Saturday, November 3, 2012

Navi is Declaring Anti Asshat week

People know my stance on bullying tactics and bullying behaviour.  I abhor bullying.
Bullying is repeated verbal, physical, social or psychological behaviour that is harmful and involves the misuse of power by an individual or group towards one or more persons. 

Bullying can involve humiliation, domination, intimidation, victimisation and all forms of harassment including that based on sex, race, disability, homosexuality or transgender. Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved including bystanders.
Internet bullying is also one of the most cowardly, and yet can also be the most damaging. 

Today, a friend of mine, Genowen, a respectable guild leader (my highest alt is a member of her guild), and is also a feisty and strong minded person mind you, was the victim of bullying the other day.  And what was it for?  Because she was being a decent person and raid leader by trying to explain a Sha fight to newcomers in the group.  A PuG tried to rain on that party by saying "You Just DPS - it's not hard" and continued to spam that even when Gen said there were a few people who had asked what to do.  Clearly that person has no idea how the fight goes because if it was just DPS the boss it turns messy and UGLY.

That person was so disruptive that Gen removed them from the group, and that started the torrent of abuse.  This included the c word, using the fact that she was female and had a child that she was somehow a bad parent, as well as whole bunch of other swear words.  Screen captures of the conversations are there on her post for all to see.

Reading what happened to her infuriated me.  I know Gen does not need to be defended, in fact all her actions were mature and admirable.  She did not reply the person with more abuse, she merely stated things to them and then put them on ignore.  She reported it to game masters, and she also tried to approach the officers of the offending guild, to inform them of the bad behaviour of their guildie - and was greeted with similar bad behaviour.  It appeared that the only one who tried to be mature about it all was the guild leader.  Gen ended up calling Blizzard to stop the constant tells of abuse, which was the correct thing to do.

Gen is not someone who would collapse under such a torrent.  She's strong minded - you have to be when you're a guild leader of a raiding guild - and she knows better than to be too affected by this tirade from a disgruntled turdling.  But there are a lot of people out there, more vulnerable and susceptible, whom, when attacked in this manner can result in severe emotional and/or physical distress, or worse, suicide and self harm.  It is for THESE people that we have to stand up for, to help defend against bullying and trolling.

However, no matter what they do or say to you, it is NEVER OK to stoop to their level.  To name call them back.  To troll them with tells or get your friends to.  No matter how angry you are, no matter how much you wish that they would just DIAF it is never right to return fire with fire.

You have to play it smart.

The great thing about being online is that typing takes longer than speaking.  When you open your mouth sometimes the crap comes out in a millisecond and you wish you hadn't said it, but with typing you've got that extra second or 2 before you hit enter.  Use your time wisely.  Speak back politely, WITHOUT swear words, in a calm manner and explain to them that whatever they said was uncalled for or politely disagree as Gen did (Asshat:"Are you that dumb?" Gen:"Look me up on armory and find out").

Typhoon Andrew wrote that it was a shame that more could not be done by Blizzard to ban these individuals, but it's difficult with hearsay.  That's why it's important to document, screenshot and of course, ensure that you yourself are not doing anything of that sort in return.  Like Andrew, I believe in karma and have no doubt that socially inept people who truly think yelling and bullying can get you what you want or gain you personal satisfaction will result in you either stuck in a dead end low paying job for life, or thrashed by someone even bigger and nastier than yourself.

Ironyca sent me an email with links to an article "Dealing with Trolls and other special individuals" from Milady of Hypercriticism, and this paragraph she quoted is the heart of what I am trying to convey:
Players should try to foster a healthy game environment and stop heeding the trolls who will tell them that "this is the internet." No, the internet is you, me, our neighbour. We are part of the problem if we do not engage with it. Silence sadly equals to agreement. I assure you, confronting the trolls on the public spaces does very often yield results in the manner of public support and troll-silencing, but someone has to step up for her beliefs.

What I am afraid of is that people are scared of the bullies and sway towards them - this happened to Stubborn and his wife when they tried to stand up against two idiots, and there was a neutral third person.  He and his wife were kicked from a LFD and he had been very reluctant to queue for any LFDs after that.  Stubborn is someone I know who is fully supportive of the antibullying behaviour and stands up against it, and I am proud to call him my friend.


So for this week especially, I am not going to be silent about any sort of repeated asshattery behaviour.  Not that I ever am - ever since my own incident I always say something when I see people being abusive repeatedly in PuGs or trade.  What I wish everyone could do, or would do, is be that person too.  Don't be silent any longer.  However, be mature and polite, and you never know - you might just influence one person to do the same, who in turn influences another person... and in Navi's perfect world everyone would no longer be the silent bystanders but the active bystander who believes in what is right and not afraid to say it.

But it all starts with a small move.  Rome wasn't built in one day.

Edit: Sal pointed out this Daily Blink (Mean People Suck) to me which is exactly what we should all do!

