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The Digital Continuum: Outrageous outcomes

Kyle Horner

Sometimes I can actually hear the barking, crowing and general upheaval of a community to the extent that my knee jerk response is to consume the cacophony of squawking in a great ball of churning fire. Thankfully, I always resist that urge, and much for the better. That doesn't mean I'm unwilling to share those initial feelings here, though.

There's a good reason I'm sharing an otherwise personal knee jerk reaction. Too many people don't deny the evil voice growling incessantly from the back of the mind. They allow that pure id impulse to take the journey from their -- quite temporarily deranged -- minds, down their limbs, through their fingertips and into the comments section of many a website.

After spending too many years on forums, I know well enough that it can get really ugly. Especially when those times come that a company truly make a bad decision.

Now, videogames are widely known for this- well we can't call it a phenomenon, but that certainly seems to describe how it feels each and every time something bad happens with an upcoming or recently released game. Whether it's Left 4 Dead 2 or Champions Online, even the abstract potential of a fly in the ointment sends up more torches and pitchforks than even the likes of Doctor Frankenstein's monster ('steen', not 'stine'!) can conjure in his greatest of cold sweat nightmares.

Doctor Frankenstein and a developer must share many of the same feelings when the unmentionable body items hit the fan. Why, they only wanted to bring wonder and amazement to the world. Striking onlookers with an almost primal fear and deep anger was definitely not a part of the plan. Yes, both of their goals included personal glory of some kind, but no ill will was instilled in their blood, sweat and tear soaked effort.

Sadly, none of it matters to that uncompromising super ego. Offend them once, shame on you. Offend them twice, they'll put the word 'fail' somewhere in your company's name.

That isn't to say developers and publishers are always in the right, or that such behavior is exclusive to videogames alone. Yet even when a company is at fault, the extent to which people are unwilling to be reasonable in their upset is quite frankly a disturbing exercise in self entitlement that only the most suburban of trust fund kiddies could muster. It's both impressive and utterly shocking, which is why I give much respect to those community folks wedged between the people and the palace. It can't be easy doing that job, although I imagine the feeling of doing it well has to surpass everything else, otherwise we'd have a severe lack of community people.

I've seen some unsettling news cross my attention long before I began writing at Massively, and very rarely do I ever feel a pass is acceptable to those who committed a wrong, at least until amends are properly made.

To that end, it goes both ways. As much as this may be a futile attempt to reason with the thronging consciousness that is the Internet, I feel like if even a couple people come to think twice before indulging on that impulsive id response, my effort here found success.

You see, I don't want anyone to not voice their personal upset or anger, because that would be a far more boring world. I only ask that people put a leash on their inner id, and maybe train it to stop leaving presents on our collective rugs.

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