It’s no longer headline news that the internet is both a blessing and curse. Information that was previously exclusive to libraries, school textbooks, etc, is now instantly accessible on your smartphone, tablet or laptop. Instead of writing a letter, showing home movies or chatting over a cordless landline telephone, friends and family can now keep in constant contact with Skype, Facebook, Google+ and more. Online shopping completely changed the business landscape, as companies like Amazon and Google have turned consumer mouse clicks into billions of dollars in profit. This is all fine and dandy, but when it comes to discussing and debating topics of local, national or global scale, and especially of the gaming persuasion, humanity should really be ashamed of itself.
I regrettably consider myself in the minority group of gaming website browsers that avoids the comments section of news, previews, reviews, videos and editorials like the plague nowadays. After all, these communities have become nothing more than a cesspool of verbal filth and an overall exemplary lack of character. At the same time, this trend isn’t surprising since communication of such nature is a direct result of the universal corruption of the human heart. Am I better off for staying away from the fray? You better believe it. Seriously, it wouldn’t kill everyone to take a step back and think about these things. Imagine the time and sanity alone that you could and would save!
Again, I know this is nothing new. You may already feel exasperated reading this piece as I did writing it, knowing that the topic of immature little kids, bratty teenagers and childish adults trolling online publications has been beaten to death a million times over. I understand and empathize. Still, I feel for those who noticeably extend a conscious effort to behave themselves and adhere to conservative, moral principle but sadly never have to wait more than a few minutes to witness a meaningful, enjoyable conversation become the sole property of people interested only in starting a fight, giving someone a cutting piece of their mind or just talking as though they’re the only knowledgeable ones.
To be fair, we’re all capable of it. I’m just as able to direct a comment that is malicious to someone, or simply perceived as such, as anyone else. No one is immune. Frankly I wonder if two people ever have peacefully agreed to disagree online about anything. Probably not, as there’s always someone who can’t go to sleep at night until he or she is absolutely convinced that the last word about something was theirs…only to discover the next day that this wasn’t the case, and the vicious cycle continues. I can only imagine that these people are so disturbingly obsessed with being right that they set themselves up to receive instant notifications on their electronic devices that can be immediately replied to so a response post is issued, you know, just incase their opponent(s) are active and facing little to no resistance. It certainly wouldn’t be right for a flame war foe to enjoy a monopoly on expressing his or her contradictory opinion. Even if one of the participants decides enough is enough, another typically picks up the slack and keeps the ball rolling. Then when everyone finally gives it a rest, or is pulled elsewhere by another battle of wits, the aftermath makes it almost impossible to pick out what were the worthwhile aspects of the total exchange. This is a sad world we live in, no? And no one cares.
Let’s face it; reason and calm attitudes have been shoved out the door in favor of opportunities for millions of insecure gamers who require a constant ego petting to vainly pursue just that on a daily basis. Being considerate and polite is a thing of the past; it’s no longer relevant, but rather scorned and condemned. To make matters worse, since that craving can never truly be satisfied, the public arena that is these comments sections quickly degenerates from a band of videogame lovers trying to rub friendly elbows to a concert of fools singing their repetitiously groan-worthy choruses, and everyone is consequently pulled into it. The outcome sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard in one’s mind, and all for the sake of the insistence to throw a verbal punch at someone the perpetrator will likely never meet. I’d seriously love to watch one of these people do this in a face-to-face context, though we all know that would obviously never happen.
The industry could employ the best of the best published article and forum moderators out there, but it plainly wouldn’t matter. I haven’t even mentioned SPAM, and I’m refraining from it, as that is a beast on its own. These days if I desire advice on how to conquer an obstacle in a game I’m playing, I prefer to peruse a professional walkthrough. I truthfully avoid forums at all costs because the last thing I’m interested in reading is an unnecessary, uncalled for and altogether unattractive comment demeaning another poster. I don’t care who started it or what the provocation was. It’s a joke, plain and simple.
Don’t bother asking me, “What if the person deserved it?” In reality, who are you to claim a superior anything over another human being? No one’s perfect; certainly not I, and definitely not you either. Do you enjoy others pointing out your obvious faults?! Think of the hypocrisy that entails subjecting another human being to a standard that you haven’t even begun to achieve, or at least don’t in a consistent fashion, whether it’s gaming skill, general intelligence and knowledge or likes and dislikes. If more people were more apt to considering others more significant than themselves, there would be potentially less ridiculous name-calling and unbelievably squandered time, and more friendships being formed. Yet instead, because man is by nature completely self-absorbed, anything that violates this truth is met right away with substantially ugly hostility rather than uncommonly humble graciousness. I’m not going to waste my breath calling for some kind of gaming communication revolution. Not only do I have zero capacity to bring that about, or change people at all for the matter, but I rather leave this in the hands of the One that does operate in His way and time. I’m thankful for that; otherwise society would be far worse off than it already is.
The next time you’re tempted to lay siege to someone you can’t even see with a scathing remark, try to stop and think for a moment, and recall that you don’t like it too well either. Plus, do I really have to state the obvious fact that ridicule accomplishes nothing? A little kindness and respect go a long way, and you might be surprised by the results. Child, teenager, adult…each can and should be treated with dignity. If this was a priority for more members of the gaming population, much more fun would be had. End of story.