19 comments:

  1. I must admit I tend to stay quiet too often, a habit I'm trying to break. Especially in PvE, I have no issue in calling out half my team in PvP but somehow put me in a dungeon and I get shy.

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    1. A lot of wow players are shy - online games of anonymity are also places where shy people can thrive, as well as the trolls. And I can understand if you don't want drama so it's easier to stay quiet. But you can always whisper the victim showing you support them - even that can help make someone feel a whole lot better :)

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  2. I've been on both sides of the argument - both the stay quiet and the make noise sides. I'm not saying that I'd ever troll - it's not in my nature and the only time I speak up in any sort of insult is when I feel a friend has been unreasonably attacked (i.e., they didn't start it). Even if it comes at me, I'm not usually inclined to push back - it's not worth the breath.

    But I think that the anonymity of the internet, even when there's a screen name attached to the offending issue, is a big cause of the problem with the way online players treat one another. WoW is bad - XBox Live is worse. If you want to see an example of some really bad ways to treat your fellow gamer, just play Call of Duty on XBox Live.

    I will say, though, that it seems to be more prevalent in games of competition - PvP games - than in cooperative games like WoW raiding. The LFD/LFR device, while it allows people to raid more often and easily, it promotes the problem to a certain extent, as one can reasonably say "I'm never going to group with these people again, so I can do whatever I want to," and perhaps be closer to the truth. Paid name changes, server transfers, and the likes also lessen the effects of notoriety in these games.

    I remember hearing about why EverQuest high-end raid guilds seemed to run more efficiently than a lot of other MMO raid guilds, despite having access to less tools than there are in the MMOs of today. A lot of it stemmed from the fact that many of the high-end guilds talked to each other, and were relatively professional about how they ran their organizations, and as such, if one had a bad reputation from one of these guilds, then they were pretty much blacklisted for a lot of those guilds. With it being difficult to change servers (at the time it was extremely expensive), and no name-change mechanism, people worked much harder to protect their reputations and played together better. It's part of the reason why that game hosted and had successful 72-man raids with no voice communication, and our current games can have trouble running 8 or 10 man content with voice communication.

    These are cooperative games where people don't worry about relationships. There are just too many opportunities out there - and cross-server and random finders add to this problem - for those that don't care about playing nice to NEED to play nice. They can be jerks to random people and still get things done, as there are always other guilds/groups/raids to join.

    It's sad.

    I personally do my best not to make waves - but if you attack a friend of mine...

    My 2 yen,

    Akiosama

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    1. I think it's admirable and honourable to stick up for your friends - most of us will do that too! I just want to try to help everyone, those out there who don't have the benefit of having friends - who is going to stick up for them?

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  3. As I said when we talked about this, a great post here. You know very well I concur with much of what you've said (even if I draw my verbal sword on occasion).

    Honestly, this just further enhances my belief that the following is entirely true (NSFW):

    http://ramblingfish.com/__oneclick_uploads/2008/09/20040319h.jpg

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    1. Heh. That pic is so true. I try not to draw my sword, but I will pull out my shield!

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  4. Hi there, Navi!

    Great post, and great initiative. From that post of mine, you'll already know that I believe that there is a need for active positioning in the face of the obnoxious communities that some internet corners sprout.

    I think that the reason why some people advocate for silence, apart from the obvious comfort of neutrality, is that they cannot see individual skirmishes as collective victories, since the Internet is too titanic in size to put a dent on it. In that regard, they may be right: my vote against a million is minute (not to mention the fact that whomever you vote, banks will remain unshakable). I would advise them to consider that each victory is its own, and that if you have stood today against cunt-calling or rape-joking, that person and every observant of your action would have received a message: "Oh, this is not as globally accepted as I thought it was." It will probably not change their behaviour overnight, but it will establish a precedent. In time, nobody would take rape jokes as normative game vocabulary. That is just one example of the many things that we can influence upon, collectively.

    All the best,

    Milady

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    1. Oh my thank you for visiting! Your article was a great read and I am honoured you dropped by. I admire that you believe as I do, that every victory, no matter how small, will add up to one big victory overall.

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  5. I agree with you, conceptually. The problem is that we have only one power-lever in this debate: our subscriptions. I've no doubt that Blizzard did the math and decided that pandering to the trolls earned more money than wielding the ban-hammer. Engaging with the troll in /2, or responding in any way, provides the attention that they crave. In those shallow, toxic minds a thousand people screaming for them to be silent is a victory. I'd rather be positive about this and find a way to create change but I just don't see it unless the relationship with Blizzard is somehow altered to place more power with the players. Good luck with that one...

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    1. Rimecat, thank you for visiting :) And I, like you, believe Blizzard won't do much because they don't want to lose their subs. Does it mean that asshats outnumber the decent people? I am not sure if that is true.

