misery and spin-doctoring, then perhaps, you can understand the decisions I make. Until you face mobs of psychology, you will not see my side.

Until you see some bright-eyed player coming onto the forums wanting to know what they should spec as this class, and see them shat on and driven away by petty and selfish people who are simply leveraging for game buffs, you will not understand.

You will not understand until you have to see it daily, for years…

Until you understand that many people will trod over you to get where they’re going, or to get what they want.

Until you understand that so many people will agree, completely, 100% with a loud, vulgar and assertive individual, not because he is right, but because he is making a stand against “the Man”; to take no critical thought in what they say, but simply to hop on board.

Until you actually try to acknowledge those who do not speak on the forums, for whatever reason they have, you will not understand.

If you think an archaic business formula like “the customer is always right” works, you fail to understand customers, not a customer. It is a collective. No one person, even myself, is truly above the whole.

I simply have the unfortunate quality of being easily singled out.

There you have it. People come to the forums to get help: Nope, they get flamed and told that this game sucks and that’s easy to do whatever, and that should uninstall the game. People come to the forums to state an opinion: They get flamed and told that their opinion is stupid, and they don’t have to do the thing that is driving them nuts. People come to the forums to tell their friends goodbye: Nope, people just want their stuff and to tell the poster that they’ll be back, no matter what.

It really is a sad state of affairs right now.

I’ve run into this a few times lately. So, if you don’t know, in 5.1 Wrathion asks you to complete two battlegrounds for him. Now, let me tell you, I hate PVP. Take all the fucknuts from the forums and trade chat and put them together in a room, and you have your average BG team. No matter who’s doing what, it’s better than the other players and they are quite vocal about it. But, I was forced to join a BG, so I did.

I was in the new “Mines” BG (I don’t know the name, I don’t care to know the name) and here’s the layout: Three paths, one north, one south and one west, each with a cart moving from a central hub down one of the paths and to a scoring station. So, the game was close and I was guarding the north cart and my “buddies” left me to do something. I tell my team, “I’m alone at north.” The response: “So?”

“So?” Really? How about, “Hey, we could use the points, it’ll get us that much closer to a win.” Nope. Not this team. A few seconds later and I was killed by a rogue and they took the cart. We still won, but it was just a moment that perfectly illustrates what has happened.

A few seconds after I died I was told, “It’s more important to hold these two paths as they are shorter and therefore score more quickly.” Had they said that at the beginning I’d have said, “Cool, coming to you guys then.” But no, I get a fucknut speaking down to me.

So what can we do about it? Is it as easy as “don’t feed the trolls”?

No, it’s not. What needs to happen is simple, and it happens in two parts:

1) If you see a post that you agree with that has quickly been infected with trolls, create a new post with a similar theme. If that post is trolled, start a new one. Be careful, a lot of forum groups don’t want you creating the same post again and again, so if you have five points, maybe use a couple in one post, then another in a second, and so on.

If everyone takes this advice it will quickly get to the attention of the forum moderators and that is at least getting their attention.

2) When you see a troll, downvote them.

Now here’s where forums need a major upgrade. Take those ratings and make them USEFUL. In other words: Too many negative votes and you’ll be banned for a few hours. If that happens too many times in a given time frame, then you receive a longer ban. This continues until it’s obvious that you cannot be trusted with posting, and thus are perma-banned.

“But Darth, what if I then need help.” TOO FUCKING BAD!

As far as “in-game” communication, you have the “Report” button. Report them. Keep reporting them. Don’t stop reporting them….

Eventually we can take back our community, but not without a lot of effort from the responsible members.

That’s all for this post. I’ll see you in Azeroth!