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Toxicity in Gameplay, and Its Implications for Gameplayers

Talk about regional management and politics, raider/defender gameplay, and other game-related matters.
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The Gilded Star
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Founded: Nov 26, 2018
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby The Gilded Star » Tue Apr 16, 2019 5:30 pm

Elegarth wrote:So I dunno... Is there a certain level of toxicity, or has the community become more immature about the IC/OOC lines?


I've seen similar sprout up in other communities before. It feels like some people are just incompatible with one another, and in communities like this where they share the same roof and deal with one another day in and day out over a long period of time, they grow increasingly irate and aggressive in a sort of "this town just ain't big enough for the two of us" way.

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Qilai
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Founded: Jan 18, 2019
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Qilai » Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:34 pm

Entendre Cordial wrote:What's clear to less-involveds is that some o' y'all been playing this game for too damn long. You know each other like siblings - the history of gameplay actions, but also how to push each other's buttons - but because you're still focused on the power and politics thing, you keep coming back for more interactions with the same people. You can't walk away, because the political game is what brought you, but it's also the source of some of your biggest frustrations. You're more or less living I, Claudius or King Lear. When you're constantly making intrigues against the same small group of people for years on end, toxicity follows like floods follow a hurricane.

Nah, I don't have any suggestions for y'all - this whole dynamic looks pretty much inevitable to me. In real politics of the kind you subject yourselves to, half of you would have long since had the other half assassinated, and the living half would have proxies and lackeys and adjutants to handle all but the most personal communications and liaisons.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=io43ak_Vias

I know this sounds awfully bleak, but you can always hope I'm full of shit. I sometimes find it nice to be wrong. :)

Completely agreed.

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Escade
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Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Escade » Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:42 pm

Greater Moldavi wrote:To me it seems that the conversations here are problematic because they are approaching the issue from different ‘sides’ and ideas of what toxicity actually means.

For myself, I see toxicity as something different than a player getting upset in the heat of an argument and crossing the IC/OOC line on a one off and then addressing it directly. To me, toxicity implies a pattern. If a player has a pattern of taking OOC offence at obviously IC statements and does so multiple times towards multiple players in the hopes of casting irl aspersions onto another player in order to push an IC agenda, that person is toxic. Some players have made that their standard method of play over the last few years and I think some offsite communities are (finally) beginning to recognise that sort of behaviour for what it is and deciding they choose not to allow it as part of their construct. The problem that Glen-Rhodes speaks to regarding the Discord server in my experience is that some on the admin team there enable this sort of behaviour and when it is called out silence those that speak up about it.

This isn’t the same as someone who sexually harasses other players or violates ToS in some way. There are other means of addressing those sorts of players outside NSGP.


Actually, I have pointed out sometimes in the server (old and new) when I felt that things were getting out of hand (or have like DMed a NSGP Discord Mod "this might get messy." I keep bringing up Onder because anyone who thinks dogpiling is a bad thing should see the way he is treated in general. If you don't see it (dogpiling) as a problem or have engaged in it but then turn around and say it's wrong for another player - then you need to take of the bias glasses.

If it's an issue for one player - it's an issue for any player (regardless of who they are). Server moderation isn't perfect (and no moderation is because the site moderation gets attacked all the time). What is the solution to that? More varied admin\mods? My general stance is that if a player has a personal connection\stake to a player or issue involved in a dispute they need to step away from making a decision in that dispute. That should be a common practice but it isn't.

I do agree with Ivan that in the last year or so certain player have been using general comments and crying a river of "this is bullying\whatever bullshit." We even saw someone try to take the light-hearted "bulli" culture or roasting and make an OOC issue of it. Here's the thing, someone say something offensive? Instead of jumping to "they (my enemy or player I don't like) should be banned because { bs here}" players should either explain or clarify why it offends them. If the player doesn't get it, there's this thing people do when they don't get along and don't want to - stay away.

If a pattern of behavior is established as the norm that goes beyond the "heated argument about a fake simulator game" and a case (with evidence) can be made then that is a different situation. It's important to differentiate minor issues from serious banworthy\ostracization worthy ones (doxxing, sexual harassment).

I'm also completely over people trying to use whatever real life issue they have to justify anything. This is a political simulator game. If you're depressed or anorexic or whatever it is, talk to friends\professionals\get help. It's like someone playing Battlefied or Uno or a basketball game and saying, "But I'm depressed so if you don't let me win you are a toxic person." STFU. Don't play the game is the proper reaction to that emotionally manipulative and abusive behavior.

It is strange that you're agreeing with Glenn-Rhodes, who with a group of TSPers, basically tried to weaponize moderation and toxicity to their own means and successfully did so to protect their little circlejerk of power. No evidence, no standard practices, the administration never had to answer for any of their own behavior and several members of the administration promote or enable other players who have been "mean" or otherwise hang out with and get political simulator advice from a known sexual harasser. Oh one of those players is an admin on the NSGP Discord server. Why? It's justified somehow. It continues to be justified without any real justification.

