Friday, January 13, 2012

Things that are important about the internet.

1: People on the internet blow things way way way out of proportion, in a negative way. They also feed off of one another, which is part and parcel of the first statement. So a minor negative thing will quickly form a sort of feedback loop until people are saying crazy-eyed stuff about "he should be fired!" or "omg I wanted to shoot her!" Somehow, they find this acceptable behavior. Which never ceases to blow my mind.

2: People exaggerate and make false claims to support their tenuous-at-best conclusions. They will claim to know someone else's motivation, reasoning, or thought process, usually in a direction that says the opposite party's actions came out of either malice or dishonesty. Since nobody is a mind-reader, this is a completely invalid misrepresentation that lends no credibility to the argument.

3: People on the internet dearly love to criticize. It's related quite a bit to the aforementioned mob behavior, but it's also because of this. I suspect most of these people would never dream of treating someone so nastily face-to-face, but when you throw in internet anonymity it becomes very easy to say the most hurtful and cutting things, then go merrily about your day feeling very proud of yourself for it. The recipient's just an anonymous internet person, so it doesn't count, right?

4: It's supremely easy to sit back, watch someone's performance, and then mouth off about how you could do better. Especially since you don't have to put your money where your mouth is. (Thank goodness you don't, because you know what? You are very very wrong.)

4a: Related to the above. You will find that the people who sit around and criticize are the ones who do nothing but... well, sit around and criticize. If you are one of those people? Look around at other members of the community who do this either for a living or as a serious community service. Do you see them mouthing off in the way that you are? Nope. You know why? Because those people know firsthand that you are wrong. Also, they are way too busy working their butts off on your behalf.

5: This one is unique to me. My name has four letters in it. It's quite simple. It is also attached to everything I do: It's on my byline of every single thing I write for Massively. It is plastered across the bottom of the Gamebreaker screen multiple times per episode. It is the name of my Twitter account. It is my forum handle *everywhere*. If, in the course of your crusade to let the world know of my failings, you still manage to spell it wrong? You just lost all credibility with me and here is why.

You are screaming about my perceived inadequacies in a situation where I am in a live setting, on camera, in front of over 1,000 people (many of whom are giving real-time feedback that is flashing past out of the corner of my eye in a constant stream), with some strict time constraints and two other hosts who also have things to say, and being called upon to remember every detail of a story that encompasses more than seven years of writing and design. Furthermore, I do not know exactly what I'm going to be called upon to remember or discuss at any given second. Sometimes I do not remember things in their entirety. It doesn't mean I don't know those things, it means my recall is imperfect at that moment, and yours would be too, no matter how wonderful and superior you are up in the peanut gallery. Other times I make a deliberate decision to only skim details of something. In fact, if you are getting all worked up because I did not say enough about something, 99% of the time I made that decision deliberately. It didn't have anything to do with you and it was the correct decision, so move along.

Now. You are pitching a fit because I either a) did not spit out enough details to satisfy you personally or b)did not say something in the way you personally think it should have been said. You get all worked up and indignant and personally offended, thinking it is your civic duty to alert the world to my crimes.

And yet. You consistently misspell a word that only has four letters, that you have obviously seen before and are most likely looking right at. And you rage about my mistakes while you are doing so. To paraphrase, get the log out of your eye, then we'll talk about the splinter in mine. Okay? Okay.

In fact, I'm going to point to this quote: "I’d be working on Asura stuff all day and somebody would walk up to my desk and ask something completely different about some random area of the Shiverpeaks. I’ll stare at them for 3 to 4 minutes with a blank look on my face like “you’re in another world and I need you to back up and tell me more”, because it’s JUST so big and JUST so much."

Do you know who said that? Ree Soesbee. She wrote this stuff. She created it. Are you telling her to get out and make room for a "real" fan? I mean, she's the author of it, she should be able to remember every letter of it on a split-second's notice, right?

To apply #5 to everyone: The person who is yammering on about how awful you are? They're just as awful by their own standards.

So! Keep these things in mind on the internet. At some point, someone is going to appoint themselves judge and jury and decide that it's their Sworn Duty to take you down a notch. Why? Don't know. I assume to make themselves feel important. Who cares? Share this if you like. Hell, print it out and stick it to the wall. (Feel free to delete the parts of #5 that do not apply!) But these are good things to keep in mind.

One final thought: I gave my daughter very good advice in the past, if I do say so myself. I'll give it to you as well. "It's been said that you can learn something from everyone, and I think that's true. Sometimes what you will learn is how not to behave or how not to treat people. Never be the kind of person that people are glad when you are gone."


  1. Virgins will bitch about everything. They're angry about all that sex they're not having and want to take it out on someone. All the more if its a pretty woman. It makes them feel important, relevant. But no one gives a flying flip about them or their hissy fits, and neither should you.

  2. This was an interesting read. I've only had the pleasure of being berated in excruciating detail on the internet once in the past, and that was in a small community in an unknown corner of the web.

    It's good to see that you can and do choose the moral high ground in all of this. I certainly don't know how I would react to so much negativity!

    To quote the internet: "haters gon' hate!" Keep up the good work with GuildCast and Massively! :)

  3. Don't let the negative comments get you down. You do a great job on Guildcast and the Massively podcast.

    I learned about Massively after I saw you and Shawn were on an episode of TWIMMO and I've been an avid reader/listener ever since.

  4. Anonymity effect?

    look! i'm comment as an Anonymous!

    1. please, don't mind my poor grammar.

      (but i'm anonymous! hah!)

  5. I agree with most of this, however, I will put forward the idea that human beings are not "nice people". Never have been, never will be. All that I (and anyone else) can do is hold my own behaviour to a higher standard. If enough of us do the best we can, the internet will get better! (Yes, I know my internal optimist is showing)