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Our Internet Empathy Problem

The disappearance of Flappy Bird has prompted streams of harassment and death threats. There are no consequences for the most vile of harassment on the Internet. This has to change.

We don't just have a game culture problem, we have an Internet culture problem.

Today, we have a better understanding of why Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen decided his game should no longer be available on the App Store: addiction. An interview with Forbes revealed the developer's insecurity with how people played it.

"I think it has become a problem," said Nguyen. "To solve that problem, it’s best to take down Flappy Bird. It’s gone forever.”

Until this morning, his motivations were the source of speculation. (I suspect this will continue to be the case.) It might have been the accusations of theft, it might have been the overwhelming spotlight success brings, and it might have been the torrent of abuse that was spewing forth on his Twitter feed. It might have been a combination of all three or none of the above. There are even some who theorize the virality was faked.

It doesn't actually matter. Even if Nguyen removed the game for reasons he won't disclose, reasons far less altruistic than protecting players from themselves, we can still read what has been said about him and to him.

On Sunday afternoon, I became aware of a custom Twitter list that collected some of the horrendous, awful words that had been targeted at Nguyen in the past few days. Many of them were death threats, some merely promised violence, and others shouted obscenities at the top of their digital lungs. Much of it was unequivocally abuse and deeply unsettling. Whether or not these comments impacted Nguyen doesn't change the fact that they exist. The sheer volume of abuse suggests much of the Internet populace believes there is no consequence for threats conveyed via Twitter or otherwise. There's good reason for that: they're right.

Amanda Hess' "Why Women Aren't Welcome on the Internet" article, for example, is an excellent and deeply applicable source on how much difficulty our modern legal and security infrastructures have dealing with the evolution of harassment. The tools of harassers are deeply embedded into the fabric of the Internet. Empowerment of the user is king. Unfortunately, it comes at all costs to the victims on the receiving end.

Here are a few examples of what was directed at Nguyen:

Weirdly, much of the vitriol targeted at Nguyen may come from a deep misunderstanding of what's happening to Flappy Bird. It is not being erased from every iPhone and iPad. While Apple does have a "kill switch" that would allow the company to remotely nuke a piece of software from all of its devices, it has never deployed the "kill switch." It's reserved for malware and other havoc-inducing apps. (For example, developers who have snuck emulators onto the App Store hidden have not seen their apps forcefully removed from users who downloaded them before being pulled.) But even if these users better understood Flappy Bird's ultimate fate, it's no excuse, and underscores the flippant nature to much of Internet commentary.

What's one comment in a large sea? Well, It adds up. How many people need to tell you that you're an asshole in real-life for it to have an impact on your day?

When I linked to the aforementioned Twitter list, it spread quickly, and generated sympathy and questions. I want to respond to some of the commentary that I found troublesome, and explain why what people did to Nguyen underscores some deeper cultural issues about what we consider acceptable Internet behavior.

(I'm not going to publish the actual tweets, just quote them.)

"I've never experienced any hate like this but I have to imagine 75% of the world would choose to endure this for 50k a day."

The most important part of this is "I've never experienced any hate like this." Red flag. The Verge speculated Flappy Bird was generating $50,000 daily. Nguyen's simply said it's "a lot." This has become the de facto excuse for why it's okay to dismiss Nguyen. He's rich! Who care if he's miserable about it? If a person is making a substantial amount of money, the logic goes, that's reason to put up with whatever the Internet can throw you. (Whether money buys happiness remains an open-ended question in academia.) But this displays an amazing lack of empathy. Can you imagine what it would be like to become a celebrity overnight? No. What gives you the right to evaluate their mental well-being? Why are you allowed to tell them how to feel?

"What mob? The mob of teenage girls who make completely idle death threats? I wouldn't take this too seriously."

"but it's not a real mob though. No one is actually gonna kill this guy."

A threat sent to former Call of Duty developer Robert Bowling.

It's hard to take this tweet seriously. What, mind you, is an idle death threat? That such a damningly vague phrase even exists is evidence itself that we've allowed discourse on the Internet to reach a point where we're supposed to be emotionally, mentally, and physically okay with death threats. If someone writes a death threat in a letter or in-person, that individual may be arrested by the police. At the very least, there are consequences. If someone writes a death threat over a social networking service, it's an "idle threat."

