Reality Check - Why Are Online Gamers Jerks?
Cam investigates the psychology behind being a jerk online. Why do we do it? Find out in this week's Reality Check.
by Mark Walton on
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Flex those mental muscles and join Cam Robinson on a journey of discovery in Reality Check, the show that investigates the science behind your favourite games, and spawns a few wild theories of its own.
Schedule: Thursdays at 12pm PT
Host: Cameron Robinson
great video. keep up the good work :-)
seeing the other players faces would help alot with the behaviour among players because of mirror neurons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_neuron just in case you are interested
KInect ? lol dude thats only gonna increase the bullying imo, at the moment at least people never take stuff personal ( well they may do at the time, but as soon they walk away from the game the vast majority of gamers let the anger go). But as soon as those cheeky kids can see people's faces they will zero in on peoples faults. It wont be nice.
Ooo - umm, if you do the camera thing then you better put some STRONG software in there to make sure it's only a face that's showing.
One of the reasons is a lot of these kids are quite young and have the "me" attitude instead of the "we" attitude.
Interesting analysis Cam.
But does the dynamics change when your playing online with people you do know ? Or a heterogeneous mix of people you know and complete strangers..
Its not just in online games.. its often here in the comments sections.. especially on Gamespot.. there are loads of rude obnoxious people.. fanboyisum makes up a major quantity of them IMHO
These misfortunes happen because there is no way of knowing who it is you are playing with; this is definitely infantile.
"why are online gamers jerks?" are you speaking of the ones who do something to piss the other off to begin with or the ones who get pissed at them?
The competitive nature of these games is huge, but we also have to deal with the idea that the behavior is actively encouraged by peers. Down here in Miami, the Dolphins have lost two players, one who left because of relentless and ongoing bullying, and the other due to suspension as he was the bullying asshat. The rest of the team, to a man, have sided with the bully over the bullied, making it very likely that the victim will never play in Miami again, if he even comes back to football.
The problem with online gaming, much like with the Dolphins bullying issue, is that this behavior is often being encouraged. Much like bullying in general, when the asshole is praised and the victim mocked, the negative behavior continues until the "undesirables"/good people are forced away. Honestly, I don't think that putting a camera in every console and PC will change a damned thing at this point, because the majority of online gamers are like-minded people who will encourage the bad behavior. If anything, it will increase the bullying, as people will be able to mock facial features, and it will deny one benefit of anonymity - hiding race and gender. You think it's bad for women and minorities NOW, just you wait...
I beg to differ with Cam. The implication here is that console gamers are the only ones with this problem, and by their omission we are to assume that Windows gamers are immune to the rude gamer phenomenon. In my experience the opposite is true. My experience playing games online was far worse on my windows box than the console I now have. I would probably play online more if I hadn't played online games on Windows.
Another great presentation.
Firstly my suggestion is don't play so much online games if you can't handle it. I don't play because I know that I can't handle it. And I saved myself from this gutter. Make use of the privacy and security setting in Facebook. Take advantage of the new feature on YouTube where you have the option not to allow any replies to your comments. There are simpler and more effective ways to find peace from all these online offenders, than having Kinect and NSA over your head.
I think the milgram experiment was also about the effect of a authority figure (in this case a researcher) putting pressure on someone. They continued to deliver the electric shocks because the researcher kept telling them it was fine and that they had to continue. There should be some youtube vids about it for those interested. Love the reality check vids though, keep em coming
I don't give a sh** about all this nonsense! Everybody here can go f*** themselves for all I care!!!
Just kidding. I love you all and I'm sure you all have beautiful eyes.
The online factor in competition is definitely a problem. I used to play in fighting game tournaments (Street Fighter, Marvel vs Capcom, Tekken, ect.) and the hostility issue was almost non-existent. Mind you this is dealing with incredibly competitive games where you can't blame anyone else for your failures.
You tend to actually see the opposite. People tend to group together, talk shop, talk strategy, and play matches over and over to figure out how to break the players defenses or how not go get caught up in an attack you keep getting KO'ed by over and over.
Yet play these same games online and It's filled with foul mouthed trolls, rage quitters, and people taking advantage of exploits that haven't been patched yet.
Avoid them as much as possible, I mean why bother with some of these assholes that have no business with you in the first place?.
The worst thing is when gamers harassing on another in the online gaming world, That's something we should deal with.. (something like a flag report or something, something similar like YouTube.)
Gamers with cursing issues are just troll attention whores.
I really liek this series. Truth is, everyone thinks they are better than everyone else. Just how she goes really.
