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Toxicity in Gameplay, and Its Implications for Gameplayers

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Cataluna
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Toxicity in Gameplay, and Its Implications for Gameplayers

Postby Cataluna » Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:48 pm

In recent years (I should specify that it’s been that long, because I can remember these toxicity arguments were being made for years before the recent spat in the Osiris embassy thread), gameplay has become self-critical in a manner that never seems to go anywhere. In that sense, every attempt to “fix” toxicity in gameplay has failed. I will attempt to explain the roots of the arguments about toxicity, the manner in which those arguments have been defeated by practice or counter-arguments, and re-examine critically whether an end to “toxicity” is indeed a goal that is feasible and/or desirable.

What is toxicity, in a gameplay sense? There seems to be this air of “ought” about speech around it. People “ought” to separate out of character and in character dialogue, people “ought” to back off after a while, people “ought” to be nicer. All of these, of course, are relative value judgements, and are usually based on feelings. Those feelings, to be clear, are not invalid, but will not do for a definition. Instead, I propose this: What gameplayers say when they mean “toxicity” is the process in gameplay where there comes about a feedback loop of criticism of an action that is considered to be outside the realm of the normal state.

It is, of course, important to note that this feedback loop is in part fed by the nature of the game as it stands. The nature of that game is that relatively few large-scale events occur. When they do occur, ripples occur throughout the community. Those ripples reverberate, like a reflection in infinite mirrors, until the light focuses elsewhere.

It is then also important that we should define what we mean by a gameplayer. After all, many people who are affected by gameplay never once venture into the forums. Though many jokes about a “cabal” have been made, it is certainly true that very few people care about interregional gameplay. The number of frequent NSGP-goers is likely in the low hundreds, out of a site a thousand times that size. It is also true, then, that a gameplayer is already a uniquely invested individual. Invested in what? Influence. Every gameplayer must, to some extent, possess influence over other people, and that influence rarely can come about by force. It is then true that it must come about by persuasion or attack.

Attack is the act by which a gameplayer is able to convince other gameplayers of their good standing (and, presumably, of the other’s poor standing). I use such strong terminology as a result of the way attack often presents itself: as a million tiny arrows, looking to skewer every which way through an opponent. Why does an attack present itself as such? It is simple: by which other means would you suggest gameplayers perpetrate their ideas? Gameplayers are necessarily involved in a game, and collaboration does them no favors if they are in NSGP for the expressed purpose of playing that game. If collaboration will not work, agreement between historically opposed parties must by necessity be rare, or a result of auspicious circumstance. Long-term agreement would mean the game would end. Thus, division begins.

It may be useful to compare this to existential “othering”. Gameplay is a hyperinflated example of an existential circumstance. Everything is opposed to everything else as a result of necessity to the game, and nothing can be done to stop it. It may now be understood that this is the reason why “toxicity” plays such a role in gameplay.

Could it be that toxicity is, in fact, a result of people making a confusion between the normally obvious in-character/out-of-character line? I venture to say that it would be preposterous to propose such a line. For some sage individuals, it may be (and often is) possible to operate under IC/OOC dichotomy, but the element of emotional investment must be considered. Most players are not so good at seeing the dichotomy in others’ posts, and even if they are, may find themselves to be emotionally crossing that line more than they expect. Emotions cannot be ignored as an element, as much as some stoic would have you believe. Good or bad, they are here to stay in NSGP. The line, then, does not functionally exist if it’s non-existent in some peoples’ minds, ignored by others, and emotionally non-relevant in still others.

I venture to say there is not a single individual in NSGP who has not had this game take an emotional toll on them. The recent Cormac situation does not mean that he is not hypocritical for taking that stance, it means he is being open about a fact not many gameplayers like to admit--the emotional part of this game can get to people, and does. Certainly, others’ emotions is no means by which we judge morality, but it is something we should consider when discussing what “toxicity” means.

People who want an end to this want an end to a game. They want to hugbox their way through a war, but it’s clear that that’s not going to happen, because the root of toxicity is the game itself. So, speaking to those people, I would implore you to take a different approach.

Rejection hurts, losing hurts, and being wrong hurts. But this isn’t a game where we can end a round, take a look at each other, and congratulate each other for a job well done. This is a game in constant turmoil. It’s a game in constant division, constant war. Some may say, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen,” but this game is notorious for not being one where you can do that.