So yeah NSGP Discord admin generally needs to follow the rule of "If you have a personal stake in it because of history\baggage let another moderator deal with the issue." Being an admin or a moderator is a position of power which in itself sends a message.

Elegarth wrote:
Greater Moldavi wrote:In general, I agree. I have unfortunately noticed in this last iteration of my return to the game that some players are, including players that I used to disagree with IC-wise but still respected as players. It is a shame in my opinion.

It is like if yelling "toxicity" and "OOC Attack" are tools used by players to avoid having to rationally and argumentatively having to defend their positions, or calling on emotional aspects for support.

I had a conversation about it the other day: is not that GP has become more toxic, but actually, that we seem to have "softer" players that can't really draw a firm line between IC and OOC and that use the blur that THEMSELVES have created to strike them the opposition.

I think of myself as a generally decent person, in game, and I believe I have rarely been rough or "mean" to anyone. And yet I've had to deal with people as "hard-edged" as Pierconium and others my entire lifetime in the game and not ONE TIME I've felt the need to feel personally offended by any of them...

So I dunno... Is there a certain level of toxicity, or has the community become more immature about the IC/OOC lines?


Going to agree with this. The toxicity isn't really player interactions themselves usually (beyond the actual OOC issues like doxxing or sexual harassment which the community has tried to crack down on in uneven ways but at least tries to address now when it didn't at all in early 2013 era).

Player interactions have gotten better, not worse. It is the players who, instead of debating or working for it in a political power simulator game, want to play "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood." The real toxicity is the players trying to manipulate "toxicity" to their advantage instead of having the balls to play power politics.

That's why whenever someone brings this up I ask for clear, bullet point list of standards because like the shitty admin situation in TSP if you force these people to list clear standards - they opt out. The opt out for the simple reason that if they did they would have to begin punishing themselves and their friends and they don't want to do that because at the heart of they don't give two fucks about empathy or kindness or whatever the latest buzzword is that could be taken from a yoga studio.

Also I think we need to regroup so that when a player does try to use this type of cheap and shitty play to their advantage, it's shut down right away and no emotional manipulative BS or other garbage is used to "score" in a political simulator game.
Last edited by Escade on Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Todd McCloud
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Postby Todd McCloud » Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:43 pm

Cormactopia Prime wrote:Maybe the issue is that we're coming at this with a different definition of what IC and OOC mean. I interpret IC to mean anything that goes on in the game, and OOC to be anything that is not part of the game. So if you say I'm a liar based on something I did in the game, that's IC. If you say I can't be trusted because I leak logs like a faucet in need of repair, that's IC. If you say I have no allegiance to anyone or anything because I've been everywhere, man, that's IC. But I can't for the life of me figure out how a comment about reading comprehension is IC. It just simply isn't. Reading comprehension is a RL trait and has nothing to do with the game at all, and can only be a comment about the player behind the screen. Where am I wrong in that?


Not trying to single you out here, Cormac, and it's a bit outside the context, but your paragraph above made me pause. I don't really think it's different definitions of IC and OOC that have people confused, but that gameplay, in general, tends to blur the lines the most when it comes to those who play the game ICly and those who play the game OOCly. Think about it - the roleplaying forums are completely in-character, and, frankly, it's those who quickly adopt an in-character mantra (along with, in my opinion, an almost lassez faire attitude toward consequences for their characters) who tend to excel there. When some attacks them, it's not someone attacking them, but their nation, or its leaders, or the character they happen to be playing and their vile or stupid polices. In the GA, it's generally IC too, and the ones that stick around are often the best at treating it in an IC manner. They get smacked down and dish up smackdowns - any GA proposal thread will reveal that, which is why newer players who don't often understand this ICness will tend to feel rather intimidated. There's a huge difference in thread tone and response quality to OPs who are used to the IC-nature of the GA versus those who aren't.

Really, of the first six forums, I'd say only NS Sports has the most significant (but certainly not majority) OOC tendencies. Even so, there are folks there who are fully IC in how they deal with other players, and there, like in other roleplay forums, they generally have to distinguish when they are being OOC. Now, that's not to say these communities are free of drama, but their drama tends to be... a bit different, usually stemming from some form of not getting one's way.

Moving to gameplay, and the forum is very different. It just feels different, even when one compares it to many of the forums below it on the main list. And I think it feels different because most here play the game a bit differently... and playing the game in an OOC manner is different. That's why, in my opinion, it's easier to get a new nation into roleplay than it is to get them into raiding or GCR governments. Gameplay has the highest amount of OOC players within it, and it's not even close. Even the news bulletins from the feeders or other regions, which some may consider to be IC in nature, aren't. They're extensions of their OOC politician behavior.

