Review Rage

If you’ve gone anywhere near the comment section of gaming sites that recently reviewed GTAV and gave it a less than stellar score you might have seen a certain amount of vitriol focused towards it and the reviewer that dare not give it a 10. It comes as no surprise of course but I still can’t help think when seeing this that enough is enough.

I don’t understand it but some people believe that their opinions are always right, that there is no other opinion and that everyone else who disagrees with that is personally attacking them. When I see a review I often compare it to my own opinions but the difference is that I understand they are reviewing an experience, you may look at technical components like music, graphics, functioning and the mechanics but it always comes back to how the game made you feel. And you know what, that is often the most valuable part of a review. The structural pieces will pretty much give the same experience between people but it is how the game interacts with your interests, skills and ideals that makes it vary.

It is valuable to see how this experience changes between people and often this is how I infer my own feelings from the review, I see how they felt under those circumstances and transpose over it with my own thoughts. Reading up on those GTAV reviews many people would be and are discounting the misogynistic parts, it doesn’t apply to them so they could rate the game higher and that’s ok… That would be their experience. When I see those reviews I think do I really want to be stuck with more of this same shit that kills my immersion and makes me feel like a lesser person.. my thoughts mirror the reviewers and I can align my own score to match.

The point is that I don’t think there will be a game site or reviewer that matches what would be your own experience 100% of the time and it’s up to you to utilise your own interests and ideals to align the review appropriately.

Rights to Rant

There is a lot of talk right now focused on the harm that video games may be causing our society; mass shootings, child initiated muggings, and a lot lot more have had tenuous links made towards the games they played. While I think it has more to do with the economic, societal and family factors, video games may have a certain amount of causality.. Acting like these people do screaming like monkeys and making rape threats because they disagree with someone doesn’t make the situation look better… It makes us look exactly like the unhinged killers the media is making us out to be.

It’s stupid to have to iterate the same points most people with critical thought have been saying/writing for years. I’ve had a couple posts like this I believe but the one that still stands out is about toxic community and a few tenants for better communication. Unfortunately it seems we must keep nagging like parents do at their unruly children but like I’ve noticed with being in childcare, there needs to be certain consequences.

These gamers always claim that it is there right, that freedom of speech covers anything and everything they could say but should that/ or is that the case? I know many of these gaming sites have terms and conditions about what people are allowed to post, and I even see them using this power occasionally but I don’t see them ever going far enough. As far as I am concerned you are given the privilege to post, it is not a right and as such people should be held accountable with what they are posting.

It’s time to really clean up our forums, enough of creating a place for trolls to propagate.. It would be nice to have a few places that are a bastion of thought and courteous conversations. There will still be places for these people to congregate, they have the innate ability of finding pedestals perfect for their passionate cries but not every place should be welcoming to them. I see many posts get deleted from time to time but not enough, I see forum moderators and even writers of liberal places like RPS who abhor the inherent discrimination of the industry and urge to change it yet leave their comments a haven for it. Comments while going challenged are still given the same equal treatment as others… should this be? if we want to change these ingrained beliefs do we not need to change the way discourse occurs. Throughout history this has always been the way to change cultural beliefs.

sigh…..I just want, one time, to be able to go through a comment thread and only find constructive commenting and none of the vile, hurtful things that usually frequent them.

#Community

18 thoughts on “Review Rage

  1. Even on a site with perfect moderation (no trolls, no false positives, no mods with grudges to bear, etc) you wouldn’t find your land of reasoned discourse and enlightened discussion.

    Instead you would likely find the same few good posts buried within a vast echo chamber of inoffensive, yet still meaningless drivel. There is precious little about comment sections that engenders thoughtful posting in any form.

    Which is the nature of comments surely. The primary motivation to post is usually entertainment in some fashion and many people treat introspective logic and thought and then writing about them as jobs or chores.

    To get what you desire the nature of moderation would have to change from removing disruptive comments to removing comments that do not meaningfully advance the dialogue. Which, needless to say, would be quite problematic on several fronts.

    Not the least being that it would remove the purpose for having comments to start with. Which largely seem to exist purely to allow people to spew forth whatever they will because it drives additional page views and help create a recurring audience for the site.

    Come to think of it, there is another way to achieve your utopia. If the nature of the beast could be changed it might flow the way you desire. If educational systems could find some way of instilling a love of not only having and spouting off opinions, but also a love of rationalizing said opinions and putting that rationalization to paper we might instead inhabit such an internet.
    But good bloody luck with that one.

    • Attic has a point. Though I’m not as cynical about comment sections with meaningful discussion.

      But one can find them. The thing is that they’ll usually be places with low amounts of comments. Once you filter for trolls, spam bots, and meaningful comment you’re usually left with very little. And when that happens you’ll get fewer comments all around. At least that’s my experience :)

      As much as I love discussion I think I’ve learned to find it everywhere. It’s happening simultaneously across many comment sections. Once you bring them altogether the conversation is quite lively.

    • Haha, I’m not looking to create a utopian forum going society.. But one or two places would be good. As doone said there are a lot of those places like this but they just don’t get that sort of traffic and if they do the quality of the discourse gets worse.

      Yeh you are right there, the majority of posts are more just an acknowledgement of opinion. I do think reddit got the idea right with allowing people to rate post and having the page organised by them, it’s not perfect as it doesn’t organise well rated replies to an initial comment but it’s still a good way to do it. I often see the interesting thoughtful posts higher up than not. A couple other sites I visit show the more liked posts first too.

