Common Sense: Where is it? Guidelines for being Online

Through the Gamergate movement I have been exposed to some truly awful things. I have seen an exorbitant number of people insulting and wishing harm upon others and for what? For having a different opinion? For believing in different things? Is this truly representative of gamer culture? Or of humanity in general? It’s shameful.

Everyone believes that their side is the right one. And in order to perpetuate that idea they often ignore very distinct voices in their group that are bringing them down. Regardless of your views on the issues or your opponents, there are certain lines that should not be crossed. Unfortunately, it seems that many people have no idea where that even is anymore.

For everyone who seems to have forgotten, lets go over some simple guidelines.

  1. It’s fine to disagree with people.
    It’s not fine to continuously argue with people.
    To disagree is to accept/respect that another person has a different opinion from you. To argue is to force your own opinion onto them.
  2. It’s fine to criticize people.
    It’s not fine to insult/attack people.
    The main difference between the two is in the intent. Are you giving them advice so that they can change for the better or are you just trying to demoralize them? Be honest with yourself on what you are trying to accomplish.
  3. It is NEVER fine to-
    doxx (publicize personal information) people.
    threaten or wish harm on people.
    talk about sending people to concentration/death camps
    to want someone to die
    Imagine if the other person were your daughter or son. How would you want other people to treat them?

Lets also keep in mind: Each individual is separate from their views.
This means

  • You can dislike a female and not be misogynist.
  • You can dislike a guy and not be a radical feminist.
  • You can dislike a black person and not be racist.
  • You can dislike a jewish person and not be anti-Semitic.
  • You can dislike a gay person and not be homophobic.
  • You can see where this is going.

To disagree with any of the above is to generalize a whole population without taking into account individual personality traits.

On a semi-related note, if a lesbian disliked another lesbian, would that person now have “internalized straightness?” Perhaps internalized misogyny does exist, but it is not something to be thrown around towards any female that doesn’t automatically agree with any other female. Again, females are INDIVIDUALS. And any individual has the right to not agree with any other individual regardless of race, gender, religion, etc.

Speaking of rights, people also have the right to listen and/or talk to whoever they choose. If a Gamergate opponent wants to block out Gamergate supporters on Twitter, then that is completely within their right. If Gamergate supporters want to mass follow each other then that is also completely within their right. It’s not censorship and it’s not collusion.
On the other hand, if you don’t want opposing views brought up then perhaps a social platform like Twitter is not the place to talk about your issues. The more public you are, the more you are inviting dissenting opinions. This is common sense people. USE IT.

One final note here that I believe would benefit everybody.

Stop and think about your actions.

Don’t think about whether you’re right.
Don’t think about whether others are wrong.
Think about how your words reflect on your character. As we’ve all seen, things that happen on the internet are pretty permanent. Really think about how these might affect you.

Are the words you say and the actions you take ones that you want to follow you into the future? Would you want your children to know? Would you be proud enough to show them yourself?

If you’re not worried about your future, then just think about the present. There is a huge difference between being supporting your movement and helping your movement, so which are you? Do you believe that you represent your views in a positive way that would make others want to learn more? Do you believe your words/actions would encourage others to respect your beliefs?  If not, then what are you doing? Why are you hurting your own movement?

People will always apply your words and your actions to your beliefs in some way. So be conscious of how you’re representing them. Respect for you will gain respect for your beliefs. How many times have you seen “Oh “insert stance/belief* is just made up of *insert derogatory words*, look at what *insert name* said!” Don’t be that person. Don’t be the ammunition against your own cause.

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