Light & Leafy

Using The Proper Words

Posted on: March 25, 2010

Before I really get to what I want to discuss, let me say this: No, this will not be about the quazi-recent events in our little corner of the internet.  I have nothing to say that hasn’t been said, nor do I feel any personal grudges towards anyone involved. I have had too much stress in my own life to involve myself in anyone else’s drama. That being said, I would like to take time to acknowledge Crankyhealer: Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. Before you commented on my blog, I was pretty sure I was writing exclusively for myself and my numerous non-combat pets. You made me feel like I was part of the community before anyone else did, and I’m so very grateful for that. I’ll miss your blog immensely, but please stop by and say hi every now and again <3

For the first time all week, I finally had a chance to sit at my desk and read the guild forums during my lunch break. My boyfriend had linked a post he had made on the official Blizzard forums discussing the new Icy Touch threat buff Death Knights got on Tuesday with the patch. Now, I don’t really know much about Icy Touch except that when he casts it, it makes him look like he’s a puppy shaking off snow. Cute, really, which is saying something for an undead draenei. Anyways, apparently he feels like it’s causing TOO much threat (as in, using his normal rotation he accidentally pulled off of our warrior and bear multiple times during our Tuesday night raid) and that it could easily be abused by others who haven’t had much experiencing tanking.

A pretty rational discussion followed; people were disagreeing and agreeing pleasantly, offering ways Blizzard might be able to fix the issue without completely gimping their threat. And then a level 80 orc from Illidan said something that made me sick to my stomach.

“we needed the threat buff. also, anyone who says “i’ve been playin a roug since vanila and a dk since then to” needs to die.”

That “roug” was my boyfriend. He had mentioned his experience in WoW before suggesting any of the changes he thought would balance Icy Touch.

What bothers me about that sentence is the “needs to die” portion. I don’t really care too much if you’re a random stranger who comes to a discussion with no proof and simply disagrees. Call him names, if you’re really so upset at his rational argument.  Anything would be better than telling another human being that they NEED TO DIE.

Why is this such a casual phrase? Why is it in the same vein as saying someone isn’t qualified to approach a subject?  Why are people trivializing something that is incredibly sensitive and emotional?

You, who knows NOTHING about the person behind the avatar, thinks he should die. How devastating do you think that would be for his girlfriend? His mother? His father? His siblings? Do you care?

My issue here is that this is what we’ve devolved into as a society. You don’t agree with me so you should be wiped off the face of this planet. You don’t agree with me so you don’t deserve to live.

And before someone out there gives me the excuse that “everyone’s saying it so it’s ok; he doesn’t actually want your boyfriend to die,” I get it. But just because a phrase has been shoved down our throats as a gaming colloquialism, doesn’t mean it’s ok.

Where is this rage and utter disregard for other human beings coming from? Is it, like Tam mentioned a few days ago, stemming from the repressed emotions that are stagnating in our testosterone-laden gaming community? Is it because there’s a level of detachment between our avatars and our corporeal selves?

I don’t have a degree in Psychology (yet…) or Sociology, and I certainly can’t explain everyone’s reason for acting this way.  But imagine you were me, and you were reading a fairly classy (as WoW forums go) post and its fairly classy responses, and all of a sudden some stranger is saying your boyfriend should die. No reasoning. Just annoyed.

I try really hard in anything I leave public to be as respectful and tactful as I can. I’ve refrained from mentioning many horrible pugs or naming-and-shaming on my blog because some part me hopes that if I can write positively and keep a cheerful attitude that it’ll rub off on me and my predilection to be somewhat of a pessimist will dissipate over time. Maybe that makes me a less fun read, but I would never want someone to come here to feel abused or to feel pain on behalf of a loved one.

Yes, this genuinely upset me. No matter how angry someone has made me, no matter how much pain they have brought upon me, I have never uttered those words. Not once.  Because I would NEVER wish death upon another person. I’m kind of a hippy – I want the world to be love and cuddles and puppies. I want to treat others nicely and I never want to intentionally hurt someone. Heck, when I unintentionally hurt someone, I’m wrought with guilt and I’m probably pretty annoying after the ten thousandth “I’m so so sorry.”

Basically what it boils down to is this (and I’m fairly certain that if you’re reading this you’re not likely to be one of those people who casually tosses death wishes around): Your fellow players are human beings.  Even if you think it’s common place, wishing death on someone you don’t know just isn’t friendly, and probably is a pretty unhealthy way to live. Just because you’re nonchalant about it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect the other person. Say what you want to say without resorting to a stinted vocabulary that resorts to profanities and death when you’re feeling upset about something.

I don’t feel like I have a good way to end this; it’s been something that’s bothered me for a long time now and this was kind of the straw that broke my blogging camel’s back. He’s now in traction and seems to be doing fine.

