Tell Us Dammit: Trash Talk

Tell Us Dammit: Trash Talk

It’s an inescapable part of video games. Someone, sometime, somewhere, will always take up the opportunity to talk shit to their fellow gamer. It happens. In some games, it happens on an almost frequent basis.

The 12-year-old abusing your mum on Xbox Live has almost become a part of internet folklore at this point. But more often than not — and probably because I’m not playing Call of Duty on consoles that often — it’s the aging dude, just home from work, who’s flipping the table over how crappy my support play is in Dota 2.

But the thing is: should trash talk be acceptable? Do you trash talk? Is it OK if it’s deliberately designed to throw your opponent off guard?

And how do you deal with trash talk when its directed at you or your teammates? Do you respond? Does it ruin your games?


  • But the thing is: should trash talk be acceptable? Do you trash talk? Is it OK if it’s deliberately designed to throw your opponent off guard?

    Such actions are unacceptable and even frowned upon offline thus why should the same actions be any different online?

    The rules of etiquette, etc, don’t change because one is online.

    • See, I think it all depends on the type of people you play with/against.
      If it can all stay good-natured and humorous, then smack-talk is perfectly fine – provided that both parties see it that way (which I see fairly often in real-life interactions). As soon as it strays from that, it can be damaging.
      The problem is that most online interactions are highly competitive with/against people that you have no relationship with in any way/shape/form, and that changes the tone to sinister very quickly.

    • You seem like you would be fun at a party >.>

      Jokes aside, I think that that its all about whether its appropriate to the situation and the kind of shit talking. I miss the days of SSX (on ps2) because I have never had as much fun playing games as I did with mates talking shit on my couch.

      If I know there are children in my game I try to scale it down, but if I am bored and know that every one I am playing with are old enough; well its about to be a little more interesting.

      One of my favourite things to do right now is to moan “F**k me daddy” really loud and watch every one stop what they are doing. I am a 27 year old bloke… I am deeply sorry to any one that I have scarred for life.

      • I think that that its all about whether its appropriate to the situation and the kind of shit talking.

        This is the thing, some think there are no consequences to be own if they mis-behave online.

        Some honestly think even going as far as to threaten someone online is not grounds to go to the police.

        This is why I dislike trash talk. If not stemmed there, some keep pushing the bounds.

        • There is a difference between banter and harassment. I think its important to keep this in mind as while I think the majority of players (over 18) would say that jokes are an incremental part of having a functioning healthy community in any game, harassment and toxicity normally has the opposite effect.

          • Then begs the question, instead of expending mental energy to psych out one’s opponent to gain an unfair advantage which (as I pointed out) may back fire horrendously why not put that energy into analysing the opponent and finding weaknesses to utilise in the opponent’s technique?

          • I think you are replying to the wrong person.

            I dont shit talk for tactical advantage, I find I have more fun if every one is in on the banter. Its why a game like Blackwake is so fun for me. Its all about the community and the player interactions you have.

          • My apologies; a few here have been seeing trash talk as a valid means to reach goals in competition and I was still stuck in that line of thinking.

          • Its cool.

            I think its why I used to enjoy Dayz (and now Miscreated/Squad).

            The other day I was having a chat with an enemy in Insurgency where I talked an Opfor down off a ledge and then proceeded to pepper him with side arm rounds. I love odd moments of player back and forth.

  • Literally the worst thing to have ever happened to the medium.

    Video-games and the culture in general is absolutely miserable from top to bottom.

    That didn’t happen by accident.

    EDIT that’s not really an EDIT because this isn’t meant to be a ‘flame’ comment, but I don’t really want to expand on this either – I feel you should ask around your office Alex, get some range of voices on this topic. This is exactly what legitimises the mainstream’s outdated and terrible view of games and ‘gamers’ – that we are all losers because we either partake in or accept this behaviour.

  • Trash talking when it’s in good spirits and you can laugh it off over a drink later is fine. Online play doesn’t give you that. You just move on to be an asshole to the next guy. Even more so when you’re doing it to a teammate.

    When it happens, I mute, report and move on with my life.

