Lead Dragon Age Writer on Bioware Forum’s “Toxic Environment”
Gaider was replying to a question that asked if he was aware of how many people avoided the BSN “like the plague,” referencing how “utterly gross the people there tend to be.” While Gaider was too polite to agree with the “utterly gross” aspect, he did agree “that the overall tone of the forums has become increasingly toxic.” He explained that he avoids the forums these days because of the negativity, saying:
“Because spending too much time there starts to make me feel negative— not just about the games we make, but about myself and life in general. That’s not a good feeling to have.”
Anyone who has visited a fan forum knows that “feedback” — and I use the term loosely — can often come in the form of unjustified (and borderline psychotic) personal attacks. Gaider went on to address the fact that constructive and insightful comments can be found among the ruckus, but that they are few and far between. He said:
“And I’m sure there are also people there who would say that there’s plenty of useful, thoughtful feedback. Not all of it consists of angry ranting. You can, in fact, meet and talk to some very keen and intelligent posters. And that’s very true. If it weren’t true, I wouldn’t go there at all. Yet the signal-to-noise ratio does seem to be worsening, and eventually you get the feeling like you’re at one of those parties where all anyone is doing is bitching. It doesn’t matter what they’re bitching about so much as, sooner or later, that’s all you can really hear.”
How does he deal with forum-posters that attack him?
“Best to take a breath, smile and remember there are a lot of really genuine, positive people to talk to. People who challenge you in a way that doesn’t make you feel worse about yourself. You should surround yourself with them the same way you’d surround yourself with such people in real life.”