Cheeseburgers have cheese in them

Here’s something I’ve never understood about the internet opinionating. It used to happen on the old mailing lists and bulletin boards, it used to happen on forums, now it happens on blog and article comments. Person A writes “ABCDE”, very reasonable and pretty straightforward stuff, and person B lets off with a diatribe out of nowhere.

Here’s an example. Call me a literary critic (since I’m trained to be one), but I think Syp hits the parental nail on the gaming head. It’s rather poetic and it’s incredibly sincere, and for my money you can’t ask for much more in a blog post. Course, I don’t expect every single “gaming journalism” blog post I read to be a review of GT4 or SuperMario In Your Pants, The Sequel.

And here’s the rather mystifying “omg you left hair in the sink, I’m moving back to my mother’s!” comment. Um, what?

It’s not, mind you, that I have anything against readers being fickle bastards and altering what they like from week to week. I’m exactly like that myself.  I just don’t understand the causality in this case, even though I’ve seen it happen a million times over the years.

Person A: “Cheeseburgers have cheese in them.”

Person B: “OMG you are SO full of cheese! I can’t believe I ever read anything you wrote! How can you claim to be a legitimate emailer / poster / blogger / journalist / carbon-based lifeform?! I’m off to a blog about real Limburger!”


It’s happened to me a few times on lately, too, though to be bluntly honest I try not to read the comments over there, or at least only through slitted, somewhat glazed, unjudgemental eyes. But okay, I do read them. And occasionally I’ll get an “OMG you’re full of shit! This is SO inaccurate! You are a tool of the MMOlitary RPGdustrial combine! You call this game journalism?!”

Actually, no. That’s why this blog’s subtitle is MMO musings and commentary and that’s why the MMORPG gig is marked as perspectives. Pure opinion. No facts implied or advertised. Bias inherent and admitted. What’s so difficult to grasp about that?

I should know better, but I still boggle at the gap between what we write and what people read.* God knows that’s caused a lot of online drama over the years, especially if you count game chat as a medium. There’s already a gap between what you think and what you say, and then between what you say and what people hear, simply in normal conversation — but add non-physicality and a wholly typed medium and you’ve got a recipe for misunderstanding that makes me wonder how we manage to communicate online at all.

Even so… even knowing that what one says and what is understood are never quite going to match up, I still have to wonder at the strange gap between “Cheeseburgers have cheese in them” and “That’s it, I’m outta here.”

Yay for freedom of speech and blog-reading choices!


* Or indeed between what person A says or does and what person B hears or expects. There’s a reason two of the most-used tags on this blog are “design” and  “expectations”. Maybe I should move on to marriage advice too. (And the first person who calls me Dr. Ysh will have a contract taken out on them. Just sayin’.)

20 thoughts on “Cheeseburgers have cheese in them

  1. I get the feeling the commenter you’re referring to thought Syp and Shawn of Massively are the same guy, and thus he thinks the two posts make the imaginary entity the commenter sees seem full of himself.

    At least, that’s the only logical conclusion I’ve come to.

    1. Hah, it’s possible. Either way though, you’re still left with the “you’re a crap GAME JOURNALIST I’m leaving!”

      Bio Break is Syp’s personal blog. What’s so difficult to understand about the concept of OPINIONS?

      Yes, this has been irking me for some time. 😉

      1. I wish I had your job on 😀

        I’d write completely moderate stances on everything and debate the pros and cons of whatever issues come to my mind regarding gaming.

        I’ll call my column, “Stalemate”

      2. Thing is, I don’t actually see anything wrong with that concept. Not *everything* has to be strife and confrontation, and blogging is no exception. I only rant occasionally. 😛

        As for the gig — pitch them an idea? I can give you email addys if that would help. I don’t really know how it works.

  2. Hey Ysh.

    That sounds like an interesting idea. 🙂

    However, I thought you were invited by the folks at Maybe I’d seem full of myself by proposing “Stalemate”?

    1. I was approached, aye, but only because JB knows me and probably because they needed more estrogen on the team. 😉

      That’s why I said I don’t really know how it works, but I don’t see that there would be any harm in pitching an idea.

      We’ll have to continue this later though – am about to take the car to the garage and have my day gobbled up by waiting. 😉

  3. Ah thanks for the vote of support. There’s been a couple of commenters like that this past week who just go off on fairly tame posts. But hey, when it comes to your personal blog, you write about what you want to write about. Whether people want to read it or not is their decision, but it shouldn’t influence your writings.

  4. I give you and Syp a lot of credit. I have no patience in RL for that sort of e-drama. I don’t think I’d have it in me to respond in a mature fasion….that said I do get trolled a lot in general chat channels but hey, we all need something to work on. Patience, where art thou in my hour(s) of need 🙂

    Thanks for adding me to your blogroll btw, its much appreciated.

  5. Oh I unsubscribed from your blog a long time ago. You remember? Back when you said that stuff about the thing that time.


    Seems crazy. If it weren’t for some proper addresses in that post I would have dismissed as an attempt for spamming.

  6. Random blog commentators > / game faqs posters > most official MMO forum posters >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> WoW official forum posters > Hitler

  7. Oi, I went through this when those dopes from the TOR forums got ahold of one of my opinion pieces recently. I had to stand on my virtual porch with a virtual shotgun and beat them off. The thread generated *28* pages of hatemail in the TOR forums. I was even given an honorary “troll of the year” award (but..its only January!) Life goes on…and on the bright side, at least it generated a little bit of good discussion in the midst of the flames.

  8. OMG! I am removing you from my RSS readers. How dare you post that offensive, speciesist poster involving monkeys. Obvious this whole writing thing has gone to your head and I just can’t respect your “cheeseburgers have cheese in them” position.

    P.S. This is totally not about you admitting that you hit “mark all as read” instead of cherishing every word I write on my own sites. 😉

  9. By definition an “opinion” is something that somebody else might think differently about. Thus there are battles of opinion going on about many subjects on various internet forums. What I think the specific problem of bloggers is, is that they are perceived to have an unfair advantage in this battle of opinions. Their opinion is on the front page, the comment disagreeing with them is below, or on a page behind, in smaller letters.

    People overreacting to your opinions are engaging in some sort of asymmetric warfare, shouting louder to make up for that perceived disadvantage.

    Besides that: Welcome to the club!

  10. How dare you! I will not go to bed with Geoffrey Howe, not at any price. I think you must be off your head.

    (Sometimes comments seem to go a bit like this…)

  11. Oh man! A blog post about a comment left on another blog!? I’m sorry…but now I have to delete you from my RSS feed along with all these other people commenting on a blog post about a comment on another blog. Maybe if you would have copied and pasted the other blog content here, along with the comment under scrutiny, it would have kept me around. But no, you made me follow links, going outside my RSS feeder. Bah!

  12. Once up on a High School, I cultivated a rather sharp tongue and rapier wit. It was all too much fun to skewer idiots of all stripes, though I rarely took the offensive.

    These days I’ve tamed that impulse significantly, but it’s oh, so tempting to go off on some people who can’t seem to maintain a civil tongue. I don’t, but some of the reflexive responses that rattle around in my head get a bit… pointy sometimes.

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