Words are powerful, and people should be responsible for them. When we characterize threats as "idle," we remove the individual from the equation. It's victim blaming. It's hard to imagine how Nguyen is to blame here.

When the Internet turns on you, it's hard to describe the emotional rollercoaster that goes along with it. You can't exactly walk away from the Internet forever. While looking at a long list of abuse Tweets directed at Nguyen, it's easy to distance yourself from it because, hey, it's not you. But I've been on the other side of that equation, albeit not to the same scale as Nguyen. When someone directs a threat of violence at you, it feels very personal. Every single one of them. When someone photoshops my wife into a photo to try and unsettle me, it feels very god damn personal. You cannot distance yourself from attacks that are directed at you, and to suggest otherwise only underscores one's lack of experience with the subject. You need a thick skin to survive as a public figure on the Internet, but that doesn't mean there aren't chinks in your armor. And as Jim Sterling mentioned on this week's morning show, it doesn't mean there isn't skin underneath. That skin can get raw.

We lack empathy on the Internet. There are people behind every game, every username, every Twitter account.

"what is the discussion at hand here? Should we be allowed to insult and/or threat people via the internet?"

Insult? Yes. Threaten? No. That is not protected speech. Learn how to construct a real argument.

"It's not that bad. I see worse shit in an average game of Dota."

This, unfortunately, rings true. It wouldn't surprise me if, statistically, the gaming audience was found to be more prone to this type of vitriolic commentary than other communities. The hardcore gaming demographic skews young. I'm afraid to imagine what kind of stupid things I might have said on today's Internet when I was 14-years-old. Many games, especially those online, are competitive, and adrenaline can bring out the worst in us.

But none of these are excuses for such poor behavior, and merely pointing out the problem doesn't solve it, either. A combination of legal, technological, and societal changes are needed to make the Internet a safer place, especially for critical, dissenting voices. You shouldn't have to put up with death threats on the Internet, and individuals shouldn't be allowed to get away with them without a reciprocal impact. This article won't change that, but the next time a situation like this flares up, you don't have to contribute to the problem, either.

Don't be silent. Speak up for targets of harassment. They're victims, after all.

***

If you're interested in reading more about Flappy Bird (there's lots to digest), here are some terrific pieces:

Patrick Klepek on Google+
792 Comments
Posted by Faythdream10

Maybe Nguyen had a point. Some of these Twitter replies remind me of the gnashing of teeth you get when you turn off the TV suddenly on a 6-year-old watching Spongebob.

Posted by xite

Well this is already too much press you're giving to this crappy game.

Posted by Boniti
Posted by ChrisTaran

I'm not sure this is purely an empathy problem, and I'd disagree that (at least some) people sending the man threats aren't perfectly aware that there is a human on the other side. I think them realizing that is one of the core reasons they do send threats. They very purposely want to hurt the man.

And let's not confuse any of my above comments with "this guy deserves this treatment." Because no one does. My point is that people can be very conscious of what's on the other side and still very willingly send these threats.

Posted by dox

He took it down because people are addicted to Flappy Bird? People are addicted to heroin not Flappy Bird.

Posted by TheLastGunslinger

I've heard this saying once (forgot from where, though) "The individual is a smart, clear-thinking person. Put him in a crowd and he acts unreasonably and foolishly"

A person is smart, people are dumb.

Posted by Camelizer

Great article Patrick. I really don't understand how people try and justify sending someone death threats over situations like a game being taken down or something along those lines. I also differentiate comments made over twitter, email, Facebook, etc to those made in say a video game voice chat. Things said in voice chat are often kind of heat of the moment and as Patrick mentions there is a kind of expectation/acceptance that when playing something like BF or COD you very well might get some teenage kid (although I have also heard many people older people lose their shit) freaking out over getting stabbed or killed in general. I personally tend not to take those seriously which I realize is something of a problem when trying to look at these types of situations and how they should be viewed. But with something like twitter you're removed from that kind of moment in my opinion. You have to actively find a persons twitter account type the message and send it. That takes enough thought that I would assume a reasonable human being would realize that maybe they really might want to rephrase their displeasure. You won't accomplish anything by threatening to murder someone's family other than make yourself look like a complete embarrassment to the human race, at least to me. My general rule when posting anything directed at someone else or on the internet in general is if I wouldn't say it in public then I shouldn't post it online. This rant ended up being really long so I apologize to anyone who actually bothered to read it, whether you agreed with me or you think I'm an idiot.

