279 Comments
Posted by SlightlyTriangularRectangle

I do not have time to watch the video, but having heard most of the rhetoric related to this topic, I will say this: unless you are willing to accept and promote stricter laws against anonymity and bullying on the internet (real name handles, prosecution of bullying), you are not going to win any battles.

Those who bully do so primarily because they want a reaction, because they wish to validate themselves and their actions by proving that they can elicit a response. Any reaction at all to the bully other than utter dissociation leads to efficacy. Banning, reasoning, attacking--none of that helps. A response, no matter how small, is a response.

I will rigidly argue that ignoring internet bullying is best. Unless someone is making legitimate, or potentially legitimate, physical threats against a person, his actions should be disregarded. It is only when we acknowledge that we become victims. When we ignore, when we go about our lives caring not for trifling attacks, we effectively devictimize ourselves and demonstrate strength. And in such cases, we need not even concern ourselves with purported battles; if one does not engage, then a battle cannot, by definition, take place.

Posted by b33
Posted by Flixxx

Thanks for uploading this! Really inspiring talk from both of you. :)

Edited by Lanechanger

I think there's some merit in injecting more positivity so the negativity isn't overwhelming. When I was working as a social worker I was taught the positive sandwich, which is, anytime you want to say something that can be perceived as negative or that the other party can be upset by (and we're talking about giving constructive criticism to colleagues), you put it in the middle of 2 positive things that you say. That way, you start off saying something good about that person so the dialogue starts off on a positive note, then you provide your feedback/criticism, and then finish by saying something good again so you don't leave off on that potentially negative note. So having more positivity all around will naturally bring that ratio up.

The one odd thing I felt about the panel was that there was no banter between Patrick and Zoe and that it was pretty much 2 mutually exclusive but thematically consistent talks.

Good talks Zoe/Trick!

Posted by Sergotron

This is not the first time I have heard someone in your situation tackle this subject, but this is the first time I have heard someone get this deep with it. Great work.

Edited by patrickklepek

@slightlytriangularrectangle said:

I do not have time to watch the video, but having heard most of the rhetoric related to this topic, I will say this: unless you are willing to accept and promote stricter laws against anonymity and bullying on the internet (real name handles, prosecution of bullying), you are not going to win any battles.

Those who bully do so primarily because they want a reaction, because they wish to validate themselves and their actions by proving that they can elicit a response. Any reaction at all to the bully other than utter dissociation leads to efficacy. Banning, reasoning, attacking--none of that helps. A response, no matter how small, is a response.

I will rigidly argue that ignoring internet bullying is best. Unless someone is making legitimate, or potentially legitimate, physical threats against a person, his actions should be disregarded. It is only when we acknowledge that we become victims. When we ignore, when we go about our lives caring not for trifling attacks, we effectively devictimize ourselves and demonstrate strength. And in such cases, we need not even concern ourselves with purported battles; if one does not engage, then a battle cannot, by definition, take place.

I would really hope you watch the video at some point because talk about this very specific point and why we don't think it holds much water. In short: not "feeding" the trolls does not necessarily make them go away and pretending a problem doesn't exist doesn't get us any closer to coming up with coping mechanisms/solutions. What you advocate for is to hope all of this just magically disappears.

Staff Online
Edited by gsquirrelgo

@patrickklepek: Hey I'm the guy who asked about calling out 2048 man on twitter and if it was not clear at the time you two absolutely killed it. The "don't ignore trolls" approach was refreshing to hear and you both delivered the message with the right amount of concern, accountability and sensitivity that could really make it work. Great job!

Edited by happypup70

What a wonderful talk @patrickklepek. Passionate and insightful, you nearly had me in tears at some points. Take longer laugh breaks after your jokes, many of them were quite funny, but there wasn't enough time to let them sink in.

Posted by Yummylee

Really enjoyed Patrick's segment. Though it's basically a retreading of a lot of his points during his previous tedx talk, Patrick makes for such a surprisingly engaging and charismatic host anyway that I enjoyed listening to it all again. His bit regarding his dad's death and the Patrick appreciation thread in particular is a story that's always nice to hear.

Even though I can sometimes find Patrick to be a little... off-putting, I still can't help but respect his many efforts (and successes) to becoming a better person, and for how much dedication he puts in trying to make at least some sort of difference regarding the internet.

