Dr. Alok Kanojia (Dr. K) is a streamer, psychiatrist, and gamer with Healthy Gamer, a group dedicated to helping people overcome gaming addiction and gaming related issues. Recently, during a streamed session with Alinity, they delved into the topic of internet hate and the gaming community.
Alinity talks about being the recipient of internet hate
Alinity has been targeted by large swaths of the gaming community for doing things on her stream that were “mistakes” as she put it. If you’re reading this, you likely already know what she is referring to by this, and I have no desire to make this article dwell upon them so if you must know feel free to check online, it’s not hard to find out why.
But for Alinity, she talks about how she feels she is unable to move past those mistakes, and the point made here is valid. Nobody is good all the time, and most people have the luxury of not being defined solely by a few critical low points in their lives, but for many streamers that luxury is not available to them.
Whether or not Alinity has become a better person than her past self is irrelevant because the online gaming community does not seem to want to find out.
Alinity Feuds with PewDiePie
One of the biggest sources the targeted internet hate against Alinity is that it was, in part, fueled by PewDiePie. Perhaps one of the biggest pitfalls of the internet is that those with influence over the community do not earn that influence due to their ability to wield it responsibly. For PewDiePie, it is entirely fair to say that his success enables him to put significant pressure on anyone he wants, whether justified or not.
Internet hate, as a result, lingers long after whatever caused it, and places an undue strain upon anyone who receives it.
Therapy, self improvement, and being internet famous
At the end of the day, the kind of problems with the internet gaming community are not unique. These are the kinds of problems which present themselves in any community which lacks the maturity to exist without drama. Perhaps among gamers the process of maturing will take longer, as gaming appeals more strongly to younger individuals, but like all mediums maturation will happen with time.
But Alinity and other recipients of internet hate shouldn’t have to wait for that maturation process to continue.
Gate-keeping, self-policing, and what does the internet gaming community owe to itself
Communities are often defined not just by what kinds of content is a part of it but also what kinds of content is excluded. A Handmaid’s Tale, regardless of its accolades, will never be accepted as a part of gaming culture simply because it does not meet even the basic criteria for being considered a game, for example.
But many members of the internet gaming community are over eager to gate-keep content often due to that content fitting or not fitting criteria which they feel should exclude it from the community. Although not the only reason, this is certainly one source of the internet hate received by Alinity.
This particular issue is something which commonly targets women in the community, as many immature members believe being a woman, or exhibiting certain feminine traits, should automatically exclude someone and their content from the community.
People who appoint themselves gate-keepers will frequently also give themselves the responsibility of policing their own communities. This communal self-policing, however, is frequently overzealous and slow to forgive.
For Alinity, the fact that the community has decided to make her pay indefinitely for those mistakes is an eternal sentence that no legitimate system would accept. There is a reason that most modern countries consider someone’s debt to society paid after serving a sentence
How can the internet gaming community grow?
Communal maturation begins with individual maturation. It is a conscious effort of more matured members helping the less mature develop, and refusing to tolerate the failings of the underdeveloped.
A few things we need to remember as gamers, it is not every person’s job to hold every other person accountable, whether they're a public figure like Alinity or not. When mistakes are made, as with Alinity, they can be referred to the appropriate authorities on the matter. After which an individual’s involvement should be finished; vigilantism is not an acceptable or legitimate form of communal justice.
And not liking someone’s content does not mean that content is not a part of your community. Just because something doesn’t appeal to you doesn’t mean it is your duty to remove that content from your group. Part of being a community means accepting that other people will have different ideas about what counts as valid content.Published 16 Aug 2020, 23:30 IST