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#1 Posted by SunBroZak (1114 posts) -

With the recent incident involving a female game developer being harassed by a journalist, I've been thinking about my thoughts on how I'd deal with bullies. Or the less savory parts of the internet.

I have lots of respect for Patrick, but I'm not sure if I agree with him on his stance against bullies. I think it's great that he's willing to voice his opinions against that type of behavior, but the wording of some of his tweets gets me.

I understand that he doesn't believe you should have to put up with abuse, that you should be able to say "no". But I feel he's being a little too dramatic. An aggressive approach the likes of "fighting back" would surely only rally more abuse? Wouldn't it be more mature to not give a reaction? Not necessarily forced into being quiet, but choosing not to pay these people any mind? Allowing the likes of moderators to silence them.

And where do we draw the line? Everyone has their own reactions to what someone might say, so I see the potential for a problem regarding the word "bully" being thrown around too easily. We already have our fair share of internet debacles when the topic of "over-sensitive" comes up.

Perhaps apathy is just in my blood, but I'm hard pressed to see a happy ending from kicking the hornet's nest, so to speak. In any case, I'd be interested to hear what you guys think.

#2 Edited by fisk0 (4097 posts) -

Haven't had too many issues with bullies for the past 15 years or so, but generally, staying quiet/trying not to react doesn't work. That just makes them more aggressive. Fighting back may make others take note, and possibly also make a stance against the bully, possibly making them stop.

Lots of possibly's in that sentence, but it's certainly not guaranteed to work - but staying quiet is even less so.

#3 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

In my experience? Suicidal feelings.

#4 Posted by HistoryInRust (6307 posts) -

Gouge them in the fucking eyeballs.

#6 Posted by Demoskinos (14822 posts) -

I don't pay attention to people like that. Then again I usually just give people "the look" like im seriously crazy enough to kill them aaaand Ive found that usually nobody messes with me.

#7 Edited by Ekami (261 posts) -

I usually just let them ruin my childhood.

#8 Posted by ZolRoyce (694 posts) -

It depends on the level of the bully I suppose.

A low level YouTube comments bully? Who cares? Fuck 'em, as the Simpsons said back when they were good. "Just don't look, just don't look."

But somebody who actually has some power or sway? Well that's just not cool, call them out so everybody can look at them and go "Oh that person is a dick, let's do something about it." Sure they might call other dicks to the fray but sometimes you have to have a fray with a bunch of sticks.

#10 Edited by Humanity (9207 posts) -

Patrick has a penchant for the dramatic. Should society tolerate bullies? Absolutely not. Is it ok for a reporter to make lewd sexual jokes to the person they're talking to just because they're a woman? Of course not. Are bullies and assholes some new thing worth getting worked up about? No.

We've had both for ages and will continue to have both for ages unless the government starts pouring mood suppressing chemicals in the water supply.

I get what he's going for and I fully support and endorse the message, but this cavalier attitude of "look out bullies, I'm coming for you!" is just silly.

#11 Edited by ripelivejam (3936 posts) -

hug 'em :)

Online
#12 Edited by SomeJerk (3245 posts) -

It only works when you can reach bullies in real life, but online the best thing you can do is to not dedicate them a single moment of acknowledgement because that is what they want, that is what they live for and thrive on. Be it treehuggers, animalfuckers, cultists or children.

If you take shit that means you give a shit, stop giving shits. It's that easy and I speak from experience of years of taking death threats, stalking, night-calls/door-rings and hate campaigns just because I happened to take part on a nationwide TV show.

What Patrick's doing is opening the door wide, if he takes it personal he's going to continue down this bad path and eventually burn out. He needs a mental liquid-diet so he stops taking shits.

(buuuut if we're talking the kind of "bullying" going on in this article then that should have been handled better from the start by her, like immediately cutting the convo and doing something about it.)

#13 Posted by SideburnGuru (54 posts) -

@jacdg said:

How I did was basically developing a sense of self deprecating humor, which completely left them with no weapon. It's kinda like how Eminem/Rabbit wins the final rap battle in 8 Mile.

