This has been a topic I've brought up in a way before on Dapper Shark Studios Good Talk Podcast, but in a recent interaction I've had on Twitter, I felt the need to bring it up again. I had a minor disagreement via Twitter with Jim Sterling who, if you are unaware, makes The Jimquisition video show, Jim and Yahtzee's Rhymedown Spectacular and is the head reviews editor for escapistmagazine.com. He is quite the prevalent figure in the gaming world.
This particular disagreement was over my statement that I felt he was "being different for the sake of being different" in his latest episode of The Jimquisition when he stated that the WiiU won the 8th generation of consoles launch. He said his piece, I said mine, and it was done. He did use some foul language with another individual I was speaking with during this conversation, but this person didn't feel the need to respond again.
This is in stark contrast to the last time I had a run-in on Twitter with Mr. Sterling. He, like last time, was respectful to me and didn't use any foul language with me. I said I was a fan of his work, but I didn't appreciate the religious jabs he would make. He simply asked what I was referring to. I couldn't think of anything specific, but Mr. Sterling wasn't the issue in this interaction.
A few of his fans felt the need to send needless jeers to my Twitter account. It wasn't anything crazy hateful or anything like the death threats and other ridiculousness that have been sent to other people in this line of work, but it was needless nonetheless.
Jim Sterling is a big boy (no, that's not a crack on his weight. I, too, am quite the large individual) and he is more than apt to defend himself. Judging just by the way he speaks and the content of his videos, Mr. Sterling is a very intelligent individual. He doesn't need some random jerk-off to run to his aid.
This is not the first time I've encountered this. I once ran into a similar situation with another internet personality, Ray William Johnson. I had asked him on Twitter about a change in the look of his videos which I thought was due to a green screen. He replied frankly that he never used green screens and didn't respond to anything further that I inquired. The responses I received from, once again, his fans ranged from simple information to outright insulting my intelligence.
This also seems to be quite the issue in the webcomic community (for and against the authors for various reasons) as well. This leads us to the point of all this exposition.
Regardless of if you agree or disagree with someone, if you like or dislike the content of their article/video/content, on the other side of the screen name you're insulting, is a living, breathing, thinking, feeling human being.
Cyber bullying and white-knighting are an increasing problem on the internet. One that many sites are trying (key word beingtrying) to avoid now. People love the anonymity of the internet. It allows them to have a voice and say or do whatever the hell they please and not suffer any consequences, save for maybe being banned from whatever service for a week or two (in many cases, the offender will just create another account). Any attempt to mitigate this online anonymous bullying is met with aharsh outcry against it.
With great power comes great responsibility, as they say. It seems as though people are content to belittle others and use all kinds of horrible racial/sexual slurs in an attempt to make them feel better about themselves or that they are above another human being.
The repercussions of this are more far-reaching than most realize. People have had to leave their jobs over cyber-bullying. People have had to drop off the internet as content creators due to cyber-bullying. People have been cyber-bullied so badly it drove them to suicide.
A couple people calling me an asshat pales in comparison to the aforementioned but this is how it can end up. Jim Sterling himself has said that he once debated quitting his job as a content creator due to such negativity.
Unfortunately this is the price you pay when you become a content creator. This does not justify it in any way, shape, form or fashion but this is the burden we carry. I hope as The Drakkarium grows and more people access the site that the commentary will be respectful. You can disagree with someone without resorting to name-calling and threats.
It's like that saying that people have about God. I don't have a problem with God, it's his followers that concern me.
Bottom line is, we all are afflicted with the human condition, and we just need to quit being dicks to each other.