Whenever someone is bullied – or just plain trolled – on the internet there’s a tendency to focus solely on the attacker. As this interesting post by an EVE Online Gamemaster reminds us, though, it often takes two to tango.
Elizabeth Wyand is one of those responsible for keeping things running smoothly in CCP’s online universe, and while she is in no way blaming the victim of an online attack, a post she’s written about “the act of Revealing Things” serves as a handy reminder than when it comes to online communication, it always pays to put a little thought into what we say and where we say it.
We give out information about ourselves every time we type into a chatbox; internet denizens and tourists alike need to be aware that this can and will be used against them if it falls into the wrong hands.
CasualPlayer3284 didn’t HAVE to tell RandomStranger3746923 that they live in Milwaukee and volunteer as an EMT. InnocentMind42 didn’t have to say in an open forum that they suffer from depression and social anxiety, George4th didn’t have to proudly announce that she’s a woman in RL, and Happy2Live wasn’t forced to tell IWillHurtYou that they’re gay.
These are all things that I have seen turned around and used against the unsuspecting poster. The question that gets asked most by support teams when complaints about the retaliation come through is, “Why did you feel the need to tell people that?”
Why DID you feel the need to tell people that?
It’s bleak reading for eternal optimists, and, to be sure, reflects only the opinion of one person working on a game where people can be pretty shitty.
But there’s sound advice to be had there too. Nobody is saying to avoid reaching out and making friends on the internet. Just… exercise some of the same caution you might exhibit in the real world, where screaming your daily itinerary out of a moving car and painting your biography on your front door would make you a crazy person.