I applied that with an attitude of fighting back and observing from afar to completely tear the bully back down.

Does it make you a bully in the process? Yeah, but hey. Survival is survival. As long as you only defend yourself.

#14 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@somejerk said:

If you take shit that means you give a shit

I'm not sure that's how economics work.

#15 Edited by Kidavenger (3546 posts) -

I have zero respect for Patrick after he wrote that complete flamebait article about Stardock Corporation and then never followed it up when the case was settled and the guy was given an apology from the women who accused him; it's all fine and dandy to smear some guy on flimsy bullshit but heaven forbid you ever go back and try to make it right and admit you were wrong and wrote copied a bullshit story from Kotaku.

This place is supposed to be about games, not someone's fucking platform for social justice.

Online
#16 Posted by c0l0nelp0c0rn1 (1807 posts) -

I think the insistence that Josh Mattingly change his nature and not be horrible is asking too much of the man. Maybe he should be fired, and maybe [unnamed game developer] shouldn't insist on trying to steer an inappropriate conversation back to appropriate territory and instead just publicly blacklist the guy.

People can and will do very bad things, and insisting that they don't behave badly without shaming them doesn't work.

#17 Posted by ThePhantomnaut (6197 posts) -

Rear naked choke.

#18 Edited by Gamer_152 (14077 posts) -

On one level, sure, not giving people the reaction they want is a good way to get them to move on, but I don't think it's the answer here for a number of reasons. For one thing, a lot of the time there's not going to be a moderator in the space these people are speaking in who is going to silence them. For another, we need to give support to the people who have to deal with crap like this on a regular basis. And for another, a lot of these people aren't just trolls trying to get a reaction, the things they say and way they behave are the product of honest beliefs that have become ingrained in a large section of the gaming community and society as a whole. For example, there are people who believe that it's okay to harass to women, don't understand why what they're doing constitutes harassment, actually think that women's contributions in gaming are inferior to men's, or don't understand why we should aim to be inclusive to women. The problems here are not simply one or two isolated incidents, but rather indicative of larger systemic problems that we desperately need to fight. We need to show that a certain kind of behaviour isn't going to be tolerated in our communities.

You wouldn't ignore any other kind of problem and then magically expect it to go away and we can't do with this one. There's a reason why anti-bullying campaigns exist and why movements for discriminated groups of people are often about people standing up and being vocal. Perhaps as big or bigger an issue than the people doing the bullying in the first place is the number of apologists and people dismissing this as a genuine problem. This issue isn't going to be solved by apathy, and when bullying leads to discrimination, depression, and suicide I don't think we can be too dramatic about seriously trying to fight it.

Moderator
#19 Edited by mikethekilla (328 posts) -

Nobody has ever bullied me as an adult.

#20 Posted by Wolfgame (735 posts) -

@kidavenger: I would tend to agree, there's a certain level of political commentary on many of Patrick's features that I just choose not to participate in. I have nothing against his desire to pursue these stories, but they do resemble disingenuous articles that I have learned to scroll past on Kotaku.

#21 Edited by spraynardtatum (2924 posts) -

I think it's best to deal with a bully head on if its in the cards. Don't punch above your weigh limit unless you know you can win. If someone is being terrible they've probably been able to get away with being terrible in the past. You're doing them a disservice if you don't bring it to their attention that they need to correct their behavior.

Bullies need to look inward to make themselves better. Patrick is doing the right thing here imo. He just needs to make sure he stays in check and doesn't cross the line.

Online
#22 Posted by joshwent (2199 posts) -

Patrick has a bad habit of equating real injustices and people being shitty in situations that it's possible to resolve (like that journalist saying that creepy stuff to that dev), with trolling. The first has solutions, the second just doesn't. And though it sucks that we have technology which easily exposes people to arbitrary insults, reacting to it (and worse, making the people who perpetuate it internet famous) only makes it increase. It's a hydra of bad behavior. When you cut off one head, two more will always take its place.

