Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The fun, the l33t and the retard

Recently there were some controversy over proper and improper names and the overall usage quality of language in WoW. Our guild rules ban the low quality language usage, but "low quality" does not seem to be obvious to everyone. I was surprised by the reactions to the rofldots-incident, but I agree that there are other explanations for calling oneself "rofldots" than being very stupid kiddie or totally stoned/drunk. I already covered these topics but I'd like to emphasize that I reject these "alternative rofldots" more than the simple retards.

At first I'd like to define low quality language usage simply of the opposite of the book-quality grammar and word usage. The quality does not depend on the intention of the writer, even if he wrote it completely purposefully it's low quality. Obviously everyone make mistakes, especially if not a native speaker. However simple mistakes can be corrected by warning the person that he is doing it wrong. Now let's see the three uncorrectable low quality language usages.

The first is the simple retard. He doesn't know the language, never cared to learn it properly, he is parroting what he sees and since the overall language quality is low on the internet, he won't learn much. This is a simple case and does not need much explanation why would anyone exclude these from his guild.

The "fun guy" purposefully litters his chat with emoticons, "lol", "rofl" and such. His purpose is to create a positive emotional atmosphere. It's good right? No! Actually the atmosphere should be positive by default. We are doing our hobby, we are experiencing flow, we are celebrating our success over the bosses. If we are having fun, why does someone artificially creates fun by low quality chat? Because the fun guy is (at least subconsciously) aware that we are not having fun, or soon will not have, because we will not succeed. He tries to "cheer us up" with laughter. Such activity assumes that we need a "cheer up" exactly because we are having a bad time.

Why does he assume that we are/will be having a bad time? Because he can't contribute! While he most probably deny (even to himself) that our misery is his fault, he recognizes that we are not having fun and he tries to fix it. While I'm not claiming that he purposefully tries to cover up the mess he made, he still does exactly that. He tries to avoid the analysis of the problems, he tries to avoid being serious because he (at least subconsciously) aware that it wouldn't be too good for him. The most obvious example is "gg we progressed and had fun XDDD" after a terrible wipefest. The "fun guy" actually stops us from having fun and he tries to fix it with empty words and emoticons.

Alternatively the fun guy can be a leeching social who just wants to create a positive atmosphere to abuse it to get freebies "lol can u boost me XDDD". You think it's wrong and emoticons/lol is just being happy and funny? Read this scientific article!

The "l33t" is the nastiest of all low quality speakers. He purposefully abuses language to create and use a jargon. Every activity has special terms that are not obvious to outside observers. For example "dot" means a class of spells in WoW (and other MMOs). Such special terms must be learned by anyone who want to join the activity. Knowing them is the first step of initiation of a newbie.

The "l33t" extends the scope of these useful abbreviations just for the sake of themselves. While reducing "Damage over time effect" to "dot" is a sensible move, changing "more" to "moar", "own" to "pwn", "indeed" to "idd", "mate" to "m8" or "elite" to "l33t" is just pain in the ass. His purpose is to abuse the special terms. He tries to make an impression that there are several special terms to be learned and he knows them, therefore he is more professional than the others. The one who does not know "dot" is a newbie. When you see another abbreviation you don't understand, you feel like a newbie. This way the useless guy tries to make an impression that his failure is impossible as he is pro, so surely others failed. The "newbies" intimidated by his l33tness don't dare to question his actions.

I'd like to make it clear: I don't want retards, "fun ppl" and l33t in my guild or on my blog or anywhere near me. I recognize their tricks and they don't work on me. I consider them harmful and abusive and hunt them down whenever I can. Of course I'm not claiming that everyone who speak that way is purposefully abusing others. This case he has no idea what he is doing, therefore he is a prime example of retards. I don't want that either.


Squishalot said...

You see, the problem with stereotyping is that they never fully apply to circumstances.

You're assuming that the 'fun guy' won't contribute. Actually, let's go back further. You're assuming that his purpose is to create a positive emotional atmosphere. This is false in most cases.

The typical 'lol, rofl' user does so to save time. Not because he thinks that it'll make his guildies happier than if he uses "hahaha" or "*laughs*". So his purpose and your conception of his purpose are already at odds with each other.

Secondly - the assumption that he's incapable of pulling his weight. On what basis do you make that assumption? Wait, you're basing it on his purpose being to cheer people up, because he obviously knows that the group will fail.

Aside from the horrible flaw in logic (if he knows the group will fail, why join?), it says nothing about whether it will fail due to his poor contribution or others, and still makes this flawed assumption about his purpose for lol'ing in the first place.

For now, I'm going to assume that you've been burned by the lol'ers on EU realms, where such people are actually a different subset. However, on US realms, the "fun guy" has just as much chance of being top damage done as he is of being the "pls can i have some gold?".

I do have to say though, and you can avoid publishing this if you want, but you're being incredibly bigoted and discriminatory in your stereotyping. It may be populist and get you a reader / fan base, but it's not going to get you any respect from the non-morons.

Gevlon said...

"lol" saves time from "*laughs*". However "*laughs*" is itself pointless. Maybe I was unclear here, I'm not against the form "lol", I'm against ANY kind of emotion expression in chat.

I have my OWN fun and don't care about you are laughing or not. I also laugh often but wouldn't annoy anyone else by announcing it in chat. ANNOUNCING laughter can have no other reason than trying to artificially spread false fun "cheering up people". If they would have REAL fun, they would need no "cheer up" at the first place.

Just think about the

Coreus said...

I find this interesting, because though I take the game seriously, I raid seriously and I'm not a dumb person, I often use the word "lol" in conversation.

I take pride in the way I use the English language, and while in serious communication I take correct grammatical structure seriously, in social situations I tend to use a more natural speech-emulative style, incorporating words like "lol", "moar", "gg" and "zomg" as part of a this level of usage.

