It's not ALWAYS "toxic," right?

Xprimentyl

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Ok, we've got a couple threads about [Internet] toxicity going now, so I think negativity's getting its fair share of press; how's about a thread about the opposite? Recall a time, either in a forum or online game, that you encountered the rare exemplar of human kindness and decency from anonymous strangers? I've got two:

I'll start with the Escapist of all places. Late last year, I jumped back into a game that years prior had repeatedly ground me into dust pretty much out the gate, Dark Souls. So, I started a thread here asking for help and advice. I pretty much expected that of all the replies, about 95% would be dismissive snark, and maybe 5% actually helpful advice. I further expected this would all transpire over the course of maybe a dozen replies, the thread would die and fall to page 2 and into the annals of Escapist to be forgotten. That's the exact opposite of what happened. A lot of really good people on this site chimed in with hints, tips, links to wikis, general tactics, advice, etc. The thread went on for MONTHS and took me all the way to the full 1,000 Gamerscore in DS1 which I thought was an impossibility when I started. I doubt I would/could have done it without the help I received here; you guys were awesome!

Also, taking it back to Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2. At the time, having been forged in the fires of Halo 2 lobbies, I was no stranger to the hostility of multiplayer lobbies; I'd been called every name in the book and my mother was purportedly the filthiest whore on the western hemisphere, so my skin was pretty thick. It was my knee-jerk reaction as soon as I saw the lobby filling up, to just mute everyone immediately. But GRAW2, for whatever reason, was different. I stayed pretty much to the co-op campaign and made a lot of really good friends over the course of the several months I played it, 30-40 people added to my FL. I can count the number of times I had an issue on one hand; the majority of the time, people were cool, actually cooperated and no one ever got bashed for their skill or lack thereof. Point in case, I partied up with a bunch of randoms, and we did a few rounds of co-op until we all decided to go for the Ultimate Defender achievement (had to hold off waves of enemies for one hour, real time.) We were having connectivity issues, and the match dropped a couple of times. We finally got a good start, and I fucked up, was killed within the first 10 minutes. There I am feeling like a shit stain watching from the death cam, but they told me not to worry about it and tasked me with sending them all friend requests so we could try again together the next night if they failed without me. But they powered through for the next 50 minutes while I watched from the afterlife and the achievement popped for us all. If I had near that kind of experience in Halos or CoDs, I still might actually be interested in multiplayer, but since GRAW2 died out, every other lobby I've peaked into has been the same old shit: N-bombs, "you suck," singing badly into the mic and my mother's purportedly working her way to the top of the Eastern hemisphere whore filth charts...
 

Silentpony_v1legacy

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Any day I'm not called a Fag or told to 'git gud noob' for not liking Dark Souls is good enough for me.

People who think this site is toxic need to get in their Delorean and go back about 4 years. Compared to what the Escapist was like before GG, the site is practically going through a golden-age of politeness now, WildWest not withstanding. But WildWest is deliberately a callback to those shitty days, so it hardly counts.

As far as online gaming I'd struggle to give an example of actual kindness 'cause its virtually impossible to tell the difference between kindness and disinterest in begin a dick.
Did your WOW group let you loot the big bad out of kindness or 'cause they couldn't be bothered to care? Likewise did that one dude spare you in Battlefield Modern War Battles because you were a noob and he wanted you to enjoy the match, or because he was trying to accomplish some other objective and couldn't be bothered with you?
 

Xprimentyl

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Yeah, I know true and intentional kindness and/or decency from strangers is rare online; I thought a thread for those unicorns might make for some interesting reading.
 
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I just think Global Warming has fried our brains and made us all so very angry at each other.

Honestly, I don't think that, but the global tide of aggression is hard to overlook. I think the forums are actually disproportionately civil compared to the rest of the world.

There are people I won't agree with. But if we can converse civilly, I'm more than fine with that. Posters here I disagree with, we were more than able to have a discussion on our differing ideas. I honestly think if we had more of that in the world, we'll be better off.
 

