Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On Name Calling

There are some things in life that I just don't "get." Now, I know it may be presumptuous of me to say only "some," but I completed a minor in psychology. What that taught me is that most of us are just people. I'm not saying I have all the answers or have it all nailed down, just that, at our very core, most of us are driving by very basic human needs. The need to be loved. The need to feel appreciated. The need to eat and use a toilet every now and then. Insert your own favorite basic need here.

Those needs are what drive most behaviors. For instance, if I see someone speeding on the highway, cutting other individuals off, I don't get totally irate and think they're obviously a bad person. Usually, I think that perhaps they just broke up with a significant other and are in a bad way. Or maybe they just got fired or skipped over for that raise. Or perhaps they just really need to use the toilet. Generally speaking, people aren't just in a hurry to be in a hurry. In their minds, they probably think they have a damn good reason to be in a hurry. I may not agree with that reason, but that's what we call an opinion, and one of both of us could be wrong on the great, mythical Scale of Global Wrongness.

The point is, I can generally come up with a reasonable argument for the "other side." I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, and I'll often play devils advocate. Some might say I relish the opportunity for debate. (Or, as my mother would say: he just likes argue.)

Name calling in WoW is something that I really don't get. I can't attribute a whole lot of logical reasoning to it. I mean, I guess if I really wanted to nail it down, I could go with the simple explanation that people are just passing the buck. That is, most name calling is probably done because at some time in the not-so-distant past, that person was also called a name. To me, name calling, in and of itself, says much more about the name caller than it does about the callee. After all, aren't you just blatantly admitting that someone calls you names sometimes and it bothers you?

Pewter has a great article up today about "basement-dwellers." It provides a sort of case study for what I'm trying to convey above. Namely, that people often have very logical reasons behind their choices and situations. We just can't always understand or empathize until we've been there.

I was in a BG the other day when some name-calling broke out (as often happens in BGs, especially on weekends). It wasn't so much that this name-calling was at all unique or even very relevant, but I was in an ornery mood. Basically, someone was degrading someone else based on the fact that, as a team, we losing. They were distancing themselves from the inherent pain of failure by displacement, blaming it on everyone else. It's a common enough trend.

So I piped up, "You know, the fighting in the middle strat and calling names isn't apparently working. What do you guys say we go after the flag?"

Such rationality could not go unpunished when the accuser replied something along the lines of, "WTF? I'm the only one worth a damn. Look at the charts, I'm top damage."

Mind you, this individual was quite a bit above me in damage, but I had several flag returns that he did not. So, I pointed out that, "In case you didn't notice, the object of this BG is not to top the damage charts, but to capture the flag."

Again, such logic must be dealt with swiftly, "STFU noobsauce, you're probably just some 14 year old boy anyway."

I'm not sure what about me screamed 14 year old boy as I was being both logical and loquacious, taking care not even to stray into the popular realm of "text" shortenings. I also do not know what is wrong with being a 14 year old boy, as I was once one myself. If anything, I figured I was displaying more the mentality of a cranky old man.

In my disbelief, I countered with, "And what if I am 14 years old? Does that make my point any less valid?"

His response, "It means a part of your anatomy hasn't dropped yet."

Apparently that would make me incapable of logic. "But what if I'm a girl?"

"You're not, you're just a 14 year old loser boy."

"Oh really? And how came you by this knowledge?"

"You're an idiot, I would know," was his reply.

I might have respected a well-placed "your mom" at the point, but the payoff was not there.

I promise you, dear readers, I was being just as well-spoken (well-typed?) as I'm relating. I did not pretty this up for posting (though I did on the name-caller's end with some a bit).

Like I said... I just don't get it. Or perhaps I get it, but just don't want to admit it. You pick.

(In addition: I think it's quite hilarious to debate with trolls sometimes.)


