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Monday, October 28, 2013

Cultural Chasms

When I was making the decision on where I should go from being a high-sec carebear, one of the options presented to me was a move to null-sec. A reader of my blog contacted me and made an offer that was very, very tempting. He offered me my own system. In the end, I decided to take the plunge into Anoikis. However, I have remained in contact with him and consider him blue to this day. Earlier this year he had issues with his own alliance. They were very similar to some of the issues I've encountered. He is Russian, and did not understand why some players had difficulty expressing themselves in any way other than vulgarity. Here is what he encountered with PvP play.
"There is an old Russian phrase "if you have no will - you have thousands of excuses. If you have will - you have thousands of opportunities". This is true for my situation as well. I tried to enjoy different play style with new buddies and forget about my habits to build things, mine and research. But here comes the main, most important and most frustrating problem. Cultural chasm.
Oh yes. And I'm not talking about national cultural differences. I mean international things like common sense and manners, respectable behavior. When we were invited into <redacted> TS, the 1st conversation I heard was:
xxx: How do i shoot that fu..ing shield to you if your sh..t so f..ng far from me?
yyy: go fu..k yourself! You could do that sh..t no prob!
xxx: we need to f..ng do something about that sh..ty rep range, damn
yyy: ya. Still learning this f..king skill so next time we'll rape those sh..t faced motherf..rs
xxx: ya! Those sh..tty di..ks waiting for anal rape! f..ck them!
Well. What can I say. In RL I'll not stay in the room where such conversation occurs. I'll leave.
Here, in TS, members felt free to splash lingual dirt without any bad feelings. For me it is the same as somebody peeing in the crowded street and sincerely can't understand why others are disgusted: "whacha prob man? It's natural!" Harlem-like slang, tons of foul language and toilet jokes filling the atmosphere of "the most pvp oriented alliance in EVE" TS. Forums? Same. They write in the same way as they talk. CTAs... Can you imagine, not even one-sentence CTA mail with time and ship type they can't be said without at least one pair of F and S words? LOL? No, this is not funny at all. This is depressing.

I really do not understand this. Well, most of them are from US. Maybe you, Mabrick, can give me idea about what's the hell is going on with these people? In Russia, if I hear such speech, it usually means, it's a person who spent half of his life in a prison and never had even elementary school education. Grew up on the streets... etc.
From my personal experience, deviation from "culturedness" always shows same curve in any MMO I have ever played. There are always people who are forming the culture of the server. People like you, Chribba, Jester, Rulers or "EVE University," they are almost never "pvp oriented" as a rule they are peaceful people.
This is not a coincidence. This is natural for people interested in an immersive world who just can't concentrate on one narrow direction of game, like pvp who look on environment through the barrel of the gun. They prefer to enjoy the whole virtual world. Its lore, its community, its politics, its economy, all ways to exist in it. Because the world does not look natural if everyone is always fighting. Such world can't be real and can't be serious. If the only thing people are doing is a fighting, this is not a world, this is an arena. And people who are keen to immersive perception of the world do not want arena, they want the whole living breathing world.
Then there are PVPers. As a rule, pvp players appears to be more rude and having lower culture level then "carebears" (I tried to avoid this word as long as possible.) In average ofc. But the cultural level of <redacted> shocked me. I put headset on the table and still had a feeling I need to wash my ears. Brr."
At this point I'll admit my unkind and likely drunk alliance member got under my skin a bit with his diatribe about my Citizen's Arrest post. And this email is proof I'm not out of line to feel that way. I am not the problem. You see, I join comms when I can. I fly in fleets when I can. It doesn't help I am West Coast U.S. and everything seems to happen before I even get off work, but I do what I can when I have time to do it - which admittedly hasn't been much lately for RL reasons. And I know I suck at PvP. But everyone has to start at the beginning. I am getting better. I actually know not to use pulse ECM in a fleet. I am learning, just like everyone has to learn. And if I post things someone feels are questionable or wrong, so what? At least I had the guts to put it out there hoping someone could explain what they thought was wrong and perhaps teach me something new (and thank you to those who did.) See, I've never claimed to be an expert. I am merely willing to learn.

