The topic of this piece is something I think about quite often. Even though I know there are far more kindnesses in the universe than not, the not sometimes gets me down.
This week is no exception.
There was a well-researched article by Mike Futter which detailed the ongoing issue of an 11 year old whose characters were deleted online in Destiny via the Share Play feature of the PS4. The drama that ensued for the owner of the offending account reached fever pitch, from wishes of cancer upon he and his family, to death threats (though those fit in the same general wheelhouse of awful). He claimed his innocence (which many were skeptical of), and yesterday it was admitted by a “friend” of the alleged offender’s family that the “friend” had in fact been the one who had done these things on this person’s account.
That wasn’t even the worst part.
The “friend” wasn’t remorseful. Not for the 11 year old he made cry, not for his general lack of caring of others’ feelings, and not for bringing down such a poo-storm on a family who was already suffering some pretty serious issues. He also said he would possibly do it again in the future.
When I read his response to the situation, I just stared at my screen in blank wonder at how someone could be so…unkind. Even in this age of anonymous internet nonsense, it astonishes me. It shouldn’t, but it does.
As if all that wasn’t bad enough, the outpouring of comments from others in the gaming community ranged from the level-headed, to the intensely hate-spewed. Frankly, that also astonished me. It’s the darker end of that spectrum that I think pushes gamers to reassure people who don’t game in the same way we do that we are not all crazy and awful people. Most of us are quite nice.
As Futter noted at the end of his piece, we could all do to be a little kinder to each other.
I absolutely agree.
Last week, Destiny had the Iron Banner event, and I participated a bit. I have played with some excellent Crucible players. I have heard them get hate messages, which also surprises me. One person got two in one session. It will never cease to amaze me that people will get so irritated as to write to someone they don’t know to accuse them of whatever it is they think has been done.
So after one particularly laggy match (it was laughably bad) that did not go well for me, imagine my surprise when I received a message from a player on the other team that said, and I quote, “What a pathetic camper you are.”
Now I am all for admitting if I have done something wrong. However, not only was I not camping in this match (I’m not a fan of the camping strategy), but I was also the lowest scoring player on my team.
Color me puzzled.
Though this also came from a person who tea bagged me within the first 60 seconds of said match, so I took it with a grain of salt.
Salty, salty, salt.
What surprised me most was how really hurt that random message from a stranger made me. I didn’t write this person back. I blocked them from contacting me again in the future. I reported them for being unfriendly (tea bagging and rude comments will cause me to do that). But it bothered me that I allowed a complete stranger hurt my feelings.
I suppose this person could have seen me crouching for all of five seconds while my health regenerated, but that isn’t camping. That’s trying not to eat it.
I also don’t owe this stranger an explanation.
These events (amongst many others) give me pause to think about how I treat others. I try to be respectful. I try not to assume. It can be hard to communicate effectively via a combination of short written messages and audio chat when you can’t see the other people involved for visual cues. It can be hard to read intonation. I find the most effective approach to any kind of confusion is to just ask.
Manners are absolutely free. So is the mindset of respect. It costs nothing, and gains everything. Would we all not want to be treated as such?
I know I would.
So my friends, with my moderately heavy heart, I second Mike Futter’s words and encourage all of us to be a little kinder to each other. When in doubt, take a moment, think the thought or action through, and proceed accordingly. Sometimes that extra set of seconds or minutes can make all the difference.
Kindness begins right where we are.