I understand that your guild is not about fostering social connections, and that's why you have deliberately implemented this and other rules to minimise socialisation, but I find it odd that you seem to have completely missed the idea that anyone could use this type of speech without being a drooling retard or just incredibly lazy.

Rohan said...

Coreus, while that's true, you could adapt and fit your speech patterns to match what is expected in the guild.

If someone *can't* do that, then they aren't going to be a good fit.

Vinnz said...

Would you consider the word "M&S" acceptable on the guild chat?

It's obviously an extremely specialized jargon: readers of some economics-oriented wow blog will understand the abbreviation, but nobody else.

It's a social move as well: using the phrase separates "us" (the cool guys who know what it means) and "them" (the others); it's a try to get the attention of someone who knows it, in order to influence them favourably.

Anonymous said...

There is one problem with not allowing any type of emotional expression in chat. The simple fact is that text based chat does not carry any emotion whatsoever. Often when you type something, the person typing is in a certain frame of mind and understands the emotion that he is trying to carry with the text he is typing. However, there is no body language or tone of voice carried over so the reader does not have the advantage of understanding the emotional context of the text and therefore has a higher risk of misinterpreting what the author intended.

One example, that has happened to me on occasion, is when offering advice to someone. When I give advice in WoW it usually is in a friendly, helpful way, and I aim to construct my text to indicate such. However, people can misconstrue this advice as being condescending or insulting. It has happened with relative frequency.

However, by adding on a :) to the end of such a comment can give an indication to the reader that I am trying to be friendly about it. It gives the reader at least some (albeit minimal) emotional context to place the meaning of what I type correctly.

I am not condoning the "lol" after every message, that gets annoying fast. But rather the appropriate use of emotional markers, if you will, can help ease the understanding a lot.

And I know that writers of blogs, for example, do not use emoticons or emotive shortforms like "lol". But then those writers have an entire article of text in order to set an emotional context and not just one sentence.

Squishalot said...

@ Gevlon: "ANNOUNCING laughter can have no other reason than trying to artificially spread false fun "cheering up people"."

That's not true, though after I replied, I thought you might raise that point. Announcing laughter (in the correct usage, eg, 'lol' as a sentence in itself) is to acknowledge your response to stimuli to your party / guild / whoever. It's positive feedback to the stimulus provider, to let them know that you found it funny / hilarious / mildly amusing. This also doesn't consider those who use 'lol' as a putdown in the 'lol u n00b' sense - certainly not for the purposes of spreading false cheer.

Now, presumably, there are people who are capable of controlling what they type. Such a person can switch between 'lol'ing in his own personal chats, and showing no emotion in the PuG guild / raid chats. To assume that they're incapable of doing so is flawed.

And again, there's no reasonable evidence to demonstrate that people who participate in expression of emotions in raid / party chat are any more or less capable than those who do not. If anything, the silent people who speak the least in raid chat tend to include the poorest performers in PuGs, with the most chatty ones being somewhere in the middle. At least from my personal experience.

Gevlon said...

@vinnz: good question and has not been answered for one reason: no one ever used it in chat. We usually use "retard" for the same meaning.

@altoholicsdiary: there is no need to give emotional context. You do NOT have to sugar-coat your helpful criticism. If he takes it as an insult, it's his loss.

@Squishalot: "positive feedback to the stimulus provider, to let them know that you found it funny / hilarious / mildly amusing." is completely appropriate on a joke-telling club. But we are a raiding guild. The only stimuli I want from you is a dead boss.

Of course you can tell jokes to your friends in /w or /p. But I can't care less about your jokes.

Unknown said...

I think there is a difference between an occasional "lol" as a reaction to a somewhat funny or ironic statement and "Hi lol wonna boost me in BRD lol ???? :D :D :D" type of "lol" usage.

Of course, theoretically guild chat should be used only for formal and informative stuff. However you can't enforce 100% suppression of any emotions, because even non-social people are not total robots that can always use only scientifically valid, formal and meaningful statements without a slightest impact of any sarcasm or other emotional context.

Yes, using "lol", "rofl", "idd" (I had always thought "idd" was some form of a twisted double-smiley) as 20%+ of one's typed words is bad, however really rare usage of these is not always because someone is trying to be fun, l33t or retard.

Anonymous said...

I always thought idd was actually an abbreviation of "I Don't Disagree" although some say it's from the Dutch word inderdaad (meaning indeed).

Coreus said...

@altaholicsdiary; Misunderstanding tone is always going to be an issue with text no matter how it's framed.

If someone told me what I was doing wrong followed with a smiley, I'd probably assume they were trying to be a smartarse. :)

Squishalot said...

Apologies for double posting, but I just wanted to take up something that Coreus said:

"tend to use a more natural speech-emulative style"

This is a key aspect of social (and business) interaction. Speech-emulation, be it emulating your counterpart directly, or emulating to be something you believe enhances your goal, is something taught to leaders around the globe. One's tone of voice, language used, body language used; they are all aspects that assist you to influence others.

If you enter a raid and start speaking Queen's English, it will likely have a more negative affect on the players and their performance than if you were to mimic their language and 'fit in'. (That's not to mention a more negative affect on your place in the raid, either.)

This links closely to my comment about being able to switch between forms of speech for appropriate occasions.

@ Rohan: "Coreus, while that's true, you could adapt and fit your speech patterns to match what is expected in the guild."

In the case of Rofldots, as I argued in the previous blog about him, I don't think he was given the opportunity to. His rejection was based on his name, not his speech patterns. Gevlon might argue that 'rofl'-style names lead to 'rofl'-style chat, but it's not a perfect correlation, and certainly. I believe he should have been given the chance to demonstrate his adherence to the guild's maturity rules (ignoring the naming rule for this reason), and be kicked out if he fell short.

Squishalot said...

@ Gevlon: "@Squishalot: "positive feedback to the stimulus provider, to let them know that you found it funny / hilarious / mildly amusing." is completely appropriate on a joke-telling club. But we are a raiding guild. The only stimuli I want from you is a dead boss. "

My point (and Coreus') is that you didn't give Rofldots a chance to demonstrate his capability to adhere to your chat behavior rules. That rejection on naming is too preemptive.

