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WishINever

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Confessions of a griefer

I'm going to throw in a summary of how I got into all of this. I'm going to try to be as brief as possible but it may answer some of the questions you might have. But the purpose of this thread is for me to come clean and to present this as an AMA. 

One time I was drinking with some dudes in college and I mentioned how hilarious it is to teamkill on Halo. One of the guys laughed but then said something to the effect that he wanted to punch guys like me in the face. I thought that was funny as fuck. Why do people take games so seriously? Even I have raged at games before. Why? What good does it do? But when you make it your mission to hold up a mirror to the world, you are also ruining yourself. It is a dark path. It changes you - you become more cynical and you surround yourself with toxic individuals. That betrayal sound still cracks me up, even though I haven't touched a Halo game in ages. 

How did this happen? I always had a troll streak in me. When I was a little kid I used to bother people on forums and chats and RPGs and I even had an alt account on Newgrounds where I would play a mentally deficient character and upload really bad flash. But I didn't see myself as a troll. The term hadn't even been invented yet. I never heard it until someone described me as the "best troll ever" while I was in a TF2 match doing one of my funny voices.  Somewhere along the line it became more fun for me to try to break the game than to play according to the real objectives. This was around the time things really started to escalate, in the 2010s. 

I think the seed was planted when my friend introduced me to myg0t rages when they were first becoming well known. This was a LONG time ago - maybe 2000 or 01...  the original myg0t not these slobs that carry the name today. At this time I was still somewhat innocent and I hated cheaters in games but for some reason learning about myg0t didn't make me want to punch anyone like getting teamkilled in halo does to my college friend. Let's fast-forward to the late 00's. I'd say around 2008 was when I really started to get into it. The griefing "scene" was going through something of a golden age and this was when goroncity and other groups were producing popular content. YouTube videos from these people really inspired me to not only chase lulz but to eventually go on to create some of my own content. Team Roomba's TF2 griefing sesisons were also a major influence even though a lot of that was staged (fun fact: some years later I joined their server and talked shit and got banned). I remember being really high with my friend watching their videos and chuckling the entire time and we were convinced that this was our calling. I saw it as a way to commemorate the good times with friends. Of course, when you grow the fuck up you don't remember these times quite as well and most of the "friends" you had during them fade into history. 

Things started to change as I started to consider myself a 'griefer'. It became something I did with online friends rather than IRL friends more and more over time. I started firing up a game with the intention of griefing it, eventually more often than just playing it. It is definitely one of the factors in why my enjoyment of gaming waned. When you pick something apart that much, you kill some of the joy in it. 

All that said, I've had some pretty fun times with all of this. I've met both z0mby and CPF and I'm glad to see their battle on TFC is still enjoyed by the kids today. I've gotten to talk to and even collaborate with popular internet personalities. My griefing network kinda blended in with my regular social network with both positive and negative consequences. It did lead to some serious acting work more than once. 

There was never a specific method and there's a lot more to it than cyberbullying people (though during the 2014 dox wars that coincided with GamerGate it really did start to devolve into that). The greatest will call cyberbullying a cheap shot at best and it's generally frowned upon, but of course the greatest rarely become the most popular. I like to play as different characters each with their own annoying quirks. I like to find new ways to derail the game and sometimes all this takes is to get a few other players to go along with whatever stupid shit you are doing. You can put on your game tester hat and look for exploits. You can try to turn the war simulator into a soccer simulator. The only limit is your own creativity and free time. 
There are three kinds of griefers from what I can see. There is the opportunist - that is the nerdy gamer who indulges in lulz when the lulz present themselves but does not actively seek them. There is the sociopath - a person who is a bully on and offline and just enjoys making others suffer. Then, there is the contrarian fedora tipper like me who gets enjoyment from doing things unconventionally and seeing how many ways rules can be broken and games can be played in ways not originally intended. Some of these people consider what they do to be a revolutionary act. It cleanses their online spaces of people they deem "cringe". It challenges the conventions of an industry gone foul, and as mentioned above, it holds a mirror to all of the nerdy gamers who need a reality check. But this is just pretentious self-justification. 