As a result, I have two different prescriptions for NSGP, depending on how we, as players in this game, would like to exist:

Scenario One is a scenario where we decide that we want to keep gameplay the same. The only logical option here is to tell people to get out of the kitchen. This is a mean game. It just is, and there’s nothing that you can do to stop that. Ruthless people are going to play. So, then agitators about toxicity should just take their business elsewhere. That’s what some of you may go for, and I don’t blame you at all. I think it is perfectly acceptable to want to play a politics game where you can be ruthless and mean. However, then I would stop peddling the bullshit about the IC/OOC line. It doesn’t exist, and communities are going to need to address OOC issues with regards to their IC complications and vice versa.

Scenario Two is a scenario where we decide that we take a break from war for a while, and take a bit to think. It isn’t an end to conflict, or an end to shade being thrown, but if you want an out, it might be a good idea to take a break. I propose this, and it might be a bit of a stretch: vote with how you post. Do not post in your enemy’s embassy thread for a set period of time. Don’t engage in snark. Don’t engage in GP. You can’t keep walking a tightrope between engagement and hugboxing. There is no compassion in war. The only option is not to play. So, you want a conversation about ethics in NSGP? Good, have that discussion from a disinterested perspective. Just like there is no shame in losing a round of CoD, there is no shame in losing a round of a nation sim game. Who knows? Maybe you’ll finally be able to quit this time.

You can, of course, switch between scenarios. While they may be mutually exclusive at any given time, they’re not exclusive for all time. Choose how you want to play. Have fun. It is a game, and one with years of your work, if you’re one of the people reading at this point.

There are discussions to be had about how the community treats truly abhorrent behavior, but again, those have to be discussed with regards to both their IC and OOC repercussions. I don’t think I need to do more than bring up the scenario with Imki to demonstrate that they are inseparable. I have no answers on this one, admin teams probably have better ones.

I wrote this essay from a critical standpoint, but I’d like to acknowledge my biases: I’m not innocent in this game. I hurt the community of Lazarus with my actions, I’ve raided many native communities, and I’ve taken up action against the Pacific most recently. I hold no regrets about any of those things. They’re part of the game, and people who don’t understand that should consider permanently opting into Scenario Two. Despite that, I’m very conflict-averse. I like a lot of you people, and you worry me sometimes. I want to make sure you all feel loved and respected in all parts of your life, even if it is a stupid browser game.

Thank you for reading my essay, I hope it sparks dialogue beyond the typical stuff. I’m always open to criticism and further discussion.
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Escade
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Postby Escade » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:35 pm

I think you bring up a lot of interesting points. OC\IC divide has never really been as clear cut as players expect it to be. It just can't be.

"“If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen,” was literally said to me when I first brought up civility a long time ago. I agree with several of the points here but will have a more cogent response tomorrow since I already talked about this topic a bit today.

The game is about politics and is about a win\lose situation. More recently, those who cannot "win" in the normative attack ways have weaponized toxicity and preach about empathy and whatnot when it suits them. This group ignores their personal and their own friends misbehavior and seeks to punish those that disagree with them. We've seen this in TSP very blatantly but no region is innocent and pretty much every region in NSGP to some degree has down some double standards.

There are a very few handful of genuine players who do want more civility, I don't blame them for this but if they are genuine then I expect them to produce clear and consistent standards that are applicable to everyone. This honestly has not been done by anyone so far. So still waiting.

Even in the recent issue brought up in the Osiris thread - the degree was about what lines should be crossed or not crossed (without discussion of punishment or politicization). There can be clear lines for egregious behavior without the current trend to try to use that event as a blacklisting moment or political weapon rather than an event to learn something from about moving forward.

Finally, not everything in NSGP needs to be attack based either (you can do other things or start your own region or etc). If you're going for power, yes there is competition and people vying for it. If you want power (as we've seen time and time again) it won't come on a silver platter. It's time to stop players from using "toxicity" as an avenue to power.

