On internet anonymity and forums

I was going to write about the epic debacle between Silicon Knights founder Denis Dyack and Neogaf, but as the page was lengthening and getting longer, it just seemed moot to continue any kind of recourse over the matter.  Shawn Elliott twittered about Tyler Malka's response (founder and owner of Neogaf), which is where I started reading, but now that thread is locked.  All of the important posts I had read are now unaccessible, and since I am blessed with that of poor memory, I can't pull up the one thing that I felt really spoke true about the entire grievance.

Instead, I'm gonna talk about other stuff.  Stuff like the internet, forums, online communities, and the possible path between game devs and gamers.

Personally, I like to approach an issue from both perspectives.  Reaching a consensus of agreement is a much more interesting path than trampling one's opinion of a matter down into the ground.  Perhaps people don't see it that way; I get into alot of these debates with my own personal friends about matters ranging from all kinds of stuff.  I don't like arguing, but I like getting deeper into a subject and trying to learn something new, and hoping the other person learns something from it as well.

Opinions are everyone's entitlement.  Its usually the validity of fact and knowledge that come into question, which seems to be at the root of every forum debate.  Thanks to the quickness of the internet and anonymity of text, its easy to misinterpret what might've been an innocent question into an ignorant slur thanks to an occasional misspelling or lack of punctuation.

But now what?

If game devs are going to be openly criticized in all forms from the public, at what point can they interact with the community?  Should they?  How much can they say without being lambasted and ridiculed from the denizens of online communities?  And if another developer like Dyack comes along again who has great passion about his product yet is hated by a particular group of people, what does this spell for true fans of the game, who will also be open to similar criticism?

Is it too late for polite and civilized recourse in this age?

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1 Response to “On internet anonymity and forums”


  1. 1 Lewisham August 21, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Video games suffer from three problems when it comes to critique:1. We used to have a setup where only those trusted to write well, elequently and fairly (games magazines, movie critics) were heard.2. Games are still viewed as being good or bad: to have a differing opinion to the consensus makes you "wrong". Movies do not suffer the same fate; a quick glance through RottenTomatoes shows that there is usually a mix of feelings.3. Internet Dickwad TheoryDo I think developers should hold off from joining in debate? No. Do I think they should expect to achieve anything useful? No. The people that spout this vitriol cannot be reasoned with, so why bother?The most interesting feedback is via face-to-face focus groups and journalists. That should continue to be the case.


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