It's why the SC was the wild west before R4 came along. When that was formed, you had the GA crowd that assumed it was simply an extension of the WA, which they frankly wrote for. Then you had the gameplayers who felt this was basically the WA but for gameplayers. So, when you look at the first few threads of the SC, it's kind of a blend of IC and OOC. And there were clashes, stemming in part from how crass the GA community was toward the GP community, and how obstinate the GP crowd was toward the GAers. I can't speak for everyone, but I think we GPers treated an IC attack like an OOC attack. Like, how dare they kick us around like that - we're the feeder delegates, we're the prominent Gameplayers everyone's heard about... when in reality, they knew of us about as much as we knew their IC characters. Reading through the old threads, you can understand that no one there really talks like that anymore in the SC, cause basically, as the SC grew, it became more gameplay-oriented, so it became more OOC. Also I was a total turd early in its inception. Seriously.

What's the point of all this? Stated earlier, I don't think it's a definition problem as much as it is a philosophy problem. IC folks aren't used to OOC fights, and OOC folks aren't used to IC fights, and I think the gameplay community was more amicable to IC business in the past than it is now. It's easier to operate under an IC personage because all the negativity is directed at the character. Someone who came from the GA and moved into gameplay, for instance, probably doesn't get all the OOC fights because to them it's just playing a game. A gameplayer who deals with a GA author smacking them around doesn't really understand they're not attacking your character as much as they're attacking your IC character. So that's why these fights are routine. And it's especially telling for older players versus newer players. I think older gameplayers were used to a certain population playing the game ICly. It's... not very common anymore for a gameplayer to play ICly. There have been attempts over the last ten years or so. Milo's coup was an attempt. I feel that Sedge's coup on TSP was an attempt. The Empire may have been an attempt on the surface. The only problems were it dealt with events in most-decidedly OOC arenas, so the consequences of these attempts were rather heavy and still resonate to this day. Even IC "jokes" about coups can have significant consequences, for right or for wrong.

I think this OOC shift is some of the reason why OOC malice sends greater shockwaves through the community now than it did ten years ago. Part of it is culture, sure, but I think an IC-first community tends to deal with OOC matters more privately than an OOC-first community. There were problematic events that occurred a while back, but to my knowledge they weren't really discussed in public places. This is just my experiences in hearing about it, so I could be wrong, but it's only my experience. I have ideas on how best to handle the deplorable OOC behavior, but that's kind of another idea separate from this little conversation.

In IC-communities, people have characters to hide behind. In OOC-communities, people can't really hide - they're themselves. So an attack is much more personal, which is why we're really the only community with retirement threads, quitting threads, "last will" threads, and so on. Gameplay isn't "toxic" in that sense as much as it is fighting the person rather than the situation or the character. People in gameplay tend to wear their hearts on their sleeve. Oh sure, we'll handle things diplomatically when we can, but I think it's that reason why fights tend to be a bit more intense here, because these fights tend to be more personal. And that's, at least in some regard, why folks brand gameplay as being "toxic". At least... that's just my opinion on the matter.
Last edited by Todd McCloud on Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Lord Dominator
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Corporate Police State

Postby Lord Dominator » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:05 pm

I think Todd, there's also a certain element of what kind of game 'Gameplay' is compared to the roleplay sections. Gameplay is inherently a competitive game of politics, which while not entirely zero-sum, still has a very restricted set of 'win conditions' (typically GCR delgacies, being leader of a major UCR, or a C&C nowadays). Comparatively, the assorted roleplay forums (and to a lesser extent GA) are primarily cooperative games, at least for the people who stick around and learn. No, the best comparison among the other forums to Gameplay is probably NSG. NSG is the other single large segment of the forums that's almost inherently competitive, because it turns out people who like politics are like that (sound familiar?). Notably, NSG is, from my lurking in the Moderation forum, is by far the leading cause of reports for everything, but particularly flaming/baiting/etc. Again, in the context of this discussion, that probably sounds familiar.

In other words, Gameplay tends OOC because the nature of its 'game' so to speak is a massively competitive political one (and with the corresponding personal attachment), not so much a player one.
Last edited by Lord Dominator on Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Kaystein
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Founded: Jan 12, 2019
Father Knows Best State

Postby Kaystein » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:47 pm

If people want a clear line of IC/OOC, I can explain one.

IC ends at gameplay/invasion/"R/D" actions, diplomacy reports, government reports, and battle report. OOC begins with any words not in the aforementioned things.

Roleplayers often communicate through governments using "communique." Maybe adopt a similar aesthetic for IC communication. You can have coat of arms, etc. to make your responses fancy.

Basically, cut the sniping at each other altogether. Make discussion about gameplay events purely OOC, and let the moderators moderate it like they do comments in general. That's a majority of the toxicity gone.
Last edited by Kaystein on Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Kowani
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Founded: Apr 01, 2018
Authoritarian Democracy

Postby Kowani » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:54 pm

Lord Dominator wrote:I think Todd, there's also a certain element of what kind of game 'Gameplay' is compared to the roleplay sections. Gameplay is inherently a competitive game of politics, which while not entirely zero-sum, still has a very restricted set of 'win conditions' (typically GCR delgacies, being leader of a major UCR, or a C&C nowadays). Comparatively, the assorted roleplay forums (and to a lesser extent GA) are primarily cooperative games, at least for the people who stick around and learn. No, the best comparison among the other forums to Gameplay is probably NSG. NSG is the other single large segment of the forums that's almost inherently competitive, because it turns out people who like politics are like that (sound familiar?). Notably, NSG is, from my lurking in the Moderation forum, is by far the leading cause of reports for everything, but particularly flaming/baiting/etc. Again, in the context of this discussion, that probably sounds familiar.