Posted by endub

I have played a flash game that was so intresting.. when i play that game in was so fun for me.. the game name is helicopter.. i played this game in one website.. the game looks so simple and good.. and this game is very easy to play also.. is has only the control of the mouse right button.. which was used to take of the helicopter to the destination, between in the way there was so much of struggle.. we have to care fully handle yhe helicoper by pressing the right mouse button steadyly.. if press the button the helicoter will take off, when we leave the button the helicopter will landed and busted..The game is calculating the distance we passes the helicopter to the destination.. if we score more with high distance we will be the first highest scorer in this game.

Posted by SeraphSlaughter

I agree with this all the way.

Posted by LibrorumProhibitorum

Interesting. I don't fully agree with the article, but I did enjoy reading it, though I do have a problem with this when asked if we should be able to insult or threaten:

Insult? Yes. Threaten? No. That is not protected speech. Learn how to construct a real argument.

I don't see how insulting is any better than threatening somebody. Insults can cut people deeper than threats, insults can be aimed at race, religion, sexuality, the way you look, your class, anything at all. Threatening is horrible and inexcusable, but so is insulting somebody.

Posted by JonDo

@kalnet101: Not scary, sad. None of these people are scary people -- they probably have a lot of fantasies about hurting people (maybe not).... but these type of people couldn't bust a grape. Really scary people don't do pointless, petty, threatening shit like this.

Really though, a lot of people just aren't real enough, for lack of a better term, to treat people like human beings -- whether or not theyre on the other end of a long ass cable. It's not even threatening harrassment, people just like to be assholes on the internet for no reason. It's because there's no real consequence (such as getting beat up in real life, among other things). That's sad, whether it's the status quo or not.

Posted by kylenalepa

It's these kinds of people that make me ashamed to like video games. I quit my last job (in the video game industry) because of the stress and anxiety that abusive customers/players caused me. It's absolutely unacceptable and it's one of the reasons I use my real name, or a variation thereof, when I post online - to keep myself in check and not say anything that I wouldn't say to someone face-to-face. I think the anonymity the Internet provides allows people to act like scum with little to no repercussion.

Posted by DrBroel

Giant Bomb is personality driven website. If this is important to Patrick then by its very nature it belongs on the site.

Posted by firecracker22

The internet is a fucked up place, overall. The level of vitriol people can spit out in such a cowardly manner looks extremely frustrating from where I see it.

Most people wouldn't be able to deal with it. I think the level of disconnect from people who think of all that vitriol as "not real" is pretty bothersome. I do worry about people who suffer from personal issues, as well, things like depression, anxiety, or something like bipolar disorder...and just how much something like having every asshole on the internet direct that rage at them can crush a fucking human soul. Because of social networks, and how quickly anything can catch fire for any reason, pretty much anybody can get thrown in front of the cross-hairs.

Posted by yemeth

@johnbakosh: Because stuff like this needs to stop for the internet to grow up.

Edited by flakmunkey

Excellent article as always Patrick, I love the way you insist on writing these cultural features as not enough people are bringing this very serious issue of anonymity and the death of empathy to light. Keep up the good fight, I have faith we can win this and someday have a web that is accepting and accountable. Now to play grammar police, fourth(ish) paragraph up from the bottom "You need a think skin to survive as a public" I assume you meant "thick skin" ;P

Posted by EricSmith

Maybe it's just me, but I find it very easy to walk away from the internet. So you are saying he is getting a ton of threats on Twitter? I'd change the name, make the account private, and walk away for awhile and watch my bank account grow.

