Tuesday, 10 March 2015

The Internet Will Rage

There is a common defence bought up by proponents of things being criticised on the internet that tries to dismiss the critics as mindless rage bots. The defence usually tries to paint the critics as a “rage filled internet warriors” or tries to anticipate criticism of a product and dismiss said criticism as “internet rage”. This defence is flawed from the start, yes there are people on the internet who live to complain loudly about everything regardless of the actually quality of the product however not everyone is this way and a product can have both valid critics and mindless complainers, so to dismiss all the critics of a given product as “rage filled internet warriors” or to dismiss all complains about a product as “internet rage” is intellectually dishonest.

By now many of you may well be asking yourself how this relates to wargaming and I don’t blame you, but allow me to weave this into wargaming. As someone who frequently criticizes GW I would constantly get annoyed when seeing people dismiss all complaints against GW as “internet rage” because this was simply not the case, there were (and still are) valid, legit complaints to lay at GW’s feet and to try and broadbrsuh dismiss all complaints as mindless rage is lazy and wrong. There was a bout of 40k 7th ed codices that were dull and uninspired, they had very few new units in them and had even less exciting special rules, they were effectively generic codexs with the theme of whatever army they were painted on top and to my mind this is a valid compliant and shouldn’t be dismissed as “internet rage”. Complaints about GW’s pricing and other such business practises are equally valid and not just mindless complaining for the sake of complaining.

I don’t want this to turn into “another bash GW post” so let’s leave them be for now and return to the main point which is that apologists who dismiss criticism as mindless internet rage are intellectually dishonest, because they must know that all criticism isn’t just mindless rage and to not know that would mean that they haven’t read much of the actual criticism and are just dismissing it all based on their opinion of a small portion of the complaints. Criticising a company is a good thing (provided said company actually listens), critics can point out areas that a company need to improve to ensure that the overall service they deliver to their customers is up to standards and provides the customers with a good experience. Can critics be wrong? Yes. Can Critics be mindless rage bots? Yes. But not all of them are and to put all critics in one group and so you can dismiss them all in open fell swoop is to throw away valuable feedback with mindless internet rage. 

When it comes to wargames companies it becomes key for them to listen to critics. What wargame companies sell (the model side of things at any rate) can’t be fixed after purchase. If a video game has an issue that critics point out then it can be fixed in the next patch. If a wargames company designs a model kit that ignores criticisms of previous model kits (the overall look of that range needs improving, the weapons look too small on the models, the faces could use more detail ect) then they will lose serious money on that kit. Things are less serious with model rules however if a company prints rules for a model that gets criticised for being too over powered and fixes it using a FAQ then they run into the issue that some of their customers might not realise that there is a FAQ out which can lead to unnecessary rules debates, however if the rules are all distributed digitally then a simple update can fix this issue.

As I said at the start there are people out there who will complain for the sake of being annoying, and there are people who will make invalid complaints but those two groups do not represent all online criticism. I feel that in the wargames community valid complaints need to be heard even more so then in other online communities and apologists do themselves and the companies they defend no good when you play the “internet rage” card. Until next time. 


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