Posted by heatDrive88

@fallen189 said:

@patrickklepek:

I appreciate the fact that you apologised to the guy, but does that excuse it? If I was to tell someone online to throw themselves off a bridge, but then later on said "oh I didn't mean it sorry I guess", does that make it any better?

Please understand that I'm not trying to attack you personally, I understand that the language I have to use to convey a point seems aggressive, I'd just like to try to understand your thought process on the thing. I get that you apologised to the man, but as someone who has such a big influence on people online, the "army" you mentioned is much more impactful than some random child's comments on twitter

Of course I believe the apology is important! It shows remorse, empathy, and change. The technology we have at our fingertips--Twitter especially--plays to our worst impulses. When we respond to things emotionally with a knee-jerk reaction, it's often our worst face showing. That was an example of that, in addition to the joke-y "die in a fire" comment that's mentioned during the talk and during my TEDx presentation last year. I don't ignore my mistakes because mistakes make us human. Personally, I'm trying to tweet less and place what I say in a drafts folder more often. I don't make these kinds of mistakes with the stories I write, but every once in a while, I put my foot in my mouth when it comes to Twitter. Saying things impulsively is a huge part of that, I suspect.

I think another huge part of that is the difficulty in gauging the veracity of earnestness or sarcasm over the internet, which has been a problem since day one when it comes to electronic communication.

It's even more difficult today to gauge that in a public internet landscape that is full of snark, sarcasm, and intentional false-positives. But like @patrickklepek and Zoe have made their point - it's worth speaking up with positivity, honesty, and empathy to break the current imbalance in conversation.

Posted by ThePoark

This is pretty inspiring -- thank you Patrick and Zoe.

Edited by White

I don't know. Publicly affordable internet has been around for over 10 years. We got by 10 years just fine with dicks on the internet. We'll do just fine for another 10.

Know what I learned over the last 10 years using the internet? Have a thick skin. Oh, it also helps if you leverage the anonymity of the internet by avoiding social media and not use your real name in any context.

Posted by jerka707

Great panel Patrick, good work

Online
Posted by teaoverlord

@muh_sojiny: Did you just create a new account to complain about Patrick?

Posted by Sin4profit

Good stuff here. As far as why people are jerks on the internet, i agree with Jeff Gerstmann's theory that young people (or people who feel deprived of an identity) use it as a method of expressing an identity.

With that said, the trolls we deal with today will grow up and change in time but they will be replaced by new trolls and the cycle of life continues as it is a problem that is deeper than internet culture. Our place can only be an effort to provide that empathetic evolution for our generation and maybe even the generation that fallows but i think, until society becomes less complaisant with the ideals we have built, it will always be a problem.

My favorite take away from the panel was Zoe's quote, "'Should' is basically the worst word in the English language." As it is just a word that only shames people into fallowing your shallow ideal which is a problem regardless of what part of the political spectrum you lean towards.

My second favorite is the bit about how sarcasm and irony create static in discussion. Empathetic evolution requires information, information requires communication and when throwing ambiguous miss-information into the discussion i feel it does more damage than good.

Posted by Christoffer
Posted by Onomatopoeia

So how would you go about fixing it Patrick?

What is it that you would do if you had the power to stop trolls?

Edited by Elyhaym

This was really great to watch! Great panel by both Patrick and Zoe.

Posted by RockyRaccoon37

So how would you go about fixing it Patrick?

What is it that you would do if you had the power to stop trolls?

You should probably watch the talk.

Posted by WesleyWyndam

@muh_sojiny: Well, one of you had to show up eventually. I guess I can at least be happy that it took this long.

@patrickklepek: Great panel you guys. I really enjoyed it.

Online
Posted by bemusedchunk

@patrickklepek - Amazing job with this. I really do love this message. Made me feel very positive, so I'm leaving some positive feedback. A+++++++++. Would like to feel positive again.

Also, I would really REALLY love it if you were to branch this out into a thesis, or long form paper.

Posted by clush

@patrickklepek Go die in a fucking fire, dude!

Jokes aside, this was pretty good! Way better than I expected it to be. Well prepared speech there, and it shows. Like normally on the podcast or on Bombing you sometimes try to properly nuance what you're saying while you've already started saying it, ending up saying the same thing 3 or 4 times until you get it right. (I do the same whenever a conversation rises above smalltalk levels). But this was really concise, well put together and a pretty convincing argument.

