“Our dreams are a second life.” ~Gerard de Nerval
Iris Ophelia at New World Notes articulates an ongoing and difficult situation in the online gaming world, and on the Internet in general. How did the voices of the trolls overpower the voices of common sense and yes, even justice, on the Internet? She talks of her own experience, clearly and honestly. This is worth a read, and please pass it on.
This past weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in a charity streamathon, an event where people essentially play games for an online audience to raise money. I was playing and watching others play alongside a slew of outstanding guests. We raised a hell of a lot of money for an incredibly worthy cause, and the whole thing was a resounding (if exhausting) success. I’m not going to name the event here — though it’s not hard to figure out — because this post isn’t about the streamathon. We contributed to something amazing, and nothing can or should change that.
This post is about the creeps and the jerks; the ones who donate under names like “JanineMakeMeHot”, who look for any opportunity to embarrass a woman no matter what the context, who may even think they’re being flattering. The people who left their bitter little marks on an otherwise amazing event.
For all I know, this post may be about you.
I should admit right up front that I considered actively sabotaging this article.
My own article. Initially I wasn’t going to write it at all, but my closest friend convinced me otherwise. He generally wants to do everything in the most ideal form possible, and my rebuttal to him is almost invariably that “doing something is better than doing nothing.” He threw that right back at me this time, and no matter which way I look at it, writing something about this is far better than writing nothing at all. Even so, I considered squeezing this article into a dead time slot or hiding it on a low-traffic day. I considered putting it up quietly on my Tumblr and letting that be that. I didn’t want to seem ungrateful, I didn’t want to be that person.
“I don’t want to make a big deal out of this,” I said.
“But it is a big deal,” he replied.
I haven’t been streaming games for very long. It’s not even something I consider a hobby so much as it is a whim from time to time… Usually late at night when I have nothing else to worry about. Considerate housemate that I am, I keep my voice low on those occasions to avoid waking anyone up. Last week when I was on a stream with a few friends, I was told that my hushed voice sounded like I had “gargled a bag of fagdicks”. People tell me to get some tea or clear my throat, while other people tell me I sound great or even sexy.
When my friend’s voice is low, they tell him to turn up his mic.
In a tone approaching admiration for how little it seems to affect me, he says, “As a dude, I never have to worry about someone in chat talking about how my voice is their everything.”
Wait a minute… “Sexy” and “great”? Aren’t those compliments?