Don't let vocal minorties paint a picture of an entire fanbase

Erttheking

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There's something that I've kind of noticed over the past few months. It's that whenever there's a massive outcry against a developer or some change in a game, like the death threats over that recent Call of Duty patch, people commonly say something along the lines of "Well, Call of Duty fans are a bunch of immature and psychotic 14 year olds." It's not an overwhelming thing that happens every day, but I still want to talk about it. I'm just going to come out and say it, no, no they are not. There is a vocal minority in Call of Duty fans that act like this. A fanbase of a game is not a hive mind that acts with absolute unity. I'm pretty sure that all of us have played a game that we really, REALLY like that had at least one asshole online make the overall fanbase of the game look worse. I think we all need to remember that all members of a fanbase are not reflected in the comments of a vocal minority.

Just please keep that in mind. I like Halo but there are more than a few assholes in the fanbase. I think most of us are Fallout fans but we don't like No Mutants Allowed make us think that we're all like that. The moral I'm trying to get across is, judge a person by their personal actions, not the fanbase that they're a part of.
 

HoneyVision

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This is an issue of ignorance and it spans across thousands of issues across the globe. No matter what it is, there will always be someone who ruins the image of a particular group by being extreme and irrational. From technology to art to religion, there are ALWAYS people who make "the rest of us look bad". And of course, there are always people who will take that as the standard representative of that group, failing to look deeper than what meets the eye.

I have to deal with it everyday. I like fashion, which instantly makes people think that I'm snobby and judgmental because of what 'fashion people' say/have said in the past. I'm also Christian, which instantly equates to 'hypocritical bigot' these days, because of what people, such as the church, have said in the past.

The fault is of the person selfishly saying things without realizing what s/he is really undermining, and the people who are too lazy/stupid to realize that there is far more than what they hear from particular people.
 

Hero of Lime

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HoneyVision said:
This is an issue of ignorance and it spans across thousands of issues across the globe. No matter what it is, there will always be someone who ruins the image of a particular group by being extreme and irrational. From technology to art to religion, there are ALWAYS people who make "the rest of us look bad". And of course, there are always people who will take that as the standard representative of that group, failing to look deeper than what meets the eye.

I have to deal with it everyday. I like fashion, which instantly makes people think that I'm snobby and judgmental because of what 'fashion people' say/have said in the past. I'm also Christian, which instantly equates to 'hypocritical bigot' these days, because of what people, such as the church, have said in the past.

The fault is of the person selfishly saying things without realizing what s/he is really undermining, and the people who are too lazy/stupid to realize that there is far more than what they hear from particular people.
Pretty much this, literally I can't say "this" enough. I tend to avoid/ignore the radical parts of most communities, fandoms etc. It helps to keep my blood pressure down and avoid dumb arguments and flame wars.
 

Thaluikhain

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Well...yes, there's that.

On the other hand, you tend to have the silent majority that often doesn't seem to mind the vocal minority (not just talking about games).

The more people tell them to knock it off, the more its clear they don't have majority support. Telling other people they don't doesn't really work.
 

Abomination

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When I encounter an obnoxious little bastard on any game I play I belittle and insult them for their backwards and annoying views. If they hear a girl's voice and get all "omg tits or gtfo" or whatever, I mock their desperation and obvious lack of any successful interaction with females.

I like to call it "Black Knighting". I'm not there to protect anyone, I'm just thankful I have a valid reason to be a complete asshole to a deserving party. It?s cathartic.

If the "silent majority" of CODers would stop being silent then the reputation they've earned wouldn't be considered a facet of every CODer. If every experience of someone being a complete asshole for no reason to someone else on a server had more than one person calling them out for being a little **** the reputation wouldn?t exist.
 

