Register to post in forums, or Log in to your existing account
 

Post new topic  Reply to topic     Home » Forums » Zugg's Blog
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 7:32 pm   

So much negativity...can't we all just get along?
 
Is the anonymous nature of the Internet making society more negative? Or is society getting more negative and this just gets reflected on the Internet? Or has it always been like this?

I know that "flame wars" are nothing new. But several things have happened recently that just make me wonder why everyone is *so* negative in forums across the Internet these days.

In my first specific case, I had posted a technical question to the Delphi newsgroups. I got a few useful responses. But then one guy posts:
"Delphi is not the problem. The problem is with people who don't know proper programming methodology." Why does someone post something like that? This isn't an open public newsgroup. You actually need to be a registered member of the Code Gears Developer Network to post to their newsgroups. So this is some other Delphi Developer who took the time to post an insult? Why? Just to feel superior? Because he thinks that just because he has never personally run into a problem that the problem doesn't exist?

It's like people who post a problem they are having with some software and get a response like "It works fine for me, so obviously you are too dumb to use a computer". I try never to say something insulting like that to anyone who has a problem with my software. Even if it "works for me", I don't call anyone "stupid" because they are having a problem.

As a fan of all fantasy and sci-fi books, movies, games, etc, I've been following the recent Warhammer Online beta testing reports. The forums are full of "Warhammer is going to KILL WoW", or "Warhammer sucks because it's just the same as WoW", or "Therefore WoW must suck because it's just like EQ". Not only are most of the posts either blatant lies, misinformation, or just exaggeration, the point is that they are all negative!

Why does one game need to "kill" another? Can't both games be successful. I have hundreds and hundreds of books on my shelves. Just because I like Harry Potter books doesn't make my Tom Clancy books any less interesting. I like *all* of my books. Same with movies. I like Star Wars *AND* Star Trek (blasphemy, I know). Why have we become such a negative Win vs Lose culture?

First people whine that WoW is horrible and boring (millions of subscribers not withstanding). They whine that every new game is just more of the same, and yet seem to ignore the other many games that *are* different (EvE for example). Then when a new game comes out, they just bash it and suddenly WoW is the greatest game ever again.

If you post something good about a new game, you are called a "fanboi". If you post something negative you are called a "troll". We can't have a mature discussions of pros and cons because everything turns into a flame-war. Because obviously "I" am always right and "you" are always wrong.

Is it just because "on the Internet, nobody knows you are a dog", or is it something more inherent in human nature. Are we just a world of Win/Lose instead of Win/Win? Is it getting worse? Do younger people who grow up with the Internet think that this kind of negative communication is the proper way to interact with other people even outside of the Internet?

Most people I meet in-person would never act like this. So I'm hoping that it's not spreading from the Internet into real-life. I keep hoping that everyone online will stop a moment before posting to remember that there are real people on the other end of their post/email. I'll just keep hoping for the best...but sometimes I fear the worst.
Reply with quote
shalimar
GURU


Joined: 04 Aug 2002
Posts: 3515
Location: Pensacola, FL, USA

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 7:45 pm   
 
I don't think that they actually ARE more negative. But the anonymity does open people up to more fully express themselves (usually negatively) without fear of repercussion. It is that same fear which causes many people to hold their tongues when face to face.
_________________
Windows 10 Home Premium 64-bit
AMD Phenom II x6 1055T 2.8GHz 16GB
CMUD Pro v3.34
Reply with quote
eclpmb
Novice


Joined: 29 Feb 2004
Posts: 36
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:05 pm   
 
Well as Penny Arcade so well put it - http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19/

I try to be as nice online as in person, but it is easier to let slip your temper.
Reply with quote
Tech
GURU


Joined: 18 Oct 2000
Posts: 2733
Location: Atlanta, USA

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:23 pm   
 
The anonymity is key. But it's not the anonymity of the poster that matters. We are less inhibited when we think they can be no tangible repercussions to our actions. And how can they be if we are unknown. There would be no way directly negatively impact us. An the likelihood of everyone being affected to reprimand me, or any entity being able to do is very unlikely. It would be the equivalent of shutting all of the Zuggsoft forums because there was a negative poster.

The other, and I believe often looked component, is the anonymity of whoever we are responding. The anonymity makes them abstract and easy to dehumanize and objectify without being objective. Instead we can extrapolate very little information to fit the broad strokes of preconceived notions. And if we disagree with their opinions, the likelihood of that preconception being positive is unlikely. It's this process that is responsible for most of man (in the sense of the species) most heinous actions including the holocaust, slavery, genocides, bigotry etc.