Obviously Patrick is right, the problem is the other people, and he shouldn't have to do something like that, but there will never be a free world we live in in which that will not be the case. There will always be teenagers with keyboards and an internet connection, and they will always be young and dumb.

Unless we start selectively breeding kids to get those traits out like some sort of Demolition Man universe, it will be the way of things, and we just have to deal with it.

Posted by Reisz

a) If nobody ever points it out when assholes act like they do, they’re free to keep doing it.

b)If people point it out, a microscopic, tiny percentage of them might stop and think about what they’re doing.

I know it’s popular to think it’s impossible to change the way people act, but it isn’t, you just can‘t get to everyone.

I’ll take b over a any day.

Absolutely.

Cheers Patrick.

Posted by RobertOrri
@atwa said:

John Lennon got tons of death threats, even without the internet!

Boy, and look what ended up happening to him! Someone didn't just make a death threat, someone actually killed him.

Fucking hell, man. What was the point you were trying to make here?

Posted by Chumm

Legislation to threaten the threateners is not a solution, and is an incredibly slippery slope. As @gbrading indicated, you can educate people on what is considered inappropriate or not. The trouble is, we don't have a shared set of cultural values on the internet upon which we could base such an education or upon which we could base the sorts of rules and consequences that Patrick is suggesting.

The good thing about free speech (not protected, just free) on the internet is that it lets you know who you agree or disagree with. It is only by letting people express themselves freely that you can decide whether or not you want to engage with them. If one of the above was a twitter friend of yours, you now know that they're childish and impetuous enough to make an idle threat on someone's life over the most minor thing. As the one threatened, you have the ability to gather and publish all the freely spoken threats, as this twitter list is doing, to expose hate speech to the people this really impacts: the friends and family of the threateners.

Edited by VargasPrime

Got into a "discussion" on Twitter with someone who took issue with Patrick's original tweets (including the screenshot of the reaction to Nguyen's announcement), whose basic point was that the vitriol directed at Nguyen was "nothing" compared to the hate and threats directed at political conservatives.

Now, never mind that "conservatives" are a group/ideology, and Nguyen is one man, and never mind the fact that there is no way to actually determine which is the bigger target for harassment... But what does the argument that "other people get it worse" mean? We're not to call attention to harassment when it happens because someone else might have received worse? So no one can complain unless they get abused as extensively/violently as another? Or maybe abuse is only worth calling out if the target(s) share your ideology?

This dude got a ton of hate in a very short amount of time, all over the decision to remove a free game from the app store. It almost couldn't get more ridiculous, and I'm really glad that Patrick and others were there to draw attention to it. Especially after learning that his decision to remove Flappy Bird from the app stores was simply because he saw too many people talk about being "addicted" or playing for long amounts of time.

Posted by soulcake

If you're twitter feed is posted full with kill threats why still check it ? I wouldn't you know that account is fcked for sometime.

Edited by real_jones

Reading those twitter comments makes me wonder about the mental health of these people, I have some shit I deal with but doesn't make me want to insult or belittle people, good article patrick keep doing what you do best, inform and entertain.

Edited by PXAbstraction

Back around the time Anita Sarkeesian started getting mountains of harassment and threats over Twitter, there was talk of them introducing a "Report Abuse" function. This was supposed to be different than reporting spam as real humans were supposed to review submissions and it was supposed to lead to real consequences like account suspension/deletion and even more extreme things such as IP bans or even involvement of the police for serious offenses. I'd love to know what happened to that because I don't think it ever happened.

The first major step that can be taken to curb this garbage is social media services stepping up with enforcement. These are multi-billion dollar public companies, they can afford to do it. You have no constitutional right to free speech on a privately owned service and these companies absolutely can take a leading role in saying that harassment is not OK and actively trying to reduce it. It won't eliminate the problem entirely but I bet a lot of people would think twice when their account is on the line. Right now, Twitter, Facebook et. al. basically just shrug and go "Oh you know." That's not good enough. They're profiting off this content and while this ultimately begins with individual personal responsibility, they provide the vector for it and they have the technological means to mount a better defense against it.