It's like someone saying they are "nice," as the dominant feature of their personality. It tends to be false. Don't want to engage you can choose to opt out. Want better standards, do something concrete. Or stop abusing the word for personal gain.
Last edited by Escade on Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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The Church of Satan
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Postby The Church of Satan » Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:32 pm

How then do we hold such players accountable? Especially when many GPers are so eager to turn a blind eye to the toxic, abusive behavior of others when it benefits them. Yes this is a political game but does it really have to be so disturbingly like real-world politics? Is it truly worth driving players out of a region or worse out of the game just for power? Sadly a lot of players do say yes, behind closed doors while they come here to this forum and pretend to be decent. It doesn't matter to them. Don't give me any of that OOC/IC bs either. IC "personas" are derived from the OOC personality that created them. Few people are willing to admit this but the poor conduct they justify as being part of their IC "persona" is not a facade. Maybe they are just in part, a bad person. Maybe they're so delusional or egotistical that they can't believe they aren't the white knight they make themselves out to be.
Last edited by The Church of Satan on Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Greater Moldavi
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Postby Greater Moldavi » Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:21 am

First, I want to say that there are a lot of good points in the posts above. I debated replying here at all because I know I am personally a polarizing player. But I disagree with the concept of there being no clear IC/OOC line. It is a personal choice whether a player decides to see it or not. This is a political simulation game. It revolves around the ability to create 'nations' that can enforce religion, enforce sexuality, enforce dictatorships, etc. etc. almost ad infinitum. It lends itself to a certain type of characterization within the national identities. But that aside, the meta-sphere of gameplay also lends itself to a certain dynamic.

You can play as a Tyrant, or a hero, or a saint, or a 'god', or whatever you project yourself to be here (and you can change it day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute as you see fit) because it is a game. It is wrong to project your own insecurities onto other players or state something to the effect of 'this player has decided to be a dictator and must therefore be a horrible person in real life'. Who are any of us to make that judgement call about another person on any level? Do you consider anyone who has ever played a first-person shooter to be a potential IRL murderer? That would be absurd.

I am certainly not advocating any kum ba yah hug-fest to resolve conflict in the game. I do advocate people actually playing the damn game. I see the posts from the last few days and I see Glen Rhodes's post about how he has been treated, and I see the countless others that have been bullied and picked on, and I look at my own experiences of certain players taking completely IC statements and actions and attempting to push OOC meaning onto them in an attempt to cast me as a 'bad person' in real life and it makes me sick. And I see others defending those same people and their cries of victimhood and it just makes me tired. I'm tired of the bullshit. I'm tired of the OOC offense being taken at IC actions. I'm tired of players making IRL mountains out of ingame molehills. I'm tired of the holier-than-thou attitude from people that claim they play a righteous game while pushing for other players to be excluded from the game altogether.

I'm tired of players not taking responsibility for their actions.
Last edited by Greater Moldavi on Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
Tyrant (Ret.)

Also known as Ivan, Pierconium, Gracius Maximus, That Called the Vlagh, StrikeForceDelta, Borogravia Moldavi, Darkseid, Fortress Prussia...

Some things I've done for fun:
NPO - EMPIRE - TRIUMVIRATE - NPD - ADN - SECO - SCDT - ATLANTIC - TMS - GV - OKHRANA - UOS - ACCORDS

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Armaros
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Postby Armaros » Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:30 am

The Church of Satan wrote:How then do we hold such players accountable? Especially when many GPers are so eager to turn a blind eye to the toxic, abusive behavior of others when it benefits them. Yes this is a political game but does it really have to be so disturbingly like real-world politics? Is it truly worth driving players out of a region or worse out of the game just for power? Sadly a lot of players do say yes, behind closed doors while they come here to this forum and pretend to be decent. It doesn't matter to them. Don't give me any of that OOC/IC bs either. IC "personas" are derived from the OOC personality that created them. Few people are willing to admit this but the poor conduct they justify as being part of their IC "persona" is not a facade. Maybe they are just in part, a bad person. Maybe they're so delusional or egotistical that they can't believe they aren't the white knight they make themselves out to be.

So you are saying that playing this game as a persona different from your actual persona is not possible? This is a game, for christ's sake. If I play this game by couping others for the fun of the ensuing chaos in-game, I must be an OOC anarchist too?

