Don’t read the comments – the common mantra for happy internet browsing. We know what goes on there, in that anarchic bilious echo chamber of unrestrained hate. Everyone clamouring to be heard in the morass, resulting in nobody being heard above the resulting din.
And we all know which articles bring out the worst in commenters – any article vaguely critical of the gamer culture.
Articles on sexism, mainstream media linking games to violence, LGBTQI issues… anything that might suggest that games or gamers are somehow deficient or bad always brings out the most hateful comments.
The majority of reasonable individuals who want to avoid the river of faeces that is a comment section on a gaming website do just that – avoid it. Why voluntarily subject yourself to that amount of concentrated hate on a regular basis? It’s a completely reasonable reaction.
I don’t think it’s the most constructive for the industry, though.
We know comment sections are mostly filled with hateful rubbish. But that’s because good people limit their engagement. The negative, vocal minority (and it IS a minority) run rampant in comment threads, while the good voices, the constructive, clever, considered people, avoid the rubbish. Instead of contributing their valuable ideas and perspectives, it’s a lot easier for them to just not engage.
I get it. I do. It opens you up for attack by the nasty ones. And that’s a bad thing. It’s hard to stand up and make yourself a target. And websites, despite sometimes heavy moderation, aren’t perfect. But if those vocal few manage to dominate the discourse, then we will never reclaim our space as one for positive discussion.
We need to fight to take back our comments and make them positive places.
So please, read the comments. See the worst of what faceless commenters on the internet are capable of. Be disgusted. And make your voice heard. Reply. Report. Let them know that their abuse is intolerable to you. Be polite and respectful, but forceful. Choose what your voice on the internet will be, and stick to your guns. Because some members of the “gaming community” really need to be there, and they’re being forced out by vitriol and threats. You can do something to make their life better.
Read the comments. Find the good ones – those who have insights, bring a level head to the debate, improve the discourse. Support them. Make them know they are the kinds of voices you want to hear in comment sections. Stand together against the torrents of rubbish that spew forth on a daily basis. You can do something to make their life better.
Make your choice, and reclaim the comments.