Saturday, September 5, 2009

Rant Day: Social, M&S, and Other BS!

So, I am a pretty laid back guy I think. I know kind of funny for me to say that with a weekly series where I rant about things that get on my nerves right? So this week I had written up my non-ranting post and published it and was very happy with it. However I want to take a look at a trend that I am seeing creeping up on more and more blogs. I was going to wait to publish this for next Saturday, but I honestly could not allow myself to wait till then to post it. What is it? You cannot tell by the title? Okay, enough sarcasm, it tends to lose it's humor when writing anyway. So, I want to talk a little bit about this new attitude that is creeping up all over the place in all sorts of blogs, which is a form of elitism.

Elitism?

Why would you say elitism? I mean there is a lot of things that I could focus on in my weekly rant, but I have just been aggravated by one too many bloggers who tend to feel that they are a gift to the rest of the world. I realize that we all have to have some sort of ego to want to blog. That we are all bound by feeling that we are experts in what it is that we are speaking of. However, as of late there are more and more of us in the blogging community who are using terms like "social" and "M&S". I realize that we all have our own writing style and we all make personal decisions on how best to present our arguments, but it is getting a little ridiculous now days.

Let's take a look at the word elitism though and what it means. Our good friends over at Wikipedia tend to describe elitism as:

Elitism is the belief or attitude that those individuals who are considered members of the elite—a select group of people with outstanding personal abilities, intellect, wealth, specialized training or experience, or other distinctive attributes—are those whose views on a matter are to be taken the most seriously or carry the most weight or those who view their own views as so; whose views and/or actions are most likely to be constructive to society as a whole; or whose extraordinary skills, abilities or wisdom render them especially fit to govern. Alternatively, the term elitism may be used to describe a situation in which power is concentrated in the hands of the elite. Those opposed to elitism are considered supporters of anti-elitism, populism or the political theory of pluralism. Elite theory is the sociological or political science analysis of elite influence in society - elite theorists regard pluralism as a Utopian ideal.

Elitism may also refer to situations in which an elite individual assumes special privileges and responsibilities in the hope that this arrangement will benefit humanity or themselves. At times, elitism is closely related to social class and what sociologists call social stratification. Members of the upper classes are sometimes, though inaccurately, known as the social elite. The term elitism is also sometimes used to denote situations in which a group of people claiming to possess high abilities or simply an in-group or cadre grant themselves extra privileges at the expense of others. This form of elitism may be described as discrimination. Such elitism has social psychological consequences.

I find the second part of this definition to be of interest, "This form of elitism may be described as discrimination." I point this out because way too many of us are giving the impressions that we are the best at what we do, which is not wrong. The part that is wrong is where we send an underlying message that gives the impression that if you disagree with us, it is because you lack the knowledge and experience that we possess and therefor must be wrong and at a lower level or social class.
Social Players

Recently the term "social player" has become more and more common place on many different blogs. I am bothered by this as it is implying that these "social players" are not very good at the game, at least according to the standards that are being conveyed within the blogging community. I am all for pointing out areas where someone can improve; however, I do not think that you will motivate people by making them feel like a second class citizen. I also do not feel that any of us have earned the right to classify anyone else in a lower class of play as I have not come across very many bloggers who are in the top guild on their server with confirmed server firsts, much less world firsts.

However, many of us refer to those top rated players as being "hardcore". Do you see where I am going with this? I think we would be better off to drop the social tags when playing a game and focus back on the aspects of the game. It is fine to have an opinion about something, but if we must step on other individuals to confirm our opinion, are we truly interested in an open and earnest debate or are we more interested in having someone tell us that we are correct and that we right? No one likes to be made to feel inferior. I think we owe it to ourselves and our readers to express our opinions, but not at the expense of our credibility. When we resort to posting images of conversations we hold with other players in order to mark them as a "M&S" or "social" player we lose the aspect of attempting to assist players, but rather begin to discriminate against them.

I think it is a very fine line we dance with and I would urge us all to be mindful of this in the future and treat others as we would like to be treated. This is not a "social" opinion or an "elitist" opinion, but rather a simple request from a regular person who loves to read insights of others into a game that I enjoy playing. When we bog down our blogs with posts with nothing but belittlement and embarrassment of others; we are ourselves, beginning to show how small minded we really are.

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