Tarrker

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erttheking said:
I'm pretty sure that all of us have played a game that we really, REALLY like that had at least one asshole online make the overall fanbase of the game look worse.
For me it's Halo and Counter-Strike. Also, I think this goes beyond just gaming. I'm a pasty, white, super-nerd of a human being but I'm also a master of several forms of martial arts. I can remember, as a young teen, countless slack-jawed stares from surprised jocks and "cool" kids who thought they could physically bully me and did not succeed. I was simply fearless then and had little morality on top of that but all they saw was this dork who played Dungeons & Dragons with all the other nerds.

Strangely enough, it's the opposite reputation that seems to precede me nowadays. I tell people I study martial arts and they seem to think they already know me. You'd be surprised how many people actually try to hit me because I say that. x_x
 

Something Amyss

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I'm honestly not convinced it is a vocal minority in the case of Call of Duty.

The social norms for CoD fans really do seem to swing towards that sort of behaviour, and my inbox is pretty good evidence that this is, in fact, my experience.

I understand that "people I've encountered" is a flawed sample, but I've really seen nothing but evidence to support this belief.

Also, we usually don't know what's going on with developers. We've found out recently a couple people we didn't know about were getting death threats, so it's hard to say it's not a normal, routine occurrence.
 

Norithics

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thaluikhain said:
Well...yes, there's that.

On the other hand, you tend to have the silent majority that often doesn't seem to mind the vocal minority (not just talking about games).

The more people tell them to knock it off, the more its clear they don't have majority support. Telling other people they don't doesn't really work.
This doesn't actually work in practice. Let me explain why with an example.

Furries are- or at the very least least were- maligned as one of the worst groups of people to exist in anything ever. Predictably, they're just as varied as any other subculture, but a vocal minority with no sense of self-awareness or social propriety painted all of them as hideous freaks who'll simultaneously violate your pets and scream about persecution. Obviously this is a hilariously stupid premise, because if that were true, they'd all be in jail by now.

Now, a lot of the more 'normal' (see: self-aware and not batshit) members of the group have decided at different points to do exactly as you say, condemning those people who "make us look bad" and create a banner of normalcy for others to rally under.

"That's weird," you say. "I've never heard of those people."

Exactly.

Human nature is that we don't hear, care about or even remember normal things, precisely because they're normal. It's hard to get up in people's faces and declare "we're ordinary people!" without it seeming immediately obnoxious and probably duplicitous. As a result, those people tried until they were blue in the face to "improve the face of Furry." And they failed. And what's worse, they started a movement that then needed someone to denounce. Because once you start declaring yourself better than other people, you get hungry to do it even more. So it started splintering groups over absolute splitting of hairs, and all the while they were going on this big production, nobody outside the group even noticed.

So, no. I'm sorry to say that it wouldn't work, no matter how much everybody wants it to. The only real way to fix this perception is for people to realize that jumping to conclusions based on singular experiences is a flawed way to take the world in.
 

Thaluikhain

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Norithics said:
This doesn't actually work in practice. Let me explain why with an example.

Furries are- or at the very least least were- maligned as one of the worst groups of people to exist in anything ever. Predictably, they're just as varied as any other subculture, but a vocal minority with no sense of self-awareness or social propriety painted all of them as hideous freaks who'll simultaneously violate your pets and scream about persecution. Obviously this is a hilariously stupid premise, because if that were true, they'd all be in jail by now.

Now, a lot of the more 'normal' (see: self-aware and not batshit) members of the group have decided at different points to do exactly as you say, condemning those people who "make us look bad" and create a banner of normalcy for others to rally under.

"That's weird," you say. "I've never heard of those people."

Exactly.

Human nature is that we don't hear, care about or even remember normal things, precisely because they're normal. It's hard to get up in people's faces and declare "we're ordinary people!" without it seeming immediately obnoxious and probably duplicitous. As a result, those people tried until they were blue in the face to "improve the face of Furry." And they failed. And what's worse, they started a movement that then needed someone to denounce. Because once you start declaring yourself better than other people, you get hungry to do it even more. So it started splintering groups over absolute splitting of hairs, and all the while they were going on this big production, nobody outside the group even noticed.