We are social creatures and the more limited our social interactions the easier it is to consider it apart from us; for the more we know a person the more we can recognize the similarities between then and ourselves.. Facial recognition is among the most power component of our cognitive abilities and social interactions. If we can not put a face to something, the hard it is to internalize it, the easier it is to set it apart. These conditions are not insurmountable but, with the anonymity of the internet and so few repercussions, there is little reason to try.

The internet allows for one of the worlds biggest social experiment there is and there is no one to control it. Therefore we see the best and worst of man.

Ask yourselves this and the answer may surprise you What is the worst thing you'd try, if you knew you could be assured there would no repercussion; if it would truly be a victimless crime.
_________________
Asati di tempari!
Reply with quote
MattLofton
GURU


Joined: 23 Dec 2000
Posts: 4834
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 1:33 am   
 
It's not really anonymity so much as indifference weighed against the relationships you have with the site. Who cares if you get in trouble or offend someone if nobody can reach out and deal with you about it?

For example, on a forum about cats and dogs, there's little reason to announce his status as owner of the #1 third-party gaming client and other Zuggsoft products. Not only is that way off-topic and probably inviolation of solicitation policies, but dog/cat-lovers aren't necessarily MMO players. Unless Zugg was known there for some serious dog/cat stuff (breeding, etc) or for being the husband of such, there's little reason outside of personal philosophy for him to pull punches.

However, on Zuggsoft.com, he's a celebrity and the owner and can't get away with anything without somehow affecting his livelihood. While one day this could be theoretically moot, he's got his future to think about.
_________________
EDIT: I didn't like my old signature
Reply with quote
Rorso
Wizard


Joined: 14 Oct 2000
Posts: 1368

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 6:48 am   Re: So much negativity...can't we all just get along?
 
Zugg wrote:

In my first specific case, I had posted a technical question to the Delphi newsgroups. I got a few useful responses. But then one guy posts:
"Delphi is not the problem. The problem is with people who don't know proper programming methodology." Why does someone post something like that?

It might also be somewhat of a cultural(or matter of style?) problem. Where I live we very rarely use titles on people in common speech or even in writing. Using last names to refer to a person is usually done as a last resort if people don't understand who you talk about from the first name. I talked with a friend on MSN that is from another country about it. He was absolutely horrified at my amazing rudeness. Apparently where he live using titles is very important.

Another example of this is actually written in Richard Bartle's blog. Was it an act of rudeness? Would it be seen as rude in different groups/countries?

I think it is similar when people say that "SomeMMRPG will kill WOW!". The word "kill" might actually be used with another meaning than the usual one. Perhaps you could equally say something along "SomeMMRPG will be much better than WOW!". The sad truth though is that the word "kill" might pretty well describe a deeper issue in virtual worlds. There have been mmrpgs that have closed down because they weren't popular enough. Unlike the MUD community the commercial MMRPGs seem to mainly remain online as long as they yield profit. Eventually the company decide to take its toys and walk away, leaving the players in the cold with a useless DVD disc. The game was online so you certainly lose it if it shutdown. A book you can usually keep while the MMRPG client becomes something unusable. This is something scary with online "services", and I think we all have seen the impact of a MUD closing down. All areas and content lost, possibly forever.

There are a lot of people online that are very rude and often mean. Luckily there are a lot of people that are not rude and those are the people you keep contact with. There is always rude people in any community. In some communities there's more rude people than others. I have realized that in order to get anything positive done you have to ignore such people, or slowly work to get them to see your view on things.
Reply with quote
Larkin
Wizard


Joined: 25 Mar 2003
Posts: 1113
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 1:45 pm   
 
I agree that there is far too much negativity online, and it seems to stem solely from the anonymity the Internet allows us. YouTube comments are an excellent example of angry (and oftentimes stupid) people venting for no real reason at all.

Personally, I'm a much nicer, more helpful person online than in person. Smile
Reply with quote
bortaS
Magician


Joined: 10 Oct 2000
Posts: 320
Location: Springville, UT

PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:03 am   
 
Technology attracts people with less than perfect social skills. A good number of people in technology fields show signs of autistic behavior. I know that I have a high functioning Asperger's Syndrome. The lower functioning autistic people show distinct signs of active anti-social behavior.