  1. Ahh the troll. Sometimes you wish you could punch people through the interwebs.

  2. To be honest, on my server, there is one trade chat troll that I think is just plain hilarious.

  3. Oh god. The urge to troll trade chat with 'there are no girls in wow' can be so tempting sometimes, just so I find out who to avoid on my server. Not that I ever WOULD do that. *ahem*

  4. My goal is always if me and maybe one or two other people get a laugh out of my zany debate, then it's worth it. If the Art of the Troll is to derive their fun at the expensive of others, having fun at the expense of a troll has a certain circularity to it that appeals to me.

    That, and I'm a bit immature sometimes :-).

    Thanks for the comments (and the inspiration, Pewter)!

  5. I swear, I am not a troll. However...

    I am completely different than you on how I view people. I see someone swerving, I don't even think about it. But I see someone driving SLOW I immediately assume they are a functioning retard, etc.

    This does not translate in game, though, it takes some talking. For instance, in LFG, if someone is playing horribly I typically make a snide remark about it, and leave it at that, unless they say something to the effect of "I'm new". At that point, since I read all patch notes, player guides, etc, I usually give them pointers on what I see that they can do better.

    If they make a snide comment back, though, I just keep broadcasting their errors, via Death Note, Recount, and so on.

  6. Yeah, I'm definitely not meaning to imply that my way is the only or right way to view people. After all, sometimes people are simply being dumb or inconsiderate.

    I would also expect that in-game, you're not making snide remarks if/when you aren't taking care of business yourself. That is to say, it's one thing to be legitimately frustrated at bad play from teammates and willing to help. It's another to be guilty of equally bad play and just name-call.

    Furthermore, from your comment I would expect that you're not calling them a "14 year old boy" as if it were the offense, and instead commenting more on ineffective play like "fight near the f-in flag noob." Totally different in my eyes.

  7. In BGs, I take the bit of "i'm better than you.." bantering with a grain of salt. Just good natured grand standing. IMHO, sure, you probably are, I don't have time or resources to spend my life in the BG getting the best PVP gear (not at this point). Maybe at the end of cata, I'll have your gear.

    But when it get's personal, and they start pointing out my mistakes, repeatedly, the /ignore is my best friend. Pre-cata, I was leveling my female BE disc priest via the RDF. (level a dungeon is all I asked). When one of the DPS became offensive, I /ignored him through the rest of the dungeon (Princess in that classic dungeon, also a pre-cata boss, i forget).

    "how do you like my heals now??"

    :O "I can't hear you..."

    It was a frustratingly satisfying adventure.

  8. Aw, but feeding the troll can be oh so much fun! That's not very warlockery of you :-).

  9. True, even when being an ass, I am still constructive. It's a baby/bathwater thing unless they mention being new to the game/class/spec/role. Then it's all baby, no bathwater. ;-)

  10. On the flip side, my prot warrior project got his first Mauradon run last night and at the end someone in group thanked everyone for a good run.

    If you really want to start a troll war then start a political or religious topic in trade chat.

  11. "Most of us are just people".

    Sorry but have to ask. Are the rest not people?

  12. No. They're mages. Or horses. And horses are bad people.

  13. Maybe I'm too nice, but I don't like calling people names or telling them when they're crap.

    If someone is playing badly in a dungeon I'll generally try to compensate for it - in BGs I just do what I find is right.

    I get annoyed any time I hear people belittling others. It really does nothing good for anyone. Does anyone seriously think that someone will become a better player if they're verbally abused?

    That said, I get really frustrated in BGs when people do stupid things like fight in the middle or not attack the person capping the flag etc. But I never call anyone out on it (I might winge and whine to my guildies on vent though.. same for dungeons)

    In BGs I just never understand how difficult it can be for someone to ignore the person they're trying to kill for a second and do any damage.. just.. ANYTHING to the person trying to cap the base.. (definitely my biggest pet peeve in BGs)

  14. I generally don't say a whole lot in BGs... it tends to be wasted breath, but there is to a certain extent the issue of enabling. That is, if us folks who "know better" never speak up, how does improvement occur. I totally agree that there is a "good" way to do this, and that may vary based on situation.

  15. Only constructive thing I have to say on this tipic is...