This is, first and foremost, a game, and if you can't differentiate playing a game from people's OOC believes/views/personalities, then maybe you shouldn't play it.
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Jar Wattinree
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Postby Jar Wattinree » Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:44 am

Armaros wrote:So you are saying that playing this game as a persona different from your actual persona is not possible? This is a game, for christ's sake. If I play this game by couping others for the fun of the ensuing chaos in-game, I must be an OOC anarchist too?

This is, first and foremost, a game, and if you can't differentiate playing a game from people's OOC believes/views/personalities, then maybe you shouldn't play it.

Yes. Certain people, in the NSGP Discord no less, have said this very thing in relation to Ivan's persona to, what a farking surprise, score OOC points in what should be a game.

Is that line of reasoning bull? Totally, because this is still RP, but of a similar nature, not OOC stuff that has precious little to do with this game.
Last edited by Jar Wattinree on Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Kurnugia
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Postby Kurnugia » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:17 am

I will quickly point out the irony of all of this: The OP's region deems the NPO to be fascist similar of the ilk like Kaiserreich, Farkasfalka and NE.

Wanting to change the NSGP OOC toxic culture is well and good however, you have to be the change you want to see.
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Malphe
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Postby Malphe » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:27 am

Kurnugia wrote:I will quickly point out the irony of all of this: The OP's region deems the NPO to be fascist similar of the ilk like Kaiserreich, Farkasfalka and NE.

Wanting to change the NSGP OOC toxic culture is well and good however, you have to be the change you want to see.

My understanding of this is that neither Cormar or Anti support the views portrayed in that dispatch but aren't comfortable with taking it down because Topid put it up. Let's try to avoid pointing fingers and deeming people to be hypocrites in this thread, getting the feeling you could pull that card on just about anyone and it isn't constructive.
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Cataluna
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Postby Cataluna » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:51 am

Kurnugia wrote:I will quickly point out the irony of all of this: The OP's region deems the NPO to be fascist similar of the ilk like Kaiserreich, Farkasfalka and NE.

Wanting to change the NSGP OOC toxic culture is well and good however, you have to be the change you want to see.

This has been pointed out in the NSGP discord, and I've already pinged Topid about it. I'm not sure why you're bringing this up here, Kurn. If you're going to play the tu quoque card, perhaps it should have been brought up then and there.
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Greater Moldavi
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Postby Greater Moldavi » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:15 am

Malphe wrote:
Kurnugia wrote:I will quickly point out the irony of all of this: The OP's region deems the NPO to be fascist similar of the ilk like Kaiserreich, Farkasfalka and NE.

Wanting to change the NSGP OOC toxic culture is well and good however, you have to be the change you want to see.

My understanding of this is that neither Cormar or Anti support the views portrayed in that dispatch but aren't comfortable with taking it down because Topid put it up. Let's try to avoid pointing fingers and deeming people to be hypocrites in this thread, getting the feeling you could pull that card on just about anyone and it isn't constructive.
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To me, this speaks to players not taking personal responsibility for their actions. It is a conscious choice to join a UCR. In this instance, a player, one who many have rallied around and supported over St Abbaddon, took an IC squabble over the region’s name and decided to conflate it into an OOC issue and put a label on a whole group of gameplayers. Quite possibly the most reprehensible label that one can put on someone in these sorts of situations. Other players willingly joined that region knowing full well what the policy was - or did nothing and stayed when it was pointed out to them. I don’t think they get a free pass by saying ‘well that is just the founder’. They are there willingly. If a player joins a region with a policy against gay or trans people (as an example) are they given such a pass?
Last edited by Greater Moldavi on Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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McChimp
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Postby McChimp » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:44 am

I don't think it's impossible for players to act professionally by overcoming their own emotional biases at all, though I concede that it seems to be a rare talent in NSGP. Speaking less broadly, though, that is the primary qualification for our off-site administrators and it is that qualification which gives them the authority to comment on matters of interregional administration in their communities' name.

This works both ways, you'll note-the NSWF incident was caused by an admin's failure to exercise that professionalism and they were harangued for it.


