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What is the value of negativity on a forum?


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10 hours ago, acidbearboy said:

One of the most interesting threads I’ve read recently (which I’m aware isn’t actually new) is the abandoned games thread. People generally write a short analysis as to why they’ve given up and that’s that. It inspired me to sack a few things off and not be ashamed of deleting something I don’t like. 

 

That's partly why I started that thread, funnily enough. I am more than comfortable to dismantle some game and give it a good kicking. It comes only too naturally. And I think there's a difference between doing that in a more general thread than wading in to people enjoying themselves so I can 'provide balance'. 

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19 hours ago, dumpster said:

But this is a discussion forum. You should be allowed to give your thoughts and allow them to be scrutinized, agreed with or argued against.  

 

I felt I learned a lesson in the Shenmue 3 thread where I was trying to provide a counterpoint to the gushing praise by raising what I thought were fair points. But what I was saying is "here is why the game is rubbish" when what I meant was "here is why I think the game is rubbish".  It's a very important distinction because there are no rights and wrongs. When somebody gives an opinion they are not wrong because it is their opinion and therefore they are automatically right. A balance of positive and negative opinion is far more useful when weighing up a decision to buy a game filled with gushing praise from early adopters wanting to feel good about their purchase. 

So, not saying that’s the case here (it probably is) - but one of the reasons for negative articulation of opinions failing so hard, is that some people cannot read a room. 
 

Like in the Mando thread, it becomes for various reasons, a sort of, a place of comfortable shared experiences. ‘We are here for each other’. Supposing someone wished to voice their negative opinion, they might read the posts and think “hmm, it’s not quite the time yet, as that’s not the conversation.” Yet regardless of the arc of any given thread, there will be someone who inappropriately and awkwardly leaps in and exclaims “this trash is for noobs, and what’s more let us not forget that other thing people probably like was also trash.”

 

Some do it for kicks and attention. Some are just completely clueless and repeatedly do it. They then get bombarded with personal backlash and eventually limp away from the thread with another frustrating social encounter under their belt. One wonders if life is consistently confusing and demoralising for them, because their experiences and feedback from others are so different from most people’s. Their take away (made in isolation), is something like “I must change my behaviour, because other people behave strangely and aggressively.” Sometimes self reflection does work, although rarely.

 

 

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19 hours ago, sir stiff_one said:

and the defenders roll in having taken it oddly personally and trying to convince that person why they are wrong

Is it really that odd? We live in the age of individualism.  Humans are defined by their consumption of products.  And it sucks. 

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You don't get it so much now, but what I find really wearying is that performative negativity, whereby someone goes out of their way to really slag something off. I discovered a while back that there was a C64 version of the original Metal Gear, and the only substantive article I could find about it was this feeble rant about how terrible it was, written in that once-popular early-internet epic rant style - "yo, this game sucks worse than your mom in a JC Hoovers outlet! The graphics are like MY ASS and the sound is like MY DICK. The levels were designed by a brain-damaged hamster on crack. I spent six hours just trying to get off the first screen, which is worse than waking up in Mexico covered in donkey lube! etc etc" - which was painful to read, and an absolute waste of an opportunity to actually say something about the game. I can sort of understand the appeal, because I suspect most people used to flick through gaming magazines and read all the hatchet jobs first, and there was once a time when I'd see a link to something described as an "epic rant" and actually want to read it, but it's just a bit depressing to read now.

 

You'd get the same thing on here, where certain people would style themselves as the 'everything is shit' guy. Uh-oh, everything is shit guy has yarred Wheelman! I sense an epic rant incoming! Vin Diesel should stick the burns ward on speed-dial! I hope the developers read it and realise they've wasted years of the most productive time of their lives! etc. It feels like a young man's game to hate everything, so it seems to have died out to a certain extent (or, more likely, has moved to Twitter).

 

Personally, I try to avoid talking about stuff I hate, and to be as constructive as possible when I do. To be brutally honest, I have very few outlets in real life to talk about games or genre TV programmes and films, and sometimes just need to exorcise a thought or observation by typing it out on here. Too often, they just accumulate in my head if I don't share it, and I end up ranting to my partner for twenty minutes about the Mandalorian.

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Different people on here seem to have radically different opinions on what negativity even is. I don't have any problem whatsoever with people explaining what they don't like about a game in a reasoned manner whereas even that seems to get some people's backs right up. There's a difference between negativity and criticism but some seem to conflate the two.

 

It's important to know when to quit though. Generally, once I feel like I've made several posts in a game's thread where I feel like it's clear I dislike more about the game than I like I tend to stop posting in there unless my opinion of the game substantially changes.

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8 hours ago, sir stiff_one said:

One wonders if life is consistently confusing and demoralising for them, because their experiences and feedback from others are so different from most people’s.

 

No, because there will always be the hard-coded internalised belief that stoic resistance and the constant enforcing of one's own beliefs will eventually, someday, somehow, result in the subjugation of opposing views and the uplifting of those who disagree. I do not argue, I attempt to enlighten.

