A tale of ghosts, trolls and VIPs on the internet

First off, the expression VIP doesn’t stand for Very Important People but for Very INTOLERANT People. Whatever it is that drives people to be rude, evasive and downright antisocial can have different reasons. But one thing is obvious: No matter where you go to, the intolerance level is at a peak, especially if users don’t even have to register to comment on a certain topic or article. Writing myself for an adventure game website, you’d think people would be more civilized when talking about this cerebral genre, but you’re wrong. Immature behavior dictates the norm, at least when VIPs become trolls.

I didn’t even know the word existed outside of the fantasy genre context before reading some comments on this website. Maybe I didn’t really feel like communicating my opinions to other people at that time and I was just interested in reading articles to make up my own mind. But it seems people already make up their own minds without reading the articles. They may quickly jump to the percentage-rating and maybe read some of the conclusion, but there’s rarely any dialogue going on. Of course you can just ignore certain people (which can also be found among registered forum members) who go on and on about a faulty percentage-rating-system, a specific game they don’t like etc.. But communication seems to fail more often in these cases, so that few people want to admit there’s another opinion which could just be as right as theirs. Simply put, there is no right and wrong. There can be a like and dislike of something, but it doesn’t make any sense to talk about it unless you have a solid basis of argumentation.

So again we have the objectivity vs. subjectivity: Call them trolls or VIPs, it boils down to this one dilemma: You don’t know the real person (it could be many with different user names), but does this justify abusing each other? I really don’t get it. Especially if people are being very ambiguous with their comments like “you should work on your writing style” (against the unpaid author who spends a lot of time writing and revising the text) or “you don’t have a private life” (getting personal) or “you don’t know what a good adventure game is made of” etc. Of course this can also be found on other websites and in other forums whatever the topic is about.

The sad thing about the situation is that a lot of unknown users or readers are not heard. I just call them ghosts (even though you could argue that VIPs and trolls are also nothing more than a temporary nuisance which disappears). Ghosts can be people who are held back by those rude comments. They want to be active, but they stay passive because they don’t know why they should bother joining a one-sided conversation. I myself wondered after a while why I should react to certain people’s comments. As a writer you are of course happy if you get some constructive criticism, but when it comes to lines like “there’s a lot of stuff wrong with your article”, the fun is over. Often it’s very hard to calm people down. So once I tried to settle a conflict which got pretty personal (without having anything to do with the current topic), the only reply I got was “people like you are not on my IQ-level” and then some unregistered VIP or troll joined in with “it’s none of your business”. This put me in a position to just ignore the conversation and users altogether and be very reluctant with later comments. So what can a ghost do? Nothing but watch how the communication crumbles apart, being left in the ruins of miscommunication.


About nufafitc

Being an avid gamer, cinemaniac, and bookworm in addition to other things the internet and new media present, I'm also very much into DIY music, rock and pop in particular. Writing short or longer pieces about anything that interests me has always made me happy. As both an editor for German website "Adventure-Treff" and UK website "Future Sack", I like to write reviews and news about recent developments in the movies, games and book industry.
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