“You noob. Learn to play.”
As we’ve been discussing these week, it’s no secret that the MMO community is, frankly, full of jerks. And whilst we’ve been discussing the extrinsic factors – how to police and minimise their influence – we’ve not looked at the other side of the coin.
Just why do these words hurt? Some people can – or at least claim to be able to – just shrug them off and ignore them. Many of them think everyone else should be able to do the same.
Why can’t we?
Bravetank has been considering just these questions, in the wake of an awful LFR run and with the help of a life coach – and her musing blog post discussing what she’s learned so far is absolutely fascinating reading for anyone interacting with an MMO community -
“Why did I care what those 24 people thought about me? I froze when he said “Let’s hope Seashell doesn’t pull again’. I felt so exposed & singled out, and the injustice of it all made it worse somehow. I just wanted everyone to know it wasn’t me (unless you think it was…in which case please let me know how so I never do it again!)
As anyone who has read this for awhile knows – I live in fear of criticism. I had my first session with a coach yesterday to start work on some of this as I don’t like the way it makes me feel. I am scared of the opinion of 24 people I don’t know from Adam (and terrified of what Adam thinks!). I am scared of criticism in work. I read every single comment on my blog with my heart in my mouth in case it’s negative. And I won’t even listen to the interview I recorded on Sunday. Someone once told me that I have a certain vulnerability – I think it was being said as a positive, but it’s only positive to the person saying it when they see themselves as the great protector. It then makes them feel good about themselves. For awhile. Which is nice for them but what about me- the vulnerable one – the one picked up, played with and then thrown back down. I feel like the woman in Hellraiser with all her tendons & nerves on the outside of her body – I need to stuff them back in (they’re causing a mess on the couch for one thing). But my coach says I can’t even start doing that until I acknowledge how it makes me feel. Until I feel the feelings. He said I translate my feeling into thoughts (& here into words I guess) instead of really feeling them, acknowledging them & then perhaps letting them go. But how do you do that- how do you feel without thinking? I really don’t know if I ever have.
My coach also said I need to start exploring who I am and own my “I”. He said I have to start talking about what I feel, what I think, what I want to do and say. I found that very powerful because I know I live my life through the eyes of the Other. When I look at my face I see myself with the eyes of people I think would judge me harshly. When I hear myself speak I listen to myself with the ears of those who, I think, regard me with disdain. My mental audience is a negative one – they really don’t like how I look, what I do or what I say. Not dinner guests I’d really want, but it seems they’re already in the house & won’t leave. And they define me.”
In my experience, nearly everyone struggles with these issues to some extent. Bloggers and writers are perhaps more prone than most – the very nature of writing appeals to self-analytical, often self-critical people.
Bravetank’s being extraordinarily open and honest here, and I’d ask people to respect that. Taking one’s personality apart and examining it in a blog post isn’t easy or without risk – but in this case is also laudable and valuable. I know I recognised many elements of what she’s discussing, both from my own experience and discussions with other people.
MMOs can be a wonderful tool for growth. They’re a great way to confront issues like this and discover how you tick in a relatively safe environment. And it’s fascinating and moving to have the privilege to watch people like Bravetank document that journey.
How do you handle criticism, even insults, in MMOs?