Rampant Games - About Trolls and Fish
This time Jay Barnson's blog is not about a game but on the internet trolls that drove away the indie developer Phil Fish, who created the game Fez. He was someone who loved attention and said some rather controversial things in his time thus stepping on quite some toes, which apparantly makes people think they have the right to take this cause of action.
And it goes both ways! Seriously. Just ‘cuz you are the creator of a game, or just because you’ve got a lot more followers on Twitter, or are the admin on some forum, does not give you some sort of divine right to be a jackass. Treat everybody with respect. Sure, you can ban / block / ignore those within your field of influence if they are perpetual trolls. But the respect needs to go both ways. If nothing else, because you are dealing with human beings (at least we assume so, though there are a minority that refuse to act like one). For another – these people may be ignorant of some of the aspect of game development or game fandom or whatnot, but that does not automatically make their opinion inferior to your own. Treat everybody like they might be your personal hero going incognito until they’ve proven themselves unworthy of such. And at such point, the best way to fight a troll is not to engage them, but to deprive them of oxygen (attention).
I don’t take any joy in seeing Fish’s retreat from online pressure. I really don’t. If anything, I worry that this will embolden the trolls, the bullies. We really don’t need this. We don’t need game developers hiding behind PR walls and ignoring all feedback from their audience because each hateful comment hurts enough to nullify twenty notes of praise. We don’t need toxic communities where those attempting rational discussion get threatened and banned because they are resisting the mob mentality. We don’t need virtual lynchings of developers that result in them losing their jobs over something stupid they said on Twitter. I say stupid things on Twitter all the time, so I’m really sensitive to this!