In other words, Gameplay tends OOC because the nature of its 'game' so to speak is a massively competitive political one (and with the corresponding personal attachment), not so much a player one.

I was waiting for the NSG comparison.
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Lord Dominator
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Corporate Police State

Postby Lord Dominator » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:03 pm

Kowani wrote:
Lord Dominator wrote:I think Todd, there's also a certain element of what kind of game 'Gameplay' is compared to the roleplay sections. Gameplay is inherently a competitive game of politics, which while not entirely zero-sum, still has a very restricted set of 'win conditions' (typically GCR delgacies, being leader of a major UCR, or a C&C nowadays). Comparatively, the assorted roleplay forums (and to a lesser extent GA) are primarily cooperative games, at least for the people who stick around and learn. No, the best comparison among the other forums to Gameplay is probably NSG. NSG is the other single large segment of the forums that's almost inherently competitive, because it turns out people who like politics are like that (sound familiar?). Notably, NSG is, from my lurking in the Moderation forum, is by far the leading cause of reports for everything, but particularly flaming/baiting/etc. Again, in the context of this discussion, that probably sounds familiar.

In other words, Gameplay tends OOC because the nature of its 'game' so to speak is a massively competitive political one (and with the corresponding personal attachment), not so much a player one.

I was waiting for the NSG comparison.

Up to you to decide which one is worse :p
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The Gilded Star
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Founded: Nov 26, 2018
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby The Gilded Star » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:32 pm

Escade wrote:I'm also completely over people trying to use whatever real life issue they have to justify anything. This is a political simulator game. If you're depressed or anorexic or whatever it is, talk to friends\professionals\get help. It's like someone playing Battlefied or Uno or a basketball game and saying, "But I'm depressed so if you don't let me win you are a toxic person." STFU. Don't play the game is the proper reaction to that emotionally manipulative and abusive behavior.


I agree with you that life issues shouldn't be a free pass for poor behavior, nor should they be weaponized to hold others emotionally hostage, but I do want to point out that a lot of people who are mentally troubled like you described are aware they need help and do want it, but simply don't have those options available to them for whatever reason, and that's often part of why they're troubled in the first place. Dismissively telling them to "go get help" is like telling a sickly person to "stop being poor"- it's more likely to provoke them further than make them go, "oh, why didn't I think of that before?".

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Salvarity
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Postby Salvarity » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:53 pm

NSGP isn't a particularly toxic community.

Frankly, this community is rather soft compared to what's really out there.

Thought: sympathy/empathy/victimhood as political capital has stopped being something solidly controlled by Defenders and it's now free for all, everyone's trying to claim the mantle of "good guy" in a game where we're all really the bad guys.

I don't know how true the above statement is, but it's a thing I've been wondering about.
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Escade
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Founded: Apr 11, 2013
Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Escade » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:08 pm

The Gilded Star wrote:
Escade wrote:I'm also completely over people trying to use whatever real life issue they have to justify anything. This is a political simulator game. If you're depressed or anorexic or whatever it is, talk to friends\professionals\get help. It's like someone playing Battlefied or Uno or a basketball game and saying, "But I'm depressed so if you don't let me win you are a toxic person." STFU. Don't play the game is the proper reaction to that emotionally manipulative and abusive behavior.


I agree with you that life issues shouldn't be a free pass for poor behavior, nor should they be weaponized to hold others emotionally hostage, but I do want to point out that a lot of people who are mentally troubled like you described are aware they need help and do want it, but simply don't have those options available to them for whatever reason, and that's often part of why they're troubled in the first place. Dismissively telling them to "go get help" is like telling a sickly person to "stop being poor"- it's more likely to provoke them further than make them go, "oh, why didn't I think of that before?".


In a political simulator game where anyone 13 and up can play - how is it relevant, responsible or even acceptable to foist your mental\emotional issues on other players? It's not dismissive to tell someone to get help and the site does this for some things (like suicide) by providing resources\toll numbers. Telling people to get help is the only right and safe thing to do. I'd like to repeat that and emphasize it over and over again. One clear sign of emotionally abusive and manipulative behavior is forcing a person to deal with your mental health issues when they are not responsible, qualified or in a mental\emotional state to do so themselves. No one is obligated to be anyone else's therapist.

Most of the players in this game are not trained professionals and did not sign up and nor are qualified to provide therapy or hand holding and the game itself is not therapy. It's a game, play the game if you want to play the game. There are appropriate venues and inappropriate ones. This is not the venue for solving mental health issues or getting help for them. It's highly disturbing that someone would find this venue appropriate. Personally. I recently discovered Reddit and it has a whole section for people with ADHD for example and I find quite useful for myself.

