When we “live” in a virtual world or we play an online game, then we never use our real name. There is of course a very good reason for that, because it is not really safe to be too real, virtually. Facebook is an exception. There we have to be real….almost 🙂
When it comes to dealing with other people virtually, we only meet anonymous people with funny names. Somehow that doesnt matter because we also ourselfes use a virtual name. Its acceptable, Its ok. Real life friendships can arise from a virtual contact, so its a good thing that we are able to meet people from all over the world just by playing a game somewhere. Its great! I love it!
Unfortunately the virtual contact can also lead to a hard verbal punch on the nose. Its a bit like moving in a jungle amongst harmless butterflies and violent preditors. You never know who you meet and how they act until you have interacted with them for a while, and even then it can be a surprise to discover that the person you thought was nice and friendly suddenly turns into a scumbag and you never saw it coming.
Fortunately some of the actions that is categorized as bullying is really just frustrated people, that somehow reacts to something that is frustrating them. Most people cool off after a little while and then all is good.
Bullying other people seems to be a kind of extreme sport for some of these preditors. They apparently get a kick out of it, and they never stop until someone punches back, which is rarely seen, because it can be hard to see through what really is going on. They seem to have more or less free hands to do what they want, because its so hard to discover when it is a real bully and when its just a frustrated person.
There are different methods to bully around. All methods only takes ONE single bully, only one, to stir up a verbally violent situation, but some methods needs a set of followers too, that either misunderstand the situation or just want to feel a “fun” moment of power together with the real bully.
Maybe you can recognize some of the methods I mention here:
One method of bullying is when someone enters a group/world/game and start to deliberately pissing people off. Just because they can! This can ruin a peaceful group because people normally reacts to it and the flaming and fights start, all to the bully’s satisfaction.
Another method of bullying is to victimize yourself without any real reason except getting your will. Some people are really good at that and they get a lot of empathic people to support them, even that its a clear case of bullying someone for…I dont know…attention maybe?
Anyway, it is very effective, and its also very abusive towards the empathic people that misunderstand and support a wrong cause!
The third method to bully is probably the worst: Ignoring. When you come in a group as a new person and you greet and smile and no one reacts to that, but just keep on doing whatever they did before you came in. It can be in a forum, a virtual world or an onlinegame, that happens all over. Of course you can find a new place to go, but if its a place where you really want to be, then its a pain to just be ignored no matter what you do. Some places are more or less taken over by a clique that prefer to have their place for them-selfes and its almost impossible to get a chance to exist side by side with those people unless you prefer to live in total silence. If you are lucky you can find some other people that is also ignored and then you can join each other in a new clique, but sometimes those others have been working hard, and for a long time, to get just a little acceptance from the leading clique and will not throw that away just for a newbie.
The fourth method to bully is to single out a person to get him/her to leave. Someone high up in the hierarchy in a group kickstarts a “campaign” about how awful a certain person is and all the harm that has been done by this terrible person. Then the followers kicks in and continues the flaming. No one dares to support the victim and it all ends bad for the victim that probably ends up leaving the group/game/world.
The fifth method of bullying is when a person in power abuse that power to bully people. It can be an administrator on a server that kicks people he/she doesnt like, or wipe a whole server of content just for kicks, or a moderator/group-owner that gives special treat to a certain clique and mistreat others that rebel against that. It can also be a grid-owner that abuse his/her god-power and steal some peoples stuff and give it to friends.
The sixth method of bullying is person to person. You meet someone and they start to verbally abuse you and then the stalking starts and you cant get rid of them. They somehow got your email and send you not so nice mails or maybe even phone you if you havent been careful with your private information. This is fortunately something you can report to an owner, administrator or other in charge of the place you are experience this in, and if it goes further out to real life then it is also possible to report it to the police.
Its all about power, the feeling these bullies get when they have control. What can we do about it? Its very hard to see through whats going on when it happens. Doing one thing in one situation that works, can be a total failure in another similar situation. It is very very difficult.
Thats why we often see in forums, worlds, games and groups around that people in charge are yelled at for being unrighteous and sometimes even seems to help a certain bully-group instead of preventing the bullying. They simply cant see whats going on, but the victim can see it very clearly!
Don’t bully! Be aware of whats going on around.
Support the right victims and most important: Be a friend!
If you can tell a story about this subject, and what has been done to prevent it, then feel free to go to the ZigZag forum and write your story. Maybe it can help someone, somewhere.
(I have closed comments here on the posts, because of too much spam, but the forum is open if you register.)