Zoe blew my mind when she said exactly what I was thinking about not calling someone out but redacting the culprit's name when exposing or retweeting harassment. Although I did not think about describing it as an asshole-oroboros... that's brilliant.

Everybody's gonna be a dick at some point or another, at least I know I've been and probably will again. Being a dick in return isn't gonna help and I think they're both right: the solution lies in counterbalancing the dickery with civil discourse so that, if nothing else, at least the harassment isn't áll there is to be found.

@tr0n said:

Why are they "booing" at Patrick in the beginning? I missed something.

They're not booing, they're cheering "Scoops!" which sounds the same.

Posted by Onomatopoeia
Posted by Kropotkin

After watching the video I felt compelled to practice what was preached during the presentation by posting this positive comment about it. As a writer myself I too get wound up about the tiny fraction of negative comments I receive yet rarely acknowledge the positive feedback I get on my work. When I do I actually check myself by muttering 'don't get cocky' and move on. It's a blight on any creator's character that we strive to entertain and enthral others with our works, yet at the same time become demoralised by negative comments that are thrown our way. Keep up the great work Patrick and Zoe, you're an inspiration to us all.

Posted by bunnymud

We are all jerks.

Edited by Orange_Pork

That "you pussys dont even smoke heron" comment is a reference to one of the greatest songs of all time.

Also this panel was great.

Edited by Luck702

Fantastic talks Patrick and Zoe, well done. Patrick's talk was noticeably more fleshed out than the TEDx one. I, for one, definitely took some things away from it after watching. Again, bravo to those two. Public speaking, especially about a topic as volatile as this, is nothing to sneeze at.

Nobody sneeze.

Posted by 1101101

@white: Some people being jerks on the internet is obviously not an existential threat to the internet itself, but what’s so bad about trying to find way to make things better? Why just give up?

The two central suggestions for going about reducing the amount of harassment were also named in the video: Speak up about your own experiences and tell others (friends, people you know) that what they are doing is not cool if they engage in jerky behavior.

Also, I’m not sure how helpful anonymity is as a defense. First of all, many people just don’t have that option. For example, if you are an indie game developer you are doing business on the internet. You use Twitter, YouTube, Facebook or Steam to reach out to the public. You can’t really do that anonymously. Being out in the open on the internet is kind of central to being able to do your work and make it possible for people to see your work. It’s very similar for many other people who make or write stuff and publish or sell it on the internet.

However, even if you aren’t doing business on the internet being anonymous really only prevents stalking (and in many cases not even that because we aren’t all perfect at hiding our identities). Stalking is one of the more extreme forms of harassment and it’s always good to try and prevent that from happening, but if you are publicly communicating, anonymous or not, you are always at least open to people writing anything they want to you, including harassment. Sure, you could move from anonymous account to anonymous account but in the process you would lose many of the people you are communicating with perfectly fine and it would at very least be an enormous hassle and not really a realistic suggestion.

Please watch the video where many of these points were already made at length.

Posted by stunik101

Bullies are everywhere...its the fact that the internet is anonymous that lets them behave this way.

In real life they mostly can't get away with it.

Posted by Seeric

This was a great panel and I definitely agree that simply ignoring trolls and hateful comments is not the right answer; willing ignorance does not help to fix the Internet itself and unless someone completely avoids reading any comments at all (a terrible practice since it also means avoiding positive feedback and constructive criticism) a barrage of hatred will simply wear anyone down no matter how much they try to ignore it.

One of the questions asked at the panel was if simply trying to move away from the more caustic communities (specifically YouTube) was a valid solution and I think looking at YouTube itself provides a perfect example of exactly why ignoring hateful comments only makes the situation worse. YouTube actively encourages its users (both video creators and watchers alike) to simply ignore anything they 'don't like' with various features, such as the ability to remove comments, downvote comments (and hide ones with very low ratings), mark comments as spam (often this is abused), simply delete comments, ban users from posting on a channel, or to even just outright disable comments altogether. This practice of sweeping negativity under the rug only has caused YouTube to become more caustic over time and the comments section on videos tends to either be filled with fighting and vile remarks because such behavior is viewed as 'acceptable' if it is not removed (there is no middle ground) or the comments are meticulously curated so that anything which isn't outright praise is removed or attacked.