I'd like to repeat: no person is obligated to deal with a stranger's mental health issues. Ask them to get help (if you want), if you know of a legitimate resource - refer them to it, and disengage completely from them and this cycle if they are using their issues to try to get something in the game or from you.
Last edited by Escade on Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Elegarth
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Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Elegarth » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:23 pm

I'm with Escade, no ifs, no buts, no conditions. There ARE players in this game I have totally stopped interacting with due to their use / abuse of supposed RL issues and mental healthcare problems to justify their actions / escape consequences. I'm not accepting this for several reasons, and this political simulator is NOT the place to bring that up / use as an excuse for poor behavior.

This is JUST WRONG.

We all have shit in RL to deal with. We all have issues in RL. We all should be MATURE and RESPONSIBLE enough to understand the separation between the world inside the game, and the world outside the game.

I can't stress enough Escade's last point: If faced with this, disengage and walk away.
Last edited by Elegarth on Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The Gilded Star
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Founded: Nov 26, 2018
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby The Gilded Star » Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:27 pm

Escade wrote:In a political simulator game where anyone 13 and up can play - how is it relevant, responsible or even acceptable to foist your mental\emotional issues on other players?


Please reread the first part of my post, I specifically said I agree with you that it's unacceptable. I apologize if I was unclear and gave the impression that I'm saying people here should be subjected to abusive behavior, because they absolutely shouldn't.

My point was more this: it can be wounding to tell someone "go talk to friends" if they don't have any friends to talk to. It can be wounding to tell someone "go hire a professional" if they're financially unable to hire one. If they could, they probably would have done it already, as no one wants to suffer if they have a way to get out of it.

If you can list a specific resource like Suicide Hotline, that is available to everyone, great! But please don't assume people have access to certain things that aren't available to everyone, because it can hurt them worse if they know there's a solution available to "everyone" but them.

I'd like to repeat: no person is obligated to deal with a stranger's mental health issues. Ask them to get help (if you want), if you know of a legitimate resource - refer them to it, and disengage completely from them and this cycle if they are using their issues to try to get something in the game or from you.


I absolutely agree, 100%.

The reason I brought this up in the first place is because I've known of people with mental troubles that have been driven towards suicide because of people telling them "stop being sad already" or "just act normal for once". If you sincerely wish to provide them a means to seek help, then by all means do so, and absolutely disengage from troubled people regardless, it's not your job or responsibility to deal with it, but please do not ever disengage them with a dismissive "just fix your problem already"-esque response, because sometimes their solution can be a tragic one. I doubt that was your intention and I apologize for the implication that it was. But I've seen too many people use "go get help" in a flippant dismissive manner rather than legitimately wanting them to acquire help, and it's something that bothers me to see.

Overall I think we're actually both on the same page here, but I had a bit of a kneejerk reaction to the phrasing. I think I've said it too many times already, but I apologize for misunderstandings here. I just don't want to see a scenario where anyone, on either side, gets hurt.

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Kowani
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Founded: Apr 01, 2018
Authoritarian Democracy

Postby Kowani » Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:30 pm

The Gilded Star wrote:
Escade wrote:In a political simulator game where anyone 13 and up can play - how is it relevant, responsible or even acceptable to foist your mental\emotional issues on other players?


Please reread the first part of my post, I specifically said I agree with you that it's unacceptable. I apologize if I was unclear and gave the impression that I'm saying people here should be subjected to abusive behavior, because they absolutely shouldn't.

My point was more this: it can be wounding to tell someone "go talk to friends" if they don't have any friends to talk to. It can be wounding to tell someone "go hire a professional" if they're financially unable to hire one. If they could, they probably would have done it already, as no one wants to suffer if they have a way to get out of it.

If you can list a specific resource like Suicide Hotline, that is available to everyone, great! But please don't assume people have access to certain things that aren't available to everyone, because it can hurt them worse if they know there's a solution available to "everyone" but them.

I'd like to repeat: no person is obligated to deal with a stranger's mental health issues. Ask them to get help (if you want), if you know of a legitimate resource - refer them to it, and disengage completely from them and this cycle if they are using their issues to try to get something in the game or from you.


I absolutely agree, 100%.

The reason I brought this up in the first place is because I've known of people with mental troubles that have been driven towards suicide because of people telling them "stop being sad already" or "just act normal for once". If you sincerely wish to provide them a means to seek help, then by all means do so, and absolutely disengage from troubled people regardless, it's not your job or responsibility to deal with it, but please do not ever disengage them with a dismissive "just fix your problem already"-esque response, because sometimes their solution can be a tragic one. I doubt that was your intention and I apologize for the implication that it was. But I've seen too many people use "go get help" in a flippant dismissive manner rather than legitimately wanting them to acquire help, and it's something that bothers me to see.

Overall I think we're actually both on the same page here, but I had a bit of a kneejerk reaction to the phrasing. I think I've said it too many times already, but I apologize for misunderstandings here. I just don't want to see a scenario where anyone, on either side, gets hurt.

