Internet Rage And Why It Has To Stop

by Noise Pollution

So, I’m pretty fucking bummed out right now. The reason? I like video games. I like video games a whole lot. I like them enough to read extensive articles about them, and I follow certain segments of the enthusiast press religiously.

I can’t fucking handle doing that right now.

That particular segment of the internet has completely shit the bed. There is nowhere you can go without seeing something mean-spirited, and that’s if you’re lucky. If you’re a little less lucky, you’ll see some vile, despicable things that you never thought could come out of people. And you know why things are like this right now?

It’s because of a long-winded post proclaiming a woman named Zoe Quinn, creator of Depression Quest, to be a bad person. Well, no. That’s not entirely accurate. It’s actually because the internet has been a boiling pot full of disgusting emotions and hatred that has been ready to burst for a long fucking time. This post was just the point where people on the internet couldn’t hold in their stomach bile any longer, and felt the need to plaster the substance all over the internet.

I don’t want to discuss this incident (now referred to as “gamergate”, a ridiculously stupid name) in particular. I’m not a journalist, I’m just a young guy who blogs from home. I don’t want to contribute to the stream of hate. If you want to learn more about it, check out stories like this and this. Those two in particular seem to be fairly unbiased explanations of the current state of affairs. If you want to hear things from people who tend to share my sensibilities, you can check out Patrick Kleppek’s little write-up, and can generally read the stories that he recommends at the end of this article, too. I also suggest listening to this video, as TotalBiscuit is a pretty articulate person, and keeps a cool head for the duration of the thirty-minute monologue. Whatever you do, don’t just do a cursory google search in the hopes of finding out about it. You’re not going to get much of value that way.

I’m not even writing this to complain about “gamergate” specifically. I’m writing this to condemn this culture of hatred that my special little corner of the internet tends to foster.

I am so sick and tired of internet harassment. It has to stop. It has to fucking stop. It has consequences. Real, actual fucking consequences.

Last year, independent developer Phil Fish stepped out of the industry forever after a dealing with a stream of twitter-formulated piss pointed directly in his face. Phil Fish received death threats on a regular basis. You can’t even fucking find a story written about the guy that doesn’t have a slew of comments disparaging his work and his character.

And you know what?

Phil Fish was kind of a dick. It’s true. He didn’t interact with people in the most amicable of ways. He would respond the the constant flow of angry emails and tweets with words just as unkind as the words sent his way.

But, you know what?

Phil Fish is also a genius. In 2012, Phil Fish released a game called Fez. It was a critically acclaimed game that had people finding secrets and cracking codes in a way quite unlike anything else. It was so complex under the surface that it brought people together, if only for a little while.

And we’re never going to see anything that guy makes again. The internet may have won the fight, but they lost something much more important, and they lost it for everyone. We don’t get to play anything he makes ever again. And guess what? Phil Fish isn’t the only person that the internet has bullied out of making games.

It was recently announced that Mojang, the company responsible for Minecraft, was purchased by Microsoft. Notch,the original creator of Minecraft, will be leaving the company. He posted in a blog post,  “I was at home with a bad cold a couple of weeks ago when the internet exploded with hate against me over some kind of EULA situation that I had nothing to do with. I was confused. I didn’t understand. I tweeted this in frustration. Later on, I watched the This is Phil Fish [an aside from Noise Pollution: this is a very good watch] video on YouTube and started to realize I didn’t have the connection to my fans I thought I had. I’ve become a symbol. I don’t want to be a symbol, responsible for something huge that I don’t understand, that I don’t want to work on, that keeps coming back to me. I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter.

As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments. If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately.”

Fuck, guys. You drove Notch away from us. One of the most brilliant creators of our time has stepped down, and refuses to make anything that people care about.

In the wake of “gamergate”, we lost Zoe Quinn, too. As I mentioned earlier, she created a game called Depression Quest. Depression Quest isn’t for everyone. It is a “game” in the loosest sense  of the word; it is much more like an experience designed to help those not suffering from depression to understand the illness. It’s beautifully written, and it manages to express what it’s like quite well. Playing Depression Quest was the catalyst for me seeking help. It made me realize that things weren’t actually okay, and that the way I was living was killing me.

Zoe Quinn probably isn’t going to make games anymore. I wouldn’t. Not after what she’s gone through. And maybe Zoe Quinn is a bad person. Who the fuck cares? It doesn’t justify the abuse she’s received. It doesn’t justify fucking anything. Don’t be a dick. Seriously, just don’t be a dick. If everyone would just live their lives by that simple mantra, the world would be an infinitely better place.

And god, that’s not even everyone who has been pushed out.

People have repeatedly stated that there’s some kind of “good cause” here, some “reason” for all of this, but I don’t see it. Even if they have some sort of legitimate point to make, they’re still standing with the screaming mob. Everyone around them is busy starting fires, and they’re starting fires too. Even if you’re starting a fire with good intentions, there’s no way to tell the difference between you and the bastards right now. You’re both starting fires in exactly the same places, how can you expect me to treat you any differently? Either stand up and speak against them, or wait for things to peter out before making your point. As things are now, you’re only making things worse,  and adding fuel to the fire.

I’m just tired of this. I’m really bummed out that things have come this far. I wish people were just… you know, better.

[Comments aren’t going to be disabled or anything, but if you’re a raging asshole or I just don’t feel like dealing with you, I’m not going to approve them. My blog, my rules. I don’t have to act professional, and I don’t have to allow anyone to promote hate on my personal blog.]