Once you get outside of technical discussion, you see a different sort of dynamic. It's mostly a social slugfest and has a different tone. It's mostly about the medium and its founding premises. I've found very few mediums to be of cooperative nature, and pleasant to be in.
_________________
bortaS
~~ Crusty Klingon Programmer ~~
Reply with quote
Banteel
Beginner


Joined: 26 Oct 2000
Posts: 22
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:19 pm   
 
To rehash some of what has already been said, before I make my main point. I agree, the Internet has no face and makes it easier to dehumanize the person on the other end. It makes it easier to be nagative towards another person with no recourse except haveing to read the reply post that follows.

My point; IMO we are inherently competitive beings. It shows in our cultural pasts. Cave men competed against one another for food. Tribes men competed against one another building the Pyramids. Countries competed against one another to reach space and put the first man on the Moon. We have always exhibited the wants, needs or urges to compete against each other.
If you're a believer of Darwinism, it is because of our survival needs to be the fittest in our environments.
If you're a believer of Archeology, the 10th planet and the written works of Zecharia Sitchin (like I am), it is because the Enki, Annunaki came to Earth, 100s of thousands of years ago, to mine mainly Gold and a few other minerals and metals, to save their depleteing Ozone (similar to what our own planet is currently experiencing) by atomizing it in their atmosphere. After the Dinosours were all gone they noticed a nifty semi-bipedal mammal walking around and edited it's DNA code to resemble their own (as in, In God's Image). To make a long story short, their purpose for doing this was to make a slave species that would mine the gold and the minerals for them. This may sound far fetched for you to accept, but if you are like I and have looked into the UFO phenomena, you would understand that the species named the Greys are also created by the Annunaki and they were created long before us. It is no suprise to me that the UFOs often gather in groups in the sky and perform geometrical competitions between one another.
If you're a believer in Science, it is because we tend to form a rough exterior personality due to the extreme amounts of seemingly random events that we must deal with in a day to day basis in order to survive. Sometimes we see things in a negative way and in return to respond to people in negative ways. Or perhaps certain people have a chemical imbalance and are not regulated by good judgment, self control and self preservation.

The Internet definately adds a certain amount of anonymity to the negativity being projected. In the end it is faceless agression which is the worst kind because you can't see the persons reactions to your words, if it were real life the person could be crying, perhaps people don't cry in online flame-wars but the point is made, people get hurt and they have to resort to replying to the post in order to fend off the negative person.

The Internet is NOT a negative thing or place. It is the negative attitude and personality of the person useing the internet that makes others they come in contact with feel negative. Again, IMO it is Not the internet that causes the negative things. I understand your post Zugg, you are right to question them and ask why are they negative.
_________________
Banteel
----------------------------------
"Live long and keep Mudding".
----------------------------------
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:39 pm   
 
Quote:
What is the worst thing you'd try, if you knew you could be assured there would no repercussion

That's an interesting question. I'm probably a bit weird because I am really a "lawful-good" person (as in the definition from the old pen&paper D&D games). In fact, I always seem to play a Paladin character in D&D and other RPG games. We are currently finishing a 5-year D&D campaign (we are the world's slowest gamers) where I play a Paladin, and when starting to work on our upcoming new 4th edition campaign, I am actually going to try and shock everyone by playing a rogue instead. But it isn't something I have done in over 20 years of gaming.

But even in online games where you can be anybody that you want, I just never play any "evil" characters. I just don't have fun with it. Somehow I can't even "let go" and roleplay somebody completely different online, even when there are no consequences.

Maybe deep down inside I just don't believe that there are never consequences. For example, I'm one of those people who actually gets caught for speeding 10 MPH over the speed limit (even as other drivers pass me going even faster). I think it's just the way I was brought up. But even Chiara could attest to my lawful-goodness in real life. So this probably makes the negativity on the Internet effect me even more than some people.

I agree with everyone that I think anonymity is the key. Or at least the appearance of anonymity. Many times a post or email isn't as anonymous as some people might think, so maybe I know too much about the technology to be comfortable with that. I always figure that someone could piece together the IP address and figure out who I really am. So I don't feel very anonymous most of the time.

And while people might not cry over a flame-war, I know that a really vile and abusive email message has ruined my whole day in the past. It's happened to Chiara too. So even after doing this for over 10 years and seeing thousands and thousands of emails, they can still have a very bad effect sometimes.