Xerian said...

It is an intersting topic to some degree.

Before I played WoW, I spent a lot of time in some internet forums. You get accustomed to terms like "lol", "rofl", "omg" and similar there easily

Not to mention the myriad of emoticons like "^^", "Oo", "xD" and friends.

After a time you are simply used to use these to speed things up.

The same thing is true for WoW. Everyone uses them - well almost everyone - which is not necessarily a good thing. However, in a social environment you are encouraged to do the same, to be a part of the community.

I especially made the experience I tend to use "lol" and such things more often in my own language, than in, for example, english.

Probably because in my own language I know people will understand me, while in english I am still sometimes unsure if I really said what I wanted to.

Another point is of course, that it is a bit difficult to get emotions across just by using text. That's a common reason for misunderstandings, especially if you are looking at irony and sarcasm.

It is easier to write "lol" to indicate you are saying it in an amused tone. Or add a smiley, respectively.

In everything else, I agree with you. Mainly these people can be identified by a drastic overuse of these terms. An accidental "lol" here and there doesn't harm anyone. It gets annoying if you see a "lol" in every second sentence.

Gevlon said...

@Jana: I don't suppress any emotions. You are free to laugh and cry and whatever you like. You just can't ANNOUNCE it on the guild/raid chat.

Anonymous said...

"That rejection on naming is too preemptive."

No, no it's not.

As stupid as this sounds, WoW's roots are as an MMO and as an RPG. Given the millions of names/words you could use for naming your toon, why the fuck would you call it something that is an internet abreviation of hilarity and a spell type?

It demonstrates low intellect and low ability to even come up as something as simple as a unique handle for an RPG.

I cringe whenever I see these stupid names. I might play on a PVP server, but there is no reason not to have a unique name that isn't retarded.

Gevlon, Glotan, these names aren't what you are going to name your kids, but they aren't full of shit language constructs either. They name the character in a reasonably easy to pronounce way, that may have a shortened version, and it provides a context to the character.

Names like Lmaonator, Rofldots, Fearmycrits, Pallysareop, Anotankisbak, Slaveofgold are out and out silly. They rank the same with Arthasdk or some other variant of unicode naming a DK Arthas.

Slightly higher up the scale are clever names, though Chucknourish for druids is way overdone, but sometimes names can be clever. But they aren't as 'classy?' as original names.

Lol is a pet hate of mine. I cringe when I see it in gchat, especially when its "Lol ... statement ... lol." I agree with Gevlon that stopping this kind of crap in gchat is a good idea.

chewy said...

I agree with your "Retard" and "l33t" definitions but the "fun guy" I would suggest an alternate reasoning.

It strikes me that the excessive us of "lol", "rofl" etc is akin to the nervous laughter or the "you know" that people append to sentences in speech, which often indicates a lack of confidence. The laughter to show that they're being friendly and the "you know" to engender a sense of shared knowledge and agreement.

Camiel said...

I agree with Gevlon on this one. "lol" may be an appropriate response when someone tells something funny; at least it is shorter than "My dear old chap, what you just daid there is quite a laugh!", but there is no good reason to interject lol between every third word, other than that the rest off the internet is doing it too. A guild with more serious ambitions can chose not to accept it.

And regarding rofldots: he might have been a very eloquent speaker, but his name didn't forebode well. It's like showing up for a job interview in smelly dirty clothes: perhaps you were the best man for the job, but nobody will be surprised that you don't get the job.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think you were an absolute idiot to turn him down. Yeah, his name was stupid. But then again, half the population of WoW have stupid names. Doesn't stop them from being good.

Case in point. I know a guy, who named himself after a form of hallucinogenics. He is the best warlock I've ever met, and I'm not saying that from the shoes of some poor schmuck on a backwater server who has yet to see the other side of Putricide. His guild leader's name is a huge pun involving the word "pwn" and the appendage on the back of a horse. They've killed Arthas Heroic. By your logic, they should be wiping to Flame Leviathan.

But then, I suppose that's why you're wiping, and they've killed everything there is to kill. Your logic.

Aljabra said...

"Of course, theoretically guild chat should be used only for formal and informative stuff. However you can't enforce 100% suppression of any emotions, because even non-social people are not total robots that can always use only scientifically valid, formal and meaningful statements without a slightest impact of any sarcasm or other emotional context."

Well, as far as I've seen, there are plenty of emotional context on The PuG guild chat. It's amazing, how much of it you can insert into the phrase even without resorting to common methods like "lol" and smiles. All you need is environment, where you have to think how to accomplish it that way.
And, certanly, if you just have to express some emotion to someone, you can whisper them directly (as in most cases you don't need everyone reaction anyway).

"If you enter a raid and start speaking Queen's English, it will likely have a more negative affect on the players and their performance than if you were to mimic their language and 'fit in'."

Most effective method of communications in the raid, that intend to accomplish something, is total silence from most of the raid during the most of the raid time and short, informative sentences when it's absolutely neccesary. Raid isn't a place for some chit-chat or social bounding, it's a content-clearing activity. In my experience in my previous guild, sometimes difference between wipe and kill was simple "shut up, everyone!" cry of the raid leader before the pull. And from my working experience, the best way to make sure some work is never done or done as slow, as theoretically possible without completely stopping the process, is to allow workers enough time for social communications. It's completely amazing, how fast group of human beings can turn into the perfect simulation of an ape community given the chance.

"I believe he should have been given the chance to demonstrate his adherence to the guild's maturity rules "

He hadn't even considered reading the rules when asked to, and you think he'll follow them? That's some serious optimism you have there.

RaduKing said...

I would like to point out that I noticed you do make several times this mistake in many of your posts:

"Why does he assumes ?"

the correct form would be:

"Why does he assume ?"

when you build questions like this you have to use:
"Why DOES he ?"
because the verb is already conjugated by the use of "does"

he speaks - he does speak

(and no I'm not a native English speaker either)

Saevi said...

