The Shame Game


  • Pitcrew

    One of the purposes of boards like this (SWOFA, WORA, etc) has been to publically shame players and staffers that individuals in the community feel have acted in an inappropriate manner. "Name and shame" is even part of our vernacular as a community.

    I've seen others mention that the point of public shaming is primarily to curtail the bad behavior, whether it's by giving the person targetted a come to Jesus or driving them out of the community. The more cynical might propose that it's simply because as people we love, love, love to rubberneck and expose dirty laundry.

    Recently I've been reading the works of Brene Brown, a professor and author who researches the nature of shame, in an effort to improve my mental health. One of my takeaways from this was that one of the results of her research was the discovery that by and large, shaming people is not an effective tactic to get the result of permanently altering someone's behavior. It may cause a large swing to the opposite for a brief period, but eventually it will return to the previous pattern of bad behavior.

    So what is the purpose of public shaming in our community? Are we invested in the idea of helping problem players to improve? Are we knuckling up to the idea that we do it simply for our own visceral enjoyment?


  • Pitcrew

    Uh. Yeah, it's fun. It's not about shame as much as it is exposing. And yes, venting to like-minded individuals. It's nothing to do with an attempt to shame someone into changing their behavior because that's stupid.


  • Pitcrew

    Except I've seen on previous boards people explicitly mentioning that one of the purposes of these boards is public shaming. I'll call it fair to say that may be a singular opinion I've observed, but I was curious as to what people thought about the idea.


  • Pitcrew

    The Hog Pit is to fling shit. If you do not think that it suits your views of the board, then do not peruse it. Mildly constructive is for when you actually want to build something (whether that's a game idea, knowledge or merely advice) out of nothing. I prefer Mildly Constructive over the Hog Pit, myself. However, you joined the Pitcrew, so evidently you like the shitflinging.

    I for one am having a much more satisfactory experience of MU Soapbox without it.


  • Pitcrew

    @deadculture said in The Shame Game:

    The Hog Pit is to fling shit. If you do not think that it suits your views of the board, then do not peruse it. Mildly constructive is for when you actually want to build something (whether that's a game idea, knowledge or merely advice) out of nothing. I prefer Mildly Constructive over the Hog Pit, myself. However, you joined the Pitcrew, so evidently you like the shitflinging.

    I for one am having a much more satisfactory experience of MU Soapbox without it.

    I'm not pointing fingers or even saying OH NO IT'S WROOOOONG. But it's something I've wondered about as a collective behavior. I've got no motive beyond wanting to have the discussion.


  • Coder

    I still think you're missing the reason behind the shaming. There is definitely an element of shaming in many of the Hog Pit type posts, but it is punitive rather than rehabilitative.



  • @Cupcake I disagree. Shame is a powerful tool, depending on the culture using it, and in our culture? So cliquish are we, that to be exposed, and be publicly shamed, is about the same as some cultures branding prisoners.

    MUSOAP NEVER FORGIVES. MUSOAP NEVER FORGETS.

    (Insert Evil Laughter)

    No. Seriously. Don't fuck up, kids.


  • Pitcrew

    @Cupcake said in The Shame Game:

    Except I've seen on previous boards people explicitly mentioning that one of the purposes of these boards is public shaming. I'll call it fair to say that may be a singular opinion I've observed, but I was curious as to what people thought about the idea.

    And...one particular opinion expressed about a different site totally indicates the purpose and community buy-in of that opinion. Wtf? I read it on the internet, it MUST be true.


  • Politics

    @Cupcake said in The Shame Game:

    So what is the purpose of public shaming in our community? Are we invested in the idea of helping problem players to improve?

    Generally, no.

    I'd like to think people can change or will change after their bullshit is called out, but I would never pretend that my public shaming of them here was meant to be some sort of rehabilitative effort.

    One part of self-improvement is self-awareness. If public shaming leads to this, great. If not, that's fine as well; you can develop your own mature sense of self-awareness on your own, I figure. And, if you don't, I don't have any plans to meet with you in the future (probably).


  • Pitcrew

    @Sunny: Like I said, I'm willing to acknowledge it as a singular opinion than a community wide one. The fact that I was curious (and apparently mistaken) about it being a community opinion is what prompted creation of the thread. I'm not sitting here screaming about how it's true, it's true, you're all wrong!

    If anything, apparently I'm wrong, and I'm not afraid to nut up to that.


  • Pitcrew

    It is a delicate balance.

    IME vague public comments (the generic Some People wizzen bbposts that would probably be better as a direct and private communication) tend to go over the head of the problem people and make conscientious people worry unnecessarily.

    If you read websites like this for a long time you realize very much how experiences of the same event differ wildly. (It's a good check of ones own personal behavior as well as realizing that just because someone gossips about another person/situation doesn't mean you shouldn't take it with a giant block of salt, even if it's a friend.)

    What I have appreciated this time around is more community discussion. Even on hog pit. That did happen in other ideations but I think it was the minority over very very personal insult and smear fests. Here I've seen far more community standards/behavior/ethics/ect discussions (even in threads that go in and out of name calling) than ever before, and you are more likely to see others defending/devil's advocating or calling for more moderate behavior than existed elsewhere.



  • I think it's more commonly warning and venting, as others have mentioned.

    I can say I have gone there, though, on this specific board, in one specific case: Sovereign.