Of course, YouTube's community (and any site's community for that matter) does not exist in a bubble and if such terrible behavior is viewed as at least being 'tolerable' or even 'acceptable' there it will inevitably spread to other sites. Ignoring hatred and trolling anywhere on the Internet will inevitably only help such behavior to spread, but on the flip side of things the Internet can become a better place overall if we help to discourage such practices where they exist and to create communities where such behavior is unacceptable to begin with.

Posted by zacharai

I'm glad this is being discussed. Great panel, Patrick!

Well, a great intro. Just started.

Posted by TOA5T3R

Great panel Patrick. Keep up the awesome work.

Edited by scarycrayons

Bullies are everywhere...its the fact that the internet is anonymous that lets them behave this way.

In real life they mostly can't get away with it.

It's not the anonymity, it's just knowing that there won't be immediate repercussions from the people they are saying it to. That's not just for insults either, but for people simply speaking their mind as well.

For example, it's very unlikely that a reviewer would ever tell a woman in person that "women with big breasts can't be taken seriously, and only exist to titillate men."

On an internet review, however? They've been doing that for years, under their real names. They're speaking their mind, for better or worse, and don't have women confronting them with "Wait, what?" as soon as they say it. They can just brush criticisms against what they just said as "Well, those people must be sexist trolls!"

Rock Paper Shotgun is an amazing example of that, even going so far as to having an entire page stating that they ignore criticism against them, and that anyone with a different view is probably a misogynist, or is just claiming to 'have a friend who is a girl' rather than actually being female themselves. It's kind of laughable, but the fact that they see themselves as the paragon of stamping out sexism, whilst simultaneously going through the whole 'female gamers don't exist' and 'all female characters in games are gross because their character doesn't matter and their bodies are just sex objects' motions, is embarrassing.

Edited by Ett

@patrickklepek

Thanks for the random MGS: Ground zeroes spoiler. That was totally great.

Game been out for 27 days guess everyone played.

Posted by Shtinky

When you call people "fucking idiots" just for liking a game you don't, that's bullying.

Posted by firesidejuly

Excellent panel, thank you both for taking the helm on this discussion. You've inspired me to add more positive comments on deserving threads... and possibly more sarcasm, though i'll be careful with it. Promise.

Posted by Dougie_Com

Huge thanks to Zoe and Patrick. This is important, and I am so glad I have an easy way to share it with people now.

Edited by pocketroid

The whole internet is a car crash.

Patrick Klepek

Asshole ouroboros

Zoe Quinn

One thing I have been wanting for a long time, is to make comments sections optional! It's a huge pain to wait for a simple short article to load a comment section that's 10+ times longer than the article. Very few sites allow expandable comment sections, something that's slowly changing but isn't a standard. Most of the time, we just want to read and article and leave. I feel like the majority of people are not benefitting from the mandatorily-below comment sections.

I actually liked the whole talk, Patrick and Zoe alike. I'm more familiar with Patrick's work so I already know his mind better, but Zoe I'm not familiar with and she has a great attitude and methods.

I like the idea of smaller communities being corralled into their own more private forums. The people who actually want to talk about it will, and the jerks will be filtered out way easier. Youtube comment sections with 100+ comments are just unruly and not conducive to meaningful conversations. No audience reads 100 comments on Youtube, but I will literally read 100+ replies on a forum I go to if I am passionate enough to talk about the topic. A private forum doesn't allow the mindless repetition and single-spouting, but organizes and distills thoughts to make a group conversation way easier.

I like the sentiment of: When you appreciate things, any things, let the person know. I've been trying to actively do this more online. I'm always thanking in real life, but online there are so many opportunities so fast that they can slip past me so easily. I listened to a musician for years and promoted their music by word of mouth, and only finally let them know more recently. Just today I emailed an independent developer about how cool I thought their upcoming game idea was.

Lastly, an article you may enjoy, dear reader:

What is the Monkeysphere?

Posted by FinalDasa

A well needed panel especially at a place like PAX.

I'm glad I got to say hi to you Patrick before the meetup on Friday night and a bit bummed I never got to say hi to Zoe before PAX ended.

Really it comes down to not accepting the type of behavior we see all too often and subtlety changing the culture of the internet. Bad behavior will always exist and that attitude of descent is sometimes really important. However it shouldn't be the norm, it should be the exception. We shouldn't see it so prominently, and accepted, on Twitter and Youtube but instead in the strange and "hidden" areas of the internet like 4chan.

