I am convinced people on Neogaf just want to be right. They discuss not because they want things to improve. Think about it, what’s the end game of a discussion? Every serious discussion I had is to find a solution or to share my thoughts along with wanting the stuff to improve or at least reach a compromise at worst. This is why things that you shouldn’t do if you want a great discussion is be passive aggressive or dismiss anyone’s opinion. It’s ok to dismiss opinions you deemed idiotic if you don’t want to challenge it(because you know it’s a waste of time or whatever), but when you do challenge it, be 100% sure that you try to understand where the other party comes from and why they said what they said.

Their reasoning might be because of their background , their personal belief, the lack of information, pure ignorance or whatever but I assure you that you will have a better understanding of where they are coming from so you can have a healthy discussion and make sure you are not both just arguing on entirely different shit. That will solve most shouting matches that generally boil down to “A is saying X under context Y while B contends it with Z under context U”. It’s a fucking waste of time because you will realize that X under context Y makes as much sense as Z under context U and you are both actually agreeing with each others but yet still arguing for no reason. Also, never had the I am right but everyone is wrong attitude.

Take the neogaf Fire Emblem Fate Conversation Localization thread for example. First, I would ignore the fact that this “discussion” happened a few months ago and everything was played out in almost the exact way. I will also ignore  your usual suspects repeating the same trite under similar topic while generally just being passive aggressive. I will triple ignore that they have similar discussions almost every time something politically incorrect came out and it all ended with tons or circular arguments and repetitions. Barring all that, I would just say the same old mantra that there’s no wrong opinion and everyone from all the sides actually make logical points.

The side of this is just anime silly hijinks is correct, and the side of drawing parallel to drugging is correct as well. The side of this isn’t that serious and the side of this is fucking serious are both agreeable too. In fact, I will go as far as saying that those who make censorship comments had a point too. I don’t think they are all arguing about the actual content that was changed but more of whether is it even necessary to  change the contents.That’s a great point to discuss but too bad, it all got shot down as “creepers want their anime and the stuff changed is all bullshit so nothing of value is lost” because they didn’t articulate it well.

The only reason why I think I know where they are coming from is because I have similar thoughts too. Firstly, I  disagree with the notion that by allowing stuff to exist means you actually condoning or encouraging what you disagree with.Secondly I will contest the motivation of needing to amend any content regardless of it being questionable. That’s something I am not willing to give in because I am paranoid that people can always make reliable decisions even though the track record for now is still pretty ok. Things, no matter how questionable, should exist. It’s dangerous to just simply accept the removal of any content based on today’s climate because it’s too volatile. For example, changing pub to cafe in Final Fantasy games looks absolutely dumb and unnecessary now even though I am sure it makes sense back then. You can ask me why does it matter if it affects nothing and I can ask you why change it if it doesn’t affect anything. It will just go in circular because we are both correct unless we have actual statistics and data analysis on proving how one way is better or worse than the other.

Now you can ask me why the amendment of lines with questionable content such as drugging characters will be a bad idea 10 years down the road? I can tell you that maybe 5 years down the road, we realize that it’s good that these questionable writings exist so we can have data to analyse how regular folks can detach fantasy from reality or how they did or didn’t make the connections. We can also analyse how the general public reacts to it and why they reacted the ways they react. It’s good data for the studies of societal trends and psychoanalysis of how regular folks think. It’s also not that big of a deal actually.

On the other hand, changing  questionable content allows said content to be more accessible in a way that it wouldn’t trigger bad memories for a certain subset of people. It’s the call for empathy and providing safe space for those who had bad experience. For those who aren’t triggered, I know that even though I said I can easily look pass material I don’t agree with, and honestly don’t see any harm in it , but clearly not everyone has the same view points. They have great points of demanding higher standard of writing and cannot in good faith enjoy things they find questionable. I don’t have their experience so I can in no way be authoritative about it and say they are overly sensitive because I am not an asshole.I understand that acceptance and providing a welcoming safe space is what we need now and the media we consumed is a good tool to illustrate that acceptance.

This is the struggle I actually have. My pragmatic self think that you can be a better, happier man if you don’t let things bother you. I also think people are entirely capable of  detaching themselves from fiction like how we managed to have lots of fun committing overblown unjustified violence in video games. It’s also unreasonable to demand everything to elevate to a higher standard because Sturgeon’s law states that 90% of things are mediocre.

Then on the other side, I have my emphatic self where I know people are different and have different sets of value. I also understand that an insult is always an insult even if don’t think it’s one. So if people find that a story contains questionable stuff,it’s reasonable to treat it as an insult if they perceived it so.

I think this struggle is akin to questions like “why hate speech should/shouldn’t be banned” where you can find different but valid view points when you read up on it so there’s no correct answer.

This is a good jump off point to go back to the neogaf discussion. If everyone is correct, who is wrong then? The answer is no one and the conclusion we can come out with is to agree to disagree, but that’s not what happened right? What happen is everyone is saying the same shit and making the same points over and over again. There are lots of I am right, you are wrong going on. There’s a lot of “YOU THINK DATE RAPE IS GOOD, LET ME LEAVE SOME SNARKY  MOCKING COMMENT ON HOW TERRIBLE YOU ARE” going on. There are lots of subjective non insightful stuff about ethnics going on. Finally, there the are entirely irrelevant off topics one liners such as “Fire Emblem had gone down hill”, “I don’t like Nowi”, “anime is all trash going on”.