Professionalism is not some far-fetched ideal, in the real world it is regular practice and I see no reason it should be any different here. If a region is going to make serious comments about OOC matters across NSGP, it should be done by their admins, not an IC institution.
Last edited by McChimp on Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Kurnugia
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Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Kurnugia » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:02 am

I just wish to apologize to the OP if my comment came off as doubting her intention to make NSGP somewhat cleaner. I don't have a reason to doubt her. I do however think a good way to start is to look at any active an ongoing OOC toxicity. The founder's dispatch in Pacifica is one of them.

I sincerely hope that there will be a change for the better.
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Cataluna
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Postby Cataluna » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:16 am

I hope to be able to respond something more than the people talking about Pacifica in this thread sometime tonight. To respond to Ivan and Kurnugia, I am working on it. That's not a satisfying answer, but I don't know what else to tell you. Giving up on Pacifica is not an option for me. The community here is worth more than a dispatch.
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Greater Moldavi
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Postby Greater Moldavi » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:18 am

Cataluna wrote:I hope to be able to respond something more than the people talking about Pacifica in this thread sometime tonight. To respond to Ivan and Kurnugia, I am working on it. That's not a satisfying answer, but I don't know what else to tell you. Giving up on Pacifica is not an option for me. The community here is worth more than a dispatch.

Actually, for me, it is a satisfying answer.

I have been waiting on someone from Pacifica to acknowledge the problematic nature of the dispatch in more than a dismissive way for a long time. At least you are trying where others have not.

Thank you.
Last edited by Greater Moldavi on Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Also known as Ivan, Pierconium, Gracius Maximus, That Called the Vlagh, StrikeForceDelta, Borogravia Moldavi, Darkseid, Fortress Prussia...

Some things I've done for fun:
NPO - EMPIRE - TRIUMVIRATE - NPD - ADN - SECO - SCDT - ATLANTIC - TMS - GV - OKHRANA - UOS - ACCORDS

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The Gilded Star
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Postby The Gilded Star » Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:10 am

There can definitely be a difference in IC and OOC personalities, and it's a lot like acting. If someone assumes the role of a villain in a play, it doesn't mean they're a villainous person in real life. That being said, over the years, I've noticed there's a lot of people that can't imagine being anyone but themselves, and as a result, they tend to not interpret a difference between acting and not-acting, and take the sum total of a person's actions at face value. Which, unfortunately, can create a lot of misunderstandings. Admittedly, it doesn't help when you're in an environment where IC and OOC is constantly being blurred together without distinction, and you mix people who play an IC role with people who "roleplay themselves".

In NSGP, I've done a lot of smack-talking against the NPO, but it's been in the spirit of spurring action/engagement in the game, not unlike banter between sports team fans. OOCly I don't hold bad feelings against any of them and I'd probably greet them as friends if we met outside of NS. Some people may or may not agree with that, but as someone that's had years of experience in conflict-driven roleplay games, I find it very important, for a number of reasons, to keep in-game conflicts within the game, and not let them bleed out into real life.

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Aynia Moreaux
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Postby Aynia Moreaux » Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:35 am

I think toxicity is something that has touched anyone who's been in gameplay for any length of time. The issue with this game is that it draws two very different personalities. From my time in NS I've found the different types of players are the people who have the potential to prey on others, and those who have the potential to be preyed upon.

I think to really understand the toxicity you have to realize that it's basically built into the game mechanics. This is a political simulator, and sometimes politics gets nasty. People are free to choose what route they will take, and sometimes that route is self serving and harmful to others. That is toxicity.

This is hard for me to put but I've been manipulated and used in this game to the point that it almost caused me a mental breakdown. People who were supposed to be some of my closest friends back stabbed, manipulated and gas lighted me into doing what they wanted. I am one of the prey players, and I know that. I play this game the nice way, but not everyone does. Some people are here to play the game without any thought to the consequences that it might have on others.

I don't believe that the answer to this is just putting up with it and letting things continue. The answer is that *all* of us need to be proactive in stamping out toxic behaviour when it happens. Bullies are going to bully, the onus is on us to stand up to it. It sucks and isn't fair that the people who are most vulnerable are the ones who have to be the most vigilant, but coming together with a herd mentality when something happens to stamp it out is one of the only ways to show that toxicity is not tolerated. Behind every screen is a person with real emotions and a real life, and I think that needs to be at the forefront of our minds when we play this game and deal with others.

