Sierra Wyndsong (sierrawyndsong) wrote,
Sierra Wyndsong
sierrawyndsong

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I Took A Long Walk Off A Short-Sighted Peer

It's not a misspelling. It has become fashionable in certain media areas for people to form friendship and then toss them aside rather quickly. I think the hazard of striking friendships in online environments, for some, is that some people consider the relationships to be disposable.

As though there is no depth to be found there.

One of my oldest and dearest friends, and who also was a groomsman in our wedding, we met online on the game that my husband and I play. So, let me assure you, a friendship is always what you make of it. But it is understandable that people would have the perceived luxury of tossing people aside. Admittedly, there are some people who are never honest from the get-go and so the friendship is ultimately doomed to failure because the most basic cornerstone of trust has been breached.

I am mainly writing this after spending a lot of time on Facebook. Daily, I am reminded of a situation that happened on the game we play a number of years ago. Basically, in a nutshell, some real life friends refused to help me acquire an item within the game. Their argument was that I wasn't a "real" or serious gamer. And therefore, I didn't deserve the item. Hubby ended up acquiring the item later. The lesson there was that people who were supposed to be my real life friends had just chosen a game over their friend. And it was based on their perception of me as what they considered to be a weak player. It didn't matter that they often called on me to help them on item hunts. *ahem*

At the time that the situation had occurred, I had been playing on the game for a few years and was even an admin on the game. It really hurt. Part of the hurt was the realization that, on a certain level, my friends didn't respect me. It was rather eye-opening about the perceptions  of people. Since that time, I have come across a few other situations that pinpoint the lack of appreciation of relationships among people, either close to me or just in watching other people.

Part of the situation with the Facebook games though, is that too many people are interested in trying to force their opinions on one another. And I have actually seen where people are self-entitled enough to rudely try to force people to change the way they handle their Facebook account to meet the requester's satisfaction. Personally, how I handle my own online area is for me to decide. And quite frankly, I certainly don't mind if someone politely expresses a concern over something. But getting rude and nasty is just completely unacceptable.

I highly doubt these same people would just openly and aggressively question someone's choices in real life. At any rate, I don't see many people stopping their vehicles and going into people's yards to criticize their choice of paint color, flower planting or the existence of a shirt on their husband's back while he is mowing the lawn.

And the same people who argue that spamming feeds and posts with profanity is considered freedom of speech would probably pitch a fit if the cashier at the local Wal-Mart told them to "shut the fuck up, and swipe your card right, bitch! And have a nice fucking day!"  I mean, the cashier has freedom of speech, right? 

Just because you are operating in an online environment that proffers a certain level of anonymity, does not mean that all reason and appropriate behavior should fly out the window. You should still conduct yourself in a reasonable fashion.

Courtesy and respect never go out of style.

I didn't stop being friends with those people so many years ago. But clearly our relationship changed. It's kind of difficult to hold a conversation with someone when you feel slighted by them. There is always the hesitation. Hesitation is a conversation-killer. Pause at the wrong moment, and you have made a statement, whether intentional or not. And after the game situation, there were just too many uncomfortable silences. After a while, it is hard to engage at all.

I find the gaming environments supported by Facebook to be really a harem of hate. Seriously. People get extremely nasty on there. I just dealt with a person who stalked me from Facebook after I had blocked her to my message board within the Sorority Life environment to confront me and continue to sling insults at me. Now, this person took the game way too seriously and decided to believe that I actively lied to her about something. I did not.

But that is how people conduct themselves there. Some find it extremely difficult to separate real life from the gaming environment. A gaming environment is not real. No matter how much personal information you might choose to share within the framework of the gaming environment, it isn't real. Now, you can certainly endeavor to strike real friendships there. But the characters within the game and the action choices are strictly a part of how someone is attempting to modify their character for the win. 

If anyone plays Sorority Life, then you are probably aware of the controversial situation involving the slap feature. I have done some research on the situation. Basically, in a nutshell, the largest argument seems to be that people equate "slapping" with domestic violence. They have done this because back int he fall, some well-meaning people decided to call a "cease slap" for the day to honor some Domestic Violence recognition day. When a certain group failed to honor the requests, it has become a personal issue.

First of all, as a former crime reporter, I assure you that domestic violence isn't all "slapping" -- there are often many bruises and bloody noses. Slaps don't leave bruises. 

Secondly, there is no room in a gaming environment for that kind of aggrandizing horse-shit. Especially in a Player Kill format game. All that does is set people up to be pissed off on a personal level. That is all that something like that request does. And it is capricious to examine the severity of domestic violence in such a way. 

Otherwise, why isn't the attack feature just as much of a concern? Because one particular person took personal umbrage at the slap feature and lead the campaign. And the craziness has followed after. It is ridiculous. If you are a good gamer, in whatever game you choose to exert yourself, then one particular feature of said game should never derail you to the point of personal outrage and nasty insults.

All that said. I play the game as a non-slapper. But I play the game in that capacity just like I play my hubby's D&D campaign as a half-elf dragon spellslinger who likes to singe trees to piss off the rude Druid in her campaign party. It's part of the character I created and I like having the added level of "us versus them" option in the game. It gives me a reason to go randomly attack people for shiggles. 

However, I don't take the slap feature personally. And I don't in any way think of it in terms of it being a personal insult, a harbinger of domestic violence, a representation of a cheater or person of poor character, etc. It's just another option in the game.

In reality, it is the same as the burn feature. In every PKill game, you have equalizer features that provide people with the option to be able to "get in the game" despite level or class restrictions or size differences. Without the equalizers, newbies would quickly quit in frustration. There has to be some option for a player to acquire some level of personal satisfaction. Otherwise, the game would suck eggs. And suddenly, it's back to Solitaire. Or they go buy Fallout 3 and call it a day.

But the draw of games like Sorority Life and Mafia Wars and others is the opportunity to meet and communicate with other people who have a shared interest. If the main shared interest in the game, that's OK. For some people, it is their only outlet for stress. And the worse possible thing for them, is to log in for a little stress relief only to be fed it by the shovelfuls. 

So, I have quietly been eliminating the crazier people from my friend's list. And when I say crazy, I am pretty accurate with that analysis. Because after being an online game admin for over 13 years now, I do foresee some concern when people begin to take things way too personally and they have difficulty separating the game from the real.

It is silly to have to sift through people and try to determine whether or not they have the potential to flip their lid over a game. And in some instances, I have just begun to engage those people less and less in conversation and hope that they work out the stress on their own. Because environments like Facebook and the game apps are meant to be relaxing. They are meant to provide people an opportunity to step out of their real life issues and get a few moments of stress relief. 

It should never be about being personally insulted or harassed. They should never be made to cry on their keyboards. That's just unacceptable. And people like that who have nothing better to do than to tell people how to play a game? Need to go back to Solitaire where they are guaranteed the position in which to call the shots.

Otherwise, at some point or another, they are going to come face to face with a bigger bully than themselves. 

And they will find themselves shaking their own tears from their keyboard.
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