|Date Posted:||Monday 23rd April, 2007||Author:||EsKy|
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After my last rant over the forum going public over S.T.A.L.K.E.R I thought I'd delve deeper into the current trends in gaming community forums. This weeks lesson, Gamers are the Masters of All. Most of the people reading this article will have had some experience with this phenomena whereby some member of the community will proclaim themselves an expert on any topic that seems to have arisen, be it in the forums or on IRC, and on the odd occasion in-game. You see most gamers are people of multiple talents, with the average gamer having PhD's in Physics, Chemistry, Psychology, Engineering, and Medicine, just to name a few.
Then we come to the real world. Your average gamer / forumite hasn't spent the last 50 years of their lives extensively studying every science known to man, they have more than likely spent no more than two minutes reading up on Wikipedia. Now I haven't gone out and studied every single gamer or forum poster in the world to reach this conclusion, apart from it being physically impossible one does not need to go to such extremes to figure it out. The thing about the internet is that its impersonal, anonymous, you can get away with pretending to be an expert because very few people out there know who you really are. People will say things they wouldn't normally say person to person over the internet. This isn't conjecture, this is proven. Now I bet theres a whole heap of people out there wanting me to quote a source so I'll surprise you all and do something you won't see on a forum or in IRC, I'll back up my claim. Not with Wikipedia or something I just googled, but with proper scientific research.
Anonymity effects in computer-mediated communication in the case of minority influence. Moral-Toranzo, Félix; Canto-Ortiz, Jesús; Gómez-Jacinto, Luis; Computers in Human Behavior, Vol 23(3), May 2007. pp. 1660-1674
I could find hundreds of research papers to back up my claims without once looking at Wikipedia. Am I a professor of Psychology or Sociology? No. I'm just a 3rd year Psych student, but hell this is the internet. I could just as well claimed that I'm Sigmund Freud back from the dead. No one has any way of knowing whether I'm telling the truth. You could just as well claim I made up that article, though you would be wrong.
Here is the point I'm getting at. This is the internet, unless you meet up at a LAN or someone organises a gamers meet and drinks, people won't know who you are. But that isn't an excuse to profess to be the worlds top authority on any and every subject. Especially when we're talking about subjects you know nothing about, other than what someone who could very well be as unknowing as you has posted on Wikipedia. People seem to think the internet gives them to right to say anything to make themselves appear to be in the know. When suddenly confronted with facts that clearly contradict them you would think they would back down. Instead the opposite occurs. Suddenly your stereotypical 13 year old Counter Strike player becomes the world's leading expert on Partical Physics and starts making up crap, usually based off their year 9 science class, to further dig the hole they have made for themselves deeper.
One typical argument you will see, and finally we are getting to games, is that one cannot be critical of a game if one has not made a game. Let us follow this fallacious line of reasoning further. You cannot be critical of a movie unless you have made a movie. You cannot be critical of a car unless you have made a car. You cannot be critical of the government unless you have been the Prime Minister. You cannot be critical of anyone else unless you have been that person. Heres the implication of this deduction. We must like all games. We must like all movies. We must like all cars. We must like the government. We must like all other people. How can we not if we haven't done or been any of these things?
If we cannot be critical of the games we play, why don't the people who make these arguments go out and buy every game on the market? Or is it that we cannot be critical of games they play? This is a failure in reasoning. You can play and enjoy a game while still being critical of it. I can say that Counter Strike: Source is a unimaginative Rainbow 6 knockoff which pretends that it isn't a team deathmatch game by adding in near pointless objectives. Doesn't mean I don't play and enjoy the game. Gamers are typically quick to criticise anything that threatens their game of choice. Those who were around on the GameArena forums at the time of Return to Castle Wolfenstein's release would remember the influx of Counter Strike players telling us how bad our game of choice was regardless of having played it or not. Which brings me back to my original point, backing up your claims. What is the purpose of attacking a community because you profess to dislike a game you haven't played? And going back to my argument from before, would you attack a gaming community if you were standing in front of them in real life without your shield of anonymity?
Now for my final point and one that seems to be built into the typical gamer response to anything that disagrees with them on the forums or IRC. Ad hominem arguments. Gamers somehow see the logic in attacking the person instead of the persons argument. A prime example of this is found in the Half Life 2 modification Dystopia. Of late the Dystopia forums have been filled with unnecessary flaming, and whenever someone tries to point out that said flaming is unnecessary for such and such reasons said poor person finds themselves as the target of the next round of the fiery assault. Just because you don't agree with someone doesn't mean they are stupid and therefore their argument is pointless. Such a pattern of reasoning does not make sense. If you're looking for a reason as to why most people think of your typical Gamer as some squealing kid of limited intellect, you don't have to look much further than the Gamer forums.
The moral of this story, Wikipedia will be the downfall of civilisation.
Gamers - The Source of all the Worlds Knowledge