Sniper Team 4

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Xprimentyl said:
I'll start with the Escapist of all places. Late last year, I jumped back into a game that years prior had repeatedly ground me into dust pretty much out the gate, Dark Souls. So, I started a thread here asking for help and advice. I pretty much expected that of all the replies, about 95% would be dismissive snark, and maybe 5% actually helpful advice. I further expected this would all transpire over the course of maybe a dozen replies, the thread would die and fall to page 2 and into the annals of Escapist to be forgotten. That's the exact opposite of what happened. A lot of really good people on this site chimed in with hints, tips, links to wikis, general tactics, advice, etc. The thread went on for MONTHS and took me all the way to the full 1,000 Gamerscore in DS1 which I thought was an impossibility when I started. I doubt I would/could have done it without the help I received here; you guys were awesome!
The first part of what you're describing--being utterly mocked and kicked when asking for help--is what happened to me when I asked for help in Dark Souls. Even here, on this website. It was enough to break me so that I didn't go back to that game for years. It wasn't until I had crushed Dark Souls II that I even dared try to go back to the first one.

As such, whenever someone on here asks for help in ANY game that I've played, I make sure I give them as much info as I possibly can. I like being nice and being thanked for it. Currently doing the same thing with Dark Souls II in another thread here.
 

Saelune

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I dont like that the internet is blamed for the toxicity. Humans are naturally this toxic and always have been. We just now have this amazing network of technology that I dont think enough people appreciate, that has the side effect of showing the world for what it really is.

I also dont actually think the world has become more bigoted or anything. I think we just know put a lens to it.
 

Smithnikov_v1legacy

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I've recently found the online community for my favorite 'rasslin game, Fire Pro, is friendly, civil, and even willing to exchange advice and tips, whether they win or lose, as well as insight into your wrestler's build or AI.

Not sure if it's enough for me to reverse my stance that gaming culture is beyond redemption at this point, but it's an ATTEMPT at least.
 

votemarvel

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I think it is more that the complainers have the loudest voices and people have become trained to see them as the only ones.

Taking the old Bioware forum as the example. The vast majority of people were polite and wanted to discuss things with fellow fans, when a dev made an appearance they were treated courteously even if people didn't like the answers they gave.

Yet the whole place gained a reputation as toxic because a small handful of users were absolute bastards and trolls, delighting in only causing mayhem.

So who did Bioware, and indeed the internet at large focus on? The polite users or the trolls. Of course it was the latter. So a trove of discussion and information about Bioware games was lost to the great digital abyss.

The Talimancers though, they were just weird.
 

spacemutant IV

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Saelune said:
I dont like that the internet is blamed for the toxicity. Humans are naturally this toxic and always have been. We just now have this amazing network of technology that I dont think enough people appreciate, that has the side effect of showing the world for what it really is.

I also dont actually think the world has become more bigoted or anything. I think we just know put a lens to it.
I have thought about this and I do think that the internet has something to do with it, which doesn't mean that the internet is to blame. When people read something stupid online, it might be written by people looking for a fight, or actively trying to annoy you, or by 14 year olds. In real life, you would be able to tell, but on the internet, in the readers mind, it can sound like James Earl Jones reading the undisputed and unassailable facts of life, and that can be infuriating.

Also, I expect that with pretty much any social issue, there are always fluctuations in the way society behaves. People realize they are getting nowhere by being polite, and they get angry. People realize that everyone is angry and unreasonable, and they start being more respectful again. As for me, I don't engage much and sit the madness out where I can.
 

jklinders

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spacemutant IV said:
Saelune said:
I dont like that the internet is blamed for the toxicity. Humans are naturally this toxic and always have been. We just now have this amazing network of technology that I dont think enough people appreciate, that has the side effect of showing the world for what it really is.

I also dont actually think the world has become more bigoted or anything. I think we just know put a lens to it.
I have thought about this and I do think that the internet has something to do with it, which doesn't mean that the internet is to blame. When people read something stupid online, it might be written by people looking for a fight, or actively trying to annoy you, or by 14 year olds. In real life, you would be able to tell, but on the internet, in the readers mind, it can sound like James Earl Jones reading the undisputed and unassailable facts of life, and that can be infuriating.
I think the key to the equation is empathy. Empathy is something that comes relatively naturally in a face to face scenario. The advent of ancient and modern society depended on it. Speaking as someone in the service industry both face to face and over the phone and internet my entire adult life I can tell you that it does NOT come naturally in a situation where you are not face to face with someone.