:clap: :hug:
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Zyris
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Postby Zyris » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:00 am

What a fascinating topic and as a so called toxic player let me weigh in.

I'm Zyris, but was formerly known as Rhyphix of Illuminati, or Zarvarza, Romenoch, Solenoc and a host of others. I was a very toxic player / founder with Illuminati and is not something today that I'm particularly proud of admitting, because I have spent the better part of two years trying to change my ways. There are two problems I see in this game.

NationStates is Unforgiving. My first mistake as a noob in 2005 has cost me my reputation ever since. Once people figure out I am the Illuminati guy, I am shut out. This started in 2005, and though I was a lot younger then, that feeling of being shut out only caused me to further act out. Being labeled for past infractions is not only limits my gameplay, but also inhibits any sort of lasting reform. I've spent two years apologizing, changing my ways, running my new region much more fairly. I've done my absolute best to be good with the mods, and obey all the rules and not become "emotional" in my gameplay and acts.

Yet, even with all of that, I am shut out of so many regions. I know that of I show up in any of the feeders, I am immediately banned. If I show up on discords, I am mocked and then banned. NationStates is unforgiving, and because there is seemingly no way to return to good Grace's, a person is left with nothing to make them want to do better.

There is no Help for toxic people. some toxic people are just toxic, others get trapped in a cycle of wanting to do better, being shut out, then act out out of frustration. There is no help for this. I've tried to help others in this way, in Abydos, calm some nations down, allow them to express their frustrations more healthfully within my region. But this is ironic, considering I am the poster boy for a toxic player. Ive done bad stuff. Rather than push me away as many do, why not try to find the cause and change the behaviour? There seems to be none of that on NationStates.

Unfortunately, I know that for the rest of my time on NS, I will be automatically blocked out of certain regions if certain players are there. That is the consequence I have to pay for years of my own toxic behaviour. The only thing I can do, is try to do better, alone, not surrounded by people who could help, or could offer a better example. Honestly, it is not easy to do, but I have been trying.

Toxic players will come onto NationStates from time to time. If they make early mistakes, maybe not nailing them to the cross for the next 15 years would be a good first step in changing their behaviour. A decent second step would be to help them... in whatever way they may need, whether it be regional politics or personal dilemma. Finding that cause, and help to cure it.

For those that know me, honestly, how I ended up very toxic and how I stayed toxic was because I have always felt alone in the game. Me on my Island of Illuminati. Like there was no ally to go to, no person to talk to. Now I have Abydos, and it feels pretty much the same, even though I have tried my very hardest to change my play style and attitude for the past couple of years. That feeling of knowing that nothing I do can change others perception of me each day, is terrible. What is worse is I know it will always be there, lingering.. How is that even healthy? How is that helping someone who wants to do better? How does that improve a situation? It breeds contempt and that is the problem.

I dont know these are just my thoughts. They cant justify my past actions, but maybe these thoughts will shed a little light on the subject from someone who is trying not to be so toxic.


Edit.

I'll tell you what changed me. It changed my whole attitude on the game infact. The Grey Wardens. For a short time I played with them. When I first joined, those that hate me followed me there and told the dude that I had done this and this and this, a whole laundry list of bad things. They were trying to block me from joining them.

Anyway, Raovin approached me and asked if I did those things, and I said yes, and revealed what I had done bad in the past. He simply said dont do it anymore. And let me join the region, and treated me fair like any other player. That was probably the first time I had ever legitimately been not judged, or at least not felt like I was being judged in a long time.

That feeling changed my entire outlook on the game. We need more of that. It was liberating and built my confidence to make a change. I actually owe him a huge thank you.
Last edited by Zyris on Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:56 am, edited 4 times in total.
Lo! Here I lay upon the sands of fate,
With sparks aglow and new hopes await,
From this light we shall levitate,
And call forth the glorious Abydos state.


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Cataluna
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Postby Cataluna » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:40 am

No sympathy for you, Rhyphix. I don't have thread ownership, but I'd like if you never posted here again.
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Zyris
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Postby Zyris » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:43 am

Cataluna wrote:No sympathy for you, Rhyphix. I don't have thread ownership, but I'd like if you never posted here again.


Okay, but let me ask why you feel that way?
Lo! Here I lay upon the sands of fate,
With sparks aglow and new hopes await,
From this light we shall levitate,
And call forth the glorious Abydos state.


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Cataluna
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Postby Cataluna » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:45 am

Zyris wrote:
Cataluna wrote:No sympathy for you, Rhyphix. I don't have thread ownership, but I'd like if you never posted here again.


Okay, but let me ask why you feel that way?

I won't give you the benefit of asking, no.
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Zyris
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Postby Zyris » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:50 am

Cataluna wrote:
Zyris wrote:
Okay, but let me ask why you feel that way?

I won't give you the benefit of asking, no.


Fair enough. Though considering I've never heard of you, never, that I know of interacted with you prior to this moment. I will continue to visit this topic and offer my input. I feel it is good to talk openly about this subject and to share my thoughts. Best of luck to you.
Lo! Here I lay upon the sands of fate,
With sparks aglow and new hopes await,
From this light we shall levitate,
And call forth the glorious Abydos state.