I thought "don't feed the trolls" was pretty widely accepted as a good policy for the internet in general, but some folks see eradicating it as part of their fight for equality, not realizing that the trolls don't really care about whatever cause they're raging against. They just want attention. And there's a pretty simple way to deny that from them..

#23 Posted by Tylea002 (2295 posts) -

The lesson we're taught as kids that reacting badly to being bullied is worse than actually being bullied is one of the most damaging psychological things we do to our kids, and is probably the root of a bunch of my mental health problems as an adult.

So whilst the instinct is totally "you should be the bigger person" it's important to realise that's only because we were told that when we were young, and it is not a value that is beyond questioning.

#24 Edited by ottoman673 (513 posts) -

I was wondering why I didn't see a thread about this article yet.

But "she" [from the screenshots anyway] did not discourage these comments. No, means no. Any persisting comments following that no qualify as harassment. Not that this excuses his behavior, but it's a point that should be raised and considered.

As for how you handle bullies? You smile in their face. They take pride in making you miserable in order to mask/feel better about their own faults. You get up and show that what they're saying doesn't matter, which makes them feel that much more insignificant.

#25 Posted by Ares42 (2662 posts) -

Ironically I deal with bullies pretty much the same way I deal with idealists like Patrick, ignore them and let them go their merry way feeling good about what they do. In my experience with most of these kinds of people it doesn't matter what their target thinks or feels, it's all about the effect they themselves imagine it has. Have you ever tried convincing someone that's harassing you/trying to push their opinion on you that you don't really care ? Tends to be an exercise in futility.

#26 Edited by SunBroZak (1114 posts) -

@gamer_152 said:

On one level, sure, not giving people the reaction they want is a good way to get them to move on, but I don't think it's the answer here for a number of reasons. For one thing, a lot of the time there's not going to be a moderator in the space these people are speaking in who is going to silence them. For another, we need to give support to the people who have to deal with crap like this on a regular basis. And for another, a lot of these people aren't just trolls trying to get a reaction, the things they say and way they behave are the product of honest beliefs that have become ingrained in a large section of the gaming community and society as a whole. For example, there are people who believe that it's okay to harass to women, don't understand why what they're doing constitutes harassment, actually think that women's contributions in gaming are inferior to men's, or don't understand why we should aim to be inclusive to women. The problems here are not simply one or two isolated incidents, but rather indicative of larger systemic problems that we desperately need to fight. We need to show that a certain kind of behaviour isn't going to be tolerated in our communities.

You wouldn't ignore any other kind of problem and then magically expect it to go away and we can't do with this one. There's a reason why anti-bullying campaigns exist and why movements for discriminated groups of people are often about people standing up and being vocal. Perhaps as big or bigger an issue than the people doing the bullying in the first place is the number of apologists and people dismissing this as a genuine problem. This issue isn't going to be solved by apathy, and when bullying leads to discrimination, depression, and suicide I don't think we can be too dramatic about seriously trying to fight it.

But is "fighting it" the correct way? Josh Mattingly will be shamed and insulted for a while to come after his mistake, and while he seems aware of what he has done, that kind of retort seems as vile as the bullying. If our goal is to educate these people who don't understand the impact of their actions, won't grabbing our pitchforks surely make things worse?

I think Danny O'Dwyer made a video on the topic, in which he proposed we start a conversation with these people. (I think I'm remembering that correctly). That's what I'm getting at, I guess.

#27 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (2768 posts) -

If you have lives past a certain age you have been three things at one point or another: a bully, a victim, or a bystander. Nobody is one of those thing all the time, but when your on the wrong side of something (even if it the first time) take your lumps when you deserve them.

Also, shining light on a bully is not you being a bully back to them, it just exposing a jerk for being a jerk. The only time it is bullying to shine a light on a bully is when that spotlight has already occurred a lot. For instance talking about Chris Brown right this second serves no purpose...sure, he's a pile of shit...but this week he hasn't hit a woman so we might as well not talk about him or bring it up.