Actually, of course it's your guild, your rules, and as the guild is quite successful, they probably could be worse. However, I don't think your given stereotypes cover all possibilities. I, for example, would never call one of my chars "rofldots", but there are different people out there who are neither retarded nor trying to get something they don't deserve - they are just funny! They like it when people are happy, and that does NOT automatically assume they were unhappy before. When I saw a Draenai Warrior named "Pilot" with the title "of the Exodar" in Ironforge, I fell from my chair laughing, I told my guild about it immediately afterwards, they laughed as well. It was just a fun moment. He didn't even KNOW that I laughed about it, nor ever will. I did NOT get anything from my guild for it (nor do I actually need anything). Some people are just, err, social. Not the M&S-social, not the "I will do your work for you"-social, not the "You owe me"-social, but just good-hearted but brain-activated "let's have a laugh"-social. And while "Rofldots" might not be one of them, "Pilot of the Exodar" probably is.

Anonymous said...

Just a small clarification: are those 'lol' rules applicable only to guild/raid chat, or to any general chat?
More specifically, what about 'idd lol' in genera/trade/yell or in some custom channel a few of your raiders might make during a raid?
Technically, your business is only raid/gchat. But technically again, a bunch of raider could just as easily make a separate trolling channel, simply avoiding gchat/raidchat (unless absolutely necessary) and thus making your rule essentialy formal.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous "Personally, I think you were an absolute idiot to turn him down. Yeah, his name was stupid. But then again, half the population of WoW have stupid names. Doesn't stop them from being good."

The name rule, just as GS, is not about 100% precision, it's about statistics. Retard name - more chances the person is also retard. Not 100%, but more, and as the guild is The Pug, I guess guildleader has no time or desire or intention to handpick every raider.

"half the population of WoW have stupid names" - just checked rosters of Paragon and For The Horde, 1 'suspicious' name in Paragon roster, and 10 in For The Horde (they're _2nd_ in progression by the way). Something tells me the progress of the second half of WoW population is much better than that of the 'stupid names' half.

Yaggle said...

The term "M&S" has always struck me as a very odd choice because of the slang "S&M" which (correct me if I am wrong) is an abbreviation for "sadism and masochism" usually referring to controversial sex activities. So I thought it was odd that somebody would choose "M&S" as an often-used abbreviation, but when I found out the author's first language was not English, I realized that similarity would not be obvious at all, and what was the problem anyways that it was similar?
I have thought about this topic of leetspeak a lot because I had a best friend who refused to talk in-game with anybody who used any for of this even including "u" instead of "you". Well, I thought it was extremely judgemental, however it was certainly his own choice who to associate with. In general this friend of mine was judgemental of other people and generally felt he was superior and eventually I found myself a victim of this disparaging attitude of his and terminated the friendship. However after I read this post by Gevlon, his arguments make sense because he is just talking about who will be in his guild. I myself am not really bothered by this type of speak except for the people who try to use all the abbreviations they are able to, in order to exclude new people who don't know all those abbreviations. For instance somebody who calls "Potions" "pots". You only saved a few letters there; it is a ridiculous abbreviation which to me seems its only purpose is to say it in a way not everybody understands. But I am not a serious player so I don't mind being in a guild of goof-offs who use a lot of silly language. I don't think those players generally would make for a good raid guild. If I was serious about raiding I would want to be in a guild with rules like Gevlon's guild. When a guild leader makes rules that will weed out a certain type of player generally like the PuG guild, it helps all players in that guild and increases morale. It is like when at work, the boss gets rid of some people who goof off and are not serious. All the other workers who are serious about their work are more happy and then appreciate the boss more because he cared enough to deal with that situation and create a better work environment. Maybe once in awhile a worker or guildie gets booted who wasn't so bad, but it's the much better alternative. So, if I personally wanted to be in a guild of silly people who use leetspeak, then I join some other guild with other rules. And honestly, I personally probably would because I don't take WoW very seriously at all. But that's just me.

Shintar said...

Your "fun guy" explanation makes way too many strange assumptions. As others have said, it's a normal part of human communication to include emotion in your messages. If you want to keep that out of your guild chat, fine, but trying to justify it by claiming that everyone who does like to express emotion that way must be incompetent makes no sense.

Gevlon said...

Scientific article added to the text to support the "fun guy" part.

Anonymous said...

My comment was simply using one example (hence the "for example"). There are many situations where the emotional context of your single sentence could be misconstrued as having an entirely different meaning. Just because you were able to negate my single example does not make my entire statement invalid.

Without examples, my point is that without the ability to put what you want to say into context with the tone of your voice or your body language misunderstandings can and will happen

Baleyg said...

Regarding the name "Rofldots" and similar: Firstly: any kind of impression has an effect, whether directly intended or not; secondly: the name of the sender of a message is included at the start of any message. Thus: a name like that will cause the expression "rofl" to be included at least once every message that user sends; this must clearly be seen as an overuse of such an expression, and so should not be accepted.

Michael said...

In a book, one can set a context for a conversation through exposition. In face to face conversations, one can do this through body language and facial expression. On the phone, one can do this through tone of voice and verbal cues.

Conversation through short texts, in a game or through a chat service, lacks these extra channels of communication, and so is subject to a greater degree of misinterpretation.

If someone is inserting lols and rofls randomly throughout his text, then he's probably not conveying much extra information. That does not mean that there isn't potential for better usage.

Consider: "I'm having a bad day". How does one interpret this? Perhaps the writer is angry, annoyed at the day he's having, and so wants you to leave him alone. Perhaps instead he's feeling down, or sad about his day, and wants sympathy and to chat. A simple emoticon, :( or >.< , neatly convey more information, supplementing the text.