Nationstates is such an open game. You get to shape your world how you want it and there aren't many rules. And that's the catch. All in all, the players set the rules here, and it's up to the players to come together and put an end to toxicity. We can have politics without the harm.
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Escade
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Postby Escade » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:12 pm

`Considering Glenn-Rhodes own highly negative behavior towards a vast plethora of players, I see his statement about Cormac to be very "pot meets kettle" and hypocritical to say the least. So I'm taking that with a grain of salt. Cormac at least, had the modicum of self awareness to attempt to apologize (not that I think that solves any problems in itself but is at least a good faith move). Glenn-Rhodes has not apologized for years of bad behavior and has enablers working for him overtime. Just as he has worked to enable other players who should not be part of this game. Players who weaponize "toxicity" so they can finally get power but then turn around to self-aggrandize and engage in a false victimhood narrative are something else altogether.

Someone on Discord commented, "Escade is asking people to be nice." No, I'm not asking people to be nice. I'm asking people who keep ranting about being nice to either put up clear standards that are applicable to everyone or stfu. If you won't or can't do it (make a list of behaviors that are ban worthy, warning worthy, list out escalating consequences - dialogue about it in community venue and come to an accord) that stfu about toxicity and niceness and whatever fake BS is being used for petty power plays.

"Being nice" is thrown about along with words like "empathy" and "kindness" so far when it suits the player to use it as a weapon. The first time where it clearly was not used thus way was in the recent Osiris statement where they did not try to weaponize it, ban someone or otherwise finagle something out of it.

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The Church of Satan
Diplomat
 
Posts: 926
Founded: Apr 15, 2013
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby The Church of Satan » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:46 pm

Armaros wrote:So you are saying that playing this game as a persona different from your actual persona is not possible? This is a game, for christ's sake. If I play this game by couping others for the fun of the ensuing chaos in-game, I must be an OOC anarchist too?

This is, first and foremost, a game, and if you can't differentiate playing a game from people's OOC believes/views/personalities, then maybe you shouldn't play it.

Yes I am. One person can only play the "persona" for so long before it becomes a part of who you are. This is inevitable. To say otherwise is a fairy tale. A fantasy.
Greater Moldavi wrote:Do you consider anyone who has ever played a first-person shooter to be a potential IRL murderer?

Oh yes, most definitely. We are all capable of it, deep down whether we like it or not. We're animals too. It's hardwired into us. Some of us just play an honest game. That's better than most GPers can honestly say about themselves. There is no expectation of goodness in NS but there is definitely an expectation of decency. An expectation that is not followed as well as it should be.
Greater Moldavi wrote:I'm tired of players not taking responsibility for their actions.

Believe me you are not the only one.
Jar Wattinree wrote:because this is still RP, but of a similar nature, not OOC stuff that has precious little to do with this game.

That's the excuse used to justify some of the most horrible behavior in the game. OOC stuff has more to do with how players conduct themselves than you seem to be willing to admit.
Aynia Moreaux wrote:People are free to choose what route they will take, and sometimes that route is self serving and harmful to others. That is toxicity.

This is hard for me to put but I've been manipulated and used in this game to the point that it almost caused me a mental breakdown. People who were supposed to be some of my closest friends back stabbed, manipulated and gas lighted me into doing what they wanted. I am one of the prey players, and I know that. I play this game the nice way, but not everyone does. Some people are here to play the game without any thought to the consequences that it might have on others.

I don't believe that the answer to this is just putting up with it and letting things continue. The answer is that *all* of us need to be proactive in stamping out toxic behaviour when it happens. Bullies are going to bully, the onus is on us to stand up to it. It sucks and isn't fair that the people who are most vulnerable are the ones who have to be the most vigilant, but coming together with a herd mentality when something happens to stamp it out is one of the only ways to show that toxicity is not tolerated. Behind every screen is a person with real emotions and a real life, and I think that needs to be at the forefront of our minds when we play this game and deal with others.

Nationstates is such an open game. You get to shape your world how you want it and there aren't many rules. And that's the catch. All in all, the players set the rules here, and it's up to the players to come together and put an end to toxicity. We can have politics without the harm.