      However, I can see your point of view about just ignoring them. But, I also believe that being silent is also harmful - think of when you are walking in the street and someone is bashing someone else. Do we stop and help the victim? Or do we walk past pretending we didn't see so that we don't become the next victim? If you were the one being beaten up on, what do you wish was done? Replying a troll in a calm way without yelling back, is hard to do. A clear calm statement may seem weak, but it may make you look like the level headed decent person, and hopefully garner support for your cause, because I believe there are enough decent people out there who want to make a difference.

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    2. But that's exactly my point. If I run across this situation in real life I'm not going to let it turn into another Kitty Genovese tragedy. But in real life I'm empowered to do something, even if the only option I have is to hit 911 on my cell phone. In game I only have the options to engage the troll in chat, which is what he wants, or to report to the GM, which has been proven (repeatedly) to be pointless.

      We are dealing with a subspecies, basically the devolution of what used to be called the 'class clown' when I was in school. They want attention, any attention, and the more they get the happier they are. Lacking the ability to actually apply sanctions the only way I've found to fight them is to add them to /ignore. It's not a good solution, I'll be the first to admit it, but it's the only one I've found that doesn't play to the troll. If Blizzard gave us some actual tools I'd be all for it - but I also don't see it happening.

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  6. Nav you're just awesome, and you know how much I appreciate your support <3. I was very overwhelmed by your public display of support, as well as Typhoon Andrew's.

    In response to some of the comments here, I had a very long and hard think about posting publicly on the topic, and even had a chat with some fellow blogger friends about the 'etiquette' involved. The conclusion I came to was that even if potentially these asshats would 'get off' on a reaction, getting the issue out there and demonstrating how low some segments of the WoW community have stooped given their anonymity was more important. Hell, it's not like the abuse could get any worse, is it?

    I did find out one interesting thing though - apparently EU players have a 'report harassment' option, which we US players don't, and the Blizzard guy I spoke to on the phone was surprised when I said that option didn't exist. Pretty piss poor on Blizzards' part in my opinion to provide a tool to one half of the world, and then send smarmy automated GM responses to tickets about harassment to the other half. They also need to give us more tools to ignore an entire account across all of our characters - with the way they've made alts of mains public (and wow progress displays it even if you turn the option off in-game) it makes it too easy for harassment to continue.

    It does make me feel better to see that so many people don't accept this behaviour - I think the 'younger demographic' that is filtering into the game has alot to do with the loss of server community.

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    1. <3 Gen and how can I not support my guild leader? :)
      More tools and more bans would be useful (and you're right, banning an account rather than many names would be a better option) and I think that there are a lot of people out there who believe as we do, but are afraid to speak up. Hopefully if we speak up, then they will too.

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  7. Hi Navi!

    As many have said before great post and a great initiative! I support you fully, I'd just like to add that while I think that whispering other people is a great way of showing support (I do it a lot), it still does not adress the root cause of the probem: The offender himself. The offender will get no feedback on his actions if you don't stand up in the public chat. More likely he will think he has "won" and continues with his behaviour and enjoys his power trip. If we really want to make a change we need to raise our voices in the party/raid/trade chat etc. When these instances happen so that we can show to everybody that we do not tolerate verbal abuse and such.

    Best of luck with your initiative!

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    1. Roguekish thank you for visiting my blog :) True, whispering does not address the root of the problem, but for those who want to try to show support but are afraid to, this is one way to show support - every small step helps I think, and the victim will feel a lot better and thank you for it! I wish everyone could try to speak up, and I'm hoping that people will try to for this week, and find that it's actually not that hard to do, and can get good results, and then continue to be on the antiasshat campaign and win more people in the future :)

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  8. Hey Navi.

    We talked about this on Girls Gone Wow today... and it lead to a serious discussion. The more of us that talk about this on our blogs, on the forums, and in our guilds, the more other people will feel free to speak up when asshats come about. This problem has a solution, and it's us.

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    1. I've finally finished listening to it! You guys were brilliant and thanks for mentioning my initiative and I hope that more people will join in - gosh I'd be so stoked if I was in my next BG or LFR and saw people standing up against asshats. <3 you Sal you're awesome!

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  9. "Typhoon Andrew wrote that it was a shame that more could not be done by Blizzard to ban these individuals, but it's difficult with hearsay. That's why it's important to document, screenshot "

    Just wanted to point out that Blizzard has records of every conversation in-game and a game log of all actions performed by parties. This is why they are able to give support when a scam takes place or when a PUG raid leader decides to ninja the loot but had stated the loot rules in raid chat previously. No need to screenshot if it's just for Blizzard reporting--they have their own records.

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    1. Hi Ellie! Thank you for visiting!
      If Blizzard keeps records of all those conversations it's great! But, the screenshots are good for your OWN proof. If someone denies it then you always have proof of their idiocy, and linking the screenshots so everyone can see what an unclassy person the troll is, will hopefully have the effect that we desire.

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