    This is because I'd observed his behavior long enough to realize there was nothing anyone could say that would ever cause him an actual lick of shame -- but that if someone seemed to be trying to do so, he would not be able to resist sticking his dick right in the guillotine as he thinks he's smarter than everyone around him, and he'd hang himself for sheer shamelessness in his awfulness. (Which is, roundabout, back to the warning part. Nobody was going to believe it if they didn't see it, because the guy was so unbelievably horrible to people.)


  • Pitcrew

    The Shame Game on MSB is pretty amusing as long as you don't take it too seriously. I participated in a thread in the Hog Pit and through nothing but trying to explain my points of view wound up at like -124 reputation. Having a differing opinion on MSB is something to be ashamed of then? YMMV. So I joked with a friend that if I just posted agreeing with people for a few days and offering very little of substance or worth to any conversation, I'd recoup those losses within a week.

    It took 4 days.

    My conclusion really is that MSB doesn't really care if you reform your wicked ways, it just kind of wants you to shut up unless you agree with its many talking heads, because dissenting opinions are bad and shameful, k?


  • Pitcrew

    @Pandora I mean I think you were also telling people to kill themselves in that thread. Which, yes, could count as a differing opinion but let's not be DISINGENUOUS now.


  • Coder

    Basically if I am flinging shit in the hog pit it's just because I want others to know what happened or my opinion on something with no holds barred.

    I don't know that I've ever really 'shamed' someone for their actions on a game, but, if I did I wouldn't do it to shame them so much as:

    WARNING WILL ROBINSON!

    So might it be considered shaming someone? Sure. My intention however is to warn others that shit was done, it went down, it smacked into the rotating blades, etc.

    As for Shaming not working? Well that depends entirely on who is shaming, and how, as well as the targets personality.

    When I was a kid my mom could smash me flat without even touching me because I didn't want her to be angry with me, I was emotionally invested in what she thought, so shame /worked/ there.

    Shame doesn't work if the party being shamed doesn't give a rats ass though and in this medium, the fact that they /did/ something shame worthy means they don't give a rats ass...

    So I don't shame, I warn.


  • Pitcrew

    For me I agree with Sunny it is less about shaming and more about exposing the info, now Glitch also have a point that is is more punitive then rehabilitative but I see that as a feature not a bug. I don't think anyone will ever change their behavior based on the thread here, at best they will be sneakier or more cautious about it.


  • Coder

    @Pandora said in The Shame Game:

    The Shame Game on MSB is pretty amusing as long as you don't take it too seriously. I participated in a thread in the Hog Pit and through nothing but trying to explain my points of view wound up at like -124 reputation. Having a differing opinion on MSB is something to be ashamed of then?

    I really don't get why people care that this internet number goes up or down, or it their post's number goes up or down, but evidentially this internet number matters to people.


  • Politics

    Take note of the people who give real, thought-out responses. Then note the people who go 'ZOMG you're so wrong why are you so wrong how dare you start this subject'. The latter category probably shames out of the enjoyment they get from putting others down, the secret thrill of being an asshole. The former, probably somewhat out of the hopes that behavior will be adjusted if named. Somewhat.



  • In my opinion, the shame game is mostly venting and getting out frustrations about a situation, but it is also calling people out on whatever mad mojo they are getting into or putting other people through. Whether it is punitive or rehabilitative is really up to how it is received, not how it is presented.

    If someone comes onto MSB, and bitches about a game, character, or staffer, it is really up to the target or the audience of the bitching to decide whether it is punitive or rehabilitative.

    Personally, I usually respond more from the rehabilitative side of the coin when I'm on the receiving end of the shame game, unless I feel like the source is false. But, I tend to be a "wants to improve" kind of person (though I admit to having my limits -- I want to improve, not bend over backwards to satisfy people, because them I'm just a schmuck).

    Others tend toward the punitive side of the coin, where they take feedback, bitching, venting, and what have you as a negative attack on their person and then feel like they are being unfairly punished or targeted. This usually leads to retaliation.

    This isn't solely about the receiver of the shame game either -- the audience also adds some level of response that can turn it from punitive to rehabilitative, or vice versa. For instance, someone comes on, bitches, posts a log of convo, but others come back with "Uh, you were kinda being a bitch, too," then it could be the source of the shame game that has to decide if the feedback they are getting is punitive or rehabilitative.

    I think in our semi-anonymous community, we're going to vent and bitch and let out frustrations, but we obviously don't mind "name and shame." In fact, we tend to disregard complaints if they are "don't wanna name names, but" kind of complaints. We want names, we want details, because we don't want to end up in a vicious cycle with someone who isn't gonna change (and there's lots of examples of that in our community, too).

    So, yeah... we play the shame game because 1) we want to get out our frustrations, 2) we want to make other people aware of certain games, players, or staffers, and 3) we do kinda hope that we don't have to see repeat behavior.

    Just my thoughts on the matter...


  • Pitcrew

    I will say that "the shame game" involved not here, but in previous incarnations of a tabloid-forum for mushes...while it wasn't shame that made me address and change some things, some of the threads / discussions were instrumental in making me aware of just how badly I fucked up, leading me to make some changes in how I did things going forward / what I'd tolerate / etc. It was too late for Ashes, of course, but I'd like to think going forward it certainly made me a FAR better staffer and player. So there's that. Occasionally it can be really helpful for game leads / staff in particular, but you have to be able to separate the actual feedback from the bitchy shriek-ey dogpiling.


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