Yes! That is exactly my point!
Last edited by The Church of Satan on Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Unibot III
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Founded: Mar 11, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Unibot III » Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:10 pm

I don’t want to make a rather curt remark to a well thought-out essay, but I will say that the third option is performative positivity - which in a political simulation like NationStates is naturally as common and traditional as hostility and verbal abuse.
Last edited by Unibot III on Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
[violet] wrote:I mean this in the best possible way,
but Unibot is not a typical NS player.
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with the best of intentions.
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Glen-Rhodes
Powerbroker
 
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Founded: Jun 25, 2008
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Glen-Rhodes » Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:27 pm

Gameplay became nasty in the OOC sense as "Gameplay" became more of a singular community, particularly with the rise of the Discord community. Before then, it was a lot of arguing about the actual game between people who mostly spent time in their own regions. It's not the first online community that's devolved into being an unpleasant cesspool half of its existence. But the tides turned when this part of the game became less about regions posting statements and R/D groups taking pot shots about R/D, and more about hanging out as a defined "GP" community. Isolated incidents happened, but there was no "in-group" or "out-group" specific to GP-- it was all based around regions and R/D groups and their own spread out IRC channels and forums. Nowadays, what region you're in matters very little. Gameplay has its own natives.

If that community doesn't police itself, then obviously nothing will change. Mods can police these forums with an iron fist, but they can't touch the Discord community. And really, it's that community that has, so far, refused to self-police and kick out the people who turn things sour. And if you want to look at that, it's the same as with any other online community: look at the people in charge.
Last edited by Glen-Rhodes on Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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The Church of Satan
Diplomat
 
Posts: 926
Founded: Apr 15, 2013
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby The Church of Satan » Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:33 pm

Glen-Rhodes wrote:Gameplay became nasty in the OOC sense as "Gameplay" became more of a singular community, particularly with the rise of the Discord community. Before then, it was a lot of arguing about the actual game between people who mostly spent time in their own regions. It's not the first online community that's devolved into being an unpleasant cesspool half of its existence. But the tides turned when this part of the game became less about regions posting statements and R/D groups taking pot shots about R/D, and more about hanging out as a defined "GP" community. Isolated incidents happened, but there was no "in-group" or "out-group" specific to GP-- it was all based around regions and R/D groups and their own spread out IRC channels and forums. Nowadays, what region you're in matters very little. Gameplay has its own natives.

If that community doesn't police itself, then obviously nothing will change. Mods can police these forums with an iron fist, but they can't touch the Discord community. And really, it's that community that has, so far, refused to self-police and kick out the people who turn things sour. And if you want to look at that, it's the same as with any other online community: look at the people in charge.

Except where players are abused by those who police their region.
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Glen-Rhodes
Powerbroker
 
Posts: 9023
Founded: Jun 25, 2008
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Glen-Rhodes » Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:43 pm

The Church of Satan wrote:Except where players are abused by those who police their region.

Regions suffer the same issues as any other defined community, including have in- and out-groups, fighting, and sometimes devolving into terribleness. That's kind of my point. The reason Gameplay as a whole has become this bad is because it's now a single community, rather than a forum that's utilized by a bunch of disparate regions and R/D groups to act out the game. But Gameplay as a community is leaderless and anarchic, at least in the sense that there isn't a forum administration or a court or a cabinet that can kick people out. But the reason Gameplay became a single community is because of IRC and then Discord, and Discord certainly does have administrators.

When regions find their community is growing toxic, they get together and kick the problematic ones out, and don't let them back in. (Whether the punished players find that fair is immaterial, and there has been and always will be ongoing fights about who should be kicked out. So whatever.) That didn't used to be possible in Gameplay, because there wasn't a single Gameplay. But now there is, except the community still behaves as if there isn't and everything is still anarchy. There's definitely a higher level of responsibility that the community leaders can take, even if it's not possible to permanently exile someone from the whole Gameplay community, unless they get DOS'd by mods.
Last edited by Glen-Rhodes on Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Reventus Koth
Envoy
 
Posts: 293
Founded: Apr 03, 2016
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Reventus Koth » Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:07 pm

Glen-Rhodes wrote:
The Church of Satan wrote:Except where players are abused by those who police their region.