  • Trash talking is fine, its all part of the psychological battle to throw your opponents game.
    But there are lines, and yes everyone lines are in a different location… if your super precious and your line is to damn close, mute/report and move on…
    You have no right to say what i can and cannot say… that being said i dont say anything online that i wouldn’t say to someones face.

    • Trash talking is fine, its all part of the psychological battle to throw your opponents game.

      Then the opponent still wins even if defeated. If one has to resort to trash talk then that shows short comings in the one doing the trash talk.

      If one cannot compete with skill alone, trash talking is not going to make one a better player.

      • Or maybe i’m just playing a different game, i enjoy the social aspect more than the games themselves these days, might be due to being a little older and missing the glory days of LAN gaming.

        • Champ, we have been over this before (around a year or two ago).

          There is no justification for trash talk. If you can’t bet the person with skill then one resorting to trash talking is in the same league as cheating.

          The end of goal of winning the game does not justify any means that involve trash talk.

          • ….. wow…. the level of hypocrisy in that comment is hilarious.. thanks you just made my day, and my point.

            What you just did in that comment was trash talk, you belittled my skill based on an assumption.

        • This.

          I struggle to play single player games for that exact reason. These days I tend to buy the bulk packs of games on sale so that I can play with mates and it normally devolves into jokes about our sexual preferences with the game coming second to the back and forth banter.

      • Ask any team that came up against Michael Jordan in the 90’s if they felt they still won, or Kobe Bryant’s opponents, or Larry Bird’s, or Muhammad Ali’s, or John McEnroe’s… Legendary trash talkers with very few shortcomings (on the court/field/ring etc anyway).

        • Fame != validation. If I play golf and I win while being an asshat, nobody is going to care what my career is because they’ll look down on me for being an asshat.

          • Right. And who out of those I just mentioned is looked down on for being an asshat?
            You don’t like trash talking, fine. But it’s not cheating, and it’s used effectively by the greatest and most competitive sportsman out there. If you can rattle someone with a few words then you take that advantage.

          • If you can rattle someone with a few words then you take that advantage.

            And if said underhand tactic turns the opponent into a Norse Berserkr and owns the trash talker then what?

            It’s not an advantage; it’s an undermining tactic and real athletes don’t need to resort to such means as it can back fire or their opponent laughs it off giving no gain what so ever.

            Does not change the fact trash talking is unacceptable and unneeded and fame is not a means of validation.

          • And if said underhand tactic turns the opponent into a Norse Berserkr and owns the trash talker then what?

            Then it backfires and they feel silly. Like one of the more famous NBA cases when Willie Burton tried to trash talk a sick Michael Jordan, who then went on a tear and dominated the rest of the game.

            If you undermine your opposition through trash talking and negatively effect their performance, how is that not an advantage? Last year when the Giants played the Panthers in the NFL, Josh Norman rattled Odell Beckham so hard with his trash talking that he dropped a TD pass, got numerous penalties and was suspended for 1 or 2 games.
            Should he have done it? Depends on your moral compass but the effect was clear.

            Does not change the fact trash talking is unacceptable and unneeded and fame is not a means of validation.

            This is your opinion, not a fact.

    • I find the “you can’t tell me what to say” attitude far more precious than the “I don’t want to deal with this asshole” attitude. It’s incredibly selfish and inconsiderate. You’re playing a game to have fun. Why waste energy being a dick? Who benefits from that?

  • Do you respond?

    I haven’t owned a microphone since the Sound Blaster Pro era, so I can’t respond.

    Unless it was that parrot, if I swore at him then he’d swear back at me.

  • Is being a complete dick an acceptable tactic?

    Possibly. But you’re still a dick.

  • I’ve decided if I’m angry enough to threaten someone or claim I’m having sex with their mum then I’m taking the game too seriously and I need to take a break to rethink my life.

    • Yeah, if it gets to the point I’m seriously considering text shouting at someone to stop being an ineffectual sniper on a payload map I take a break.

  • It’s the main reason I have no interest in most online gaming. I play Destiny with friends that I know IRL, because I don’t have to interact with anyone else, but all other gaming is single-player only. I’m not interested in being verbally abused by strangers.

  • Never really been a fan of trash talking, I’ll stay quiet unless someone makes a nice kill/point and I’ll congratulate them.