But it seems some PvPers tend to eat their young without any thought about what it was like in their early days. When they also sucked. They are not interested in teaching. They don't care about any other aspect of the game except to further their own self-indulgences. My Russian friend is correct, they are not the same as most of the other players with whom I've had the privilege to play. And I try to be understanding, but in the end I too am at a loss to explain their behavior. Fortunately, when they begin to act out, I can ignore them most of the time. As for overt hostility, if they think they can pressure me out by their behavior, well, I've been through worse - much worse. They have no idea. I'm not going anywhere. People might as well just get used to that idea.

Watch Out

PS: To the Cynabal pilot who jumped into O-CT8N from A-DZA8 Saturday night: come on man, you can take a Brutix - especially one flown by a care-badger. It'd have been an awesome fight! See you around.

11 comments:

  1. For a full answer you'd have to ask a sociologist but the simple answer is it relates to the way young males display competitiveness and toughness when they come from privileged backgrounds. Being a gangster is aspirational for people who've never had to fight for anything, particularly young white nerds who have anxiety about not being very tough.

    The unfortunate thing about this display is that it's socially dominant even when exerted by a minority. Two people who swear, 8 people who tend not to in most conversations tends to become ten people who swear when they form a community.

    It must indeed seem very odd to someone from a country where live actually is tough, like perhaps Russia. But people are sensitive to true flaws. Call these guys nerds and they'll be offended, call them gangsters and they'll be impressed with themselves because they're nerds trying to act like gangsters. It tends to go with pvp as pvpers want people to see them as dangerous although not all of us pvpers swear like this.

    It's even semi-endorsed by CCP: HTFU.

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  2. I generally see the rampant swearing as a sign of someone's personal background, usually of a lack of education and the lack of confidence that can come with that. Often it seems such people find something (like a sport or a video game) that they can at least perceive themselves to be good at and they want to project the confidence they don't have elsewhere in life. This may be similar to, but is not the same as, the stereotype of the young man in his parent's basement.

    The tearing other people down to prove how good they are is generally a sad thing. The inability to say more than a sentence or two without a swear often comes from the same place. Many of us may not see people like this in our lives due to where we live, our education and income, and the social circles we move it. Those things have no bearing on Eve, so it gives us a glimpse of the a part of the real world we don't normally experience.

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    1. Well... I too would like to believe rampant swearing is a sign of lower class, lower education and overall lower standards in a person. But that too is a form of 'looking down' on others... Problem is many of the people I have know in EvE, who are aggressively and verbally rude, are also on the whole very well educated younger (than me) males holding high paying high-tech jobs...you can't do that, or play this game for that matter if you are a dummy...

      I, more so than my good friend Mab, do cuss from time to time. I worked in my younger years as a framing carpenter and, well, blue collar sometimes has a lot more to do with the language than the color of an piece of apparel in that line of work (in that case I also was on the whole better educated than the majority of the guys I worked with... and a few I worked for. Some, more than I was comfortable with actually, were also former inmates).

      But, as a father these past 11 years and as a guy who has fewer years ahead than behind him, I find myself catching myself, and filtering, what I say more and more. Personally I don't think it has so much to do with education as it does peer pressure, the desire to be accepted, and a lack of maturity... and most importantly, of empathy... And I can say from a few years of experience in EvE at least, empathy is something (1) sorely lacking in the PvP community and (2) is (as I expect this comment will be whether here in type or verbally on Mumble/TS) seen as weakness and ridiculed and treated as such.

      The bravado of young men sitting in front of computers, in comfortable homes/apts, with more than enough food in the fridge, money in the bank and time on their hands... young men who's biggest worry is the stress of their next meeting with their asshole boss... virtually living out the life of excitement and danger they will never really have IRL may have something to do with it also...