Posted by bybeach

I've got several comments. Before one criticizes, I already know I cannot change the behavior of anonymous ppl who fear no retribution. So with that in mind.

1) Don't look. simply that.

2) Remember that the Net has the attention span of a cat, very intense for a limited amount of time, then dropped. Best advice I read once, was if 'you say something stupid in a forum, just simply shut up for a few days. People forget.'

3) If this is truly representative of a significant amount of people in the world, God or Nature shall surely let us remove ourselves from the face of the earth for our own self loathing and hate, and perhaps an instinctually wiser lifeform will get a shot.

When I first frequented this site, towards the end of the Persona endurance run I questioned the concept of marrying too close in extended family (I thought cirtain concepts were universal). It came up somehow game-wise. An individual then alluded to the fact I must be a result of such for even questioning that. All I could do is tell him (I assume) that if he said that to somebody in real life, he'd be picking his teeth off the ground. I don't remember any modding at that early point. I then stayed away from the last couple episodes, and finished them up a few weeks later.

Sometimes just the way it goes.

Edited by Fobwashed

Rough. Major South Korean social sites require members to register using their social security number. Just sayin.

Online
Edited by Hasufel

I think a part of this is a lack of empathy (or at the very least a lack of remorse or fear brought on by anonymity), but I think another part of this issue is the inability to really get the whole picture of what somebody is trying to say through text on the internet. Some people just joke like that and say things like "I'm going to kill you!" as an exaggerated way to expresse their frustration and disappointment at something. It's probably inappropriate to do that in a public forum with somebody you don't actually know but that doesn't make it malicious, at least in this case. There are a lot of things that go beyond what would ever be considered acceptable (messing with somebody's family is inexcusable) and a lot of internet hate goes towards people who are just trying to start a discussion or point out actual serious issues and are shouted down to silence, but in this case it seems more like people who were upset about an already very silly viral game responding in an equally silly manner, it just ended up seeming more sinister than it is because without body language, intonation, tone, or any real context a toothless "death threat" joke can seem like an actual desire to kill somebody.

Posted by GnaTSoL

Thumbs up to insulting? okay Pat.

Edited by MATATAT

14 year old kids are pieces of shit anyway, you can just punch them in the head and they'll regret their actions. Anyone over 17-18 its just sad. I can't tell if people are addicted to the game and that is what caused such a violent outcry. It's kinda sad if something a guy programmed in a couple days consumes your life, so much so that you are enraged if it was taken from you (which it wasn't for everyone). They have some problems, probably ones that affect their life negatively. Or it's people who are immature Internet users, people who didn't realize the Internet was a place that was cool until it was "socially acceptable".

My hypothesis are that these people have the same personalities as a 10 year old while on the Internet. Kids will say stupid shit, "I NEVER WISH I WAS BORN I HATE YOU I HOPE YOU DIE", and its because they don't know any better. Through cultural molding the realize what is socially acceptable and what is not. The amount of socially unacceptable behavior on the Internet is egregiously pervasive. The social normalization on the Internet seems to be much different than in real life and with no repercussions it becomes even more destructive.

I hope someone is writing a dissertation on this because I want to read their findings.

Posted by fartlord

Sure is a lot of words about some tweets ha ha

Posted by swamplord666

good write up Patrick.

I hhave no idea what can be done to enforce a sense of accountability on the internet but i do hope we find a way. It's scary what people will say on the internet under the guise of anonymity.

Posted by jhubz

I don't disagree that the internet has plenty of bad behavior; however, I don't think that the answer is to meet every snippet of misguided rage with formal consequences. Band-aids don't do much for infections. The answer is have a culture that doesn't produce people who feel the need to unleash their rage in these kinds of ways.

"What gives you the right to evaluate their mental well-being? Why are you allowed to tell them how to feel?"

How are you not doing this? Telling a victim that they should feel badly when they might not isn't a great thing. I know he's stated that he isn't happy with the situation, but for you assume that everyone feels as badly as you do when faced with obviously hyperbolic statements isn't fair. It's one thing to empathize with a person or situation, but it's wrong to assume you know everything about their particular situation and mindset based on experiences you've had.