#28 Posted by DonutFever (3551 posts) -

Self-loathing.

#29 Edited by rickyyo (143 posts) -

I find ignoring them works best. Also, finding ways to avoid them. The more cutoff they are the better. All of the people that act like that need some form of help but probably aren't willing to receive it.

#30 Posted by GnaTSoL (793 posts) -

Bullies usually don't know how to fight. Especially Schoolyard bullies so just trip them, crowd forms/reacts/get infatuated that you dropped dat dude , then just clang & bang dat fool.

Taking the high-road in my school was the worst thing you could ever do cause that would just empower the bully more and the ones watching who have the mindset of dominating the weak-minded.

So I just fought a lot, with wins & loses but at least I was sending the message that I wasn't just going to be stepped on.

Strict Verbal bullies are a tough one though. You kinda gotta bait them to get physical; I never throw the first punch, but if you touched me it was on. It wasn't about being tough but just having self-respect for myself.

Jerks at work you can just avoid or speak to them 1on1. Never fight. Lose your job. I've seen it. It's like the opposite in this situation in that fighting is looked down upon, at this point, very much so.

If you can't bring yourself to do any of these things, the 'Will Smith' method works wonders. Use jokes and satire to get you out of situations but it could also back-fire on you since you'll be expected from then on to have witty banter all the time. It could get tiring for you, to the point where you drop the 'Will Smith' and change attitudes like overly-sensitive. AND, once a jerk knows you're sensitive.... You're fucked.

This is all from my experiences. I hated school. :P

#31 Posted by Corvak (1069 posts) -

Usually...just ignore them, and they'll get bored and move on. Most bullies just want to get attention. That said - if you can, tell someone about your problem. Honestly, years of bullying in school with no support from the system means i'm paranoid, and extremely wary about trusting anyone that isn't my immediate family.

Patrick is lucky that he has the position and the following that give his words weight, the rest of us aren't that lucky.

#32 Posted by VoshiNova (1687 posts) -
#33 Edited by Canteu (2821 posts) -

I would just fight them, but since they tried to bully me because I was a boxer, it didn't really go too well for them. Morons.

I don't really get bullied now that I'm an adult. I work with people I consider my peers and I am only friends with people I like.

#34 Edited by Aegon (5588 posts) -

I tried the ignoring method at one point, but it hardly works when the guy sitting next to you is saying "you're poor" over and over and over throughout the class. I guess if I wasn't such a quiet and timid person I would demand to change seats. It also doesn't work when your friends are the assholes bullying you.

Looking back, the only times bullies either stopped being bullies or left me alone for a while was when I got really angry and either yelled at them or made it very clear that I was close to snapping on them. It takes a lot to drive me to that point, so without forcing it, I was left with being the quiet kid that had to take a bunch of crap (verbal / physical) from monsters in the form of children / teenagers.

I would guess that my social anxiety problems are in no small part connected to these experiences, but hopefully I can chip away at them and become the friendly, confident and charismatic person I'd rather be.

#35 Posted by Wilshere (308 posts) -

Internet: ignore
Under the sun: abuse back or fist fight

People saying mean and nasty thing is a real problem.

#36 Posted by dudeglove (7832 posts) -

First off: stop reading Gawker

Second, while Patrick's methods may come off as obtuse, he's absolutely doing the right thing by "kicking the hornet's nest" (as you put it). The fact that the conversation is finally happening and vile behavior once considered standard practice is being exposed to the masses is not a step backwards in the slightest.

#37 Edited by spraynardtatum (2924 posts) -

@aegon said:

I tried the ignoring method at one point, but it hardly works when the guy sitting next to you is saying "you're poor" over and over and over throughout the class. I guess if I wasn't such a quiet and timid person I would demand to change seats. It also doesn't work when your friends are the assholes bullying you.