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  3. I agree with the above poster. I believe it may have to do with people not being confident in their RL lives and/or being self-conscious about some personality flaw. They to act out in places where they are not face-to-face in an attempt to cope with this flaw instead of working in RL to iron it out.

    On a different note:
    Mabrick, you're welcome to join us carebears in HighSec 8P

    We venture to null now and again, but mostly do our carebeary thing while entertaining ourselves with pleasant conversation. Our "Rule #4" is don't be a jackass. Which is enforced by Doubledub (an RL female with little to no tolerance for assholes, like a certain few that I'm sure you could guess at). If you're ever tired of their lifestyle, come fly with us!

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  4. "I really do not understand this. Well, most of them are from US. Maybe you, Mabrick, can give me idea about what's the hell is going on with these people? In Russia, if I hear such speech, it usually means, it's a person who spent half of his life in a prison and never had even elementary school education. Grew up on the streets... etc."

    Welcome to the "Third-World-ication" of 'Murica. We are most assuredly spiraling into a cultural oblivion.

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  5. "Then there are PVPers. As a rule, pvp players appears to be more rude and having lower culture level then"

    Sorry Mabrick, but evidence proves you wrong. I have seen, heard and read so many accounts where PVE players rage and spew in the most objectionable way against PVPers who just happened to randomly kill them without any attempt to grief.

    I have been in PVP fleets of dedicated PVP corps/alliances where you could get reprimanded by saying anything but "gf" in local - possibly even kicked if you were a repeat offender.

    It is a clichee that all PVP players are abusive griefers. Actually, a lot of the ones I came to know would let a pod/hauler/mining barge go because it offered no challenge (except if disruption of someone's PVE operation was their goal)

    I am not saying that there are no hatemongering low-brow PVP pilots, but that is a far cry from generalizing like you did there.

    As a matter of fact, I would say that those who drop f-bombs, use the j or the n word or post/say other objectionable stuff are the ones who are worst at PVP and need to compensate for that by being offensive in ways that is out of proportion to their in-game skill.

    All the really good PVPers I ever met were very civilized people. Really.

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    1. "Sorry Mabrick, but evidence proves you wrong."

      Wrong about something I didn't write? That's a funny thing. Please understand I was quoting someone else. It's a perception that many players have, and I wanted to highlight it. But I did not say it. Nor did I actually say I endorse the view. It's a conversation point. I just want to be absolutely clear about that. I quoted the letter because it's something we should discuss. And your contribution is as valuable as anyone else's because you're right, it's too easy to stereotype - on both sides of the situation. So far I've been pleased with the conversation. People have been civil. Let's keep it going!

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  6. Another element is that smacktalk is actually very useful. I don't think I ever get excited enough to the point where I feel like calling someone a twonk in Local. But I do call people names in Local if I think it will excite them into making irrational and poor decisions.

    Smacktalk as a tool to manipulate an enemy into a foolish mistake is a perfectly valid Eve tactic.

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  7. Personally, I don't find swear words offensive in and of themselves. It's the intent behind the swear that creates offense. For example, you can swear with any litany you like when you smash your thumb with a hammer while trying to nail something down and not be offensive because it's merely expressing yourself. The snippet you quoted wasn't offensive to me until the last two lines when they brought in homophobic slurs.

    It takes skill to swear properly and they didn't have it.

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  8. Wow - this touches on one of my pet peeves about EVE Online. The inability of some players to express themselves without profanity perplexes me. And too many wear it as a badge of honor. It reminds me of my elderly aunt who forgets words when she speaks - it's just sad. I'm going to comment on this further in my own blog.

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  9. One word play style. Not everyone rp the same way you do that's what a sandbox is all about. I hear HKO has no cussing. Tbh the organization I was part of.where I saw the most profanty was the US Army. I dont have a bad thing to say about most of those guys

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Be civil, be responsible and most of all be kind. I will not tolerate poor form. There will be no James Hooks here. We are all better than that.