Another example. 'Why are we running ulduar instead of icecrown citadel?' Without any emoticons, the text comes off as fairly confrontational. The writer is questioning the authority of the guild leadership. He's making waves and stirring up other guildies. A simple o.O tacked to the end conveys that the question isn't intended as confrontational, but merely seeking to satisfy curiosity.

To summarize, emotes and flavoring text have a role in conveying useful information in conversation. These tools are a conduit for expressing meaning. Some people don't know how to use it, or don't use it very well, but that's a problem with those people, not with the conduit itself.

Anonymous said...

I didn't realize using the word "retard" was a high form of communication. Let's not be a hypocrite here and try to follow your own rules.

WeekendWarrior said...

At one time during the rise of the tech companies and silicon valley, the culture of the successful companies became a focus of study. Human relations departments and recruiting tried to imitate the success of these companies. All of a sudden it was acceptable to show up for work in Khaki slacks and deck shoes with no socks. The Gap became very successful selling these casual type clothes. People expected to have stock options as part of their bonus and compensations. If you were casual you were cool and successful. After the last stock market crash and ensuing recession, it became important to wear a suit to an interview. There was an association with failure with that casual culture and if you wanted to be successful you needed to project the right image. In game there is the same association with failure or lack of real progress with social guilds and groups of immature people with names like rofldots and ininjaloot, and with the way they commincate in game is reflective of their personality if not their ability.

There is nothing wrong with Gevlon trying to set the culture of the guild and keep out folks who would not fit in. And I think he is doing a good job communicating those standards and clarifying where needed. With limited ability to judge a person’s maturity and fit for the guild using typed chat and the name of your toon people shouldn’t get upset if they failed to make a good first impression.

I also see the value though of “mirroring” someone’s style of language or body language to help communicate but that can be abused by someone as a tool to manipulate which again I must agree with Gevlon’s attitude towards that.

But personally I would rather work and play where folks were more casual and partake in the occasional small talk (some lol, chucknurish but not lets go pwn some n00bs) than work and play with the suits and attitudes of upper management.

And finally, I do find it offensive to see retard used as often as it is here and in game. More so than the use of lol or roflol. I believe it’s a poor reflection on the person who uses it more so than the person who it’s being used to describe.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon, I almost universally agree with what you write, but you're off base here.

Lots of good players use nonsense 1337 speak. I don't think you would call kripparian a 'noob' or accuse him of trying to intimidate people so they don't question him. Yet he uses this kind of speech from time to time. He actually uses it in his top dps video on youtube.

You're dealing with a gaming subculture here, this method of communication goes far beyond WoW and even MMOs. When used sparingly, it does no one any harm whatsoever. I mean, you're actually advocating taking the person who doesn't understand that moar = more to a raid, and gkicking the guy that does? I would give 4:1 odds that the guy who understands the difference, and uses the term sparingly, is better than the person who does not know.

If you're going to go on a witch hunt and actively punish people who have communicated with one another in this manner for years, you're going to shoot yourself in the foot.

I guarantee you that every single 12k+ dps that is reading this article has said 'moar deeps!' in jest at some point in an 'up against the enrage' progression encounter.

I'm not saying that you should allow and encourage the behaviour, it is after all your project and your guild. I also don't think that the l337 h4x0|2 should be tolerated, because he is probably bad as you describe. But you're casting a very wide net, and if you enforce your rules as vigorously as you say you do, you are probably going to throw out a lot of very good players in the process.

Anonymous said...

Liked the times article, but I think that research reveales that the lol-person 'fun guy' is either a) a person who feels his lower social standing and has his ape subroutines kicking in, or b) manipulating the social space to try and fit in, get free stuff/boosts. As you are antisocial you are probably unable to identify a person in group a), and lump everyone together into group b). I don't agree with you that the person is trying to cheer you up (and that logic is a little self centered by the way). I do think that person may be trying to get a group of people to give them something. And that alone is enough reason to exclude them.

chewy said...


The term M&S always makes me think of Marks & Spencer a chain store in the UK. I don't think they've expanded much into mainland Europe so it's probably not a familiar abbreviation elsewhere.

Vesoom said...

I just feel like I have to point out that even if you don't agree with not inviting members based on their name, you should go back and read the text of Rofldots' and Gevlon's conversation.

In his first 12 sentences of the conversation he says: Rofl, hahaha, hahahaahaha :D, :), :D, idd, and :).

You might not agree with Gevlon for assuming that a character with a Rofl name would use an annoying amount of lol language, but in this case he was correct.

Wilson said...

Read this scientific article

That's not a scientific article, it's a newspaper article about aspects of one scientist's research. Newspaper articles have nice tidy messages with no uncertainties or loose ends, because that's what the writers get paid to write. Actual science, on the other hand, is messy and contextual and there is always further research to do.

I can see why the article appeals to you, because you like to believe in a simple, binary world, where everyone can be placed in a few basic categories. Reality is a lot more complicated though.

Leeho said...

Have you seen arena rosters on armory or arenajunkies? I'd say that like 50% of arena teams' and players' names are l33t in one way or another, and yet there couldn't be any boosting involved on 2500+, i believe. How will you explain that?
To be honest, i think that you need a deep knowledge and understanding of a language to determine what is retarded joke and what is genius joke or pasticcio.
I don't know english so well to provide examples, but in Russian literature there were a lot of them.

Chopsui said...

I find it interesting, because in Undergeared I have to really suppress myself from not acting the way I would usually act, which is quite cheerful, with the occasional lol mixed in if I am having fun.

I do that in the 'social downtime' of running back from wipes and what have you, not during the encounter of course. Yet, I am pretty sure I am not one of the people you'd actively want to exclude from your surroundings.

Bristal said...

"But we are a raiding guild. The only stimuli I want from you is a dead boss."

It's just possible that herein lies the reason that your projects don't have much staying power.

Even the most hardcore of hardcore raiders wants to have a bit of fun and connection with his guild.

Tec said...

