Why developers believe abusive vitriol is the cost of doing business with games

    
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No, it's still not.

When is it appropriate to send verbal abuse to someone you don’t know personally? When is it appropriate to tell someone that you hope they lose their job or suffer significant personal injury? The obvious answer to these questions should all be “never,” and yet a new article by small indie developer Morgan Jaffit points out that in the game industry, dealing with vicious targeted abuse is part of the cost of doing business. Development across the board is dealing with people who feel that there is a point when all of this is appropriate, even if they differ on the circumstances when it’s appropriate.

Needless to say, this has a pretty huge impact on development, and it spills over to related fields. (Is it appropriate to say awful things to a community manager over a feature you don’t like when the community manager is not a developer and had nothing to do with it?) The article cites the omnipresence of social media and the popularity of personalities who “tell it like it is” (read: spew invective and curses at top volume), and it’s the sort of thing that everyone who cares about the future of games should read and consider.

In fact, similar abuse is something we’re subjected to on a regular basis here at Massively Overpowered, despite our obvious status as not being a developer. We’ve included a small selection of appropriate comments from the last couple of weeks just below; these are unedited from our deletions pile and contain some cursing. We also picked out samples that don’t specifically mention games or companies because really, it doesn’t matter which game or company is being discussed – the abuse comes in regardless.

“It’s not a game yet… So fuck off morons! […] So anybody judging this on the playtesting, is a complete idiot! […] (You folks don’t really know much about business huh?) *Jealous much?* MassivelyOP, you folks are idiot’s! OP my ass! Underinformed, opinionated jackholes!”

“Let me rephrase this: You filthy clickbait whores are SCUM living in the ass of publishers. You talentless jealous little hacks can only type shit on the internet have no education and no actual jobs. Fuck you and fuck this trash site”

“Fuck you assholes, I hope your crappy clickbait site flops. Fucking useless hacks! Journalists are worse than cancer”

Source: Medium

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kgptzac

Obviously people as a whole can always use more self-respect and less rudeness, but let’s face it, there’s no way to eradicate assholes.

Also, I see a difference between wishing Electronic Arts to go fuck itself, and tweeting to a specific EA employee and wish them harm. Companies should treat the former as something to suck it up, and the latter should be avoided.

That’s why I don’t quite understand why game developers would make twitter accounts, etc, under their real name, and say I’m the dev of this company etc. It should be part of employee training and corporate policy, and even more so, common sense, to protect the privacy of employees.

To sum it up, game companies absolutely should face the cost of toxicity of Internet. Individual developers, however, should not.

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Rhime

Internet posting isn’t a right nor should it be treated as such. Game companies should hire “hall monitors” who only purpose is to sift through the nasty forum posts and such deleting threads and banning all the douchebags who feel the right to rip into game devs. They could then release the positives (and proper critique) posts to the devs and everyone wins. After all, posts that target people personally aren’t even worth reading anyways…

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kgptzac

They already do that. Some do better than others, but no company let their own forums go full anarchy, and most of such forums are quite heavily censored.

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Dobablo

When make develop my game (which will have all my best ideas and be the most amazing game ever produced while coded entirely by just me in my spare time), anyone that insults me will go on the naughty list and be perma-banned.

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Space Captain Zor

But wait… Where are all the shocking and deleted comments from BalsBigBrother??? Those are the ones we all want to see!

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mysecretid

Oh, B3’s rage is not something you want to see. He regularly comes by my house and beats me with his shoe when Massively posts an article about a game he doesn’t like. He’s such a rage-monster, that guy! Hee hee hee :-D

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A Dad Supreme

My only *valid* criticism is that MassivelyOP doesn’t cover The Division anywhere near it should be considering it’s numbers and player activity level.

When you compare that AAA MMO to what Massively staff usually cover (and play) that aren’t even made yet, made but barely surviving/floundering, and things that barely have 10,000 players or have ever been heard of, it’s a pretty big snub.

