One of the many things that make me happy about Tap is that we have no assholes here (except me). Every now and then some no-name will wander by and leave an obnoxious comment, but they never seem to stay for long. Ours is a grown-up site where people treat each other politely, and when they disagree, they discuss and debate. And one of the things I fear is that continued growth may inevitably lead to the sprouting of assholes in our garden of tranquility.
I have long been an admirer of Tom Chick, veteran journalist and reviewer, owner of Quarter to Three, and witty wordsmith extraordinaire. He and I seem to be on the same wavelength most of the time and I really like his writing style. Others do not. His moderately chilly 1UP review of Civilization V is getting the usual slams in the comments, by the usual assholes who haunt such sites.
Now whether or not you “agree” with Tom’s score of or opinion on Civilization V is irrelevant. He’s a professional hired to do a job. He has a great deal more integrity than some I’ve known.
So the trolls are doing the usual – accusing him of taking bribes, of not having actually played the game; telling him he’s a moron because all the other big sites gave it a great score; suggesting that he gave the game a mediocre score to highlight his review on Metacritic; saying he’s untrustworthy because he didn’t like Deus Ex, the typical stuff. There’s nothing unusual about the the comments thread – practically every 1UP discussion is like that. It’s just that I happened to read some of it after I read his review, something I almost never bother to do.
And Tom is handling it perfectly – ignoring 99% of the comments altogether. When someone asks him something directly and politely, he answers directly and politely. This demonstrates that he is reading the comments. He’s just not getting involved in the flame war. Which is very smart; of course, Tom’s been around long enough to know that you should never get involved in the flame war, ever. At most you respond, directly and politely, but ignore the personal stuff.
Given that Tom’s key complaints about the game – weak AI, peculiar interface decisions, shoddy diplomacy – are entirely valid, one must wonder why he’s taking so much crap. Well, because he gave the game a C, the equivalent of our “middlin'” score. “A C is too harsh,” people are saying. “Everyone else gave it a million points,” people are saying.
The only moment of frustration on Tom’s part in the comments was when he expressed his disappointment that people gravitate to the score without reading – as he put it – the “thousands of words I actually wrote about the game.” After all, everybody knows the alphabet. 1UP could have hired a chimpanzee to dispense letters.
Not everyone can write – something brought into stark reality by the grammatical wasteland that is the Civ V review section’s comments. 1UP could not have hired a chimpanzee to review the game. So which is more valuable?
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