Reason for Online Aggressive Attitudes?

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RealFatChicken

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Member

03-24-2010

I thought it would be interesting just to see what some other people in the online community thought about the general aggressive attitude that characterizes online gamers.

I'm a college student and both at school and work I rarely encounter people who are openly "aggressive" in their wording or actions. When someone makes a fault or gets an answer wrong in class, they are not "burned," told to "l2p," or called "f***ing noobs." Instead they are usually corrected in a polite manner and the things continue as normal.

I also play ultimate Frisbee (shout out) and volleyball pretty competitively on a regular basis, both in pick up games on campus or with a group of friends. I'm not amazing by any stretch, but I'm able to hold my own in most games. Anyway, when someone drops a pass or has a bad set in either of those sports the team usually claps and says something like "we got this!" (/flex) or just "shake it off." I have yet to see someone say "WTF way to feed the other team points, gtfo go home and die you noob play something else."

So, why does this change the moment someone comes home and gets onto their computer to participate in an equally competitive, albiet virtual, game? Why do people rage-quit video games but rarely rage-quit a Frisbee game? What is it about the online community that fosters such self-righteous aggression towards teammates?

I look forward to some discussion as I come up with theories of my own.


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Rexplosive

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Senior Member

03-24-2010

I can rage both in-game and out of game, but it's true that I'm more likely to rage in-game. But I only rage if something is at stake. I get annoyed if I for example get a loss in LoL, because it's added to my score.
But in my defense I usually am never directly rude. I never "start a fight" so to speak. But I will be aggressive if I get taunted or flamed.
In short, I rage but I don't flame unless I am flamed upon.

I wouldn't swear at a person if he's playing like a noob or insult him. I might type a "-.-" smiley or say stuff like "stop dying" or whatever. But that person might quickly become offended and then we've got a flame-war. I know I'd quickly become offended too, if someone told me something similar :/ Double standards, I know...

It's as if people online aren't "real people". You're not an ******* irl if you are rude to someone online. It'll never have an effect on your real life. People around you won't judge you because of it.

I don't believe in the "it's easy to be a tough guy behind a keyboard"-thing btw.


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RealFatChicken

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03-24-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rexplosive View Post
It's as if people online aren't "real people". You're not an ******* irl if you are rude to someone online. It'll never have an effect on your real life. People around you won't judge you because of it.
That's an interesting concept to think about, because the simple truth is that they are "real people," they just aren't people you're likely to ever see in your entire life. However, with the modern shift towards global markets and economies, businesses interact with other businesses every day online (and the two parties never have to meet each other in person) but I'd like to guess that those interactions are far less temperate than any gaming interaction. Also, just in general does it really make sense that you're allowed to act towards someone however you like as long as you face no physical repercussions?

I also don't buy into the whole "it's my leisure time, I'm allowed to rage if people are ruining it by feeding the other team" argument. Because, as I stated with the sporting example, I spend plenty of leisure time playing frisbee or what-not and I lose just as much as I win and it doesn't make much of a difference. The leisure was participating in the activity, not the outcome per se. If I raged every time I lost a Frisbee game, I think I'd have a lot less friends on campus... the reason I don't get that upset is, at least in "real" life, losing is something that you're bound to encounter so it's just standard for me to accept it every now and again. So, does this mean online gamers just have a significantly higher standard for themselves while gaming than they do when interacting with things in real life? What does that say about the online gaming communities priorities?


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Rexplosive

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Senior Member

03-24-2010

I wish everyone would just be nice. But everyone is not. But the effect of flaming online might be comparable to flaming irl, but it's not the same. It'd have a much greater effect on me if I was flamed by 4 people irl than if I was flamed in-game.

But still there is no excuse for being a ***** online. I think there are 3 types of people online:

Those who start flaming.
Those who react with flaming upon flaming.
The good guys.

I've tried being a good guy, but I've always reverted into being one of those who react upon flaming, because there are so many pricks online . I can't stand having a person online offending others, I MUST offend him back. It's justice.


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Fadookie

Junior Member

03-25-2010

Penny Arcade came up with a nice formula explaining this a little while back:
http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19/

In all seriousness, this is actually a pretty interesting phenomenon. I think it has something to do with the relative anonymity of playing games online.

When I screw up in a pre-made with my friends, they of course aren't nearly as hostile. They might point out my mistake and tell me to be more careful next time or suggest a different strategy. When I play video games against my friends in the same room as them, there is certainly plenty of smack-talking going on, but it's all sort of in a friendly competitive way, half-joking.

I think the element of being nasty to your own teammates comes from the fact that you are being matched with strangers, yet another level of anonymity. I have never seen players I have met through PvP.net be rude to me or vice versa when we have queued together, and I think that's because we have some sort of relationship even though it's pseudonymous.

It's easier to be nasty to a stranger that can't find out who you really are, especially if you feel like he is costing you the game. But it's certainly juvenille and a huge turn-off to people new to the game who just don't know any better.

So instead I usually try to offer some advice to newer players on how to improve, if they are willing to listen... but there's only so much you can do during champion select and in the chat window while you're trying to play!