That aside, I wouldn’t dare think to abuse the staff or guest writers in the ways posted above just because we have different tastes in video games.

In that spirit, I’m including the ‘re-review’ that Massively SHOULD have done at some point, especially after 1.8, that someone else did fantastically four days ago.

Hopefully, someone there will at least WATCH it so… enjoy!

Tom Clancy’s The Division – The Review (2018)

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mysecretid

Although, Massively has never really done reviews of games. The closest they get are opinion columns.

Cheers,

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connor_jones

Ty, I’m going to take a closer look at this game. You’ve piqued my curiosity. You are correct though in that I’ve not seen a whole lot of stuff from Massively on it.

BTW, love the old Coltrane piece called ‘A Love Supreme’. ;)

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Valen Sinclair

This is the main reason why I don’t play many online/group/mmos anymore. I still play games but found I’ve migrated back to single player games. I just don’t have the stamina or interest in dealing with idiots online. I also am not nearly as involved in the “gaming community” as I used to be. Toxic is an understatement.

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Dobablo

I think it is also a reason for why single-player MMOs are popular.

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Utakata

I am personally glad they didn’t quote something of mine they put into moderation. Not to say it’s anything as bad as that. Just it least gives me an indication I’m still in the Bree’hammer good books. :)

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

I’ve never seen any regulars spout off QUITE like that before. :P Usually the worst you guys ever do is off-topic or feeding the trolls, and I get those urges myself, so no hard feelings!

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Utakata

Well…that’s good to know! <3

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Dobablo

I keep a rant section of my blog where I let spew with all sorts of obscenities. Then once it is perfected instead of publishing I press the delete button. It feels good, I get to put the world to rights, and feel morally superior because I didn’t pollute the internet with my filth.
The only downside is then need to tell people that I deleted my rant so they can know how fantastic I am.

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Castagere Shaikura

I grew up long before people had personal computers. So i respected adults and was taught to be a polite person when dealing with others. So when i’m online even when i run into these people i don’t get really mad. So i have never replied in a personal attack ever. I just quit the group and put these people on ignore right away. I have had heated debates but never get personal. When i say heated i mean i would say i disagree or your wrong and leave so i won’t get pulled into it.

I remember once in LOTRO in a group a guy looted items from boss fights that his character could not use and called him on it. He said it was for his alt. To me this was wrong because it was a item a minstrel could use and i was the minstrel in that group. Never piss off your healer was the lesson they soon learned as the rest of the pug were his friends and stuck up for him. I quit them at the last boss fight. Zoned out as they started the fight.

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connor_jones

Of course online abuse and personal attacks are clearly wrong; by-products of the internet disinhibition effect, but what ever happened to ‘sticks and stones will break my bones…….’?

I forgot, we’re in the age of ‘safe spaces’. Sighs.

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rafael12104

Internalize the abuse as a cost for doing business? Seriously?

So, I use colorful words on occasion. And certainly have occasion with the shenanigans we see from AAAs. But, I steer clear of personal attacks. And while I can lambaste EA, for example, I never go after devs on a one on one basis.

It is an important distinction, that I make because a big companies course is not laid out by devs alone. And more importantly, because crappy decisions by any company does not excuse harassment, and or shaming of any individual.

Abuse is never a cost you must pay for business. And I’m surprised that any dev would shrug it off as such.

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Schmidt.Capela

I don’t thing it’s about shrugging off, but rather accepting that it happens even if you try to fight against the abuse.

Like it or not, given our current society, abuse will happen. We need to fight that abuse and hopefully bring it down, of course, but until that happens, anyone that can’t take that abuse in stride is better advised to stay away from any visible position in this industry.

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rafael12104

I think you are right. Shrugging it off was the wrong turn of phrase. Accepting it, that is what I don’t understand. And I agree abuse is an unfortunate issue these days and various spheres. And it has been ignored for a long time. But maybe things are changing.