Now I think about it, this forum is trash if you access it objectively. I think I am reading it out of some kind of perversion or something; to see and tell myself  how people care too much about irrelevant shit while I myself am irrelevantly writing/tweeting to empty air because there’s some kind of void I need to fill.

What should happened is 4 pages of 4 points made and everyone agree to disagree. We can also voiced our opinion to the creators by outlining to them why it might not be a good idea to write what they wrote and hope they can improve it by making them aware of it while assuring them that they aren’t a bad person for writing what they wrote.  I think  assurance is important. I don’t understand how people can empathize with the minority but can’t understand why aggressive harsh language to highlight questionable stuff make people leap to the conclusion that you are implying that they are a bad person.

Sure, it’s irrational and it’s a leap in logic but people are wired like that. It’s evidence by creators panicking when you ask them question like that and they give seemly weak defense. This is what happens and make things look worse than it really is when it’s entirely avoidable if you use softer tone and don’t come at it so aggressively. It’s also why the first gut reaction when you point out a game/anime is sexist is “I am not a sexist!”. This is reality and it’s not possible to educate everyone to think rationally. It’s  also a waste of time and energy to give them that “no no, I am not talking about you! I am just giving advice.” regiment after things got heated and a bunch of nonconstructive arguments had happened. Empathy should be for everything, it’s so easy to avoid all that shenanigans by prefacing the reassurance that you are not really insulting them. I have no idea why people can’t for their life understand and do just that.Also, don’t give me bullshit about how you want them to learn the hard way because what you get instead is high chance of pissing them off and them not willing to listen to reason as evidence by so many angry “I am not sexist so I don’t see anything sexist” then turning a deaf ear reactions out there.

Doing that makes me question your real intention of initiating the question/challenge in the first place, especially so when it obvious from time to time that people react badly when you do it in that certain way. Doesn’t help when you continue it with more mocking and passive aggressiveness like people are idiots for not agreeing with you. This is what grinds my gears in neogaf because a lot of people do just exactly that! It makes me question their intention because it definitely felt like white-knighting and bullying because they dish up aggressive hyperbolic paragraphs just because they hold the moral high ground. It makes matter worse when members who post tactless politically incorrect comments are greeted with tons of dog-piling and a ban. It’s acceptance they are preaching, but acceptance consist of forgiving and having the patience to educate, not snarky dog piling and judgmental dismissals. That’s a terrible attitude which I don’t agree with and it reminds me  of the whole psychological make up of internet lynch mob mentality.

Internet lynch mob mentality is disgusting and assholish because it dishes out punishments that are way more severe than what people deserved for petty wrong; an obviously tactless racist tweet definitely doesn’t deserve retrenchment, harassment and entirely reductive dismissal of being a terrible person not welcome anywhere. Sure, the lynch mob taught them a lesson, but in the worst way possible. Worse when things might just turn out to be baseless accusation or misunderstanding. This is why innocent until proven guilty is the quintessential value we need to understand to stop internet vigilantism like these from happening.

If you preach empathy, then show some empathy. I assure you that more often than not, some of these people who post racist tweet did it out of ignorance and are all actual regular folks who may be kind and responsible citizens. I know because everyone around me says racist/sexist shit unknowingly all the time. My 50+ years old parents does that, the nice auntie selling vegetable does that, a lot of of peers and friends do it too without realizing it. Hell, lots of celebrities say dumb politically incorrect shit all the time. However, they are all nice responsible people that do more good than harm. If you get out of your internet echo chamber, it’s not that difficult to realize how people usually works. The evidences are so pronounced; how people usually behave is not how they should be, but what they really are. Donald J Trump score 30% in the poll and that is the perfect proof how people generally aren’t rational but you can’t in good faith say they are living wrong because they have pretty ok life anyway. Understand that this is reality and devise ways to educate them, not attacking them by hurling insults/dismissal for their faults or hope they all magically become rational by thinking they are all idiots. When you realize that, I don’t see how you are comfortable in demonizing someone based on a single tweet. Always give benefit of doubt, that’s what being a good person means and something I always try to keep in mind because I have to admit I am way too judgmental sometimes.

Just to preempt all the counter arguments I can think of, I am not defending their actions(referring to racist tweet) but I don’t think by telling me how I am just victim blaming and defending actions of bigots help in anyway. This is reality and how our society unfortunately works. I think a more peaceful and softer approach works better than a overly aggressive one. Articulating your points while being respectful and leaving no hints of vicious attack is the best way of doing it. Sarcasm, mocking and demanding won’t work. Stephen Colbert perfected the highest form of sarcastic mocking with satire and but did you see him changing anyone’s mind? I only seeing preaching to the choir and convincing people that are already convince. It’s good satire, intelligent material and excellent art but  I don’t think it’s an effective or persuasive educational tool.

I also don’t subscribe to the notion of an eye for an eye. Just imagine this, if the blacks aren’t magnanimous like they are and demand an eye for an eye, things will just go into perpetual vicious cycle. People are more often good than bad so they can be reasoned with. Have some faith in them, man.