 

Never give in. Always resist. Always believe that the proletariat can be tutored. If not tutored, then coerced, brainwashed, hypnotised, or manipulated by eloquent propaganda. Ultimately, corrected.

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24 minutes ago, Sketch said:

 

No, because there will always be the hard-coded internalised belief that stoic resistance and the constant enforcing of one's own beliefs will eventually, someday, somehow, result in the subjugation of opposing views and the uplifting of those who disagree. I do not argue, I attempt to enlighten.

 

Never give in. Always resist. Always believe that the proletariat can be tutored. If not tutored, then coerced, brainwashed, hypnotised, or manipulated by eloquent propaganda. Ultimately, corrected.

 

Could you not just wait for the next cartoon monster game?

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2 minutes ago, matt0 said:

 

Could you not just wait for the next cartoon monster game?

 

Nay, the liberation of humanity begins in the cradle, with the critiquing of youthful toys.

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One thing I do miss is flame wars

 

There is nothing more beautiful than two dudes online who passionately don’t agree and will not let it go for 20 pages.

 

These days the closest we get is a bunch of man babies crying about some bugs in a game release, ethics in gaming or “wokeness” in Star Wars :( 

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It occurs to me that probably the people with the best negative takes here are the superfans. Like, Cyhwuhx will give you a must-read disappointed review of a bad Metroid game that I’d obviously take over one from someone who hates the subject, owing to his insight in to the franchise and meaningful expectations. I think there are people here who could do decent roasts of the bad aspects of games they genuinely love.

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I’ve come to trust this forum over most other sources for buying new games. Its tendencies seem

to broadly match my tastes (anyone else find that?) I have discovered lots of stranger titles I would have missed otherwise and given some a chance that were pretty universally trashed across the rest of the net - there’s a weird maturity here (and much more of an openness to new ideas and, for want of a better way of putting it, stuff that isn’t mainstream...this without being overly indie / niche focused.) Compare discussions here on, say No Man’s Sky or Death Stranding or even some of Nintendo’s output to many other places. It seems relatively rare that there’s totally thoughtless “negativity” / crapping on a game with no attempt to understand the good it achieves or what it is aiming for. Also, to be honest, reading the “negative” or critical takes on some games is really fun. Unless I’ve just been really lucky with the threads I’ve read and unlucky with everywhere else online?!

 

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22 minutes ago, John0 said:

Where is this "I hate Hades" thread? I can't find it...

 

It was in Announcements, a pissed up NYE jokey rant to get it off my chest in a corner, and which I said I'd delete at midnight and never mention again. Then it got moved into Discussion and looked less like a rant than 'look at what a fucking iconoclast I am', which is why I didn't post it in here. I'm not moaning, it's not my fucking blog so fair enough. 

 

I let it run for a bit and deleted it as promised, although I think that was rude in hindsight because plenty of other people had posted in it. I wasn't offering a critical eye or anything, I was just venting after all the GOTY BUY IT NOW stuff that incrementally over a long period of time made me want to  go apeshit and smash stuff. It was mostly a very shit thread, you didn't miss much. 

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Shit thread or not (and no, it probably isn't a massive loss), I've always found giving thread starters the ability to delete an entire thread of other people's posts a bit misjudged. People should be allowed to delete their own individual posts and thread starters should be allowed either delete or edit out the content of the opening post if they want to, but I think when someone bothers typing and posting something it should be on the understanding that it won't be deleted unless it goes against the rules or they themselves decide to remove it.

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The thread will still be there, it's just hidden from everyone but Mods. Users can't delete any posts, if you really want to remove your content from the site then you need to go through and edit your posts blank. If people really want it back then ask a kindly mod to restore without the OP changed.

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11 minutes ago, Danster said:

The thread will still be there, it's just hidden from everyone but Mods. Users can't delete any posts, if you really want to remove your content from the site then you need to go through and edit your posts blank. If people really want it back then ask a kindly mod to restore without the OP changed.

 

I certainly wouldn't care about that particular thread enough to do that (my own contribution was a half baked opinion which was quickly disproven by @Wiper ), but I think the policy of letting thread starters delete (hide) everyone's posts should probably be reconsidered.

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I think it's best when there's happy stuff for balance, though. Like when a game's compelling enough to keep you coming back despite infuriating you. When it's nothing but negativity it soon gets depressing. Like if someone forced me to watch one of Simon Cowell's things.

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On 05/01/2021 at 12:49, Disgraced Toblerone said:

Did someone mentioned that negativity is much more amusing than praise?

 

If not, there you go : negativity, bad reviews are much much more fun and funny.

 

Done well, of course.

 

I did consider it, but that vein has been well and truly mined to exhaustion. No matter how original or clever someone is in their criticisms, it's just another "entertaining rant" to throw on the pile on the internet.
Surely we're all over that? It's been done to death.

 

There's been a few times, instead of spending too much time dissecting the game in question, I've just gone "If you like this, you'll love this!". I think that's a nice way of doing it.

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