Griefers tend to have a lousy long-term life outcome. Many have already died young, mostly due to drugs or stupid things done while on drugs. Some have gotten themselves involved in serious offline criminal activity, as we see with nuisance and harassment streamers such as Frank Hassle. There are many exceptions to this: those who go on to apply their creative energy to something useful  and those who outgrow it and move on altogether. A lot of that has to do with the personality types as described. Some griefers are just amoral and hedonistic people and others are bored and mischievous. 

I'm not doing a great job of explaining any of this but I want to keep it short. There really could be a book about the griefing world with or without my autobiographical part. But I am here to answer any questions you may have about this topic. I would also consider this thread a form of apology to anyone I may have hurt over the years with my behavior, including myself. Have at it - this could be fun. 

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I think your point also holds in the modern work place. There are people who understand that a particular workplace is very unhealthy from the beginning. The tasks are very taxing on the health, so the obvious thing to some is to force an issue with the employer/line manager and improve the conditions.

The one type of workers are the aware people. If they don’t improve their working conditions, they resign and go on to find a better place. They may also add a healthy dose of mockery to illustrate the incompetence of the employer.

There are also the types who will permit an abusive employer to manipulate them, pay insufficiently, pick on minor faults etc. These types can have job insecurity, insufficient awareness about the situation to realize they are being abused. The employer will mock them by playing on their job fears. This type of worker is stuck in a shell just like a gamer who obsesses over a video game is stuck performing in game operations that are of no practical use.

Another type I have seen are employees who become very cynical and stay on to play the managers and underline the absurdity of the workplace. I can in fact say the workplace depending on the trade closely resembles a virtual video game where you have to know the exploits to thrive. But even here the system seems to play the cunning ones. How? They may figure out ways to get the bonuses and promotions, but they may be spending their time for a company with an overblown budget where they don’t understand the overall mission. There may be a mission statement on paper, but it does not reflect the reality on the ground. So they are working for a company that generates income, but of what use is this company to the community? Then this company may extortion its clients and reap income from predators that increase the need for its services.

there are many life examples about the legal consultancy, but it is a long subject to discuss on here. I once went against the rules to help a client and felt that my time spent in this company was somewhat redeemed.

It is interesting that the workplace exhibits these characters that you have described in your post.

Edited by Amphibian220
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On 12/11/2023 at 8:42 AM, Amphibian220 said:

I think your point also holds in the modern work place. There are people who understand that a particular workplace is very unhealthy from the beginning. The tasks are very taxing on the health, so the obvious thing to some is to force an issue with the employer/line manager and improve the conditions.

The one type of workers are the aware people. If they don’t improve their working conditions, they resign and go on to find a better place. They may also add a healthy dose of mockery to illustrate the incompetence of the employer.

There are also the types who will permit an abusive employer to manipulate them, pay insufficiently, pick on minor faults etc. These types can have job insecurity, insufficient awareness about the situation to realize they are being abused. The employer will mock them by playing on their job fears. This type of worker is stuck in a shell just like a gamer who obsesses over a video game is stuck performing in game operations that are of no practical use.

Another type I have seen are employees who become very cynical and stay on to play the managers and underline the absurdity of the workplace. I can in fact say the workplace depending on the trade closely resembles a virtual video game where you have to know the exploits to thrive. But even here the system seems to play the cunning ones. How? They may figure out ways to get the bonuses and promotions, but they may be spending their time for a company with an overblown budget where they don’t understand the overall mission. There may be a mission statement on paper, but it does not reflect the reality on the ground. So they are working for a company that generates income, but of what use is this company to the community? Then this company may extortion its clients and reap income from predators that increase the need for its services.

there are many life examples about the legal consultancy, but it is a long subject to discuss on here. I once went against the rules to help a client and felt that my time spent in this company was somewhat redeemed.