One other example that I thought about this morning:
In my former job as a manager, we would have these yearly performance reviews where my employees could fill out a survey and also add written comments. Now I normally thought I had a really good relationship with most of my employees. But during these performance reviews, which were filled out anonymously, I'd get blasted! Some of the comments were so strongly negative that I couldn't imagine anyone I actually new in my group would ever think such things. It was a very depressing eye-opener for me. And ultimately it was one of the reasons I left that job and formed my own business without any employees. I just couldn't deal with being a boss that some people hated that much. But I had never gotten any hint or clue about this unhappiness before it because anonymous.

As far as the win vs lose in the MMORPG world, Rorso has a good point that an inferior game can actually fail and go away, unlike a bad movie or bad book. It also occurred to me that some people might just be worried or upset that all of the time and work they have put into a game might be rendered moot if a new game "wins". For example, imagine a WoW guild that dissolves because people start playing Warhammer instead. If you have spent the last 3 years of your life raiding with that group to get uber gear, you might be upset if that guild goes away, or if there are less people to raid with. It's easy to get very emotionally attached to online characters, and when a new game comes along, it might be hard to let go of the older game. I saw something similar with die-hard EQ players when WoW first came out.

I'm probably also weird in that I think I have MMO-ADD. I can't just play one game...I have to play them all. I just love trying new games. I never get really serious about any of them. I've only gotten one character in WoW to level 70, and I've never raided. I don't pay subscriptions for more than a couple of games at a time. I never did get a subscription for Age of Conan, for example. Right now I only have subscriptions to WoW and EvE. But I still love to try new games, especially MMOs. I'm not very invested in any of my online characters. For people who *are* really invested in their characters, any kind of change will be met with resistance.
Reply with quote
Rainchild
Wizard


Joined: 10 Oct 2000
Posts: 1551
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 11:46 pm   
 
Quote:
I am actually going to try and shock everyone by playing a rogue instead.


You should take this one step further and cross the gender barrier too! There's nothing quite like a tempestuous, half-insane, thieving, red-headed elfin lass with the obligitory large, innocent eyes to really stir things up... Twisted Evil

On-topic... I dunno about in the USA but down here it's been in the news that kids have been bullying via email and text message. I think it's just human nature -- I mean bullying has always been around, and this is just an extension of it. Probably the "nerds" who get bullied at school, jump online (after all, what "jock" is going to use a computer) and continue the cycle in an environment that they can win by intellect rather than physical strength. That said, a lot of posts these days don't carry a lot of intellect. Back in the day I certainly spouted some real fanboitastic crap in the war of Atari vs Amiga. Nowdays I'm usually fairly well behaved (having aged somewhat), but I will bait a few trolls from time to time... it can be fun, after all.
Reply with quote
MattLofton
GURU


Joined: 23 Dec 2000
Posts: 4834
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:09 am   
 
http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/news.aspx?id=20245

Up here in Missouri we have Lori Drew. She being charged with computer fraud in LA, for her part in setting up a fake MySpace account used to harass a 13-year-old neighbor and ultimately causing the girl to commit suicide.
_________________
EDIT: I didn't like my old signature
Reply with quote
Rorso
Wizard


Joined: 14 Oct 2000
Posts: 1368

PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:39 am   
 
I can tell something that happened in the MUD I play. There was this roleplayer that played a pretty evil character. The roleplayer posted an amazingly rude message to another character on a board IC. That other player apparently took great offense, not realizing this was a roleplayed message, so when he finally got builder access on another character he made himself a super weapon to level fast enough to be able to beat up the roleplayer that had offended him. Of course he was found out and the levels were removed.

I suspect flames started by misunderstandings are very common.
Reply with quote
Tech
GURU


Joined: 18 Oct 2000
Posts: 2733
Location: Atlanta, USA

PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:26 pm   
 
Zugg wrote:
Quote:
What is the worst thing you'd try, if you knew you could be assured there would no repercussion

That's an interesting question. I'm probably a bit weird because I am really a "lawful-good" person (as in the definition from the old pen&paper D&D games). In fact, I always seem to play a Paladin character in D&D and other RPG games. We are currently finishing a 5-year D&D campaign (we are the world's slowest gamers) where I play a Paladin, and when starting to work on our upcoming new 4th edition campaign, I am actually going to try and shock everyone by playing a rogue instead. But it isn't something I have done in over 20 years of gaming.

But even in online games where you can be anybody that you want, I just never play any "evil" characters. I just don't have fun with it. Somehow I can't even "let go" and roleplay somebody completely different online, even when there are no consequences.

