Guest Editorial by Gene: Elitism and Community

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Gene brings us a guest editorial.

Community is an interesting factor when it comes to hobbies, especially in the competitive circuit. Many of us will belong to a forum, a Facebook group, occasionally multiple of these things. We go to local stores, we travel to large events, we all pay great deals of money to gain access to these “clubs”, so to speak. Each of us has a different goal with how we play, for some they enjoy paining, and the hobby aspect. Others prefer the competitive aspect, and purely wish to do battle with our opponents and prove who the greater general is, and to win glory and prizes.

There comes a time, however, where it is necessary for us to be able to reflect on our own actions as players, on our attitudes and the way we approach our own community we belong to, have built, and hope to grow.

In my past few years I’ve spent growing, and joining this community and this hobby as a whole, I’ve seen all sorts of players; many fitting the bill we’ve listed above. I’ve also seen this not very hidden, darker side of how people tend to act towards one another. Forum posts are nasty, lists are mocked, Facebook groups are filled with casual insults and in some instances posts are made purely to mock the choices of others, or their shortcomings.

Where do we acknowledge toxic attitudes? Where to we draw the line at “boys will be boys”, or “competitive salt”? Is it at players being short, and slightly rude at tables? Is it at mocking people’s choices, or questions? Is it when people are calling people autistic in posts, or on pages?

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We’re all working forward, together, for similar goals. Our love of the hobby is not identical, but it is similar. Attacking other players is detrimental, and while it is easy for a select few at the top to interact and plan with others at the same level, does it justify them actively looking down on players? From a competitive sort, I’m sure one could make that argument. However, from a social standpoint? I find that less likely.

We’re at a point where GW is growing, and is engaging in events and in social media, models are selling at higher rates, where twitch is livestreaming tournaments and games, and where Warhammer is such a familiar name that even things as silly as PETA make absurd calls to decry it.

Our community is growing. With that comes new faces, and brings back old. Do we allow ourselves to alienate, and to decry members of the community who could have helped make it great, or do we allow ourselves to stagnate and justify the judgement?

I believe in the community, and I believe each one of us is better than mocking our own members. I believe we’re better than being toxic.

This is no call to action over people joking around, this is no virtue signaling and demanding we all speak only about bunnies and flowers.

This is a plea for civility, and for us to acknowledge when someone takes things too far. For us to stand up, together, for a common goal of growing our community. More people, more people filling up those middle tables, makes all our events bigger. Do you want to be the one that contributes to us moving backwards?

I don’t.

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About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

8 Responses to “Guest Editorial by Gene: Elitism and Community”

  1. Michael Corr
    Michael Corr April 27, 2017 6:41 am #

    Some very interesting points worth considering. From a personal viewpoint, I find that forums tend to range towards the more negative aspects of commenting. I stopped visiting them and posting on them after a while due to a lot of the posts turning into 20-page arguments where the original point was long ago lost.

    I read a lot of gaming blogs and comment on those. These tend to be a lot nicer, as generally people are genuinely interested in giving and receiving advice or having sensible discussions.

    I also have to applaud the comments and commenters on Frontline. It is very rare that you get people trolling or saying things like “this article is rubbish” without any context or offering ways to improve.

    Unfortunately, 40k is still very much a “boys club”, so you occasionally do get clubs or tournaments with those sorts of jokes or attitudes, but it has been rare for me, luckily.

    • Cephalobeard April 27, 2017 8:59 am #

      Blogs, mostly, have been a great escape from that attitude. Part of my putting this out there was a real concern, and a rallying cry for us to grow together. We have some real potential with 40k to become something more, something bigger, especially with GW being more involved.

      I think part of that comes with some level of introspection.

  2. fluger April 27, 2017 8:49 am #

    Well said.

    • Cephalobeard April 27, 2017 9:01 am #

      Thanks!

  3. Chandler April 27, 2017 8:51 am #

    Unfortunately there are lots of toxic communities out there, especially online. I don’t want to name specific ones, but we all know what they are. The best bet is to avoid them. As to toxic clubs that are face to face, the only thing you can do is just not associate with them.

    That said, we as “guys” in this hobby tend to rib each other. I mean, in all social aspects in life that is the case. Any social thing you do, chances are your friends spend a great deal of time ribbing you about something. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is toxic.

    • Cephalobeard April 27, 2017 9:04 am #

      I think ribbing is entirely natural. I joke pretty heartily with my friends. I was more meaning to point out the line between joking with a buddy, and calling some guy names and mocking choices that they may not have known better for.

      Joke with your buddies, all day every day. 100%.

      Don’t mock the random guy trying to get better.

  4. Cephalobeard April 27, 2017 9:00 am #

    Thanks for using my write up, guys!

    Community is a really important part of this hobby to me; that doesn’t always mean just your local scene, but our ability to share that common bond. Part of that is doing the age old method of staying excellent to one another.

  5. WestRider April 27, 2017 1:25 pm #

    Yep. More people need to remember Wheaton’s Rule: Don’t be a dick. Seems like it shouldn’t be too hard to follow, but some people really have trouble with it for whatever reason. I run into them every now and then, and just feel like “Chill, dude. We’re grown-ass adults playing with toy soldiers. There’s no need to bring that kind of negativity in here.” Thank you!

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