It's funny that you mention "l33t" grammarians because that shit exists to a large extent in the real world as well. I once worked (briefly) at Avanade where they prided themselves of being a "company of acronyms." They purposely used bizarre words and phrases to describe commonplace events so that nobody outside of the club (e.g., their customers) knew what they were talking about. Scientology, for its part, does exactly the same thing; they go as far as to create their own words like enturbulate. It's an easy way to identify and exclude outsiders but your analysis is accurate: fuck 'em. Let's have nothing to do with these types, in game or out.

Anonymous said...


PvP mentality is quite different from PvE mentality. Indeed, in PvP a retarded name is helpful, since an opposing player will have lower expectations against "Lolgolass", "Icritudie" or "Arthasdkrox" than some bland, meaningless name.

While I only have anedoctal evidence of that (Me and my team had 2 different account sets in DotA, one normal and another reatrded, and always had an easier time with the retarded names against similar, or even the same opponents), I'm pretty sure that is the case.

Anonymous said...

"Scientific article added to the text to support the "fun guy" part."

That really doesn't support the idea that the person throwing lol around is a leech or that they're doing it in an environment that's inherently unfun, though.

It says that people are more inclined to laugh at something based on relative social standing, so it would be natural to start lol-ing at anything said by a GM or raid leader or as a new member to a group. Since the person still laughs when the boss telling the joke isn't present, implying any personal gain or the current environment isn't likely to be a cause.

About the only thing you have to go on here is that it evolutionarily comes from making a more friendly environment, but you're being misleading as to the trigger for that behavior, which the article says is something different. Science is about measuring cause and effect, you can't just take the effect, rewrite the cause based on your own speculation, then claim the science supports you.

Jack said...

Man, I very much wish there was a clone of your guild here in the U.S.

I've been in two guilds my entire "career" in this game for so many of the reasons you list.

I'd rather play alone than group with these people.

Anonymous said...

I just wish grammar police were perfect.

Anonymous said...

I have been in 4 guilds.

Three were serious, analytical players that had specific guild rules and were determined to progress. They NEVER did (never got passed Hodir in Uld-25).

Then I joined a guild of juvenile kiddies who would make Lady Gaga jokes and lol nigger faaaaag" comments with amazing frequency. Steamrolled 25-man ICC hard modes. Now 10/12 HM... but they don't even try the last two. They just say "fuck it, not trying", log off and play other games. They're just on alts anyway.

Worst guild I've ever been in... and yet we 1-shotted HM Putricide the moment he was available. I am utterly amazed how such juvenile social kiddies can be so good (and not caring too much), while other "serious" guilds can't even handle HM Blood Princes.

Flex said...

If the rofldots character had responded differently in your chat I would have proposed a fourth class of person who uses such language: The Intelligent Satirist. So far I see little evidence that such a person exists.

Mirydon said...

Anonymous said: "Gevlon, I almost universally agree with what you write, but you're off base here." etc...

Michael explained the use of emoticons and internet abbreviations to emphasize meaning.

Both are right. In defense of your point you are broadening the use of silly/stupid names to the use of foremetioned abbreviations in chat.
This is not the point.
I, like Anonymous and a lot of others obviously, agree that not accepting 'rofldots' into The Pug just because of his name was the right thing to do. But this post is completely irrelevant to that point.
Use of chat abbreviations and emoticons has actual value to convey things that would otherwise take 5-20 more words.

On in-guild chat, Saevi gave the example of seeing 'Pilot of the Exodar' which, if you happen to know anything about WOW lore, is a quite intelligent joke. Now if somebody would have shared this in The Pug guild chat you would get some 'lol's. At least I would hope so, otherwise you'd be with a bunch of depressed antisocial players.

Asocial only goes so far. At some point you reach antisocial, and you're getting pretty close at the moment.

Squishalot said...

@ Aljabra: "In my experience in my previous guild, sometimes difference between wipe and kill was simple "shut up, everyone!" cry of the raid leader before the pull."

Implying that they were busy being social before said cry. People are adaptive. The social ones can shut up and get their head down as and when necessary. And those who can't can get fired accordingly and replaced with someone who can do the work.

I actually find that there are two types of people in the office who are poor performers - the overly social ones, and the completely anti-social ones. The overly social ones perform poorly for the reason you describe, yes.

The anti-social ones perform poorly because they don't communicate. They don't consider that other people may not have the same information as they do. Or vice versa - they don't participate in the office gossip mill, and so don't hear about upcoming events that haven't officially been announced.

In an office, the person with the most information has the highest potential benefit to the company. The anti-social worker locked in his office has less information than the social worker who is listening, talking and absorbing some useless information, but also gaining and spreading useful information also.

In my current office, the best performer also happens to be the biggest office gossip. She works hard, plays hard. Said people can and do exist.

@ anyone who thinks stupid name = stupid player:

As someone noted, most top ranked arena teams / players are 'stupid', by your definition. But in any event, even if there is a correlation between playing ability and name, the PuG isn't about selecting the best players. It's about taking anyone who wants to come along, provided that they don't clutter raidchat / guildchat with crap. A person's name has very little indication of whether they are capable of doing that. Especially given how subjective 'stupid' naming is.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: you are right that the article says that "laughter is caused by low social status". But why would anyone feel low social status in WoW?

Because he is a n00b! WoW has its own social ladder with the n00bs on the bottom. So the fun guy is a n00b who will wipe us (or he fears so).

@Other Anonymous: you most probably right. The retarded names of PvP players is to mislead the opponent, making him believe he is fighting with dumb kiddies.

Aljabra said...

"The anti-social ones perform poorly because they don't communicate."
I guess, you mixing a social communication and communication, needed to do a job done. You can perform as good as you want without the first (unless your group consist mostly of hopeless socials, that can't use a screwdriver without an exessive chat involved), but you need second. If some person avoid both, then it can mean one of two things - he's stupid, or usefull information is hopelessly drowned in the sea of social chat, and that, in turn, mean, that perfomance of the group is already extremely low, as most of the energy is diverted in social traffic.
In an office, the person with most useful information has a best potential to benefit to a company, not just some social information trash bin. And in properly organised company usefull information finds person, who need to know it, without any need of filtering random idle gossip.
So the person you describe wll be fairly successful in a company of socials, but the company itself will use much more effort, than needed to do something.