Maybe deep down inside I just don't believe that there are never consequences. For example, I'm one of those people who actually gets caught for speeding 10 MPH over the speed limit (even as other drivers pass me going even faster). I think it's just the way I was brought up. But even Chiara could attest to my lawful-goodness in real life. So this probably makes the negativity on the Internet effect me even more than some people.


I'm actually very much like that as well. If I was a D&D character I would definitely Lawful... I typically choose Lawful Neutral to have some leeway but in game and in real life I behave Lawful Good. I just wonder about the dark side of humanity because it is evident. I'd never try it myself. I've made three attempts at playing a truly evil character in Fable: The Lost Chapter, but I haven't been able to yet. I beat the game now so I may try once more to be evil. But I doubt that I have it in me but I do wonder what if.

Something just occurred to me, in terms responding to anonymous. Forum IDs are essentially anonymous (IP tracking not withstanding). The are just variable, not very different from variable X in algebra. However, it does give something to identify too. Our first encounter with a mnemonic is typically equivalent to that of an anonymous. Granted some folks do respond slightly better to a thing they can name, than one they can't even if they are unfamiliar without. As time goes and we encounter the mnemonic more often, we know as much about the 'true' identity of the person, but our familiarity increases the llikelihood we treat them as we do someone we know in real life. When someone posts with the 'anonymous' mnemonic we don't know if it's a new person, someone we've seen once or a dozen times before so we always treat with default response to the unfamiliar. Sadly for some, it is to attack.

I keep hoping that there will be those that stand against the tide of negativity and make the internet a tolerable place. I guess it's like a new frontier, think the Wild West in 1800's. There's little oversight and repercussion so some folks will behave lawlessly. Even though will always negative pockets, eventually (hopefully) civility will be the prevailing force.
_________________
Asati di tempari!
Reply with quote
oldguy2
Wizard


Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 1201

PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 11:06 am   
 
I hate to drudge up an old post, but I thought I would add my two cents here. I'm pretty much exactly like you Zugg. I'm always the lawful-good type in real life and when I play games I always seem to be a paladin. I have been in public service most of my life and worked in law enforcement.

I would like to state where I first agree with the comments being made. Much of the negativity is most certainly because the Internet has removed the human experience of social communication. One of the primary factors in how we communicate with each other is through body language. Computers on the other hand are cold calculating machines and nothing more. They cannot convey emotion. One cannot see how a comment may affect another or the expression on the face of the one making the comment.

However, I personally think the problem is much worse than people think. Sure there are some individuals that have always acted in this manner. Believe me I have pretty much seen them all, been called every name in the book, and heard just about every thing. Yet in the games I have played there is something that deeply disturbs me and that is how it is affecting our youth. They live and breathe in cyberspace these days and this is how they are learning to communicate. While playing these games the more mature players usually seem to end up leaving because of it. Take the IRE games for example and read the forums of games like Achaea. Almost every thread is a perfect example of this topic. Not only do many of those players behave in this cold and uncaring manner, they actually take pleasure in it. They feel it makes them popular and wanted or allows them to fit in amongst their peers. Now some may disagree, but anyone with a decent moral standard would not take part in the first place or even condone it. It's much like young teenage boys, or girls these days, who are inducted into gang life. Every human being makes a conscious choice on how they talk to or treat someone else, but how they make that choice is mostly represented by their core values and beliefs. When you don't have those...well you can see the results. With the Internet, everything is wide open to these kids. Nothing is hidden and nothing is refrained from, unless of course the parents actually care to see what their children are up to. I've spoken to many of them. I've listened to their discussions. Quite frankly it disgusts me and the fact that I do care, is precisely why it bothers me.

I could go on with a thousand other examples I suppose, but there is no point. Just know you are not the only one bothered by it and other people do notice the same trend.
Reply with quote
seamer
Magician


Joined: 26 Feb 2001
Posts: 358
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 4:56 am   
 
The negative naysayers get more attention than the positive posters who are only percieved as posting to "kiss butt".

Next time you see a flamewar, keep that in mind as you note how many positive posts mention the site owner as if they were a personal friend instead of using a fact-based framework.
_________________
Active contributer to coffeemud.net, the advanced java-based mud system.
Reply with quote
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic     Home » Forums » Zugg's Blog All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
© 2009 Zugg Software. Hosted on Wolfpaw.net