Looking back, the only times bullies either stopped being bullies or left me alone for a while was when I got really angry and either yelled at them or made it very clear that I was close to snapping on them. It takes a lot to drive me to that point, so without forcing it, I was left with being the quiet kid that had to take a bunch of crap (verbal / physical) from monsters in the form of children / teenagers.

I would guess that my social anxiety problems are in no small part connected to these experiences, but hopefully I can chip away at them and become the friendly, confident and charismatic person I'd rather be.

You got this! I don't know you but keep being awesome.

Online
#38 Posted by YOU_DIED (703 posts) -

Become much smarter than them, then turn the other cheek and kill them with kindness

#39 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1592 posts) -

I tend to think the approach he's espousing is fairly pointless, but also pretty harmless. The kind of person who harasses someone in a recorded format like that has already discarded rational risk assessment (and decent behaviour, of course). I don't think the threat of game journalists exposing him would have changed his behaviour. Not to remove his personal responsibility from the equation, but it's pretty hard to read that transcript and come away thinking the guy doesn't have some serious issues.

What bugs me more about those kind of tweets is that he's talking a big game about his intentions rather than announcing them in the process of following through on them. Who's benefiting from Patrick vaguely talking about how brave he is on Twitter? If he's got a story coming, he should let it speak for itself, and at that point nobody should need a tweet to understand where he's coming from.

#40 Edited by Wolfgame (735 posts) -

First off: stop reading Gawker

Second, while Patrick's methods may come off as obtuse, he's absolutely doing the right thing by "kicking the hornet's nest" (as you put it). The fact that the conversation is finally happening and vile behavior once considered standard practice is being exposed to the masses is not a step backwards in the slightest.

You support Patrick but not Gawker? I am familiar with both and they kick the same hornets nest daily, I just resent the almost blanket assertion that it takes someone from a far reaching blog or website to instruct all us dim witted assholes who apparently thought that mistreating women was ok. I am being facetious but the vast majority of ordinary people are not the problem here. This running assertion that "standard practice" in the game industry was to abuse and mistreat women until Patrick stood up against the machine makes for a good story, albeit clearly defined as fiction.

#41 Edited by Aegon (5588 posts) -
#42 Edited by kerse (2113 posts) -

Depends, on the internet I give them as much attention as the spam mail in my email account. Outside the internet I haven't dealt with actual bullies much, so I don't have much advice. I will say though that when I was a kid the whole just ignore them thing didn't work too well.

#43 Edited by TheManWithNoPlan (5476 posts) -

I've always tried to undermine a person's anger from the core. If I see an opportunity where I can pull the rug from under an angry bravado and turn the interaction from a negative to a positive, I will. The internet can be a rabid and venomous landscape though, and sometimes you just have to stand up for yourself.

I think it's pretty easy for us, anonymous people on the internet, to sit from afar and criticize how some industry analysts and personalities handle internet confrontations and criticisms, but we aren't the ones who have to deal with it on a regular basis. We don't experience the volume of it some people do, so I don't think it's fair to sit back and take shots at how some people like Patrick approach these Internet confrontations.

Here's a direct example of some of the bullshit he's referring to in those tweets.

#44 Edited by DefaultProphet (459 posts) -

@somejerk said:

It only works when you can reach bullies in real life, but online the best thing you can do is to not dedicate them a single moment of acknowledgement because that is what they want, that is what they live for and thrive on. Be it treehuggers, animalfuckers, cultists or children.

If you take shit that means you give a shit, stop giving shits. It's that easy and I speak from experience of years of taking death threats, stalking, night-calls/door-rings and hate campaigns just because I happened to take part on a nationwide TV show.

What Patrick's doing is opening the door wide, if he takes it personal he's going to continue down this bad path and eventually burn out. He needs a mental liquid-diet so he stops taking shits.

(buuuut if we're talking the kind of "bullying" going on in this article then that should have been handled better from the start by her, like immediately cutting the convo and doing something about it.)

But "she" [from the screenshots anyway] did not discourage these comments. No, means no. Any persisting comments following that no qualify as harassment. Not that this excuses his behavior, but it's a point that should be raised and considered.

