Falling on a Massive sword

Now that Massively has apologized (warning: Massively comments hilarity in full effect),after getting worked over by Mittens on-air, I believe the unofficial “who can make the least-informed EVE post” competition has come to a close. To all the blogs that participated, thank you for your deeply insightful commentary. Good work was performed, awareness was raised, babies were saved, and most importantly, lulz were had aplenty.

One theme (aside from idiocy) that was displayed was that, to many, the line that can’t be crossed is attacking the person behind the character. That anything you do in-game is fair (so long as it’s within said games rules), but going beyond the game is not. This, of course, is rather tricky.

For instance, if I make a forum post about a pilot, is that going outside the game? What if in that forum post I state when said pilot logs on, when he logs off, and what his in-game activities are? What if I also include that he speaks poor English, but fluent Russian? Is it the pilot who can speak Russian, or the player behind the pilot?

What if I know the pilot can’t log in on a specific day at a specific time for religious reasons, and I use that information to attack his POS at that time? If I infiltrate a Corp using Vent to talk to them, have I taken things too far and too “out of game”?

My point is that very quickly, that hard-and-fast line we drew gets real blurry. As I pointed out before, what if anytime I’m about to die in PvP I state I’m suicidal? God-mode right? If the whole Mittens thing was a forum post instead of during FanFest, does Massively even notice? Would you care to bet that the Goon forums have things much, much worse than what Mittens said? Where is the Massively/EG/White-Knight post on that?

If someone kills themselves IRL because they received an in-game threat (Corp ransom for instance) through in-game mail, was the line crossed?

One other point: Notice it’s only non-EVE players who believe the community has a sociopath/reputation problem? Even better, notice it’s only non-EVE players who believe the community has gotten worse ‘of late’?

Either EVE players are just that awesome at coordinating the same message, or what you see from the outside does not occur inside. Are there bad apples? Of course. I’d love to see a group of 300k+ without some. But take a random 300k sample of LoL players, WoW players, EQ2/Rift players, and SW:TOR players, put them up against 300k EVE players in a new, random real MMO, and guess which group is going to form the best community? Which group is going to offer the most help, organize the most in-game content, and do things other communities try to later emulate?

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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44 Responses to Falling on a Massive sword

  1. Zirce says:

    I made a few comments on that Massively article that were non-inflammatory and what I would consider constructive. They aren’t there today ;).

    Clownshoes journalism.

    • SynCaine says:

      Aw Massively tobold’s their comments section? That’s disappointing.

    • Dex says:

      Yea, they may claim otherwise, but those Massive Clowns (you see what I did there?!?) most definitely censor comments that disagree what their articles. Hell, I was looking through some of the comments to the above linked “apology” article, there was maybe one Pro-EVE comment for every dozen or so EVE Hate comment.

      • Professer says:

        Technically, Massively does have a code of conduct for their writers and commenters. I guess that reserves the right to tolbold their comment section.

    • Professer says:

      I tried offering some insight to the whole situation, revealing some of the false reports from massively, and my commenting rights were revoked. Pretty much ‘banned’ for shedding light to the truth in the situation.

      It’s a privilege I’m not worried about loosing, heh.

  2. thade says:

    It’s not uncommon for sociopaths to not think of themselves as sociopaths. actual news any day.

    • SynCaine says:

      This only works if you believe all 300k+ are sociopaths.

      Why are we not seeing the non-sociopath EVE players aggreeing with the White Knight mob about the EVE community?

      • thade says:

        I’m just givin you crap, man.

        I do not believe the entire EVE community is comprised of sociopaths. I played it for two months and I received a lot of help in that game, even before I signed on with E-Uni. After that I got a LOT of purely altruistic help. Donations, advice, escorts. People are more than happy to help. Some people are happy to blow your ship up, but 1. losing a ship isn’t that bad if you’re ready for it (nobody seems to understand this without first playing EVE) and 2. the reason you don’t see these people in other MMOs is that other MMOs don’t support this gameplay.

        I think people reflect on Diablo 1 where death = you drop all your stuff and never get it back…so when another player inflicted that on you the rage and frustration were boundless. That doesn’t really represent EVE at all.

    • saucelah says:

      Actual sociopaths also wouldn’t care if they were called sociopaths.

    • Sand says:

      woo hoo, we’re all sociopaths! all of us! 420 bein’ evil erryday!

      • Professer says:

        I don’t see how 420 works into that, but this year’s will be the last and greatest of all. ;)

  3. thade says:

    Huh, this got cut from my post. (Irony.)

    Back when Massively posted that soapbox-commentary on my “Do you hate video games” bit, I posted a response to it. I said something like “You’re misrepresenting what I said.” My post is no longer there.