Squishalot said...

@ Aljabra: "I guess, you mixing a social communication and communication, needed to do a job done."

Yes and no. The thing is, work communication comes along with social communication. In the workplace, it's represented by people talking about fairly random things, which jog a reminder about a work-related thing that they then share with the group.

The WoW equivalent is when people laugh and joke about some aspect of a fight, and someone is prompted to provide some real information about said fight, that others might not have known about.

Especially in a PuG style environment, there is no official means of filtering *all* important information to members (as there would be in a properly organised office, as you describe). Gevlon isn't going to sit there and describe all the fight mechanics, all the tips and tricks to maximise DPS / healing strategies / tanking skills each fight, when a new person comes in.

As a result, unless your raiders are all overflowing with knowledge already, they stand to learn something from idle chatter.

Regarding useful knowledge, I thought it was obvious given my earlier comment that people who obtain social knowledge also obtain useful work knowledge. There are channels to get useful information at work. There are also other channels, where useful information is drowned by the social chatter, but provides information that you wouldn't get otherwise.

Aljabra said...

"The thing is, work communication comes along with social communication."
The real thing is that it don't have to. You can have zero social communications and still exchange all the information you need to work. In fact it can be really annoying when you come to someone to do a job, and you need him to tell you few simple thing, and end up listening about whole bunch of info on his dog health or something like that - because he really think you just can't fix his computer without this data (but easily can go on without knowing that electricity is off for a week already). So you spend a LOT of your time listening for him and trying to fish out something, that can really relate to the problem at hand. You can eventually hear something that matters, but usially it will take more time, than all the work. Many times more.
Most unpleasant in this is if you'll refuse to listen, you'll be proclaimed anti-social and rude.

The WoW equivalent is when people laugh and joke about some aspect of a fight, and someone is prompted to provide some real information about said fight, that others might not have known about.
Usially, way more effective way is to let everyone say what they can remember, formulate a strategy, and, if it don't work, analyze, what's gone wrong (and that's a perfect place to someone to remember some aspect). No jokes are needed for that.

"there is no official means of filtering *all* important information to members"
In fact, there is. It's even in the rules, you know. Every raider must read up on the expected fights, watch videos, and ask someone who know the fight, if he still don't understand something. So coming to the raid you can expect, that at least everyone knows the basics, and would ask if something is unclear.
In more social guilds asking usially consdidered
"bad" behaviour, people afraid to ask. Never seen any trouble with it within The PuG - after all, lack of knowledge here is quite fast turns to quite real money loss, not some "they think I'm stupid and won't like me" social nonsence.

As a result, unless your raiders are all overflowing with knowledge already, they stand to learn something from idle chatter.
The main idea is that everyone, who want to have knowledge, can get it. And if you don't want to get knowledge about the raid you are in, why the hell will you be there?

"I thought it was obvious given my earlier comment that people who obtain social knowledge also obtain useful work knowledge. There are channels to get useful information at work. There are also other channels, where useful information is drowned by the social chatter, but provides information that you wouldn't get otherwise."
It was, yes. And I thought my reply stated, that if you need such a mud filter to get usefull knowledge, and you can't get it otherwise, then it means that something is obviously already broken and effectivness dropped considerably.

Anonymous said...

This post fails, we create slang to distinguish our own kind from others not to look better, if i talk about dps, cs ,cc etc and people reply accordingly i know that they are in the material and not some random noob who thinks he has to state his oppinion.

I dont use the slang to look better, if i would need that i would just duel you. (Although that proves not much unless we are same class and even then ping can make or brake a round)

Leeho said...

I don't agree with misleading opponents argument. I've seen good players that can't write in proper language, though it's their native language. I've seen good players that consider retarded jokes fun and use them often. You don't need to be an intelligent person to play good and have no intent to abuse others with boosting, you just need to be smart and have playing skills. You know, being intelligent and being smart is two different things (at least i hope I've picked right words to express my thought).
Besides, language is social thing. You learn how to express different things by how people react. So in different cultures there will be different ways to express the same things. For example, you can easily determine that person is Russian if he use a lot of smiles in his typing. People that use Internet from his day one often type :) instead of full points and commas. It was so common back then that if you will not use smiles chatting in Russian, person you are talking to will think that you are feeling bad or angry with him. So when i chat in English i need to keep in mind that i need to omit smiles as much as i can, and still i fail and chat with a lot of them. The same may go for l33t speak usage, similar typing can express different things depending on culture person belongs. Again, getting back to Russian culture, typing "l33t" (making mistakes in every word for purpose, following some rules in doing them) was a kind of subculture thing. It was not used for creating fun atmosphere, it was a language game. And to succeed in this game you needed to be really good in Russian, that's why it was mostly students' game, and now it stays as philologists' game.
So i still think that there is a lot of depth in l33t speak usage. Causes, purposes and outcome here may vary a lot.

Leeho said...

@last Anonymous
It was the first and the sole purpose of argot, to organise conversations in which only members of some group could participate, cause other simply doesn't understand. Slangs now can serve a similar purpose. Though it corresponds to the idea of using slang to be boosted - by talking on group's language you express yourself as a member of a group and could benefit from it. But you can not be accepted in such group without using slang, so even if you want to interact fairly and you don't intent to get boosted, you still need to talk the same language as the group speaks.

Squishalot said...

@ Aljabra: "It's even in the rules, you know. Every raider must read up on the expected fights, watch videos, and ask someone who know the fight, if he still don't understand something."