*hugs & love*

Eda

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11 Responses to "Using The Proper Words"

Two semi-related anecdotes to go along with this.

1) During our Tues. night raid, someone yet again referred to an untimely death of their toon as “getting raped.” As my wife is, herself, a survivor in real life, this phrase also gets low marks in our shared vocabulary and we wish folks would refrain from using that phrase so casually in passing,

2) Last night, my daughter was asked if she likes Spongebob. Now, as we’d discussed with her in the past that “hate” is a very strong word, she decided to say, instead, “I absolutely despise Spongebob.” So, at least one other person in this world is getting a decent education in the power of the right words! :)

I love it so much that you’re teaching your daughter about the power of word choice! It didn’t really hit me until I was a teenager how powerful the word “hate” is. I can’t stop it every time someone chooses to use it, but I do usually try to remind people how strong that word’s connotation is.

In regards to your first anecdote, I don’t like hearing the word “rape” in casual context myself.

Thank you for sharing :)

I had a similar experience to this in a TOC10 group where one guy was continually shouting “Let’s rape these guys!” or “omg you got raped!”. I really really don’t like it when people use that word, and in the end it bothered me so much that I asked him politely to stop using that word as it wasn’t funny. He replied with “lol ok” but at least he stopped it after that.

The flippant use of certain words really makes me upset at times, but all you can do is ask them to stop :-/

My guess is that kind of behaviour is immaturity more than anything else. The 6th grade boys on the back of the bus yelling out profanities to get a attention. I deliberately ignore that sort of thing because the more attention you give them, the more they do it. When it happens in guild, I’ll sometimes answer to a “needs to die” with an equally stupid “ur face needs to die” and it’s usually enough to throw them off.

Sometimes I think it’s for attention, sometimes I think it’s just a general disregard for language. It’s simple language, and allows them to be lazy — they don’t actually have to think about how they want to express themselves.

But either way, I think you’re definitely on to something. I didn’t want to address it on the forums because I really didn’t want the post to turn into some petty attention-whoring drama/trolling. Its just something that irks me in general. =)

That’s exactly what blogs are for! (Among other things)

“And before someone out there gives me the excuse that “everyone’s saying it so it’s ok; he doesn’t actually want your boyfriend to die,” I get it. But just because a phrase has been shoved down our throats as a gaming colloquialism, doesn’t mean it’s ok.”
Nononono! It’s very much not okay! I agree with you. I was having a discussion about this kind of language with my boyfriend just today actually, how people just toss around death threats.. purely because they don’t know the person. He said that somebody in the past on the official WoW forums has actually said “I’m going to kill you” now where the fuck does he get off saying that? (And also, I’ve seen pictures of the guy, he’s tiny, and my other half isn’t. Wouldn’t go so well!) Sigh. I have the exact same hatred of terms like “downy” and “dribbler”… Why do people seem to think these terms are.. heck.. funny?

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you’re talking about the British vernacular that equates to the American “retard.” I really don’t approve of that either, though I think it’s easier for people not to feel like that’s on the same line as rape or death because it’s simply a common occurrence. Heck, I’m not proud of this, but I usually don’t bother to correct people because it just happens so frequently.

I’m not sure if it’s immaturity or attention whoring or ignorance or just general apathy towards language. But luckily, there’s hope in the fight for language! Look at lal these people who care! =D

Yeah, they’re variants on ‘retard’, though retard seems to have taken on its own meaning almost these days, whereas ‘dribbler’ and ‘Downy’ refer specifically to mentally handicapped people. Retard has just come to mean idiot, the same way a lot of insults and swear words have blurred meanings these days.

If somebody makes a joke about death, rape, disease.. anything that could make somebody uncomfortable, they are met with a disappointed “Not cool.” I like to think that hits home a bit harder than raging at them, though I’m usually wrong.

I’ve had this discussion with my daughter, who mentioned her character getting, “raped,” during casual conversation. Um. No. This kind of language is not OK. Someone on an unofficial forum for my server mentioned threatening to, “rape someone in the face with their knife.” The resulting response from my server mates made me smile. There is hope for humanity.

I don’t mind the, “death threats,” from people I know well enough to know they’re kidding. In another game, I had a mage friend who told me to DIAF every time I said something she needed to hear but didn’t want to. I didn’t mind. She meant it with love.

Strangers don’t get that pass.

You make a really good point: it’s not quite so bad if a friend says it and you have an underlying understanding that it’s a joke or said with love. Though I still think I’d refrain from telling someone to go die. I might just be ultra sensitive about it though because I lost my grandmother not too long ago after a very long battle with Alzheimer’s.

Now here’s a tricky situation. I might just be a huge hypocrite about all of this because I sometimes imaging people’s characters dying during fights if I’m upset with them. I never actually LET THEM DIE, but I wonder if I’m no better than the people I’m complaining about if I just limit myself to the impermanent death of an avatar.

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