    They are not a news site. They are a sensationalist spin machine. :\

  4. Sand says:

    of all the things you mentioned, none of them cross the line. even mittens’s comments at fanfest did not.

    the only things that cross the line are revealing a character’s real name and making direct, in-game threats to harm/kill him. mocking a *character* named ‘the wis’ for playing the ‘i’m suicidal, leave me alone’ card in game doesn’t count.

    if mittens had said something like ‘incidentally if you want to make him kill himself, the guy’s name is jim-bob jones. he lives in buttfuck, arkansas. find him.’ – that would be going too far. too bad he didn’t say that, huh?

    • Devore says:

      Of course, The Mittani’s real name was plastered all over. Along with the “cyberbully” label.

      People have lost their jobs over lesser stuff than that. Today, employers check your facebook, twitter, they Google your name, and not just when you’re hired, but on an ongoing basis. People probably don’t realize this, but that’s what happens. Every few weeks someone high profile has their life ruined because they’re falsely accused of being a rapist, child molester, racist, sexist, pedophile, bigot. Cyberbully. Doesn’t matter if you’re cleared later, the damage is done. Real world damage. If you’re some low level, replaceable cog in the corporate machine, working 9 to 5, making ends meet, this kind of poorly researched offhand comment can completely ruin your and your family’s life. Companies don’t need this kind of trouble.

  5. Aidan P. says:

    The Eve Evolved column has been going steadily downhill for some time now. They lag in relevancy, are unimaginative, and are often sadly lacking in any sort of meaningful deapth.

    This episode has pretty much ensured that I won’t be visiting massively anymore. If I want to read tripe, I’ll stick to k.com.

    • Zirce says:

      It’s because there’s very few EVE players among them. The EVE articles pop up on the feed of everyone who visits Massively, and every moron who played the trial five years ago feels the need to chime in on EVERY article with their ‘informed’ opinions on why EVE is dying etc.

      These are the same people who comment on every swtor article how ‘great’ swtor is and anyone who tries to inject any realism into the conversation is just a ‘hater’ or a /v/irgin. (lol).

    • Zirce says:

      For some reason I thought you were referring to the commenters. Whoops.

      In any case you’re right- Massively mostly provides (poor) insight into EVE for non-players or /really/ casual players. Kind of the perfect storm for the commenter scenario I described above.

  6. mbp says:

    What was this EVE radio interview?

    Why did massively have to remove the accusation of cyber bullying?

    Did Mittens get all lawyerly on Brendan Drain?

    I feel like I haven’t been keeping up here.

    • SynCaine says:

      What was this EVE radio interview? – It was an debate/talk between Mittens and Brenden on EVE Radio… (not sure what you are asking here)

      Why did massively have to remove the accusation of cyber bullying? – Because it was not cyber bullying.

      Did Mittens get all lawyerly on Brendan Drain? – Mittens is a lawyer.

    • Mittens got all reasonable and even-toned, which is often his ace in the hole.

      Mittens said that hey, cyber-bullying is defined as “X,” and that what happened clearly did not meet the criteria for “X.” And yet, there is Massively, not only saying I did “X,” but then associating my real name with it so that now Google links the two in searches.

      I was expecting some fight out of Brendan, but he pretty much copped to being a low-life, sensationalist hack to the point that I couldn’t even listen to the whole interview out of embarrassment for him.

      Haters (who are going to do what?) of course pointed at this line from Mittens as hair splitting, but Mittens chose the battle he could win. He said that he did wrong and apologized, but what he did was not what Massively said he did.

      • Anonymous says:

        According to someone on Massively though Brendain Drain ‘sounded as if he had been intimidated’ by RL threats by the Goons. Clearly this is just more cyberbullying by sociopathic EVE players and not someone trying to clear their name.

        • Dex says:

          Good Job Mr. Anonymous, obviously what you say is absolutely correct. Why, it came from Massively, one of the most reliable sources of this sort of information, and isn’t at all biased towards the defense of one of their Staff writers…

        • Yes, I read Shawn’s addendum and I get that Massively was under fire. I do not doubt they received a lot of hate, including personal threats. It is always a sad day for free speech when people use it badly.

          But here is the deal. When you go into journalism and you wade into controversy, you better realize what you signed up for. It is one thing for an random individual to get abused, but when you want your name on a press byline, you had best be ready for the heat, because you’re going to learn about freedom of speech.

          And if you believe your story was good, you tell the people complaining where to stick it. If you don’t, you fold, issue an apology, and move on.

          But this sort of apology but not really, we were wrong but we were threatened statement seems like a strange middle ground. This is not what Hildy Johnson would have done.

        • Anonymous says:

          I was poking fun at the commenter who decided to invent some facts for himself. :)

          Brendan folded like a wet paper bag on that interview because he knew he was wrong and Mittens had him verbally outgunned.

          The guy is a hack.

