DISCLAIMER: NONE OF YOU HAS EVER TROLLED ME. THIS POST IS NOT ABOUT TROLLING ME BUT ABOUT TROLLING IN GENERAL, IN OUR LIFE AND IN GENERAL OVER BOARD GAMES FORUMS. I AM SUPER LUCKY THAT PROBLEMS I DESCRIBE HERE DO NOT TOUCH ME IN THE ENGLISH INTERNET. THEY, HOWEVER, TOUCHED ME VERY HARD IN POLAND. THAT’S WHY I DECIDED TO WRITE THIS SERIOUS POST.
WELL, ONCE A YEAR I AM NOT THIS FUNNY DUDE FROM POLAND. THAT WOULD BE TODAY.
English speaking geeks treat me super kind. With one or two minor exceptions, I did not meet any English speaking trolls and haters so far. I am like living in a dream where every person in the Internet is kind and nice. I know this is not true picture, I know that Internet sometimes is not a nice place, I know there are trolls and haters but well… I didn’t meet them. It’s like living in a fairytale.
What’s interesting, it is exactly opposite here in Poland. In Polish board games forum I am the most hated person. If you remember what was the reaction of people when they heard that Ben Affleck will be new Batman – that’s exact kind of reaction I get here in Poland each time I release new game. And you know, I am not exaggerating. Really, it’s super nasty here.
Last week I withdrew from Polish board games forum. I asked admin to remove my account. After nearly 10 years on the forum, I withdrew. Trolls and haters had their victory.
When you were a kid and saw one kid bullying other, you probably did stay in defense of bullied kid. When you see some jerk acting bad you of course act. When we see inappropriate behavior in real life, it is our natural reaction to act and defend person in need. To help people who need help is obvious and natural reaction.
It’s not a case in the Internet though. When we see troll bullying other person in the Internet, we rarely act. We think: 'Oh, it’s just troll, just ignore him.’
Let me tell you – this ignore policy doesn’t help bullied person. It doesn’t stop troll or hater. It only makes him stronger. It let him think that he can do and write whatever he wants to and no one will stand against him. Bullied person in the Internet is alone. You face trolls and haters alone because others just ignore troll.
For the past few years, from the moment I published Stronghold I was bullied in Polish Internet with tremendous strength. Every week there were attacks, nasty comments and hate all over me, sometimes including even my family. I was fighting back, I was trying to defend, but for the most time I was alone.
There was me, haters and ignore troll policy. For years. Last week I gave up.
Board games industry is an amazing industry – there is no wall or something like that between customer and producer. We gamers can easily interact with many publishers and with many designers. They are active on game forums, they are active at conventions, they are within our reach. You can have Antoine Bauza sign your copy of his game, you can have cow sketch in one of Portal Games box, you can tweet to Eric M. Lang, you go to the pub and have a great time with Stephan Buonocore from Stronghold Games… This is one big family and I find it truly amazing. I love all people who work here. This is great crazy family.
Family that can very easily be attacked by trolls. We are so open to gamers, that some asshols just can’t wait to take advantage of that. So here is my honest request – when you see troll attacking our family, fight him back. He is trolling us just like bullying someone in real life. You wouldn’t turn your back in real life, wouldn’t you?
Don’t turn your back in the Internet too. Protect our family.
Don’t let haters win. Like they just did here in Poland.