Another thing in LoL, there are some matches when I lose I can say "gg" honestly because I feel like our teams are evenly matched. Then there are matches when one or more people on my team were feeding the other team and we pretty much stood no chance after 10 minutes. The other team's win feels cheap to me because it was based more on me getting paired with bad players rather than them demonstrating a particular level of skill... these kinds of matches tend to leave a sour taste in my mouth and I can see why it might cause some people to take that out on their teammates. If I can tell it's going to end that way I usually try to just relax a bit, do my best and have fun if I can. If the analogy is a volleyball match, it would have to be a pick-up game where i didn't know most of my team-mates, was certain I'd probably never see them again, and some of them were playing in ways that don't even make sense if you know the rules of the game... certainly could get frustrating.


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PorkNasty

Senior Member

03-25-2010

It's not surprising to me that you get the ragers; there's no accountability on the internet. The second most people get behind a keyboard they lose all common courtesy and respect for other human beings. The anonimity adds to the problem, no reason to wear a mask and pretend to be kind or decent; people can let it all hang out so they do and no one will ever know who it was. At times I even wonder if maybe it's therapeutic??

I rage at times cause I genuinly have a temper problem; I've done anger management in the past but still in general have a tough time controlling my temper so if someone says something cross to me I usually fire back (am really trying to get better about this); cause I don't generally say anything until someone gets on me first. Then I can't help it from there; admittedly I take things too far more often than not in these situations, but is it really that surprising? I mean more than half the insults these guys are tossing around would get them in to a fist fight in public.

If I'm at a bar losing a pool game and some random guy comes up to me and starts tellin me I'm a ******, a pole smoker and that he's bangin my mom I'd hit him. No ifs ands or buts about it; whether I get my ass kicked or not is a diff story but I am definatley without a doubt swingin on him; so why is it so surprising that the same verbage that would get a person in a physical fight 7/10 times in public would also upset people online? There is just a complete break down of common courtesy and socially accepted norms online.

I've also tried to say to myself, ah it's just some high school kid, they're just immature, but after some time I've realized a lot of these guys are my age or even older. There's just no excuse, the people initiating these exchanges and starting in on other players for no reason IMO are probably not physically imposing, are more than likely cowards and this is their only outlet for the shame/guilt they feel for being a complete pansy in a public situation where someone was heckling them and they did nothing about it.

For my part the frustrating aspect of it is having to sit there and take this **** and being able to do absolutley ZIP about it. Empowering for the cowards, very disheartening/frustrating for someone who is used to dealing with this type of confrontation face to face. Anyway, I've found the best way to deal with the situation when someone on my team flames, I just say "Sorry, I'll try and step it up." If they continue then no response is necessary cause fighting fire with fire I've learned makes you look even more pathetic and like an even bigger ******* than the creep that started it.

** Side note here; IMO a fight is different; I don't feel bad/guilty or like a **** head when some guy is running his mouth and I put my fist in his chops. I feel that justice has been done.

EDIT: Also to the OP; when you were talkin about everyone being generally polite and agreeable in these classes or sports teams, these people see eachother everyday. I have to assume that there's at least a small sense of comradre in these settings. There is no comradre built up 2 mins before a game starts while you're in a chat room with 4 random people you don't know. It's just unfortunate to me that often times no one is given the benefit of the doubt. Someone 70% of the time starts in with the nub/******/bangin mom comments right off the bat, they never stop to think maybe they're new, maybe they're having a bad game, maybe the other team is that good or consider any other possibility before getting irrate.


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PorkNasty

Senior Member

03-25-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fadookie View Post
Another thing in LoL, there are some matches when I lose I can say "gg" honestly because I feel like our teams are evenly matched. Then there are matches when one or more people on my team were feeding the other team and we pretty much stood no chance after 10 minutes. The other team's win feels cheap to me because it was based more on me getting paired with bad players rather than them demonstrating a particular level of skill... these kinds of matches tend to leave a sour taste in my mouth and I can see why it might cause some people to take that out on their teammates.
Agree with this; cept I don't usually get upset with my team, I give most people the benefit of the doubt (maybe an off game, maybe distracted, maybe new etc..). To me the one's that are completely infuriating are the guys on the opposite team talkin smack and turning a blind eye to the fact that one/two of your guys died 10 times a piece.


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WhitemageofDOOM

Senior Member

03-25-2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fadookie View Post
Penny Arcade came up with a nice formula explaining this a little while back:
http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19/

In all seriousness, this is actually a pretty interesting phenomenon. I think it has something to do with the relative anonymity of playing games online.
It's not anonymity.
It's the lack of fists.

Enlightened self interest is the source of all morality, without the threat of violence there's fewer blatantly obvious reasons not to be a ****.


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Canim

Adjudicator

03-26-2010

Matchmaking ensures that most people get roughly 50% wins. I've read that the ideal win rate for a skill-based game is something like 80%, because if you win significantly more than that (say 90%), it's too easy, but if you win much less than that (say 60%), it can be frustrating.

50% losses is a lot. Something like 80~90% of people believe they are above-average, and more than half believe they are top 10% material. It can be a significant attack on one's self-esteem to lose so much, and some people handle that better than others.

I believe those that rage are the ones that have a harder time accepting the responsibility without letting it affect their self-esteem. They can't accept responsibility for a loss, because they take it personally, which hurts, and no one likes pain. And the more pain they already have inside, the harder it is to accept. But if it's someone else's fault, they can ignore it a little.

(And many just want any kind of attention they can get, good or bad, because significance makes them feel better.)

So they blame someone else, because they know they're superior (like most people do), and they feel held back. But the person they blame will also feel themselves unjustly accused, regardless of whose fault it is, and the tendency is to rail back. And so it escalates.

But no one wins.