How Nerd Culture is Broken

This article is inspired by this post over on Topless Robot. They can explain to you in greater detail what’s being talked about here. But I wanted to kind of expand on some of the points.

If you ever want an unpleasant experience, go to trade chat in World of Warcraft. You will never see so much hate and bile spewed out anywhere else as you will there. People calling each other “fag” and “cocksucker” are the least of it. “Nigger” generally makes a few appearances, as does more subtle racist remarks, like how now that Obama’s president, we should call it the Black House. That isn’t even going into the misogynistic bullshit.

This is certainly not isolated to WoW’s trade chat. Try playing any first person shooter game online. “Fag”, “nigger”, “retard”, etc. All of intolerance’s greatest hits. They’re all there. Generally they’re being spewed out by adolescent boys, or oftentimes by grown men who simply want to act like adolescent boys.

Various gaming companies, well aware of this problem and how uncomfortable it makes gamers, have tried to take action. WoW has a nice little “ignore” button that you can use to silence anyone who’s acting like a total twat. You can report them, too. Most other online games have similar.

But that’s not enough. The trolls always find a way back. So here’s the solution I have.

If you know someone who acts like this, even if it’s “only” online, call them out on it. Don’t be a passive enabler of their bullshit. Tell them they’re acting like jerks and that they need to knock it off. Make it clear that even behind a mask of pseudo-anonymity, that sort of behavior isn’t acceptable.

It isn’t just unacceptable; it serves no useful purpose and only makes everyone, including game publishing companies want to keep their distance from you. Yes, that’s right. The game companies themselves don’t like this behavior. People who act like this are only making the game less accessible to new players, and that makes gaming companies frown, because especially with games like WoW, they depend on those new players for money.

It is vital that these behaviors change. Acting like bullies and like you’re king of your little castle is idiotic. So please, if you know anyone who does this, call them out on it. It is, after all, entirely possible that they just don’t understand how offensive they’re being. So let them know. You’ll be doing everyone a service.


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