Real World People disappear online

I am using GTA here as an example but this problem has been around for a while now with people forgetting that those they interact with online are actually real people. It’s a little like picking your nose at the wheel of the car and really believing no one can see you/ Sticking with the road rage analogy, it’s like road rage, inexplicably attacking a total stranger that almost certainly did something totally legal because it makes you feel silly.

I am of a generation where a game could be a game, even Cowboys and Indians didn’t involve actual physical violence though sometimes maybe if the opponent failed to fake die when shot with your pretend arrow but that was rare.

With the advent of computers came anonymity. The ability to pretend to be anyone, hide behind a screen and let loose without fear or reprisal. This was known as the Internet Troll. Their only purpose in life seemed to be to insult and provoke argument.

With the onset of the online game such as GTA we have given these people weapons, the power to truly dominate. They will seek out other players just going about their fun and annihilate them. They believe it’s ‘not personal’ because it’s just a game and they’re allowed to do that, it’s not explicitly banned so it must be OK. Except, generally it is against the rules but these rules are very randomly enforced, it all rather depends on how many people put in a complaint. They have a word, ‘griefing’ which means to constantly take out another player as soon as they spawn, players can and do get sanctioned for it but, again, this isn’t consistent, some get away with it unhindered.

So, it is the fault of @Rockstar, the game company who create Grand Theft Auto or is there a deeper issue here?

I believe it is the latter. It seems that the understanding between fun and respect has been lost.

Let me put this in terms of kicking about a football …. if a good player is playing with a novice, they’ve a choice, either assist the other player to attain a better standard of play and thus have a more equal contest in the future or, totally humiliate them making it abundantly clear how much more fun it is to win all the time and how, if they’re not having fun then, the problem is theirs alone.

This is what happens too often online. The better player plays alongside lesser players and rubs salt into their useless wound by constantly saying how much fun it is always winning and that the ‘loser’ (as the game calls them), needs to just live with it.

When this happens in the real world, he is elected President of the United States of America, we know him as Donald Trump.

It is a researched fact in psychology that when someone brags about their achievements, he loses respect of others, even those with more to brag about. There is a much forgotten quality, the ability to be humble and generous of spirit. Adopting that approach a person easily makes and maintains friendships …. except, not online.

Online encouraged adversarial play. It tells people to kill each other, to show no mercy and yet … what happens when these people are back in the real world? Is the one who won everything still superior? I suspect not so. Would they understand and accept when the tables are turned that they are no longer the popular one or would they think they are being ill served?

If only we remembered, online are ‘real’ people with feelings and emotions, they are not all brainless clones created by #rockstar games. 

One of my aims, if I can kick it off, is to try and turn this around, get others to ‘play nice’. Not sickly fingers down their throat nice but just considerate to ensure everyone in their party is having as good a time as they are.

My Dad always used to say, if you’re not playing to win, why bother? To me, it’s not winning that matters, it’s being equal to others, ensuring everyone is enjoying the same game to the best of their ability so, doing things a the level of all the players, not doing penalty shoot outs when one of the players can’t even kick the ball!

Just think on that for a while


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