Regions suffer the same issues as any other defined community, including have in- and out-groups, fighting, and sometimes devolving into terribleness. That's kind of my point. The reason Gameplay as a whole has become this bad is because it's now a single community, rather than a forum that's utilized by a bunch of disparate regions and R/D groups to act out the game. But Gameplay as a community is leaderless and anarchic, at least in the sense that there isn't a forum administration or a court or a cabinet that can kick people out. But the reason Gameplay became a single community is because of IRC and then Discord, and Discord certainly does have administrators.

When regions find their community is growing toxic, they get together and kick the problematic ones out, and don't let them back in. (Whether the punished players find that fair is immaterial, and there has been and always will be ongoing fights about who should be kicked out. So whatever.) That didn't used to be possible in Gameplay, because there wasn't a single Gameplay. But now there is, except the community still behaves as if there isn't and everything is still anarchy. There's definitely a higher level of responsibility that the community leaders can take, even if it's not possible to permanently exile someone from the whole Gameplay community, unless they get DOS'd by mods.

You clearly have an axe to grind about the NSGP Discord, and apparently with me, but you're being oddly evasive about the specifics. Would you prefer that I instruct my admin team to treat Gameplay as if it was a region, and cut out the "toxic elements" by our subjective opinion? Because I imagine that that would do more harm than good, on a platform that I actually agree is already suboptimal. Fuck, you think I like the fact that the NSGP Discord server exists at all? If I shut it down today, it would pop up tomorrow under new leadership that has a chance of being worse off than it is now, because it's an established institution at this point and people in this game naturally try to fill power vacuums, most often with themselves.

If you would like to have a civil conversation about how I run my server, you can absolutely feel free to do so there. However, I suspect from the way you're posturing that you only wish to target me and my team and vaguely imply that we foster toxicity. Figure out which avenue you're taking and stick to it.
Formerly known as Ambroscus Koth, +1843 posts. Trust no one.

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Altinsane
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 158
Founded: Feb 13, 2017
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Altinsane » Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:19 pm

I feel like that's all highly irrelevant, Glen. GP is a community in that it's shared space, but it's still the responsibility of individual communities to deal with their problems. We have plenty of people and regions blacklisted by everyone from everywhere for both IC and OOC reasons, but it was individual communities who made that decision. An overreaching administrative body to control who should be allowed or disallowed in GP at large is an incredibly irresponsible idea. How often are you accused of abusing your power in TSP? As far as some of these folks are concerned, you have TSP in an iron fist that they can never escape from because of the way that you use administration. I'm not sure who is best left to decide whether that is true or not, but the fact remains that you're accused of it often and it's exceedingly believable because manipulating a community with administrative power is the easiest way to do it. No one can argue with an administrative decision, there is typically no check on that power, very few questions are ever even asks. If you say that someone is a harasser, then they are a harasser, and they're no longer welcome here. Giving people the power to enforce that idea over GP as a whole - or even putting them in the sad position that they may have to endure accusations of it all the time - is not fair to anyone. Nationstates doesn't blacklist people for us. NS is a venue and their responsibility is keeping the venue open, not deciding how we use it. Places like discord enforce bars on unwelcome players far more harshly than NS mods ever have in certain very sure cases, but it is still a venue. It bars people from participation for breaking the rules of the venue. It doesn't decide for any specific region who they should allow within their community, and it should never have the power to do so. There is no one "in charge" in Gameplay, and if there were, that would he a conspiracy that we would all be very angry about and make immediate attempts to dismantle it.

The Cosmo era I think contributes a lot to the general idea you have going on here, and it would probably benefit us all to stop cosmopolitanism in its tracks, but going full one world government on Nationstates and taking the responsibility out of the hands of our individual regions is super overreaching and a really, really slippery slope.
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The Church of Satan
Diplomat
 
Posts: 926
Founded: Apr 15, 2013
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby The Church of Satan » Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:31 pm

Glen-Rhodes wrote:When regions find their community is growing toxic, they get together and kick the problematic ones out, and don't let them back in.

Hearing this from you of all people is just...disgusting.
Last edited by The Church of Satan on Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The Rejected Realms: Former Delegate | Former Vice Delegate | Longest Consecutively Serving Officer in TRR History - 824 Days

Chanku: This isn't an election it's an assault on the eyes. | Ikania: Hear! The Gospel of... Satan. Erh...
Yuno: Not gonna yell, but CoS is one of the best delegates ever

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