It takes deliberation to be an asshole face to face. It takes deliberation to be caring when over the internet. The switch in our heads that naturally allows empathy (the entire basis for the social contract that keeps us from eating each other alive) simply does not exist when we cannot see the other person directly.

Just a guess based on some actual observation on my part.
 
Apr 24, 2008
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ObsidianJones said:
I just think Global Warming has fried our brains and made us all so very angry at each other.
No, it's the chem-trails.

OT: I can't think of specific instances, but I imagine the size of my friends list on steam is a testament to it in some way.
 

Michel Henzel

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I can still remember to good old days of the very early DayZ, where you would actually be happy to see total strangers.
 

RobertEHouse

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Saelune said:
I dont like that the internet is blamed for the toxicity. Humans are naturally this toxic and always have been. We just now have this amazing network of technology that I dont think enough people appreciate, that has the side effect of showing the world for what it really is.

I also dont actually think the world has become more bigoted or anything. I think we just know put a lens to it.
I agree, The internet only just provides a type of anonymity which has allowed the spread of such toxicity. But the internet clearly did not create that toxicity, as history of human behavior is anything to go by.
 

bartholen_v1legacy

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I made a similar thread over three years ago, before Gamergate when this site was full of hustle and bustle. And even then I considered it leagues above the (admittedly only) other forum I frequented, which was IMDB's now thankfully expired message boards. Back then there were tons of threads complaining about the supposedly strict moderation here, but IMDB made me embrace it wholesale. The difference between the two was like watching Spirited Away in a 5k theater with the most heavenly sound system imaginable vs. watching a vertically phone-recorded bootleg of Suicide Squad. This is why I think I might be some kind of elitist totalitarian in my core. Human beings, left to their own devices and totally free, will rip, maul, tear, shred, disembowel, dismember, oppress, enslave and eviscerate each other, and 90% of everything on the internet, especially most message boards, is worthless shit. That's my view of the world, and why I think some kind of rules and an authority to enforce them are always needed. And that's why I still stick around, and have been reluctant to seek out other forums. This is the one and only place I know with some sort of standards, and ones that are actually enforced.
 

CaitSeith

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Saelune said:
I dont like that the internet is blamed for the toxicity. Humans are naturally this toxic and always have been. We just now have this amazing network of technology that I dont think enough people appreciate, that has the side effect of showing the world for what it really is.

I also dont actually think the world has become more bigoted or anything. I think we just know put a lens to it.
Lots of people tend to be assholes more frequently when they think they can get away with it. Still, there is plenty of people who'd rather put the effort on not being one.
 

Saelune

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CaitSeith said:
Saelune said:
I dont like that the internet is blamed for the toxicity. Humans are naturally this toxic and always have been. We just now have this amazing network of technology that I dont think enough people appreciate, that has the side effect of showing the world for what it really is.

I also dont actually think the world has become more bigoted or anything. I think we just know put a lens to it.
Lots of people tend to be assholes more frequently when they think they can get away with it. Still, there is plenty of people who'd rather put the effort on not being one.
Anonymity doesnt turn people into assholes. It shows that they are an asshole deep down.
 

Chewster

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Silentpony said:
People who think this site is toxic need to get in their Delorean and go back about 4 years. Compared to what the Escapist was like before GG, the site is practically going through a golden-age of politeness now, WildWest not withstanding. But WildWest is deliberately a callback to those shitty days, so it hardly counts.
I've been posting off and on since a couple years after this site launched, well before GG was anything and it was never that bad here. It was always relatively well maintained, especially compared to a lot of other forums on the Internet. GG brought with it a lot of toxicity and bullshit but then the Escapist finally had the good sense to create it's own special cancer ward forum for it and things (sort of) went back to normal. Unfortunately for the skeleton crew of regulars who remain, GG scared off a lot of good people and got a good many others banned.