Sweet victim blaming bros

#46 Posted by dudeglove (7832 posts) -

@wolfgame said:

@dudeglove said:

First off: stop reading Gawker

Second, while Patrick's methods may come off as obtuse, he's absolutely doing the right thing by "kicking the hornet's nest" (as you put it). The fact that the conversation is finally happening and vile behavior once considered standard practice is being exposed to the masses is not a step backwards in the slightest.

You support Patrick but not Gawker? I am familiar with both and they kick the same hornets nest daily, I just resent the almost blanket assertion that it takes someone from a far reaching blog or website to instruct all us dim witted assholes who apparently thought that mistreating women was ok. I am being facetious but the vast majority of ordinary people are not the problem here. This running assertion that "standard practice" in the game industry was to abuse and mistreat women until Patrick stood up against the machine makes for a good story, albeit clearly defined as fiction.

For some reason the vision of a curly-haired Klepek dressed as a messianic figure popped into my head. Short answer: no, that's not what I'm saying. I didn't say Patrick "started" all this, but I don't look down on him for keeping the conversation going. If your retort is to the tune of "waa-waa, it's just video games" then you should probably sit down for a moment and think slightly harder about what you just said.

As for Gawker, I think it's an utterly vile company for a wealth of reasons. Patrick, on the other hand, has yet to stoop to the level of Valleywag.

#47 Posted by pyromagnestir (4323 posts) -

In my experience? Suicidal feelings.

I came in here to make a dumb joke but now I just feel... :(

(I'm not good at talking about feelings that's the best I can do. Also not sure how to respond other than to say man, that sucks.)

I wasn't bullied. Maybe it's because I stay too low key to attract much attention? Maybe it's for other reasons? No idea, honestly.

If people did try to stir up some reaction from me I usually didn't give the reaction they were looking for, so they gave up quick.

#48 Posted by Hamst3r (4482 posts) -

C4.

#49 Edited by Marokai (2958 posts) -

Ugh, reading that guy's comments actually made me super uncomfortable; what a total creep. There's really no excuse for that guy's behavior.

But, he was outed, shamed, and he came out and apologized. His reputation has been damaged and it will take a long time for the guy to regain the respect that he lost. Isn't that alone sort of how you deal with bullies? Power in numbers, the good people standing firm against the bad, without turning into the bullies themselves?

Saying things like "Sometimes you have to fight!" "I will not be quiet about this!" and so on just sounds like something I said as an overly dramatic teenager. There's nothing more to really be done here except repeat talking points. Not every fight is yours to fight.

I'm gay, and over the years I've gotten tired of listening to straight people go on and on about my rights, and how difficult my life must me, and how much they want to fight things they see as discriminating. It irritates me because I'm not fucking helpless, I can take care of myself. I don't need someone thinking they have to be the big strong men taking up for me. People don't need to act like that everytime there's some creep making shitty comments about a woman. We should be empowering people to stand up for themselves, not trying to fight their battles. That can come off as super condescending.

#50 Posted by jArmAhead (293 posts) -

@sunbrozak: I've had to put up with my share of bullshit from assholes. And my response has always been to step up in their face and tell them to step the fuck off. Every time I've called some prick on his bullshit, and made it clear it was NOT going to fly around me, it mostly stopped. I've seen what happens when people don't stand up for themselves. It doesn't make the bully stop, it just lets them continue unabated. But when someone steps in with enough strength to make it clear that they are not fucking around, bullies tend to run off with their tails between their legs.

Back in high school I had a guy pull a knife on me, and he STILL was too much of a pussy to do anything because I stood my ground and made it clear I wasn't going to stand for his crap. Bullies just need a strong tone and they go all soft and scurred. You don't need to start throwing punches, literal or figurative.

Never, ever ignore a bully. That's how you end up with suicidal high schoolers and the quiet guy at work that gets fucked by his co-workers because he never stands up for himself.