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Anecdotes on (re)education and standing up against the “Asshat”

November 4, 2012

(No picture today as most so called “Asshats” are anonymous)

I thought I was done posting for the week but I guess I was wrong. Navi has declared an “Anti Asshat week” and because I really think we should expose this topic a bit more from time to time, I thought I would do a quick post about it, sharing some anecdotes from the not too distant past on my encounters with the “Asshat(s)”. As some of you might be aware since yesterday’s post I do occasionally level my characters in WoW and do this primarily through dungeons (what can I say I hate the new quests), home front for all kind of socially despicable behaviour, ranging from verbal abuse to ninja-looting and ninja-pulling.

 

Ninja-pulling is particularly ripe and is something that annoys me, but more so my trusty tank with whom I do these dungeons (and frankly without whom I’d soon land in an asylum if I’d continue to run them on my own). The usual procedure when trying to rectify this problem, is that we (me and my tank) call it out and ask them to “please wait for the tank to pull”, if the behaviour continues we will just not tank their mobs neither heal them. Sadly nowadays that does not help us much as DPS classes can no problem handle adds on their own. In an ironic twist this has also led to the fact that most DPS expect the tank and healer to know this and pull more than they can handle, as they think the tank will come to rescue and die subsequently. Too bad death is not even a nuisance in the game anymore so even that won’t always discourage them. That leaves the “vote to kick tool” as a last resort but that does not always work (due to it mysteriously being on cooldown^^). On the flip side of things we have also a few times been met by an apology and a promise not to pull again (whether or not that promise was kept was a bit comme ci, comme ça). But it does good to see a polite response and an apology nonetheless.

 

When it comes to ninja-looting the procedure is very much like that in ninja-pulling, sadly with the consequence most often being silence on the offender’s part and a subsequent “vote-to-kick”. I think the only thing one can do in those instances is trying to ask if they understand the loot system, explain that their behaviour is not ok and try to get the item back to the player who actually needed it. It’s also more frequently been common that people need items because they are enchanters and all you can do there is try to explain to them that even if you are an enchanter one should ask before needing if it is ok that you as an enchanter get the item. This applies to any gathering profession as well although to see someone ask if there are any skinners/ miners/ herbalists in the party only happens to me when my tank asks those questions and I think we as a community should bring this old standards back into the game if not for any other reason than that it would foster a more polite atmosphere in groups. Even giving away gear that you need, but someone else needs more is a gesture that should be used more often as it directly supports “being nice” to others.

 

Verbal abuse is I think, the problem most people face and are more offended by. The only thing you can do here is to actually stand up: As Milady accurately pointed out in earlier post on the issue:

 

Players should try to foster a healthy game environment and stop heeding the trolls who will tell them that “this is the internet.” No, the internet is you, me, our neighbour. We are part of the problem if we do not engage with it. Silence sadly equals to agreement. I assure you, confronting the trolls on the public spaces does very often yield results in the manner of public support and troll-silencing, but someone has to step up for her beliefs.”

 

If we don’t do anything about that sort of behaviour, or any negative behaviour for that matter, it is wishful thinking that it will fix it of itself. Navi was explaining how most people seem to just shut up for the greater good of getting the dungeon done quicker and be done with it. I personally witnessed this in a mindboggling instance, where a party member was defending another when we called him out for ninja-looting. The defender’s explanation was that the issue should not be blown out of proportion and we should focus on getting the dungeon done. To me this kind of behaviour is just a very sad reminder of how lost the community is when it comes to actual social gameplay and teamwork, aspects that made me enjoy MMOs in the first place. And I think that the newer faster levelling speed, where gear is a non-issue and is changed every couple of days only worsens aspects like ninja-looting as they become more accepted, I mean why do anything against it when you get better gear the next few levels. The new assembly line running of dungeons also makes standing up for verbal abuse “not worth the time and effort” as you will lose time by arguing and having to spend more time with the offender, than if you just shut up and moved on. After all, the next dungeon run is always 30 minutes away from you having started your group… Slowing down the speed at what people can do dungeons and how fast they level would in my opinion prove as great subtle incentives to stand up for non-accepted behaviour like ninja-looting and verbal abuse. Navi suggested that if you don’t want to stand up against verbal abuse in the public chat you could always send a private message to the person supporting them. I have to say I do this a lot and even though you are supporting the person I have to ask does it really help that much because if everybody is sending private messages of support, than the abuser is still not shown in a public way that what he is doiing is wrong. In fact you have just given him proof that he is powerful enough to shut you all out from the public forum and thus his behavour won’t change and in the end we wanted to do that did we not?

 

As I’d hate to end this post in such gloomy thoughts I would like to remind you that for all the “asshats” that are out there, there are also many friendly and nice people. A sad as it is that the abundance of “asshats” makes these encounters even more cherished, don’t let the harsh and hostile atmosphere in games discourage you from looking for those friendly persons and awesome moments of teamwork or just general chit-chat, if you do that then the jerks that want to bring you down have won for real!

I’d also like to share an interesting article from the Guardian that I found that reports on Halo 4 devs speaking out against sexism. As sad as it is that our female gamers (but other gamers as well) are more likely to get verbally abused on the internet is lightening to see devs speaking out against it. Here is for hoping that they also take action and that the lifetime-ban I heard about for making sexist or discriminatory comments against others is not a mere rumour or PR-trick.

In the mean time I offer my full support to Navi and her her friend! Best of Luck!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 4, 2012 9:09 pm

    You know I fully agree with everything that’s been posted here.

    I will comment on this particular idea, though: “Slowing down the speed at what people can do dungeons and how fast they level would in my opinion prove as great subtle incentives to stand up for non-accepted behaviour like ninja-looting and verbal abuse” I think that it would indeed change the way in which dungeons are considered by players, and might promote better relations because of the mere fact that you will be spending more time with your teammates. But, to be honest, anything that is not a cross-server LFD removal seems like papering over the cracks of the problem that is a lack of community, which in turn leads to the lawless cesspit that we’ve been experiencing.

    Your suggestions, along with a collective rejection of bad behaviour, can mitigate some behavioural illnesses in the community, but cannot do anything about the actual cracking of the server communities, sadly. That’s the developer’s job to restore, if they will ever concern themselves with it.

    • November 5, 2012 6:14 pm

      Fully with you there that the X-realm features have to go away to truly fix the problem! Sadly I guess my base here was that that’s not going to happen; rather the opposite as we already have X-realm zones, thus I tried to see how we can salvage what little community there is and maybe make things a little bit better without abolishing the xrealm-LFD.

  2. November 6, 2012 1:35 pm

    Thank you for joining in with your post and encouraging people to speak out Roguekish! You are right, that whispering support, though nice to the victim, isn’t going to help in the long run, but not everyone is brave enough to come out and say things – there are a lot of nervous and shy people out there, even though they’re decent people. I do like how you pointed out that there are many nice people out there who will support you if you if you stand up against someone. So to everyone who wants to make a difference – you’re not alone. Together we can make a stand against bullying in our game!

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