It is interesting that the workplace exhibits these characters that you have described in your post.

Yeah I guess everyone is a troll or a groomer in some capacity. The problem with modern business is that profit has taken a priority over solving problems and most places in corporate America are governed by mediocracy not meritocracy. 

Are you familiar with the term quiet quitting - when people give up on making an effort in their job roles and just do the bare minimum and play the games to get by? Can you blame anyone for that? 

There's this misconception in America that people don't want to work anymore. There are plenty of people who want to work but they're doing it on their own. It makes more sense to become an entrepreneur or a gig worker or even a day trader than it does to work a full time job for garbage pay and no benefits, which is what most jobs are offering now. America is a nation without jobs, not without workers. 

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On 12/11/2023 at 4:38 PM, WishINever said:

Confessions of a griefer

I'm going to throw in a summary of how I got into all of this. I'm going to try to be as brief as possible but it may answer some of the questions you might have. But the purpose of this thread is for me to come clean and to present this as an AMA. 

One time I was drinking with some dudes in college and I mentioned how hilarious it is to teamkill on Halo. One of the guys laughed but then said something to the effect that he wanted to punch guys like me in the face. I thought that was funny as fuck. Why do people take games so seriously? Even I have raged at games before. Why? What good does it do? But when you make it your mission to hold up a mirror to the world, you are also ruining yourself. It is a dark path. It changes you - you become more cynical and you surround yourself with toxic individuals. That betrayal sound still cracks me up, even though I haven't touched a Halo game in ages. 

How did this happen? I always had a troll streak in me. When I was a little kid I used to bother people on forums and chats and RPGs and I even had an alt account on Newgrounds where I would play a mentally deficient character and upload really bad flash. But I didn't see myself as a troll. The term hadn't even been invented yet. I never heard it until someone described me as the "best troll ever" while I was in a TF2 match doing one of my funny voices.  Somewhere along the line it became more fun for me to try to break the game than to play according to the real objectives. This was around the time things really started to escalate, in the 2010s. 

I think the seed was planted when my friend introduced me to myg0t rages when they were first becoming well known. This was a LONG time ago - maybe 2000 or 01...  the original myg0t not these slobs that carry the name today. At this time I was still somewhat innocent and I hated cheaters in games but for some reason learning about myg0t didn't make me want to punch anyone like getting teamkilled in halo does to my college friend. Let's fast-forward to the late 00's. I'd say around 2008 was when I really started to get into it. The griefing "scene" was going through something of a golden age and this was when goroncity and other groups were producing popular content. YouTube videos from these people really inspired me to not only chase lulz but to eventually go on to create some of my own content. Team Roomba's TF2 griefing sesisons were also a major influence even though a lot of that was staged (fun fact: some years later I joined their server and talked shit and got banned). I remember being really high with my friend watching their videos and chuckling the entire time and we were convinced that this was our calling. I saw it as a way to commemorate the good times with friends. Of course, when you grow the fuck up you don't remember these times quite as well and most of the "friends" you had during them fade into history. 

Things started to change as I started to consider myself a 'griefer'. It became something I did with online friends rather than IRL friends more and more over time. I started firing up a game with the intention of griefing it, eventually more often than just playing it. It is definitely one of the factors in why my enjoyment of gaming waned. When you pick something apart that much, you kill some of the joy in it. 

All that said, I've had some pretty fun times with all of this. I've met both z0mby and CPF and I'm glad to see their battle on TFC is still enjoyed by the kids today. I've gotten to talk to and even collaborate with popular internet personalities. My griefing network kinda blended in with my regular social network with both positive and negative consequences. It did lead to some serious acting work more than once. 

