In recent years it is become a thing to go Pinside-this, Pinside-that and Pinside-the-other when referencing bad behaviour within pinball social media. Bad behaviour of venting square, unsupported and sometimes rude and personally attacking opinions. Or just the endless shouting and drama in general. Undoubtly fueled by the anonymous profile and easy access that, for better or for worse, is the nature of internet forums.
You also occationally hear people on podcasts etc. feeling obligated to excuse "I went to Pinside today". Or go around the way to make the point that they never come here. Or the interviewee being cautious when asking about Pinside activity. Great shame it has come to this, really.
First of all, Pinside is not a person or a group of people with a certain manifest. It is a webside. A very well run and feature rich webside with tonnes of information. And a platform for people to interact, requenst information and buy/sell. And remember, at its core, a free and open place for exchanging opinions and reach out is a good thing. Add to this, that Pinside keeps advertisement at a minimum and tolerable level (no general advert boxes, break-up of content, direct marketing etc.). Something I personally cherish a lot.
I have been shaking my head at this generalised negative attitude against Pinside. Which, objectively, is rooted in exaggeration and the fewest of threads and posts. Is that kind of attitude any better, I ask myself. But listening to The Pinball Show episode 19 (at 50 min), Dennis Kriesel (DennisK) made some statements regarding Pinside that made me go: Damn, now it's enough!
Dennis Kriesel is a valuable contributer to pinball. Podcasts and written articles. With stuff that goes beyond just a comment to the current news. I applaud that. This though, offended me.
The back story is some forum activity and a poll (now removed) about "who is the greater guy" among public pinball personalities.
Quotes from Dennis and my comments.
- "I was one of the early people to actually reply to it. Which is not something I normally would do."
One of these, I never go to Pinside, but...
- "[The poll] It seems designed for no purpose other than to create drama."
Surely, people create topics on a forums to get a response from the community. But just for drama, you say? That is speculation.
It could be felt by the author as harmless fun or genuine debate. Now that the cat is out of the bag with this twist in question. Or a clumsy way of supporting either party. Would I do it, no. Would I cast a vote, no. Do I think Pinside should have let it stay on, no. Fine by me to take such a thread down, if they want to.
- "It's stuff like that, that gives Pinside the reputation of being a toxic cesspool. That it sometimes quite frankly deserves."
Outrageous. Way out of line remark in my opinion. Deeply offended by branding off the Pinside website with a label like that. Bullying. Stigmatising.
- "Because they allowed that thread to exist for as long as it did."
On the podcast you mention it was up for two days. Is that really bad response time for a company the size of Pinside? For content like this? And enough to call them out as irresponsible, not living up to the code... Come on.
- "It's like, you wanna know why everyone thinks that this place is a shithole. There you go."
Everyone - Sure of that? Shithole - Phew, strong stuff, Sir. Again, way out of line remark. When I hear something like this, I picture an echo chamber within a circle of friends that is resonating well in the red. Who is stiring up drama now then?
- "Because you allow things like this and then you say: Our #1 rule is - be nice."
Let's be fair, shall we. One thing is rules, intend of use etc. on an internet forum. And another is when these are violated to an extend where you can say the host is obligated to take actions of removal of content, banning users etc. And by the way, Pinside did not allow it. They removed it.
- "There is nothing nice about pitting people in a popularity contest."
The forum activity in question was a poll between to pinball individuals with weekly media apperences each. And both of them being pinball professionals, I might add. If this per definition is "not nice" and "pitting people", I guess a house cleaning is in demand a lot of places. Starting with the TWIPYs. Perspective, please.
Think of the consequences if a forum like Pinside was to be run as implied...
- There is a risk, that if a forum is strongly moderated, the opinions shared are really that of the moderators. As much as the users.
- Fair and swift moderation takes resources. Both maintaining the rulebook and enforcing it. A challange for a free spirit and niche internet community.
- If a forum has a strongly enforced rulebook, it is just too easy to sabotage it. And to occupy their time with stuff you post just to be taken down. With a bully-smile and stop watch in the other hand.
- Verified membership, full name, mug shot etc. would surely clean up a forum. But also clean out a forum. Facebook is more restricted in this regard. And even there, heated and rough on the edges debate takes place.
- Remember. Pinside, the website, is a lot more than heated forum threads about like/dislike current games and feuds between people in the limelight.
- If you go to Pinside a few times a month to find valuable information or ask for help. Or sell a game once in a while. Maybe a remark about not visiting Pinside much is not fair. Yeah, you visit Facebook more. Does that make Pinside a bad place?
- Take square opinions for what they are. If someone writes "Bad artwork, I am not buying". Likely they have not studied the artwork much. And likely they were not in the market to buy this game in the first place. So, leave it there.
- If a post is offending you, or a user is repeatedly over the line, help Pinside by reporting this and stay out of participation. Defend people and opinions, if you feel it is justified. Surely.
- Easy on the cute ironic comments. The fun of it is tempting. But misunderstandings are fuel to a fire. Choose wisely.
- Don't let saboteurs win.
The free spirit internet has a cost. Please accept it within reason, for the positive that free spirit internet brings with it.