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“Arguing against an opinion is fine, but attacking the person holding the opinion is not”
The Yugioh community is unfortunately known to have explosive bouts of controversy and anger at times. It’s a space to laugh, argue, bloviate and vent, but too often the negativity (insults, trolling, flaming) goes too far.
When I modded for the Pojo forums, my biggest dilemma was in handling players who had a lot of knowledge to contribute, but crossed the line in being disrespectful to less knowledgeable players. By far, the most common instance of disrespectful behavior in Yugioh community comes from disagreements from players of different skill levels. It often starts with a player who does not have a lot of knowledge about a particular card/deck/meta confidently stating an ill-founded opinion as a fact. Then, a more knowledgeable player, bashes and ridicules the the other person instead of criticizing them constructively.
To Skilled Players:
If someone is wrong, explain why they are wrong instead of just saying an ad hominem like “lol you are a terrible player”. Recognize sometimes when people debate and question solved matters with questions such as “Why not?” which you find obvious, they’re not trying to be combative with you. Maybe they just want to understand the reasoning behind their error rather than rotely memorizing the correct solution. Even if you are a pro player, in a civil intelligent discussion, everyone should be expected to back up their arguments with logic and evidence regardless of their clout.
“Putting a person in their place” doesn’t accomplish anything for anyone. It doesn’t make the less knowledgeable player any better and it certainly won’t make them stop being ignorant. Being mean is not an effective way to reach out to anyone. The person arguing with you is not going to swallow their pride if they feel like it is under attack.
To Less Knowledgable Players:
It’s best to gain some knowledge of the subject you are talking about before making strong statements. Even if you yourself are not a pro player, at least try to get perspectives from better players so you can contribute better quality information. The problem that I see less knowledgeable players make is not in their asking of dumb questions. Worst case scenario, you get a “Yes” or “No” answer. The problem is when people who have not researched a particular card/deck/meta/etc. make a large generalized sweeping statements about it. Keep in mind that newer players read discussion boards, and you don’t want to flood the forum with inaccurate information. If you don’t know much about a topic, approach it from a humble position.
Usually, it’s the following examples that people get chastised for, so be very careful when making the following statements:
ˇ “This card should be banned” (Maybe banning that one card will warp the format in a way that worsens it)
ˇ “This card is broken/overpowered” (Maybe there are a lot of subtle ways to effectively counter it)
ˇ “This card sucks” (Maybe you are unaware of how to use it effectively)
ˇ “I just discovered this new amazing tech card” (Maybe people have already tested that card plenty of times and found it inconsistent.
ˇ Absolute opinions (always/never) on complicated situations.
As stated earlier, when I don’t know much about a particular format, instead of making a guess or proposing some kind of theory based on little playtesting experience, I will instead ask a question so that I am seeking opinions of other players rather than pushing my own.
Ego and Pride
A major contributor to all of this disrespect and negativity tends to be ego and pride. It happens on both sides. The Yugioh community is mostly age 15-35 men and people feel the need to be macho. When a knowledgeable player’s extensive testing and hard work is buried under less considered posts, they feel a need to assert themselves. There is often a temptation for skilled players to push themselves up by knocking other players down. On the other side, less knowledgeable players can also be stubborn in defending ill-informed opinions. At this point, the content of the discussion is foregone and the goal is simply to defend their reputation from all of the mean comments which have come at them.
Some players will always be disrespectful or closed-minded to you, and in those cases, forget about them. However, understand that there are players who get hotheaded in arguments about Yugioh (because they are very passionate about it) but they are still friendly in most other cases. When a player is who has a lot of valuable discussion to contribute starts venting on me (or defending their opinion to the end), I try not to burn any bridges. Instead I just say I just defuse the situation, ignore them for a bit, and then talk to them when they’re calmer.
I’ve been on both sides before and I’ve learned to be more understanding toward less knowledgeable players. I will still correct their statements when wrong (so that other players in the discussion can know), but there is no need to also crush their enthusiasm or add to their stress. Also, when I’m clearly off my element, I’ve learned to just concede. For example, I’m horrible at rulings and I made a pact to myself to just not comment on them. And a few weeks ago, I made a comment that the shuffling system on dueling applications is suspicious. Upon being confronted by a player much more knowledgeable on programming and math than myself, I immediately conceded. I’ve lost the inclination to argue till 1AM about anything.
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