So, no. I'm sorry to say that it wouldn't work, no matter how much everybody wants it to. The only real way to fix this perception is for people to realize that jumping to conclusions based on singular experiences is a flawed way to take the world in.
I'm going to disagree with that. Now, very often, yes, it won't work, but that's not to say failure is guaranteed.

Secondly, there are people who won't be jumping to conclusions about groups based on the minority, but who will see inaction by the majority as a sign the rest doesn't care about the issue.
 

Norithics

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thaluikhain said:
I'm going to disagree with that. Now, very often, yes, it won't work, but that's not to say failure is guaranteed.
Alright, lemme turn it around on you, then. When has it worked?
 

McMarbles

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Like I've said... most of us just like the antics of silly pastel horses. We're not in it for the butt stuff.
 

Vegosiux

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thaluikhain said:
Secondly, there are people who won't be jumping to conclusions about groups based on the minority, but who will see inaction by the majority as a sign the rest doesn't care about the issue.
Is there any reason to insist on "guilt by association" being a thing? Any reason other than wanting to present oneself as "better than the other guy"? Oh look, Arthur Steven Shole is at it again, and he happens to be loosely associated with Gary Earl Ntleman. GARY BETTER DROP WHATEVER HE'S DOING AND PUBLICLY TELL ARTHUR TO KNOCK IT OFF!

How messed up is that? A.S.Shole is the one who's being a dick, while G.E.Ntleman might actually have things to do. Projecting A.S.Shole's character flaws on G.E.Ntleman just because he didn't stop to go "I shall have you know that..." is insulting. Why? Because it assumes all he's ever doing is sitting there, twiddling his thumbs, and that obviously there's nothing in his life that could be more important than the cause of denouncing A.S.Shole every time A.S.Shole opens his trap.
 

Norithics

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McMarbles said:
Like I've said... most of us just like the antics of silly pastel horses. We're not in it for the butt stuff.
Now I want a T-shirt that says "In it for the Butt Stuff."
 

EternallyBored

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Norithics said:
thaluikhain said:
Well...yes, there's that.

On the other hand, you tend to have the silent majority that often doesn't seem to mind the vocal minority (not just talking about games).

The more people tell them to knock it off, the more its clear they don't have majority support. Telling other people they don't doesn't really work.
This doesn't actually work in practice. Let me explain why with an example.

Furries are- or at the very least least were- maligned as one of the worst groups of people to exist in anything ever. Predictably, they're just as varied as any other subculture, but a vocal minority with no sense of self-awareness or social propriety painted all of them as hideous freaks who'll simultaneously violate your pets and scream about persecution. Obviously this is a hilariously stupid premise, because if that were true, they'd all be in jail by now.

Now, a lot of the more 'normal' (see: self-aware and not batshit) members of the group have decided at different points to do exactly as you say, condemning those people who "make us look bad" and create a banner of normalcy for others to rally under.

"That's weird," you say. "I've never heard of those people."

Exactly.

Human nature is that we don't hear, care about or even remember normal things, precisely because they're normal. It's hard to get up in people's faces and declare "we're ordinary people!" without it seeming immediately obnoxious and probably duplicitous. As a result, those people tried until they were blue in the face to "improve the face of Furry." And they failed. And what's worse, they started a movement that then needed someone to denounce. Because once you start declaring yourself better than other people, you get hungry to do it even more. So it started splintering groups over absolute splitting of hairs, and all the while they were going on this big production, nobody outside the group even noticed.

So, no. I'm sorry to say that it wouldn't work, no matter how much everybody wants it to. The only real way to fix this perception is for people to realize that jumping to conclusions based on singular experiences is a flawed way to take the world in.
Pretty much this, I know there were multiple attempts in the furry fandom alone, the one I remember off the top of my head was the burned fur movement. They tried to hide the pornographic portion of the fandom entirely in an attempt to improve their self-image. It pretty much fell apart as they alienated their own fanbase with cries of censorship, and those outside the fandom still thought they were a bunch perverts 2 seconds away from raping their family pets. Yet nobody remembers them, because it didn't fit with the excuse that all furries were deviants, essentially a massive form of confirmation bias.