Hopefully it begins the discussion, changes some minds, or at least causes a person or two to rethink what they say and how they say it.

Posted by angelsson

Powerful words. Thanks Patrick, thanks Zoe!

Posted by Cripplor

I can't avoid feeling like the next step is putting a disclaimer on every website saying "If someone in the comments tells you to kill yourself, you don't actually have to kill yourself."

I can't say I agree with Patrick espousing accountability for everyone who ever says something off-color on the internet. Rallying folks to shoot down any bully they see online would achieve exactly the opposite, in my eyes. The change has to come from within oneself first, before the world at large will change. If everyone on earth subscribed to the philosophy of "don't be a dick", we'd be exploring space in 6 relative dimensions right now. But you can't berate someone for being a dick until they stop, it just isn't possible.

Posted by MitBit

@tr0n: They are saying "Scoooooops".

Posted by ToTheNines

I think that saying ignoring the hate just doesn't work, is a bit too conclusive. For very famous people like Joe Rogan, it truely does. Other than that I think this was an amazingly brave panel. I hope it reaches the mainstream.

Posted by InternetFamous

@tr0n:

You might have missed it, but Patrick makes light of it when they do. They're shouting "SCOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPS!"

Edited by Christoffer

@cripplor said:

I can't avoid feeling like the next step is putting a disclaimer on every website saying "If someone in the comments tells you to kill yourself, you don't actually have to kill yourself."

I can't say I agree with Patrick espousing accountability for everyone who ever says something off-color on the internet. Rallying folks to shoot down any bully they see online would achieve exactly the opposite, in my eyes. The change has to come from within oneself first, before the world at large will change. If everyone on earth subscribed to the philosophy of "don't be a dick", we'd be exploring space in 6 relative dimensions right now. But you can't berate someone for being a dick until they stop, it just isn't possible.

Good point. But I think Patrick's and Zoe's points are more about imbuing good behavior in good people... that's all, and that's enough.

Posted by Neurotic

I feel like this talk spoke to me very directly since I am one of those people who disengages from forums and comments sections for fear of accidentally reading some toxic stupidity or even just a coarsely worded opinion that clashes with mine and irritates me. I'm the kind of person who shies away from conflict, which has resulted in me never really being able to truly feel a part of an online community.

For example, I've been visiting Giant Bomb for around two years now but I rarely visit the forums (except for a brief flurry when I first signed up) and can't remember the last time I left a comment. I pay my subscription fee, I watch the videos I want and I listen to the podcast. I thought that was enough, that my tiny contribution to page views, podcast downloads and subscription fees was proof that I think you guys are doing a good job. I thought that carrying on supporting you silently was enough so that I didn't have to dive into a comments section invariably filled with things that infuriate me. It always seemed to me that any positive comment I would make would just get swept away in the rest of it and ignored. It never occurred to me that you would ever see it so what's the point? It also never occurred to me that I didn't necessarily have to argue with people in order to have any impact. There still may be a lot of nasty comments out there but even one more nice one evens out the ratio a little.

So I'm setting myself a new goal as a result of this panel: For everything I watch, read or listen to and enjoy, I will leave a comment stating so, preferably being more specific as to why. If I didn't enjoy it as much or if there were parts I didn't like then I will point those out as well but in a reasoned way that is clearly constructive criticism and not a snide quip, to which I am prone. After leaving the comment, I will hightail it outta there and whilst there I won't read any other comments. I will engage with the video/article/thing directly instead of letting it be coloured by the comment section. It seems incredibly obvious when laid out like that and I don't think it's quite what Patrick has in mind when combating trolls and harassers, it seems like he advocates a more consistent confrontation. However, while I agree that 'not feeding the trolls' is ineffective, I think that ignoring them but reaching over them to still engage with the video/article/thing is effective in its own way and suits my personality better. If my comment is read and makes someone feel good or gives them reasoned criticism to think about then that's great. If not, then at least it evens out the ratio of nice:nasty comments.

I like to think that not all of my future comments will be as long, incoherent and maudlin as this one but this panel actually had a pretty large effect on me, considering I wasn't really expecting to sit all the way through it. So, thank you Patrick and Zoe for inspiring me to make an effort to engage with the Internet a little more. I think you proved yourself able and persuasive public speakers (especially to be able to convince my cynical ass to do anything) and that this was really well put together. Keep fighting the good fight.