Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Goodbye To The Geek

No, not *me*. Silly.

I'm not sure exactly why I seem to spark so much "controversy" over at BoardGame Geek, but I do. It seems I can't put anything up without someone taking offense or massively misreading my motives or making a stupid suggestion then complaining about me calling it "random" (instead of just "dumb") and then taking me to task for my word choice.

I think the thing that drove me the craziest was Mr. Skeletor, responding to a question about what I doing wrong in a Mansions of Madness scenario as the keeper, suggesting that it was just a case of me being a sore loser. This from the guy who, when he reached the same point I did with BGG, asking to have all of his postings and files removed. Hilariously, another poster on the same question was harsh enough that someone else mailed me privately to say that he was "just like that" and really not a bad guy. When other people feel they have to apologize for you (people that I am extremely unlikely to ever meet) I know that we're pretty far off the ranch.

And then there's the outright crazy people. Mr. Crazy Steel Wolves Guy, I'm talking to you. After the third private mail where he told me my motivations for every word I used in suggesting that the game was going to be a much more pleasant experience in VASSAL, I asked him not to contact me again, and he didn't.

I did, however, take a great deal of pride in being called a "Review Nazi" by a guy who didn't seem to understand that Castle Ravenloft is at it's heart a solitaire game and thus must have a balance of randomness (to keep it from being a puzzle) but still reward good play (to keep it from being a ride). He never did get the concept, but being told I was a Nazi for suggesting that his opinion was not as fully baked as he likes to think did give me quite a good laugh. He didn't get Godwin's Law, either.

I'm very sorry, but I am not interested in spending two paragraphs couching every possible point I make as a) valuing your opinion, b) giving my gaming resume to "allow" me to comment, c) valuing your opinion, d) reminding you that you are entitled to your opinion and no one can take it away from you. Oh, and valuing your opinion. That should all be implicit.

As an engineer who has spent some time in academia, it's clear to me that the rigors of debate and critical thinking are simply beyond the capacity for the majority of people involved in the site. That's a shame, as I think I've contributed some value. But when I point out that the GMT version of No Retreat includes a free download of the solitaire package from the VPG site and a way to use the cards without needing to actually cut them out, only to have someone suggest that you could just as easily pay for the "finished" kit (which, actually, you already have purchased) and then repeatedly complain that I called their suggestion "random" without a *single* word discussing why their idea is better, I know it's time for me to find another way to spend my alone time than continually unsubscribing from threads.

I'm also amazed as some of the reasoning that goes on. One guy said he thought that Quarriors deserved exceptional levels of hate (Qhate, as he put it) because (in a nutshell) he saw a lot of people playing and enjoying it. Really, how do you deal with morons like that? You can't argue with them. You can't even have a discussion with them. They. Don't. Make. Sense.

So I'm done posting. Which is a shame. I like posting. I'll probably do more of it here now, which is nice except for the occasional marketeer who puts up a link to their site (I take those down as soon as I hear about them). I'll still use the 'Geek for reference, but even a simple question turns into a shouting match and it's just not good for my hypertension.

So, to all of the wonderful people on the Geek who made my time there so pleasant, a hearty Spock You. May your children turn out to be miscreants, may you enjoy your small and angry little lives, may you enjoy couching every barb in "It sounds like you..." style writing rather than just saying "You're an idiot." Which I cannot say on the 'Geek because, you know, it might hurt someone's feelings.

Really, I don't know what I was expecting. It's the Internet. No crazy here.

So now, it's just reading the BGG news and seeing if someone has already been roundly criticized for asking a question about a game. To everyone who has been damned decent on the site and thanked me for my efforts (and there are a few), Thank You and You're Welcome. I really do like facilitating gaming and people's enjoyment of it, but the confrontational people have simply driven me away.

Unlike Mr. Skeletor, I will not be taking down every file or comment I ever posted. Maybe you'll find something interesting.

I will also continue to contribute to their fund drives. The site does play a useful role. The forums, however, are no longer part of the "fun" for me.

I'd also like to thank Octavian, the main admin, for his work. When I got flagged for telling someone they were an angry person (saying "you seem like an angry person - OK), he was great about firmly telling me the rules, which I understand, and also for saying that my particular transgression was about as mild as he sees. I stand by my theory that online forums are promoting passive-aggressive behavior, but I understand the need to draw a line somewhere. Matt, you do good work and I thank you again for your time and effort on the behalf of the community. I really don't see how you do it.

Now to see how long I can actually keep away...


Matthew said...

I have time for basically one forum and BGG is in good company with the scores of others I might be interested in which are not that one. ;)

So, I've missed most of your crazy adventures there, Doug.

I am happy to hear you will be blogging more often.

Luke Sineath said...

WOW. I personally haven't had these kinds of experiences, but then again I don't post all that much. That blows--but you blog is really great and I'm glad you will post more here. I've been following it for a while now.

Chris Shaffer said...

I've had similar experiences.

I use RSS feeds to subscribe to specific games, and when I find an interesting thread, I put that in a different RSS feed. I think 99% of my posts on BGG are asking and answering rules questions.

I don't read or participate in the general forums, and I rarely post or comment on reviews.

Tim said...

Disappointing to hear, as you are one of the few folks I follow (both here and at the 'geek).

I don't blame you, however - I tend to lurk at the 'Geek, reading just a few forums, as there do, indeed, tend to be some . . . folks with unresolved issues there.