Posted by VargasPrime

@bybeach: "Don't look" - OK, the dude is a developer, with a very visible Twitter account, email account, etc. So, he's just supposed to disappear until the hate stops? That's called victim-blaming. You're putting the onus to fix the situation squarely on the person being harassed, rather than the people that are doing the harassing.

"Shut up for a few days, people forget" - Millions of people downloaded Flappy Bird. It became a Huge Deal. When you've got hate directed at you in the numbers that Nguyen was probably getting, who's to say that there aren't going to be a certain number of those people who aren't going to let it go? Or who would even take things further than just harassing tweets? Maybe someone hacks his email? Or finds out where he lives? When you're exponentially increasing the number of people targeting a person, the chances that one of those people is actually going to go beyond a simple tweet or email is going to increase exponentially, too.

Edited by Coke

The guy copied some other guy that copied that really old helicopter flash game, threw some pipes that make people think of Mario into it, and changed the little bird some. He made some decent cash and apparently because some idiots on Twitter tell him they'll kill him (how terrifying) he claims he cannot "endure" it anymore. He made a quick buck with no effort and now he's crying about harassment.

Feels like karma to me.

Posted by Jayzilla

I feel like hate speech sucks really bad but I think freedom of speech is important enough to protect the d-bags and good guys alike. I don't feel there should be repercussions to inflammatory internet talk. Do I do it? IDK, go through all of my posts here and my stuff on twitter and on other forums and tell me. I don't think I do. Actually, I know that I DO NOT EVER say inflammatory stuff to others. Just because I don't do it, doesn't mean I think that people who do shouldn't be protected.

I don't do anything that the government could use spying or drones or whatever to incarcerate me. I am a law abiding citizen. That doesn't mean I think drones and spying by the government on their own people is OK in any way shape or form. I think championing the "be decent people on the internet" is SUPER low on the list of things that need fixing. If you want to champion a cause go free sex slaves, or expose government propaganda, or work in your community to make it a better place.

Posted by Brackynews

@jjbsterling: I'm being genuine when I say that you should reconsider becoming a journalist if you are afraid of your audience. Stick to forums where you never have to go back and read threads you post to. Works for me. ;)

Edited by AlexanderSheen

@alwaysbebombing said:

I understand why you feel the way you do, Patrick. As someone who went to Uni for Political Science, I'm unsure how we can have legislative changes to this harassment if Congress doesn't take this seriously. Do you have any ideas?

Does Congress take anything seriously? I mean, the current Congress is arguably the worst one in US history. And even if some changes are made to stop this kind of behavior, people will cry out for their freedom of speech. Because people looove to have their rights in order to be complete fucking assholes.

I have no realistic ideas to change the internet or the people on it. Well, other than a teenager with a Death Note.

Posted by Hasufel

I think assuming that everybody who posts or tweets something like this is unhinged is a pretty dim view of human nature. I'm going to guess that the people tweeting about Flappy Bird and the people freaking out in Kotaku comment sections have a very small area of crossover; they may be immature but my immediate reaction isn't to think that they have a genuine desire to hurt somebody.

Posted by groupcelebration

@johnbakosh said:

Why is this even on Giant Bomb?

It seems like something better suited to a personal blog.

Because it's relevant to the gaming community and needs to be addressed.

Edited by TheLastGunslinger

Rough. Major South Korean social sites require members to register using their social security number. Just sayin.

Oh man, that would so not fly here in the US.

Posted by swamplord666

a) If nobody ever points it out when assholes act like they do, they’re free to keep doing it.

b)If people point it out, a microscopic, tiny percentage of them might stop and think about what they’re doing.

I know it’s popular to think it’s impossible to change the way people act, but it isn’t, you just can‘t get to everyone.

I’ll take b over a any day.

This issue may be more of a personal issue, but I don't see it happening unless I go searching for it. I have to actively go and check out what is being said to this guy, even Patrick.

Maybe it's because i don't use twitter/facebook that much, i don't know.

Posted by alwaysbebombing

@alwaysbebombing said:

I understand why you feel the way you do, Patrick. As someone who went to Uni for Political Science, I'm unsure how we can have legislative changes to this harassment if Congress doesn't take this seriously. Do you have any ideas?