There was never a specific method and there's a lot more to it than cyberbullying people (though during the 2014 dox wars that coincided with GamerGate it really did start to devolve into that). The greatest will call cyberbullying a cheap shot at best and it's generally frowned upon, but of course the greatest rarely become the most popular. I like to play as different characters each with their own annoying quirks. I like to find new ways to derail the game and sometimes all this takes is to get a few other players to go along with whatever stupid shit you are doing. You can put on your game tester hat and look for exploits. You can try to turn the war simulator into a soccer simulator. The only limit is your own creativity and free time. 
There are three kinds of griefers from what I can see. There is the opportunist - that is the nerdy gamer who indulges in lulz when the lulz present themselves but does not actively seek them. There is the sociopath - a person who is a bully on and offline and just enjoys making others suffer. Then, there is the contrarian fedora tipper like me who gets enjoyment from doing things unconventionally and seeing how many ways rules can be broken and games can be played in ways not originally intended. Some of these people consider what they do to be a revolutionary act. It cleanses their online spaces of people they deem "cringe". It challenges the conventions of an industry gone foul, and as mentioned above, it holds a mirror to all of the nerdy gamers who need a reality check. But this is just pretentious self-justification. 

Griefers tend to have a lousy long-term life outcome. Many have already died young, mostly due to drugs or stupid things done while on drugs. Some have gotten themselves involved in serious offline criminal activity, as we see with nuisance and harassment streamers such as Frank Hassle. There are many exceptions to this: those who go on to apply their creative energy to something useful  and those who outgrow it and move on altogether. A lot of that has to do with the personality types as described. Some griefers are just amoral and hedonistic people and others are bored and mischievous. 

I'm not doing a great job of explaining any of this but I want to keep it short. There really could be a book about the griefing world with or without my autobiographical part. But I am here to answer any questions you may have about this topic. I would also consider this thread a form of apology to anyone I may have hurt over the years with my behavior, including myself. Have at it - this could be fun. 

I'd forgotten that I liked your last post here almost a month ago (about the workplace), but I'm interested in bumping the topic. I've tried all 3 of your types of griefing, mostly just the opportunist. But while gaming after high school finished and getting my first three-month holiday in like 10 years, all the free-time stuff overflowed into my every day for that period.

I went to the gym (only having had my membership for 1 year at the time) about daily, sometimes twice, and let go most of the frustrations I had built up from senior high (11 + 12th grade). I would hear my brother coming up the stairs and ambush him, hoping to psych him up into joining my dad and I at the gym, telling him to think of literally shoving us double-handed in preparation for bench press. I opportunistically trolled incorrect spelling/grammar on in-game chat, and cracked down on any lazy, competitive gameplay by interrupting fights with griefey PvP methods.

It was getting caught up in all this that attracted the first and arguably only girl I dated, who actually complimented me on my trolling. Maybe it was the false confidence coming from keyboard warrior-ship that did it. She was on the 'rebound', and I knew that, but wasn't passing up on my chance. 

About 18 months later, after much relative personal success and only a handful of falters in the relationship, she finally 'gave in' and stemmed a stream of my texts with, "you're a narcissist; you think you're the only person in the world." Since then, I've amended that, according to what I've read, to 'the only real person in the world'. Of course, I don't think that. Most of the time, I'm just sorry for the times that I haven't been able to focus 100% of my energy on things, and so what is to spare keeps a social/emotional lookout for me and others, and it is that more than anything that sort of elevates feelings of being a rarity.  

----> My questions are these: 

