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Toxicity, the Internet Gamer Community

I've recently become, and been made, aware of the impact the internet gaming community was having on my personal well-being. Long story short, I have many reasons in my life to be happy, yet my attitude is more negative than it ought to be. I've realized that was because I was part of a toxic community.

Now I want to say I hold no illusions. I will absolutely not pretend that the gaming community, in particular, is any worse than any other on the internet, because I'm certain it's not. Still, it could do with some improvement. People are just more likely to voice their complaints than their praise, and we also have a tendency to emphasize any negativity we read over the positivity. Those two facts will compound and suddenly, those outlier elements that make up a fraction of a percent of the community, on the internet, seem to be the majority.

That's not to say the community is irredeemable, either. I've been part of some great gamer communities on the internet that have enriched my life tremendously. Generally, the larger a community becomes, the harder it is to keep it positive. And it's true those great communities I've been part of weren't large. But size is relative. A forum for one game may be small compared to the whole gamer community, but the whole gamer community is infinitesimal compared to the whole internet community. Therefore I do not believe size is a valid justification for the toxicity of the larger community.

I won't ramble on because, no matter how convincing I am, no truth is as convincing as the one you reach yourself. Instead I hope I can give you just enough food for thought. Think about your attitude; weigh your negativity against your positivity. Ask yourself if you're as happy as you should be right now, and if there's any part of your life you could improve, outside the internet.

If you reach the conclusion that, maybe, the internet is affecting you negatively, then here are my recommendations:

- Limit your exposure. If you're visiting those sites for news, stick to the news. Resist the urge to scroll down to the comments section!

- Don't log in. If you're not automatically logged in and instantly able to reply, you won't be as tempted to do so, which will help reduce your urge to even read the comments.

- DO NOT reply. If you do read negative comments, flag, report, and move on. Those people, sadly, feed off of making people miserable. Don't feed them.

- Let the site know you won't tolerate such behavior. Unfortunately you can't, by yourself, do anything to stop all the trolls. But do everything you can to let the site know they need to beef up moderation.

- Contribute to smaller sites. If you must be a part of some gamer community, make it one on a smaller site, or forum. The best communities I've been part of have been, without exception, for game-specific forums.

I'm just leaving this here for posterity. Before this week I hadn't visited this site, let alone logged in, in over 3 years, and I don't plan on returning! I'm thankful I've been reminded why I left and, if you're as affected by this issue as I am, I hope for you that you will too.

Spend more time gaming! Less arguing about games with people who love to make you miserable.

thorstein3116d ago

Awesome. Simply awesome that you have identified what was bothering you.

I have become immune to it (not that I don't get roped in from time to time) but not to the extent that it ruins my well being or that it ruins my enjoyment of gaming.

Sure, I can't possibly fathom why some people don't like my favorite games, but it reminds me of why opinions don't matter. If I listen to opinions I would have missed out on some remarkable games.

Also, the negativity, I have discovered, is really from a vocal minority. In reality, most people aren't that attuned to this community we all share.

And when some people make that community more toxic (by mass approving articles with little substance or obvious clickbait) it ruins it for everyone.

If you (or anyone) immerses yourself in this community then you certainly are going to be affected by it. Sad as it is. I try to report clickbait as often as possible. I have even blogged about how to be better at covering this industry.

But the truth is, you have to look at what these "journos" are really doing. It is akin to watching ESPN as your only source for information. Those are some people that talk about sports all day long but really say nothing at all.

Here is a vid of Mark Cuban basically laying it down on Skip Bayless.

Understand that this is my exact take on critics of any kind. Steven A Smith is as much of a troll. But it is obvious in the comments section that ESPN employees have leaped to the commentators' defense.

I believe the same happens here. Some publications have their employees go onto N4G to attack people who disagree with them. And they are defending the place they work. It is inexcusable. They should write with integrity.

Software_Lover3115d ago

This site helped me write a paper in one of my Sociology classes. Got an A!!!!!!!!!

I too believe that the community, or the small vocal portion that shows itself on the internet (this site), is the reason I can't or haven't enjoyed gaming as much as I did in the past. I'm sure other environmental variables go into play, but the community probably holds a very large chunk of that pie.

ashen1223116d ago

@blain thank you for this user blog. i was begining to think i was the only one disappointed with gaming COMMENT sections, im glad to know im not the only one.

caseh3116d ago

"Limit your exposure. If you're visiting those sites for news, stick to the news. Resist the urge to scroll down to the comments section!"

I personally love comments sections, some of the things people come out with are hilarious. For others it's Facebook, Twitter etc. For me it's comments sections. :D

rainslacker3115d ago

Everything should be taken in moderation so I do agree with some of your recomendations.

However, you don't have to avoid the drama to stay happy, or keep from feeling depressed about it. I imagine you are a grown person, and anyone with a modicum of critical thinking skills, and a bit of self respect, should be able to not let random unknown people on the internet affect them to such a degree. Sometimes you'll see things that will piss you off, but even the stupidest people here who want to bring others down don't really do it to me because I prefer to take any arguments that are made into consideration to decide if my own opinion may be misjudged.

In other happy with yourself and those you care about. Doing that will make it really hard for others to bring you down.

mixelon3115d ago

"I'm just leaving this here for posterity. Before this week I hadn't visited this site, let alone logged in, in over 3 years, and I don't plan on returning! I'm thankful I've been reminded why I left and, if you're as affected by this issue as I am, I hope for you that you will too."

Yeah, its pretty easy to get worked up by the nonsense here.

It can feel pretty great when you come across a single good egg, but I agree on average being part of N4G is pretty damn negative. I've toyed with the idea of blocking it from my reading/posting schedule, but as someone with wildly different opinions to much of the posters here on multiple topics, there's an element of pride involved where you want to just dig your heels and not let them put you off - despite knowing the majority will never see things even remotely like how you do. (even though, this is a bubble and not at all representative of gamers in general, thankfully?)

I think generally it's self destructive though, it's pretty masochistic reading the comments, they're really predictable.

Problem I think is, mechanically I like how N4G works, it's just some of the people. Same applies to IGN and youtube and anywhere else I guess. Eew, people.

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