    • Professer says:

      the interview is the second link in the blog post, go listen

    • mbp says:

      Ah … I spotted the link to the radio interview in your article thank you for linking. Ouch that was cringingly embarrassing for Brendan Drain – difficult to listen to.

      I actually forced myself to listen to the whole thing. I agree with Wilhelm that Alex Gianturco (that was him not Mittens speaking) held the high ground of reasonableness and made his point very well. I still can’t warm to him though.

    • Professer says:

      I like how we’ve been calling him Mittens.

      • Dex says:

        It makes him seem more adorable and cuddly. Also, someone once pointed out that he has a kind of Trinity type personalty going for him. There’s “The Mittani”, the self-serving Spymaster bastard who runs Goonswarm Federation, and as far as I’m concerned/can see, CFC. Then there’s “Mittens”, the get-shit-done CSM Chairman, who has actually done a good deal towards bettering the game in his time working with the Devs. Then, finally, there’s Alex {Last Name omitted to protect the innocent}, the man behind the curtain, retired (Really, at his age?) lawyer (Oh, maybe that’s why), master manipulator and tactician, kind of a dick, but actually not too bad a guy (From what I understand).

        • Dex says:

          Granted, I don’t think we’re calling him Mittens for any of those reasons. More because of the Adorable and Cuddly Bit.

        • Anonymous says:

          Mittens is what the goons and himself refer to him as. ‘The Mittani’ is not only a mouthful but also kind of pretentious when you’re among friends.

          It has since become pretty prevalent.

  7. Azuriel says:

    I think the Massively apology, given the express reasoning, was asinine. “Oops, we shouldn’t have called the guy who stole something a thief. He might be offended!” Was he temp banned for (online) harassment or wasn’t he? But, whatever, it’s a side issue; if “cyberbully” is more damaging than “drunk lawyer’s tasteless videogame PowerPoint presentation,” then good for him, mission accomplished.

    That said, Syncaine, I agree with your overall argument: the lines and boundaries are fuzzy. In principal, there is no such thing as non-personal PvP: it is player versus player, not character versus character. You win, the other guy loses, you take most of his stuff. And when the very mechanics of the game encourages retribution and continued assault (e.g. bounties, war-decs, etc)? The contradictory ToS seems to be a blanket, selectively enforced “no bad PR” rule by CCP.

    Controversy aside, this is something that will absolutely be hashed out in courtrooms sooner or later. Go look at the laws on the books in some states. Is there really that much difference between a MMO chat window and a chatroom? If there is, how much longer do you expect that to be the case?

    • SynCaine says:

      To me the biggest difference would be intent: you sign up for EVE knowing it’s a PvP game, and you (should) know how CCP handles their world.

      A chat room, especially one not themed around PvP, is somewhat different.

      But yea, very blurry.

  8. Sparklight says:

    But take a random 300k sample of LoL players, WoW players, EQ2/Rift players, and SW:TOR players, put them up against 300k EVE players in a new, random real MMO, and guess which group is going to form the best community?

    The answer to this question depends on how we define “real MMO”.

  9. Ephemeron says:

    If we’re looking for a place to draw the line, why not use good old Categorical Imperative?

    When in doubt about a particular action, ask yourself: “If everyone would do it to everyone, would it make EVE a better game?”

    • SynCaine says:

      This is an interesting point actually. Doesn’t everyone playing EVE do what Mittens did? Not at Fanfest of course, but don’t we all ask our Corp-mates for help in PvP? Doesn’t a Corp, driven by its CEO, attempt to destroy another Corp it’s at war with?

      I sure as hell know I’m trying to do that.

  10. Cyndre says:

    Granted my “less than two weeks” in Eve hardly qualifies me as an authority on the community, but I have seen more helpful than asshat… more community than most other games I’ve played (hint: I’ve played all of them pretty much) and more active local chats/ zones than most games.

    Wow was the second worst, just a shred behind LoL. LoL is 90 asshat, screeching kiddies who make open and unmittigated threats against your person, family and pretty much anything to overcompensate for their tiny penis and lack of skill.

  11. bonedead says:

    Anarchy Online community owns the EVE community, ERRYDAY!

  12. Me says:

    I thought this Mittani/Mittens actually named the player by his real name – not the name of his character in-game. Have I gotten the wrong impression from all that has been written? To me that is where a line may have possibly been crossed.

    But, since there has been an apology and the person in question (the bully-ee) has supposedly said that even he didn’t see the big deal, I don’t see the problem.

    And while I may hate PVP 99% of the time, I don’t see Goonswarm (or even you) as evil. It may be a sandbox, but it is also an RPG. They are playing a role and playing it well.

    • Zirce says:

      That was implied by some of the trashier articles but was never the case. No personal information was given out (apart from branding The Mittani’s real name as a cyberbully) just a character name.

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