      It’s not perfect to do it that way since its always a popularity contest but I do think a large proportion of people recognise well thought out replies.

      • I recoil in disgust from post rating systems like a vampire from garlic.

        All I’ve ever seen them do is create a massive circle jerk where +1s are exchanged between co-conspirators. Where plenty of perfectly valid posters are ignored because they don’t have enough likes and unpopular people are shut out just because they have the gall to have an opinion that is contrary to someone who is popular.

        Give me forced anonymous posting any day of the week thank you. Maybe with the ability to hide all posts made by a specific user within a certain thread.

      • Haha, yes the system is a bit repulsive. I think reddit had the right idea but fun to the way the profiles are done its become a bit of a circle jerk and often posts focused on getting likes over adding anything important. It has worked decently though and for a site with such a high proportion of traffic it does its job better than the alternative.

        The issue of course in most systems becomes that any comments not conforming with the popular opinion would usually be hidden. I think there is a better system out the… Maybe having the moderators themselves rate posts accordingly as long as they arent completely biased it should work.

      • Which of course is the rub. Forum mod is not a lucrative enough job for most people to really care about what’s being posted and if by chance they DO care you’re more likely to get an small minded little twit with a massive chip on his shoulder.

        For good examples of both, look no further than the official GW2 forums and GW2Guru respectively. Or hell, any corporately run forum vs a fan maintained forum. It’s largely all the same.

      • Indeed, the Gw2 forums are extremely biased but they are a forum specifically centered on that game. Anyone being a moderator obviously has a certain amount of investment in it.

        Aggregate sites would be in a better place, focus is on games in general but your never going to get a completely unbiased system..

  2. I absolutely agree. Most times, when people talk about their right of free speech, they’re not talking about it correctly. The right of free speech essentially means that the government will not come down on you for speaking out against it. That’s it. Ranting and spewing vitriol in forums, comments sections, or out in public is NOT free speech. They can be banned by the website, and depending on how crude or threatening the things they say are, they can be reported to the authorities. And of course, we, as other people, are certainly allowed to judge them for what they say.

    I just take solace in the fact that it may not have come back to bite them yet… but it can, and it will if they keep it up.

    • Yes, because what the world really needs is more people being arrested for Facebook posts. That will make all the difference.

      • If people are stupid enough to brag about illegal activities they do on social media, they deserve to get caught. I have no sympathy for them.

      • I actually have no sympathy for that person at all. Yell that stuff in the street, or phone a public organisation with that and you’ll get much the same response. Why should it being online make it different? What threats do you ignore, as with bomb threats it’s usually the better safe than sorry approach to avoid more tragedy.

        I think it does go to far at times and as a culture we are still working out a lot of moral issues that come with having an online persona. That is a whole other and much bigger issue than this though, I’m more asking for improved moderation rather than policing

      • Sympathy is not on my mind.

        Short story is that I just don’t like the idea of agencies combing the web looking for people to mark as “threatening” just due to offhanded comments. Then arresting and trying them purely for the crime of making said “threat” because that gathering any sort of corroborative evidence and proving that they presented a serious risk of carrying out that “threat” is too fucking expensive.

        All of that horseshit is just secret police by another name. And in the hands of politicians the word “threat” is far too likely to be associated with any number of other words for me to be comfortable. One of my favorites is “subversive.”

      • I don’t think this has anything to do with secret police just yet but although that sort of analysis does bring up certain privacy issues. Hmm although this would have started over someone in his circle reporting the comment to the authorities rather than police actively trolling facebook for hits.

        Also facebook has a range of privacy settings if they wanted the comment to be an in joke between friends but the chose to make it in a public online space

    • I don’t think legislation has really caught up in regards to digital rights but we will see it soon enough.

      The only problem with what is and Is not supported by free speech is that it usually has to be mandated by the government, and they lag behind the opinion of the general public. They also have their own very biased opinions

  3. It’s so perplexing to see people’s inability to accept opinions and definitions of “fun” which differs from their own. That mechanic you hate? Some people love it. You find grinding unfun? Others enjoy it immensely.

    It isn’t restricted to the gaming community too. You see the same thing in politics (the US government is a mess of “I say no because you say yes”). Between fans of different music genres. Electronic brands. It seems to be just a people problem, and it’s really unfortunate. The anonymous nature of the internet just exacerbates it for internet communities.

    Who knows though? Internet anonymity is slowly eroding away. I forgot the specifics, but there was a case where a person made rape threats against a woman (gave dev? Some other profession? I forget). The police were able to track down the tweets and arrest the man for harassment. More and more employers are looking at potential hire’s internet profiles too. What you post on the internet isn’t completely without consequences anymore, and perhaps that will temper people’s urges to rage online.

    On the subject of negative gaming communities though, you should read these articles on Riot’s attempt at cleaning up the community in LoL. It’s a fascinating read.

    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2013/05/using-science-to-reform-toxic-player-behavior-in-league-of-legends/

    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2013/09/league-of-legends-players-with-better-attitudes-are-more-likely-to-win/

    -Ursan

    • Thanks for those articles.. Great read. I’ve looked into riots methods before and it’s an interesting case. One I read recently was that the mentoring? (is that it) system of voting for people who are friendly or help others has actually had a greater effect at changing the negative culture. It might be a case of the two mechanics working together lthough when I was doing psychology u read many behavioural psychology articles about positive influences providing for greater change… It’s how childcare works as well. Of course positive influences and punitive measures together provide for the best result in terms of changing behaviour.

Comments are closed.