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Cataluna
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Postby Cataluna » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:54 am

Best of luck ain't exactly what you wished me when I told you Illuminati deserved it during the first raid of Westphalia, but I'll take what well wishes I can get.

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Zyris
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Postby Zyris » Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:20 am

Cataluna wrote:Best of luck ain't exactly what you wished me when I told you Illuminati deserved it during the first raid of Westphalia, but I'll take what well wishes I can get.

-The player formerly known as Vapid


Oh, dang. I remember your comment now, clear as day. I think I snapped at probably everybody for the last half of 2016. I remember my response to you too. That was really crappy of me to say. Yeah I was definately in the wrong there. I am sure it means nothing to you, but I was completely out of my mind, acting on emotion rather than normalcy in this game then. I am sorry for saying that to you.

More so, I'll say this, you were right. Illuminati did deserve it. I deserved it. Illuminati to me was like a drug addiction, and coming down from that was harsh. These days though, I'm thankful for the freedom, even if I have that label still, and treated the same. That doesnt justify the past, but hopefully the future will be a little better.
Last edited by Zyris on Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
Lo! Here I lay upon the sands of fate,
With sparks aglow and new hopes await,
From this light we shall levitate,
And call forth the glorious Abydos state.


Grand Luxarch and Founder of Abydos

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Cormactopia Prime
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Founded: Sep 21, 2016
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Cormactopia Prime » Wed Apr 17, 2019 6:39 am

Todd McCloud wrote:<snip>

I just wanted to highlight this, because I thought it was a really insightful post in a thread that has pretty much just been useless drama (with the exception of the OP, and some of Escade's posts, which were also insightful). It's an interesting perspective and not really one I've ever thought much about.

I wonder if there's some way we could, as a community, move in a more IC direction to avoid having so much OOC conflict, minor or significant. I know I've sometimes struggled with the line between IC and OOC, both in my own actions and in interpreting others' actions. I do think gameplay would be a lot healthier if we were all playing characters, at least to a greater extent if not entirely. But I'm not sure exactly how to accomplish that kind of change.
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Elegarth
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Postby Elegarth » Wed Apr 17, 2019 7:20 am

Cormactopia Prime wrote:
Todd McCloud wrote:<snip>

I just wanted to highlight this, because I thought it was a really insightful post in a thread that has pretty much just been useless drama (with the exception of the OP, and some of Escade's posts, which were also insightful). It's an interesting perspective and not really one I've ever thought much about.

I wonder if there's some way we could, as a community, move in a more IC direction to avoid having so much OOC conflict, minor or significant. I know I've sometimes struggled with the line between IC and OOC, both in my own actions and in interpreting others' actions. I do think gameplay would be a lot healthier if we were all playing characters, at least to a greater extent if not entirely. But I'm not sure exactly how to accomplish that kind of change.

Huh, you first start by not calling others inputs "useless drama", tho I admit there's been a bit of it here.
Then you realize that NO GAME is really played OOCly... You are not the ruler of a nation in the middle of a region that magically sprouted in a magical planet.

And I don't mean this harshly, please don't read it that way. I mean this honestly: we play NationStates in a fake world, with fake nations for which we are the fake rulers, which are grouped in fake regions that literally appear magically in the middle of nowhere. The question should be "how is it that this is being played OOCly?"

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Darkesia
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Postby Darkesia » Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:18 am

For what it's worth, this conversation isn't new, it's just colored by modern sensibilities. I used to have this conversation with Kandarin all the time. Back when TEP was a much more RP focused place, Kandarin would try to entice me to join and I would go visit with the intention of full participation. But it never materialized and he would ask why. My response was usually about how intimidating it was to read those enormous walls of text and other things about the deep characters. But with some time left to marinate on it, I have changed my mind.

It's time. I don't have time to invest in developing deep characters and scenarios and detailed minutia for my nation. It's taken me 14 years to develop ONE persona that leads a nation based on chocolate!

I play NationStates very similarly to how I played military strategy MMOs. It's about Group Dynamics in Regional Politics where we are mostly OOC manipulating one another (manipulating isn't always a bad thing) in order to consolidate power for our group and it's about strategic movements of WA Endorsements.

So, yes, it's a game for me. Much more sense of a board game than many RPers might feel. But at the same time, the political aspects that GPers love takes place on a very real OOC level behind the scenes. I think in the past, GP used to utilize IC methods to engage in Regional Governments and Diplomacy. But for whatever reason, that kind of diplomacy is no longer the norm. Perhaps we have less reason to engage in IC diplomacy because Regional Politics has become mostly internal with the fall of politically driven R/D? Who knows.

Is it "fixable?" I don't know. It has taken me a long time to get to a point where I don't feel emotionally driven by the game. I know that giving it a label of "toxicity" does not make it new. I don't think it can be vanished. Perhaps it can be alleviated by more focus on IC diplomacy in GP, perhaps not. As Todd so eloquently pointed out. It is not new, only new that it is cause for public outcry and a new type of bullying by players labeling one another as "toxic."