To use an example outside the internet, we always hear talking heads on the news decrying terrorist attacks by Muslims saying that the moderate Muslims need to denounce the extremists otherwise they look complicit or sympathetic to the extremist's cause. Except everytime there is an attack, thousands of mosques, imams, and clerics accross the planet do denounce it, but the news never reports it, because it's not nearly as interesting as the attacks themselves. Violent crime percentages have been noticeably and measurably decreasing over the last 2 decades in most Western countries, yet the media coverage of violence has risen exponentially. People don't want to nor do they remember normal people, they remember the data points that stick out to them.

Hell, to use an example from this site, you can look in many an EternalNothingness thread to see this in action. EN posts something attention grabbing and usually involving MLP, a dozen or more people who are fans of the show come out of the woodwork to tell him he needs to calm down and try to appeal to reason, then someone comes along into that same thread to talk about how creepy and abnormal they find bronies, completely ignoring the dozen plus already in the thread basically telling EN he needs to calm down. People will ignore the normal people right in front of them in order to notice and give attention to the person jumping up and down in the middle of the street

Confirmation bias is very hard to break, even professionals whose job requires them to be aware of and discard confirmation bias in order to deal with clients will still fall for it, and in the heat of the moment make sweeping generalizations that they will later admit they know aren't true. The outliers will always stick in our memory, denouncing the crazies in a fandom or group will always be minimally effective, because the people outside the group will ignore scores of people telling the crazy person to knock it off in favor of antagonizing the much more visible extremist.
 

Thaluikhain

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Vegosiux said:
Is there any reason to insist on "guilt by association" being a thing? Any reason other than wanting to present oneself as "better than the other guy"? Oh look, Arthur Steven Shole is at it again, and he happens to be loosely associated with Gary Earl Ntleman. GARY BETTER DROP WHATEVER HE'S DOING AND PUBLICLY TELL ARTHUR TO KNOCK IT OFF!

How messed up is that? A.S.Shole is the one who's being a dick, while G.E.Ntleman might actually have things to do. Projecting A.S.Shole's character flaws on G.E.Ntleman just because he didn't stop to go "I shall have you know that..." is insulting. Why? Because it assumes all he's ever doing is sitting there, twiddling his thumbs, and that obviously there's nothing in his life that could be more important than the cause of denouncing A.S.Shole.
You will note that the gaming community is currently trying to get itself taken seriously, games aren't just for kids, serious artform, more inclusive etc. This requires the gaming community to take these issues seriously, and speak out when something goes wrong.

Now, of course, this only applies to people choosing to identify as "the gaming community", who call themselves gamers with pride, not people who just happen to play games.
 

Vegosiux

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thaluikhain said:
You will note that the gaming community is currently trying to get itself taken seriously, games aren't just for kids, serious artform, more inclusive etc. This requires the gaming community to take these issues seriously, and speak out when something goes wrong.

Now, of course, this only applies to people choosing to identify as "the gaming community", who call themselves gamers with pride, not people who just happen to play games.
We don't really assume that the majority of the fans of (Insert Football Club Here) are fine with a bunch of hooligans wearing club colors getting hammered and then hammering up the place just because the majority of the fans tends to not express explicit outrage over the hooligans' actions every time they wreck up a place.

You might argue that football watching is a more "accepted" pastime than gaming, but I've never been too big on the entire "rite of passage" concept; actions speak louder than words. In my opinion, just being a hoopy frood who's also a gamer does a lot more to promote the positive image of gaming than wearing a megaphone and going "Gamers are not really like that, and we condemn what those few dickheads are doing".
 

