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BioWare writer flees from community's toxic behavior

5:00 PM on 01.10.2013 // Fraser Brown
  @FraserIBrown

Too much drama is bad for the soul

The Internet is not always the best place for sensitive souls. Even normally respectable human beings can devolve into rabid, carnivorous, blood-thirsty beasts at the drop of a hat -- sometimes they even say mean things about people's mums. For BioWare writer David Gaider, it's all become a bit too much.

In a blog post from last week, Gaider laments the toxic environment of the BioWare Social Network -- an admittedly angry place. He confesses that he rarely visits those forums anymore and that they make him feel negative about not just his games, but himself. 

He accepts that many of the posters are intelligent, passionate people, and that it is important to digest the feedback that such forums provide. Unfortunately, he has reached the end of his tether when it comes to the ranting and bitching. "The signal-to-noise ratio does seem to be worsening, and eventually you get the feeling like you’re at one of those parties where all anyone is doing is bitching. It doesn’t matter what they’re bitching about so much as, sooner or later, that’s all you can really hear." 

He states that he's not trying to "vilify" the BSN specifically, and notes that this sort of thing is far from restricted to that site, or, indeed, gaming sites in general. I can't really blame the fellow for not wanting to visit a place that frequently attacks the things he works on, or him as a person, but this could still easily be construed as sticking his head in the sand, something which he denies that he's doing.

His post ends on a somewhat more positive note, however. "Best to take a breath, smile and remember there are a lot of really genuine, positive people to talk to. People who challenge you in a way that doesn’t make you feel worse about yourself. You should surround yourself with them the same way you’d surround yourself with such people in real life."

The folks at BioWare haven't really been having much luck with their "fans" over the last year, have they? Writer Jennifer Hepler found herself drowning in a torrent of abuse and complaints over ruining the developer's titles with her writing, her desire to allow players to skip combat, and -- apparently worst of all -- she admitted that she didn't really play games. 

Co-founders Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka left the company late last year, in what seemed like a fairly reasonable move after they achieved all they wanted to do with the developer. However, Beamdog's Trent Oster provided an alternative reason -- that the Doctors of BioWare left due to the extreme negativity of fans towards Star Wars: The Old Republic and Mass Effect 3. 

Perhaps words are now taking on the properties of sticks and stones. 

On fandom and toxic environments [The Bittersweet Thing via The Guardian


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Fraser Brown, Former Contributor
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Fraser Brown is that bearded, bespectacled Scotsman that covers PC gaming who is not Alasdair Duncan. Got a splinter stuck in his hand nineteen years ago and just left it in there. True story. ... more   |   staff directory

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