1) Does personal screen-time and especially gaming exacerbate the supposed narcissism epidemic? I was feeling lost here at home after a family boys-morning out, read about life with ASPD on Quora until I felt less alone, then headed here to general discussion because I didn't want to bump my journal topic so soon. I mean, I'm still enjoying lone-living freedoms such that I'm not whipping out my phone out of boredom (I've done enough of that pre-medication days), but I look at the body language and facial expressions of people walking and sitting on their phones when there seems to be more than enough positive energy flowing to work with, and think 'wow, why?' Is it because of the feeling/thought of 'having the world at one's fingertips', controlling one's own information flow? It even seems to make a minority of people who pay attention and feel bad about it all, potentially engendering further feelings of special-ness, e.g. 'I can pay attention to the naturally shared world and everyone else can't'. I'm only steering clear of that because, as it's probably easy to tell, I have much enjoyed typing reflective essays. Will we ever get better again? - I'm thinking of all the healthy reading and efficient-and-effective communication done in my parent's time between teens, adulthood and finally parenthood. Alan Watts basically said to identify ourselves as being the 'evil glint' in your father's eyes when they rested upon your mother, and taking responsibility for it all. Still, I have wished that I was actually there.

2) Is it good to always have or develop an immediate response or, heaven forbid, reaction to everything? I used to, even if it was just an 'Mm' or 'Right'. Now I just pray for sincerity and a few extra seconds of preparation from others in response to most things, hoping that it's worthwhile each time.

3) Does trolling better reflect the true or the false selves in a dark personalities? 'Correcting' grammar and poking fun at insincerity doesn't seem so, as there can be a need for subjectively effective communication - but a lot of people used to simply reply with 'grammar nazi'. I even provoked, it seemed, while having in-game advice for every newbie, two seasoned players to create a new account and pretend to be unknowledgeable, asking me to guide them and then revealing themselves afterward. I only told them 'well done'. I still got practice out of it, after all. 

Oldschool Runescape was a troll-haven when I came back after leaving between 2016-2019. I constantly entered and left friends chats and changed music when I inevitably couldn't find the right vibe. I relapsed at the end of last year with the intention of only spending a maximum of 2 hours each day clicking for 'agility', but that quickly turned into 4 or 5, as I found doing that more fun than sending essays to my friends and family about perceived slights. I was even drawn into making a few intentional slights in-game, and I was actually disappointed that it was seeingly effective/I got away with it. That was a fair amount of what made me realise offline interactions were more fulfilling. I just don't want to lose control of my emotions partaking in trolling and excessive reactivity.

Thanks @WishINever for making the space. 

~ Matt

Edited by wheatbiscuit
grammar
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  • 2 weeks later...

@wheatbiscuit

 

My apologies for the delay, I am just seeing your response now. Thanks for keeping the discourse up! To answer your questions: 

 

1 - I think it definitely does! Part of trolling is to adopt an always calm always witty persona. You typically need to act like you are better than people. You start to justify things to yourself the way you did and you stew in these thoughts and emotions until you feel like you are truly special and on a mission to rid the internet of filth. In the trolling culture this effect compounds. Many communities become like an online pissing contest of who is the coolest kid in school. You will meet people who are totally cool by themselves but become bullies to keep up airs with their bully friends. You probably know some people like this IRL - people who are only real with you until it means losing social points with the "cooler" kids. Griefers think they are the realest ones but most are phonies if not outright toxic pieces of shit. NEETdom is very common even though it is something that trolls are supposed to make fun of. To this day many of the people I knew in that scene are fixated only on gaming and living an internet life rather than doing anything with themselves. It's sad. 

2 - I think we could all work on mindfulness. The bad thoughts and impulses will always be there but someone once said it like this: the less you scratch the less it itches. You can train yourself to choose which thoughts and impulses that you want to entertain and act upon. Don't be an NPC. With that said, don't find yourself in paralysis by analysis either. 

3 - I think it is both! Online communications offer anonymity which can bring out the best or the worst in people. For some, that just means being able to throw rocks at anyone virtually without getting your teeth punched out. You can spew all sorts of vileness at whomever and that is the beauty of free speech. Online interaction also offers some people a way to be their true selves in a judgment free space or at least with fewer consequences. Conversely, the anonymity gives people a chance to create that griefer persona for themselves that I was talking about. When you let it take you over you will find yourself doing things a sober you wouldn't - all in the name of getting some lulz. It is easy to cross the line into bullying when you have entered this state, especially when you feel your grief target is your true enemy. 

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