Phrozenflame500

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These assumptions aren't *totally* unwarranted. To use your CoD example, sure not all CoD players are whiny 14 year old bitches, but not all gamer communities will have so many people responding with such vitriol towards a weapon patch. We shouldn't assume that all CoD players are 14-year old bitches, but they exist within the community in greater numbers then others. The problem arises when people do assume that all CoD players are willing to send death threats over a balance patch.

How do we fix this? For starters average people should stop identifying themselves and others based on the entertainment they consumes, but that will never happen ever. I think that communities should stop trying to justify themselves to people. That may sound strange telling people not to defend themselves against unjust assumptions, but telling others "NO WE'RE REALLY NOT CRAZY I SWEAR!1!!" tends to make people think they're more crazy (See furries, bronies). Showing others that you're just another person rather then introducing yourself as a member of a subculture removes the "This guy is an X" line of thought and introduces the "This is a guy who just happens to like X" line of thought.
 

Thaluikhain

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Vegosiux said:
In my opinion, just being a hoopy frood who's also a gamer does a lot more to promote the positive image of gaming than wearing a megaphone and going "Gamers are not really like that, and we condemn what those few dickheads are doing".
Well, yes, but then almost anything is better than running round telling people how much you're not part of the problem.
 

EternallyBored

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thaluikhain said:
Vegosiux said:
Is there any reason to insist on "guilt by association" being a thing? Any reason other than wanting to present oneself as "better than the other guy"? Oh look, Arthur Steven Shole is at it again, and he happens to be loosely associated with Gary Earl Ntleman. GARY BETTER DROP WHATEVER HE'S DOING AND PUBLICLY TELL ARTHUR TO KNOCK IT OFF!

How messed up is that? A.S.Shole is the one who's being a dick, while G.E.Ntleman might actually have things to do. Projecting A.S.Shole's character flaws on G.E.Ntleman just because he didn't stop to go "I shall have you know that..." is insulting. Why? Because it assumes all he's ever doing is sitting there, twiddling his thumbs, and that obviously there's nothing in his life that could be more important than the cause of denouncing A.S.Shole.
You will note that the gaming community is currently trying to get itself taken seriously, games aren't just for kids, serious artform, more inclusive etc. This requires the gaming community to take these issues seriously, and speak out when something goes wrong.

Now, of course, this only applies to people choosing to identify as "the gaming community", who call themselves gamers with pride, not people who just happen to play games.
And I'm willing to bet you that few outside the gaming community know about that at all, but a lot do know about the stories of online bullying, Jack Thompson, the harassment of Anita Sarkeesian, and the stories of kids who end up killing or attacking family and friends because they got their xbox or playstation taken away. Most of us on this forum are gamers, so we do know about the people trying to improve our image or taking a stand against the crazies, the same thing applies to furries, muslims, sports fans, Christians, Atheists, Bronies, Twilight fans, Justin Beiber fans, Democrats, Republicans, etc; yet the people outside the fandom still often see gaming as being full of racist, sexist, homophobic little ADHD kids.

That's not to say that normal people in a group shouldn't try to control the crazies in it, certainly striving for an impossible goal is still much better than giving up, but it is folly to think that denouncing the crazies in your group is suddenly going to make the outsiders turn around and say, "yaknow? maybe these gamers are stand up folks afterall." The outside is too busy laughing at youtube videos of gamers having epic meltdowns and bitching over stupid things.
 

Vegosiux

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thaluikhain said:
Vegosiux said:
In my opinion, just being a hoopy frood who's also a gamer does a lot more to promote the positive image of gaming than wearing a megaphone and going "Gamers are not really like that, and we condemn what those few dickheads are doing".
Well, yes, but then almost anything is better than running round telling people how much you're not part of the problem.
A condemnation of any group of people, especially a sub-group of your own group, implies "We are not like them. They are the problem, not us." The two concepts are kind of inseparable. Simply by vocally distancing yourself from a problematic group you're non-verbally relaying "I am not like that, just so you know."

So what's a gamer to do? Play their games and be chewed out for "not caring enough"? Or get vocal and come across as a separate breed of pretentious no-good airhead?