Just ignore them, The worst they can do is spawn kill you over and over again. If that happens, then move to another lobby.
Because many of them are sad, pathetic lonely people who don't have the balls to confront people in real life and so they have to act big online and make them feel better about themselves.
I'm not defending online jerks in any way but:
The people who rise to the taunts, abuse and trolling help perpetuate and often escalate these toxic interactions. This is exactly what the jerk wants, and gives them incentive to continue.
Sometimes it's not easy but, you know, anonymity works both ways so don't take it personally; call the jerk out for 'just being a jerk' and don't try to add anything to the situation.
If you starve the jerks of attention they'll either go somewhere else to be a jerk or find a more healthy way to interact. Or maybe you just saved yourself 10 minutes of useless arguing...
Dare I say it, its usually the under 30's... those over the age of 30 are less excitable. I avoid FPS and have been put off MOBA because of the 'jerk' mentality. I'm naturally a good sportsman so really dislike this side of on-line gaming. Within MMORPG you get the drama queens, in MOBA the arseholes and in FPS the foul-mouthed homophobic teenagers.
Singleplayer games and EvE Online, have never been so appealing.
What can fix it? Video could be useful, but suspect that won't eradicate all of it.
In my experience, I think it is the competitive nature of most online interactions that leads them to becoming hostile. Anonymity, invisibility etc all add to just how nasty it can get, but its the competition at the root that I find fuels it in the first place. In games like MOBA's and FPS's we are literally trying to kill each other, so hostility pops up quickly, to opponents we deride them and to allies we assign blame.
Similarly on forums, we compete with other posters and against the author of the article or video, or even the site we are on, with our comments and our desire to "win" whatever argument we are making. Contentious interaction leads to hostility, and on the internet it is only ever words, so we feel more inclined to escalate our arguments further than we would before coming to blows in person. Although this can be good for finding out how someone truly feels when they might have curtailed their feelings in person, it goes off the deep end by allowing people to cut loose in the expression of their feelings with little to no regard for the person(s) they are debating, or the etiquette of civil disagreement. My 2 cents.
Ive been playing CS for over 10 years now and i occasionally get idiots complaining that I cheat! and it just goes from there and escalates out of control.
They all act all hard and mighty behind the comfort of their own own. I agree with many comments on here. They wouldnt dare say that in a face to face situation!
I don't normally post much, but I really felt like this video gets at the heart of the matter using science that is clear and understandable for everyone. Great job, and lets hope places like LoL will get less toxic in the future!
As always great video with great informations. Congratulations! And....I got to confess one thing. I used to be a jerk online too...actually I love to make jokes on people when they are dying. Anyone who played the last of us online know what i'm talking about. :) I don't insult anyone though...just jokes.
Faces shown while people play online games would only increase chauvinism and racism, as well as everything else. People are idiots online, because they're idiots IRL, if they'd known they play against female gamer, they would try to demean her, hit on her, or even "let her win" etc., or for example if they see really fat person, they'd more likely to call them pig, rather than noob or some other word they'd use for any other person.
Basically what I'm trying to say is that insults would actually be more direct and more likely to hurt other people.
Try playing RE 6 Mercenaries mode with a points freak jerk. He's going to restart the game if you miss only one zombie and still be ironic.
Online gaming is dead for me, I've tried several types of games in multiplayer matches and it get's old pretty damn fast. I don't get why people think they need the multiplayer so much... :/ ?
i dont really get it why do you care when someone flames you online who gives a shit i can cusses him all day and he can cusses me all day it wont go anywhere and the authority part there thinking the same shit why the fuck should we care let them cusses each other till they give up i bet even in real life cops wouldn't care if it wasn't so exaggerated
@camfrazrob Great episode! This quickly has become one of my favorite shows on Gamespot. It takes exciting questions concerning gaming and puts an academic twist on them and even grants an answer. Good job, Cameron! These are things [in this episode] that I often think about and this episode answers my questions easily :)
Divinejester hit the nail on the head! Most of society is not very pleasant to people they run into or come across. The decorum in the workplace, the classroom, etc, is never going to be the norm for an anonymous, can't touch me, environment of a virtual world such as the internet and MP gaming environments. I often laugh when I hear developers, SONY or MS, and others talk about social gaming crap because it's really a complete farce. Unless you're playing with your real world friends (whom you still have blowouts with), the interaction between people just meeting virtually is never going to be a very stable, fun, or pleasing environment. I see it all the time with my two sons who can't last talking to a bunch of strangers in a game and quite often don't make it a day in a game without going at it with even their friends somewhat.