Mind you, back in the day a lot of the political and religious debates were more varied. I dunno if yo lurked back in the day but there was shit about abortion and bestiality and every branch of philosophy all kinds of bizarre stuff. Seems like this place is stuck in an alt-right vs. SJdubbs loop or something.

bartholen said:
I made a similar thread over three years ago, before Gamergate when this site was full of hustle and bustle. And even then I considered it leagues above the (admittedly only) other forum I frequented, which was IMDB's now thankfully expired message boards. Back then there were tons of threads complaining about the supposedly strict moderation here, but IMDB made me embrace it wholesale. The difference between the two was like watching Spirited Away in a 5k theater with the most heavenly sound system imaginable vs. watching a vertically phone-recorded bootleg of Suicide Squad. This is why I think I might be some kind of elitist totalitarian in my core. Human beings, left to their own devices and totally free, will rip, maul, tear, shred, disembowel, dismember, oppress, enslave and eviscerate each other, and 90% of everything on the internet, especially most message boards, is worthless shit. That's my view of the world, and why I think some kind of rules and an authority to enforce them are always needed. And that's why I still stick around, and have been reluctant to seek out other forums. This is the one and only place I know with some sort of standards, and ones that are actually enforced.
Yup. Before I joined up here in 2008, I used to be a regular on some of the IMDb boards, including the Soapbox which was sort of like the Wild West here, I suppose. Just a free-for-all of drama and stupidity. Eventually I grew tired of the personal drama between regulars, got tired of the obnoxious old-timers (two of which died of old age!) who would shit on everyone who wasn't them, got tired of the racism and homophobia and just lack of anything substantial and so I ended up here. Back then, if you reported a post, it got deleted no matter if it violated the TOS or not. So vindictive trolls or people looking to stir shit up used to sweep in semi-regularly, report everything and then disappear or else people would use it as a weapon against posters they didn't like. One woman we used to chat with met a man and left her family for him and was shunned by this other puritan poster who tried to dox her. And another time, a regular from Australia actually called me on the phone, though I couldn't for the life of me tell you what we talked about. It was a ridiculous time. I must have been on the Soapbox for like 3 years. That kind of online drama is an addiction and IMDb was the worst of it.
 

Zhukov

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No, not always.

I've had my share of positive experiences, here and elsewhere. Witnessed tons of others ones as well.

Plenty in-game too. Loads of generally affable people out there who just want to kill a couple of hours with a fun game.

Honestly, the thing about the internet that turns my stomach isn't toxicity or outright hostility. It's inanity. The internet gives everyone a voice but a relatively small proportion of people have anything remotely interesting, insightful or even amusing to say. Many others might but are not capable of communicating effectively. The result is a vast archive of just... noise. Just scroll all the way down any Youtube comments thread to see what I mean.

To put it another way, the guy in a multiplayer game who starts yelling "Fuck you, ****, you suck!" isn't the one who really bothers me. I just feel mildly superior to him for a few moments as I reach for the mute button. It's the guy who yells, "Bloooooooowaaarggghh!" who gets under my skin. The world gave him a microphone and he felt compelled to use it despite having literally nothing to say. That bothers me on a level I find difficult to describe.
 

briankoontz

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The word "toxic" used to describe rudeness on the internet is amazing in-and-of-itself. This is the same word used to describe radioactive nuclear waste, or deadly poison. It's part of a long-term cultural project by the "manners police" to combat internet rudeness, so what's happened is that the descriptive rhetoric about rudeness has been ratcheted up to 11.

There's a major problem when the same word is used to describe a mildly aggressive or rude tone that is used to describe GamerGate (by it's opponents, no less). GamerGate is a fascistic cleansing process, of progressives and anyone allied to it. Conflating it with mild rudeness is a severe degradation of the meaning of language.
 

springheeljack

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May 6, 2010
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Well back in my high school days the most enjoyable thing for me was an anime forum that I frequented Minitokyo
Spending hours on there was truly the best part of my high school life
I still keep in touch with a lot of friends from them days though not as much as I would like