So, for reasons I don’t particularly feel like going into, I had a fairly interesting weekend. Let’s just say I got a little mental workout and some late nights. Sometimes things happen and, even when you’ve told yourself you’re finished with them, they linger around your psyche for a while. When this happens I tend to reflect and make an attempt to understand what’s going on – almost like I’m trying to communicate with that big chunk of our brain that we don’t use. It’s like it’s got the answer to something about me and I have to prod it a bit for it to give me some hints. I’ve done this to myself a number of times in the past and I’ve always learned some important things – and in some cases, made some life-changing decisions.
To anyone that knows me online and has encountered me on gaming forums they probably know I’m quite a ‘take no prisoners’ guy, really stubborn and often come accross as a grumpy old man. My demeanour on instant messengers and in person tends to surprise people that only know me from forums as I’m fairly mellow and good natured (with dashes of seething rage thrown in on occasions).
So why are you such a grumpy sod on forums then Koffdrop?
Good question. The short answer is that, by the time I’ve read the whole topic in question and ready to make a reply I’m angry with all the dumb stuff that I’ve read in it. I don’t frequent gaming forums as much as I used to (understatement of the year) so I normally have a lot more to catch up when I eventually meander over and read a topic that catches my eye. Now, I try to make a point of reading an entire topic before I respond to it – I think it’s good manners and also saves you from possibly making a prat of yourself by making an ignorant reply. I also don’t think it’s worth my time or of any value to a conversation if all I can really say is “I agree”. If I agree, I just move on to another topic. So it’s only when I have an alternative view that I respond – and I only respond when I’ve caught up on all the stuff in the topic. I guess you could liken it to taking a bottle of fizzy drink, shaking it more and more with each post I read and when I hit REPLY that’s the equivalent of unscrewing the cap – my vitriol gushes forth almost uncontrollably.
There’s a number of ways to deal with this. One is to only hang around the game forums that don’t have ‘dumb’ posters and topics. That, my friends, is easier said than done. There are only two gaming forums that I have seen in all my travels that have what I consider to be a decent level of maturity and insight . One got stained quite badly a few months back and, to me, has never fully recoverd. The other is so damn good that, frankly, I’m not worthy of making any posts there as I’m way out of my depth. The forum tends to be populated by game journalists and industry professionals. It’s a fascinating place to read and, like some secret garden, I don’t want to share it with many people in case it all goes south. Needless to say the feeling I get when reading the posts on that site is one of awe and inferiority rather than anger.
An alternate way of dealing with my ‘problem’ is to withdraw from forums altogether. This is the tactic I employ with a pretty high rate of success. The nature of websites these days is that it’s very difficult to read gaming news or culture commentary without also finding a shedload of comments underneath the article – which drags me perilously close to square one. There is no way in hell that I’m going to withdraw from the internet completely. I’m way too opinionated, love my downloads and love my gaming news too much to do that.
Of course, in my ideal world, there would be no dumb comments. Somehow I don’t think this is going to happen. Whilst I can police my own behaviour and make a change, I simply can’t do that for the rest of the online population – no matter how tempting the idea is. My problem lies in that I’ve spent some time in the magic circle that is the games industry and have even lived there for quite a few years. It’s a double edged sword. Whilst you may know how the magician does his tricks the knowledge you’ve gained means you’ll never enjoy those tricks the way you did before. Likewise, whenever you overhear non-magicians claiming to ‘know’ how or why this or that is done you can’t help but realise how far away from the truth of the matter they really are. Of course, it’s pretty insulting for a non magician to tell a magician to shut the hell up when he’s attempting to explain how and why some magic tricks work. It’s even more insulting for other non-magicians to support each other in approval of this dismissive behaviour with phrases like “pwned”
But that’s the internet for you – anyone can tell anyone else to shut the hell up.
Which is why it’s great to have your own site and commentary where you can say whatever you damn well please and not have to deal with feedback unless you want to. 🙂