Does Congress take anything seriously? I mean, the current Congress is arguably the worst one in US history. And even if some changes are made to stop this kind of behavior, people will cry out for their freedom of speech. Because people looove to have their rights in order to be complete fucking assholes.

I have no realistic ideas to change the internet or the people on it. Well, other than a teenager with a Death Note.

I have no problem with this.

Posted by VargasPrime

@hasufel: No one is assuming that. No one looks at that amount of hate and assumes that every single person is an out-of-touch lunatic who will resort to actual violence.

But when you get hate in that kind of concentrated, focused burst, in the numbers Nguyen was undoubtedly getting, it's got to be unnerving. You've got hundreds, or thousands of random people on the internet who know your name, and could potentially know how to find you. All it takes is ONE.

Edited by Coke
@coke said:

The guy copied some other guy that copied that really old helicopter flash game, threw some pipes that make people think of Mario into it, and changed the little bird some. He made some decent cash and apparently because some idiots on Twitter tell him they'll kill him (how terrifying) he claims he cannot "endure" it anymore. He made a quick buck with no effort and now he's crying about harassment.

Feels like karma to me.

Congratulations, you just won the presitigious "The Douchiest Post In This Thread" award. Please print out this message and mail it in to claim your prize.


That's pretty hateful of you.

Edited by jediknight00719

I understand what Patrick is saying, there is definitely an issue on the internet and we need to learn to be better. Hopefully we can teach the younger generation to be better people on the internet.

But i think the issue of the Flappy Bird creator is slightly different (not related to this article). It just sounded that he cared a lot of what people were saying. When people were saying flappy bird ruined their life, he was genuinely concerned, even if the person was probably being sarcastic. But many people need to realize sarcasm doesn't translate online, especially for the creator in which English is not their first language. He sounds like a guy who wants to help everyone and has a passion to make games.

a good artcle showing the history:

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-flappy-birds-shut-down-2014-2#ixzz2swcAULhF

Edited by BenLaserlove

So the problem of internet people without empathy has been around for ages, and I've started to wonder.. is this how it's always going to be? Can we change it? Is highlighting it all we can do?

Think about it like this, people that are actually saying these sorts of things are usually teenagers, or people outside the development side of games.. and those sorts of people are always going to be around. So, if you want to be really cynical, there's not much you can do.

I mean, alongside those sorts of people, there are always people that believe themselves be better then the hate spewers. They are always ready to disregard any mention of said behavior. "STOP TALKING ABOUT IT, IT'S NOT VIDEO GAMES" is the line.

I would say educating folks about the other perspective could be some help, but I'm not sure how.

Edited by rmanthorp

I hate that this is a thing!

Don't be a jerk! It's really easy to have uncensored options and not like a thing just don't be a jerk!

Moderator
Posted by BooDoug187

I find it funny that there is all this anger and hate over a stupid free to play game that was a clone of a game that was most likely a clone of a clone of a clone. I bet right now on app stores there are plenty of "tap screen to make somthing not hit a wall" games that are the same, maybe even better than flappy bird but no... people have to waiste their time to go on twitter and threaten a guy for a stupid game.

Yet I bet none of those who are bitching about this game gives two shits about human rights, gay rights, NSA shit, or anything they should really be mad about.

Nope, angry about a fucking app game.

Times like this I really wish humanity would get wiped out by some aliens or something. We are too god damn stupid to exist.

Posted by ADAMWD

@patrickklepek You quoted me in this article regarding the allowance of insults and threats via the internet. Your follow-up was : "Insult? Yes. Threaten? No. That is not protected speech. Learn how to construct a real argument."

First, I think you misunderstood me, I wasn't saying those actions are acceptable, but rather trying to understand what issue you were attempting to address.

With that said, threats are usually, but not always, an exception to the first amendment. It is very important to note, which you failed to mention in this article, is that the Supreme Court has held that "threats may not be punished if a reasonable person would understand them as obvious hyperbole"

It is obvious to me, and it should be to you as well, that most of the things people say on the internet are hyperbole.