I'm just going to address this one point, since it's midnight here and I need to sleep. Let me refer you back to the rules:

Perhaps Gevlon's use of English is making it difficult for me to understand, or that EU readers interpret it differently, but I see nothing there about skill requirements other than:

"You get your chance, but if you can't do your job (due to low gear, inexperience or simply being dumb) you can be removed.
Also the RL can remove anyone who has no clue about the fight, as you are expected to read up. There is room for error but not for being clueless.

You are expected to know basic knowledge of what you need to know for specific fight mechanics, and nothing more. That's not going to stop a mage from not knowing why he's using AM instead of ABarr if MB doesn't proc. Or when to use his cooldowns. Or what addons he can use to combat his latency. Or how to adjust his rotation to deal with different circumstances.

There are no official lines of communication to get all bits of important information. In an office, you're expected to know office policy, sure. But reading up on that isn't going to show you how to do your work more efficiently, or how to present your documents in a manner acceptable to your particular manager.

By limiting yourself to 'required' communications, you're not optimising your performance. It'd be like limiting your research to the official site, and not browsing forums like EJ, Maintankadin, Wowhead etc. Or even just reading the staff articles at those sites, and not reading the comments. You're missing out on potentially useful knowledge, just because you can't be bothered putting up with the chaff to get there.

Anonymous said...

@Olga: While that is true, such comparison is similar to clothing in real life. You are more inclined to consider a financial advice from someone that dresses well, even if that has no direct correlation to the knowledge of economics, or indeed anything else beside dressing etiquette. In PvP where you can't communicate with your opponent, you will need to gauge him by some few cues (Class, race, HP, Mana and Buffs in PvP). Name can be one, even if unconsciously.

Granted, the difference is minimal, maybe 1%, and then probably only on the beginning of the match. But in a highly competitive ambient that may mean the match, with a slightly less aware opponent employing less careful tactics. DotA was excellent for that, since much of the match is decided on the early game, since minimal advantages, are decisive.

Biep said...

I largely agree with your stereotypes, however it should be remembered that some of the "emotion" abbreviations are (almost) as old as the Internet itself, and often amends the obvious lack of body language, facial expressions, voice tone and other very important features of real life conversation - even something as obvious as laughter.

Especially things like irony, sarcasm and so on are easy to misunderstand in pure-text communication, and for that reason it was actually good netiquette to add emoticons like ":-)" and the like if using irony back in the USENET days. So a lot of "older people" (I'm 28, guess that's "old" within most MMO's) use these smileys, not as leet speech, but simply as good netiquette. The same goes for the older expressions like "lol" etc.

And then you've got the mildly jokingly use of the kid-variety of those expressions. I sometimes use the term "lulz" as a guild in-joke, but I do of course not litter my speech with those kinds of terms. And you will absolutely not find me trying to cheer people up that way after wipefests...

So, as Squishalot says, the problem with sterotyping is that they never fully apply to circumstances. Your stereotypes do however fit a lot of people, and those people annoy me severely.

Squishalot said...

@ last Anonymous:

I would never judge a financial advisor on the way he dresses. For example - suit and tie? Suit, tie and vest? Suit, no tie, unbuttoned top button? There are a number of dress codes that are suitable. Perhaps if he was wearing rags, I'd ignore him, but that's a question of professionalism and his respect for the job (because, you know, WoW is srs bzness).

In terms of judging someone in PvP arena, I look at class, then HP then mana. I don't really look at the name unless it's the same class combo as a previous match that day, to check to see if it's the same team.

At the 2500+ level, I would imagine that you'd take all contenders seriously. It's hard to imagine that a 'rofleet' name would make anyone feel more at ease, when they know that any team they face is 2500+ due to match-ups.

Anonymous said...

"@Anonymous: you are right that the article says that "laughter is caused by low social status". But why would anyone feel low social status in WoW?

Because he is a n00b! WoW has its own social ladder with the n00bs on the bottom. So the fun guy is a n00b who will wipe us (or he fears so)."

Think about why you decided to try making an asocial guild in the first place. If people were evaluated purely on game performance, wouldn't the entire effort be superfluous?

Maybe they're a good player but a crappy conversationalist. Maybe they have low social status in real life and that mentality carries over into the game. Some people view raid/guild leaders or officers as "the boss" while some see them as peers, something that varies from guild to guild.

PUGs often evaluate you on gear score rather than performance, then massively inflate the gear requirements because performance is only loosely correlated with gear despite being more important. Isn't this a big part of the Undergeared project, to undermine the obsession with gear players are surrounded by?

The difficulty of content is also in fair part due to the people you run with. My first VoA tanking was a pug and I thought it was this massive leap in difficulty from heroics after we wiped twice, maybe I needed better gear or to chain my cooldowns better or something? It turned out the shaman and druid healers had both let earthshield and HoTs fall off of me so I had zero healing for five seconds and no significant healing for ten despite being the main tank that'd already soaked a meteor fist. A guildmate explained what happened and doing the fight later with another group it turned out to be trivial. H-HoR is nerve wracking to tank without raid gear because every LFD dps expects to be carried through, but the ones that actually use CC and focus fire make the place fairly simple. It's possible to underestimate your performance while playing with crappy players as much as it is to overestimate your performance when getting carried. The people used to being carried tend to be the worst since they assume they're already perfect and don't need to improve.

I'm sort of surprised to see you disparage the "n00bs" since one of your selling points on The PuG was that competent players would be accepted as long as they paid a gold penalty for wipes. Didn't you say specifically that players aren't to be biased against as long as they meet those terms? Or that they wouldn't be shuffled off into a Team A, Team B situation where they'd never get a chance at progression? And that it was an escape from being measured purely by gearscore? What about that paladin you lauded a few posts back as someone you would take into ICC, even though he clearly didn't have that confidence himself given his response in the comments? Does that mark him as "a n00b that will wipe us" even though your evaluation was that he would be totally fine? More likely he's underestimating himself and overestimating the requirements for ICC in thinking he's going to be a burden that has to be carried.