On Aggression In Comments And Online Chats

I’d like to share my opinion on certain aspect of aggression. Namely – on verbal abuse in the comments and online chatting. Now I refer only to direct verbal aggression – bashing, bullying, insults, threatening the discussers. Trolls deserve their own personal article.)

First off, for me the game chats and comments under text entries are from the same category. In both cases, we have the main activity – playing the game or perceiving / discussing the text. Here and there we have certain inappropriateness of aggressive narrative. And finally, there is a threat of punishment for aggression.

I often notice two most frequent polar reactions from the authorities as a response to this kind of aggressive behavior. There’s either a complete ban or non-interference. These options fully illustrate the approaches prevalent in our society. Of course, there are situations where such extremes coincide with the aims of the service itself. For example, a platform where ideas are meant to be discussed is not intended for people to engage in personal attacks. Or we can point out the games for elementary schoolers where censorship is considered appropriate. But, in my opinion, vendors could attract much more users and / or increase the loyalty of existing ones, approaching the subject in a more flexible manner. After all, aggression is the need that society actively suppresses. The place where this need can be relieved attracts users as much as porn sites or photo galleries do. The problem is to find a solution for channeling the relief of agro and in the same time not overly subject other visitors to stress. But in order to find such a method, they should start looking for it. Step over simple and convenient phrases like “ban ’em all” or “let ’em do what they want.”

I’ll tell you about one situation. Somewhat recently – due to a sudden crisis – some confrontation between two nations escalated. The situation affected the content of the game chat. Moreover, the conflict in real life has become a major (!) source of abusive language in the game. We proposed game developers the following. To give gamers the opportunity to set teams not randomly, but based on ethnicity. While playing the game, you’re almost certainly going to get in the team, where there are both ardent defenders of one side and the other, and neutral ones. Technically it’s easy to enter another option in the algorithm of choosing the team members and after that players will be able to secure the “us” against “them” option or to stay out of the conflict and to continue the game with the similar neutral players. And beside the additional (and considerable!) involvement in the game of those with the radical views, we would’ve removed the negative impact of abusing the neutral players. They would’ve returned back to the game without holywars, back into those days, when tongue-lashing was given only for klutziness.

The main issue (“How to arrange the process for the said need only to discharge and not to receive the additional stress?”) we’ve managed to settle. [There will be either detailed article or conference report on the topic of mandatory conditions for the discharge channel.] The game developers refused. If they’ve made the decision based on technical difficulties, ideology or horoscopes – I would have taken it in stride. But what upsets me it’s the disinclination to move away from primitive reactions. I understand them, they have solved the problem of “not getting more problems.” And they are in their own right. But sometimes we want the world to change for the better a little faster 🙁