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”
"Developers have internalized that abuse is the cost of doing business."https://t.co/mW9i3jOoeJ
— Evan "Scapes" Berman ? PAX South (@Scapes) January 10, 2018