  • After graphics settings, side chat/VOIP off is the next setting I look for.
    A great thing about 21:9 monitors is side chat so far out on the edge of your peripherals that its easy to ignore.
    I once stuck cardboard over side chat in Arma 3 Exile, made the game 100% more enjoyable.

  • Nothing shuts a trash talker up faster than burying them with a come back. I believe it to be the only advantage I gained from a Private education.

    And when the trash talker tries again, and is smacked down further…

    Yes, I engage in trash talk, but only in reaction to receiving it. And only if I can drop the mic.

  • I don’t think it’s ever acceptable – the only exception is when you’re specifically and only with friends who you know are comfortable with it, and as a joke. If it ever crosses the line into heated or serious comments, it’s not acceptable. It’s doubly never acceptable if it’s a stranger.

    However, my favourite response if I’m ever on the receiving end of trash talk (especially if it’s over a PSN message) is “new phone, who dis?”

  • Trash talk or just talking trash? Purely theoretical for me since I don’t play the kinds of games that involve that sort of thing, but it seems to me like the difference between traditional trolling (fairly innocuous attempts to get a rise out of someone) versus what the media commonly labels as trolling these days (just flat out being an abusive twat to people). The former being more acceptable, while the latter isn’t.

    • When left unchecked, the former eventually becomes the latter. The sadder part is once one starts to draw the line, the progress of many accelerates to the later.

  • Nothing and I mean nothing is more statisfying in life then having some bellend type “2ez” only to have the game turn around and have their apparent victory ripped out from under them followed by typeing 2ez back to them as the creeps pile in and they ancient falls and their team mates turn against the cocky git aswell and we all laugh.

    But yeah trash talk depends on the crowd your playing with. Amongst friends is fine and friendly banter is good but professionals should be professional and I’m not for attacking other people unless it’s made abundantly clear its in jest and you’re all having a good laugh.

  • ive had some really awful shit said to me in rocket league, stuff that has made me feel horrible and victimised. i hate bullying with a passion. other times you can tell people are doing it in jest, if thats the case, ill fire off a retort.
    most of the time when i see trolls in rocket league i usually tell them to shut up and go back to playing LoL or Dota.
    it shits me to tears having to put up with dickheads online, i usually try and start a match with GLHF and hope that i get a positive reply and then its usually a good gauge of how its going to go.

    only a handful of times have me and mates ended up playing the same group of opponents for 5 or 6 matches and we just joke and jibe with pathetic dad humour and all piss ourselves laughing, they are my most memorable and favourite matches.

    criticising people for how they play is really low in my opinion because its more of a personal attack rather than an insult like fuck you, or dick face or whatever.

  • Its funny because I have played BBall pretty competitively my whole life and I would (and still do) trash talk like there is no tomorrow. I got as good as I gave most of the time, yet when it comes to online gaming, I am probably the last person to actually say anything to anyone (like I mean I don’t even talk most of the time unless I have to).

    The trash talking doesn’t seem to have the same enjoyment or effect for me online. Plus most of the stuff that gets thrown around is more humorous than anything. The only time I will usually join in is if I think someone is being unfairly targeted (especially if they seem younger or like its really effecting them). Then I will usually pipe up and draw the attention to myself rather than them. After all a young pre pubescent telling a 6ft 4 grown man that he’s going to F**k him in the a** is pretty funny by itself, I usually just roll with it and wait for the time to fire back with most effect. (yes I am a pro trash talker from way back)

    if I am playing with friends then it is a different story all together, let the trash talk flow along with the beers (or poison of your choosing)

  • Trash talking among friends is fine, in my opinion, so long as everybody is in on and it doesn’t get out of hand.

    When a stranger does it online, I just find it a bit rude and unhelpful. If I’m a shit player, feel free to give me constructive criticism because I’m constantly trying to improve. I’ve had random players give me useful feedback that I’ve been very thankful for.

    Having said that, I’m not really *that* bothered by online trash-talking. I usually don’t engage and just try to ignore it.

  • It’s the main reason I keep chat turned off.
    Nothing says “fuck you” to another player like outplaying them.

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