I love a good flame war. Back in the day in Everquest we called them NAG, Nearly Anything goes posts. In WoW we had our own community forums long before the official ones went up. The best read threads were always the juicy fights, the name and shames.
My forum personality is split though.
On certain forums Rugby and Theorycraft I tend to be civil, conscientious helpful. On class specific forums I tend to approach things the same. I am all for the sharing of information and knowledge and these forums allow that (not that I don’t get distracted)
But in certain Threads my better angels take a vacation, temptation rears its head and I am quite happy to dive right in. Sometimes its goading an individual that is ripe for harvest so that his rage explodes across his keyboard ( I am disturbingly talented at this). Another is catching someone talking about a subject they haven’t a clue about and slowly illustrating their ignorance. My favourite of these was a poster pontificating on Alexander the Great’s military tactics on which I based one of my Masters Degrees.
My personality in MMO’s suffers a similar spilt, in PvE I am calm(relative term) and in PvP I am consumed with passions. In PvE I think I would be characterised as helpful .I enjoy getting angry, I enjoy the stress of close games and I love banter across vent as the game gets hectic and tempers rise. It makes the victories sweeter. Fortunately while I burn hot I don’t burn long. In fact I can switch back to normal mode pretty handily. On the other side I can often be the peace broker between others,
These various personalities are similar to the real me (does the real me write this?) but they are different too.
Lots has been said about how the anonymity of the internet allows us to do what we may not normally do.
I think the more interesting question is why we create the personalities we create. Why will I goad someone on a forum? Why will I get real pleasure for destroying my foe in a PvP battle?
Is it is simple as releasing the demons we normally keep hidden? I am not sure it’s merely about letting go. In some way that is too passive, I don’t open the cage and let them out. I create and polish them and while they are similar it’s their differences that make me wonder. My forum persona can be the most vicious. I looked at some posts I made over 4 years ago and I was surprised and some of it.
I think back to some of the arguments I have had over vent, some raging screaming matches.
The thing is, I don’t have many regrets. I enjoy the rough and tumble of debate and if it gets rambunctious and frays at the edges, so be it. We live in a such a victim culture that it might do us no harm to push the edge out as adults. Its no harm to be passionate, there are too many grey men and John Majors in MMO’s. They are more holier than thou hypocrites in games and games forums than at an abstinence rally.
So by all means create you own persona, at least have one
I can take it, can you?