I will stfu now.
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Glen-Rhodes
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Glen-Rhodes » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:02 pm

Todd McCloud wrote:
Cormactopia Prime wrote:Maybe the issue is that we're coming at this with a different definition of what IC and OOC mean. I interpret IC to mean anything that goes on in the game, and OOC to be anything that is not part of the game. So if you say I'm a liar based on something I did in the game, that's IC. If you say I can't be trusted because I leak logs like a faucet in need of repair, that's IC. If you say I have no allegiance to anyone or anything because I've been everywhere, man, that's IC. But I can't for the life of me figure out how a comment about reading comprehension is IC. It just simply isn't. Reading comprehension is a RL trait and has nothing to do with the game at all, and can only be a comment about the player behind the screen. Where am I wrong in that?


Not trying to single you out here, Cormac, and it's a bit outside the context, but your paragraph above made me pause. I don't really think it's different definitions of IC and OOC that have people confused, but that gameplay, in general, tends to blur the lines the most when it comes to those who play the game ICly and those who play the game OOCly. Think about it - the roleplaying forums are completely in-character, and, frankly, it's those who quickly adopt an in-character mantra (along with, in my opinion, an almost lassez faire attitude toward consequences for their characters) who tend to excel there. When some attacks them, it's not someone attacking them, but their nation, or its leaders, or the character they happen to be playing and their vile or stupid polices. In the GA, it's generally IC too, and the ones that stick around are often the best at treating it in an IC manner. They get smacked down and dish up smackdowns - any GA proposal thread will reveal that, which is why newer players who don't often understand this ICness will tend to feel rather intimidated. There's a huge difference in thread tone and response quality to OPs who are used to the IC-nature of the GA versus those who aren't.


This is a good point, and I think it's important that we pretty much quash Cormac's definition of the IC/OOC divide, if I'm understanding it right. It's that understanding that triggers so much negativity and toxicity in the game. Not to single Cormac out, either, because this is how a lot of GPers see the IC/OOC divide. If it's happening on Discord, it must be IC. But I think that's a weird way to think about it. I'm going to use my own experiences, not because I want to victimize myself like certain people in GP are saying, but because they're the experiences I know best.

I've been playing this game for over a decade, and it started in the World Assembly. There was a very clear division of IC and OOC in that part of the game, to the point where we explicitly stated when we were speaking out of character. Some people, like myself, even argued IC for positions we didn't support OOC, because of the characteristics of the nations we made up. But after several years of playing the WA, it got toxic too. It got toxic because a group of players blurred the lines between IC and OOC behavior, and began treating other players poorly because of it. They created secret forums, where they talked shit about the people they didn't like, often interweaving their disagreements over IC debates on policies into OOC insults about things they found out about players outside of the debates. My dedicated thread was 40 pages. Unibot had something like 60 pages. It wasn't uncommon to see 30 pages filled with insults. These players stopped distinguishing between what happened in the game and how they felt about the people playing the game. And when that hit its zenith, I quit the WA. So did quite a few other people targeted by those threads. Unfortunately, a few of the people participating in the threads transitioned to Gameplay, but they're no longer active here either.

Then I came to Gameplay, and I found my niche in promoting defenderism and attacking imperialism. And for a long time, that was all IC. I would argue a lot with Onder, and the worst things we ever said about each other were ripping out debating styles and internal logic. Eventually, the lines between IC and OOC got blurred in Gameplay too. At first, I was called a defender subversive and my motives for getting involved in TSP politics were questioned because TSP in the Independent-imperialist bloc. To me, those were perfectly fine IC attacks, even if I thought they were exaggerating my own power, influence, and ability. But then that transitioned over a couple years from "Glen is a corrupt MoFA" to "Glen is a corrupt person" to "Glen is a liar, abusive, corrupt, and toxic." I haven't quit GP, but I've certainly stopped engaging with the people who are unable to separate their IC disagreements with their feelings for the people playing the game.

The issue here is that there are too many people who find the above paragraph to fall into IC gameplay. It's only OOC if, say, somebody is insulting me for something they found out on my Facebook or Twitter or whatever. But it's okay to go from attacking someone based on their FA activities, to attacking someone for who (you say) they are. That's the toxicity. And it's this behavior that the community seems incapable of addressing, because the people doing it fall back on saying it's based on actions that were taken in the game. I'm a corrupt liar of a person... but it's because I wasn't advertising I wanted the TNI treaty gone. I'm a toxic and abusive person... because an argument over a constitutional amendment got really heated. That's how the community justifies this definition of the IC/OOC divide. And when someone tries pointing that out, they're dismissed because at one point or another, they've crossed the line while trying to deal with the toxicity that arises from how GP thinks of IC/OOC. It's pretty damn difficult to remain innocent and active in GP, especially when you get a target painted on your back for your IC actions, and the community's understanding of the IC/OOC divide devolves into what it's become today.
Last edited by Glen-Rhodes on Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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