For me, I'm not gaming at all for social contact, actually quite the opposite! I save that contact for real friends over coffee, BBQ's, and the like. Hell, all you really have to do is look at these forums to see that negativity toward others reigns supreme in large part. I don't like it, but there it is. It's the real world.
The next time you're headed out of the house on a weekend, just take a look around the neighborhood to see if ANY neighbors are even out interacting with each other. Very little to none nowadays as opposed to what I saw many, many years ago as a kid. People are just generally jaded toward each other today especially at the outset. Cracking the ice is near impossible with too many of them unfortunately.
Over time, online nastiness has gotten worse and worse. In most competitive online games, bad-actors seem to chase away nicer players. And in the end, you end up with a smaller subset of people that have a very thick skin and/or participate in the antisocial behavior.
This is not a hard concept to grasp. People are jerks/negative naturally, and gaming anonymity allows people to act how they really feel. Same thing with alcohol. Most of us have the common sense to act with certain levels of decency and decorum in day to day activities, but I would wager for most people this is often a facade. Its really as simple as that. We have the intelligence to keep our instinct and base nature at bay, but it does not mean what we project is our true selves. Now I am not saying people are down right evil, but most fall into some nebulous gray area.
Hell society and culture are built around it. We help our clans, family, and own political states, with most acts of aid or generosity being to put on appearance. Very few people are altruistic, and even fewer are what you could say as true altruism, ie they do something to help someone and don't even get feelings of helping somone back, ie internal benefits.
Simple... Everyone's an armchair warrior. Most people wouldn't give others a world of shit if there was the chance of them getting clocked right in the face for it.
@Zloth2 ...sigh... unfortunately, that's a really good point...
the dynamic massively changes when you play with strangers in a competitive environment where your ability to win is directly tied to what the other people do. Personalities will clash, where everyone wants to the dominant one. However when you play with friends, everyone seems to fall in to their respective places, and typically not everyone will be trying to assert dominance.
When theres a mix of friends and strangers, it ends up becoming a us vs them thing . Wherfe you blame the strangers for everything.
@jpnelson82 There was no implication this was only a console issue. He was talking about how it was an issue on the internet in general.
@jpnelson82 Well, to be fair, he DID throw in League of Legends, which has the worst community by far.
@Crucifier_Z I believe that was another part of it. That got people to go way past 65% and up around 90%. Scary stuff.
@Enforcer246 You are obviously one of those online jerks........
@Enforcer246 and I bet you were a bully with you all high and mighty. With you being a bully, I tell you to go fuck yourself as I was a one of those bullied. Your stereotyping is a load of horse shit, because am not normally so aggressive even online. But I am extremely offended by your stereotyping, high and mighty attitude. So fuck you and the horse you rode in on
@fluffyfacedfool Nothing could eradicate all bad behavior. People throughout the ages have managed to be utterly nasty to each other, no matter the circumstances, and in ways far worse than spewing juvenile insults through a keyboard or headset. There's even a diagnosable, clinical condition that basically makes people psychologically incapable of anything but predatory and/or parasitic behavior. It's most commonly (and improperly) known as sociopathy.
However, for the other 95% of the population, I suspect Cam's solution would likely go a long way towards reducing online foolishness.
@unikat The point is that the person saying vulgar things would also be seen. Now we allow accountability back into the mix, via things like screenshots. If some punk 12 year old (either physical or mental age) is being a racist idiot, then you could take the screenshot and start posting around the internet, and maybe even their facebook page, or their parents' pages. You remove dissociation and suddenly people behave because there are consequences to their actions. Religion (and Santa) does this very well, "God (or Santa) is always watching, so behave, or else!". My $0.02, Cheers!
@aqwa The problem comes at the point of harassment. If I don't want to be verbally abused in real life, I don't have to be. I can report the individual who does this in real life for disturbing the peace, harassment, etc. and get them to stop via the justice system. There is no real standardized online equivalent of this. Some games, like LoL, have their own system for deterring abuse, but they have mixed results at best due to lack of manpower and the sheer number of offenders. The only real method of protection one has on the internet is the online equivalent of a restraining order, the blacklist (when it's offered). The point is that these people wouldn't behave this way in real life, and if they did, then we could do something about it in a lasting and effective way,
@jackzor123 I couldn't agree more. It's easy being the wimp or fat kid behind a computer screen running people down, an acting like an ass. But if your face to face he or she would shut their mouth an cower in the corner