A friend passed along a link to this amusing Wired piece on the whiners and complainers who populate game forums. It’s funny because it’s true–it’s really uncanny how many people spend their valuable time sitting in official game forums complaining about how much the game sucks. The offenses against which these forum warriors rage usually range from the petty to the insignificant to the outright delusional. If the game is that bad, I always wonder, surely there are better things to do with your life than rehash the point loudly in front of a bunch of strangers on an online forum? Clearly I’m missing something.
If you were to spend time at the World of Warcraft official forums (which I no longer do, for this very reason), you’d soon emerge with the impression that WoW is the worst-designed, most unplayable piece of trash ever to be released; and you’d almost forget that every day millions of people–including, most likely, the whiners–happily log in and have a good time playing it.
Whatever it is about the internet that fosters rampant and petty negativity is not confined merely to game forums, of course. It’s especially noticeable in gaming forums because the emotional investment of the whiners is so disproportionate to the real-life significance of the problems they’re griping about. There’s a good dissertation just waiting to be written on the Psychology of People Who Are Clearly Obsessed With Game X But Can’t Stop Talking About How Much They Hate It. And heaven help the PhD candidate who has to spend time in the forums doing research for that one.by