Friday, November 4, 2011

Language in Games

I recently saw a post where someone said it was okay to use "bad words" in game because if people did not like it they could use the filter.

I don't agree with that at all.

Just because there is a filter it does not give you free roam to say whatever you feel like saying, there are still minimum standards for acceptable behavior in mixed company.

I was taught as a child that there is a difference between how I act around friends and how I act around family and how I act around mixed company.

Games like WoW would best be classified as being around mixed company and I approach anything I say in game from the standpoint that I should only type things I could say while in mixed company.

To this those people will say, but this is the internet, you are anonymous and you will never see these people again, it is okay to say whatever you want.

Again, I disagree.

Just because it is the internet does not give you a license to be a jerk.  While you might be anonymous you are still you and should present yourself in a way that shows at least some self respect.

Personally I do not have any issue with "bad words".  I choose not to use them very often on my blog for a reason.  Not because I don't want to say them or think it is a bad thing to use them but because if you curse every other word it loses impact.  So when I use words like that they carry more weight as I do not use them often.

If someone says, "That fucking sucks" to everything they do not like then it has no impact.  Being I rarely use language like that when I say it my words would have a greater impact.  Good or bad is debatable of course, but the impact would be more either way if I normally do not use language like that.

Flashback time:

Some years ago my girlfriend and I where waiting on the coat check line at Websters Hall, a club in New York, when I saw the guy behind the counter was obviously upset.  When we got to the counter the girl behind the counter with him kept telling him to calm down.  I asked him whats wrong and he replied that the person before me called him a motherfucker.

I asked him if he was a virgin.  His eyes got a little wide, as if I angered him more by asking that as he said, what?  I asked him again, are you a virgin?  He said, no, what does that have to do with anything?  I then asked, do any of the girls you've slept with have kids?  He barked his reply to me saying, yes, why?  I waited a second before responding to him with a smile and a chuckle and said, then you're a motherfucker, whats the big deal.  He was dumbfounded and started to laugh saying, I never thought of it that way, thanks.

Sorry, as I was writing the post that story popped into mind and I thought it was fitting to share for the post at the moment.

For all those people that say, but it is anonymous so what does it matter, it does matter.  The coat check guy did not know the person that called him a motherfucker.  He will probably never see the guy again.  It was anonymous basically and it still upset him.

Just because you are under the cover on anonymity doesn't mean you should act any differently than the way you would act face to face with someone.

Words have power.  Internet words have even more power because on the internet all you have are words.  There is no telling infliction of speech or facial expressions to pick up in text.

Both myself and the guy in front of me said "you're a motherfucker" to the coat check guy.  Both meant it in different ways.  Both had our saying it responded to in different ways.  One made the guy get angry and upset while the other made him laugh and feel better.

On the internet, there would be no way to tell the difference between what we both said.

What you say online matters, it effects people, and more importantly it says something about you.  Anonymous or not, words have power.

Somewhere along the line people have started to think that the language, spelling and words you use online mean nothing because it is "only" the internet.

I think the exact opposite.  I feel that because text is all we have that the language, spelling and words should be more important.

Words are power, we should all make an effort to choose them wisely when they are all we have.


  1. 'Just because it is the internet does not give you a license to be a jerk.'

    WTB this on a T-Shirt please :D

  2. Bad, vulgar, insulting language is not something I engage in very often, whether online or in real life. I was raised better than that. For those who do use it, I try to be understanding that by and large they didn't have the benefit of my momma's discipline, nor likely the benefit of being raised Southern. But that is only my own personal feelings on the subject.

    I do have and do enforce a no vulgarity provision in our guild, along with a non-PC speech code that forbids discussion of politics, religion and generally insulting name calling. Not because I don't have specific viewpoints on the forbidden subjects, but because everyone has views on these subjects and nothing will bring out anger faster than discussing such online.

    I could give specific examples of such speech being divisive, but I will refrain from that to protect the guilty as well as the innocent in the guild. I will say that among the very few guild kicks in our history, intemperate cursing and refusing to take a hint that it was not allowed resulted in at least two of the kicks occurring.

    Anon Grumpy's GL