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 WGC and SHG - thriving online communities or a virtual small town mentality?

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PostSubject: WGC and SHG - thriving online communities or a virtual small town mentality?   Sun Jul 19, 2009 6:56 am

It is my understanding that both WGC and SHG have a vision to create thriving online communities within the confines of their websites. The question I pose in this post is: how successful have they been in establishing such a vision? Of course, as with most posts I write, I will offer an answer of my own. It would be interesting to see how far we can get in this discussion before some people hijack it with their own agenda for disruption.

Personally, I do believe WGC and SHG are partially succeeding in their ambitions. When I have visited their sites, I have come away with a sense of community – in that that there exists a group of people who regularly visit the site and interact with each other. However, I am of the firm opinion that these communities are neither functional nor thriving. I would go so far as to say that both communities are not only dysfunctional but they are destructive and malign in essence – both allowing the most deplorable aspects of human nature to manifest.

So why do I think this is the case and what evidence do I have to support my claim?

Well…let me start with the ‘authority’ that governs the communities. The pluses, moderators etc who are appointed to uphold the rules and ensure that justice is done and people are treated equitably. It is no secret that I think these people are failing in their jobs.

Time after time I have seen pluses pursue their own agendas over the best interests of their community. They are liable to bias and are easily manipulated. In essence – this is nothing short of bribery and corruption. They act out certain favours for certain people with whom they have struck up a certain alliance – and, most importantly, whose ideas and world-view they share.

Let us take as an example one of the following: Serenity, Bug Zapper or Harbor Helper. In any one of these cases – I don’t know anything about the person, but I can guess. I believe these are old women who have had no experience in their lives of managing people. I suspect that the only thing that they have ever managed is their own domestic circumstances. I believe that these people only have the capacity to manage a small herb garden – and maybe a couple of pets. However, somehow, someone thinks that they are equipped to deal with the diversity of opinion and experience that would come with managing an online community.

It is obvious that they are NOT. They have little understanding of diversity and difference – and no idea of how to accommodate it. If WGC and SHG want to limit their site to hicks, rednecks hillbillies and people with a small town mentality – then they have made the right choice by choosing these people. If they want to have something more international, diverse and intellectually stimulating – then these people must go!!! Time to hand them their retirement clocks and wish them good luck in the tending of their gardens.

Now – with the heart of the community (the authority) steeped in corruption and ignorance – what about the community members themselves? This is what I see:

There used to be a wide range of people in the old Zone. It was an international set up, reflecting various types of people from all walks of life and of different ages. It seems that this has become filtered since the demise of the Zone. Both WGC and SHG have picked up some of the people that were left ‘homeless’, and whilst, there is some evidence that a ‘variety’ of people have taken residence in these two sites, they are by no means reflective of the diversity that we were used to.

The range of people is getting filtered more and more as each day passes. Both WGC and SHG seem to be pursuing a plan to eradicate from their sites anyone who represents a ‘different’ voice. The evidence for this is manifest in the steadily diminishing number of players. What I see now – are two sites that reflect a certain type of people who lack all of the following characteristics: intelligence, education, cultural awareness, experience of diversity, ambition, humour, and common sense.

Both sites seem to be adamant on populating their sites with people who are very small-minded. Those that cannot cope with the challenges brought by people who think differently to them and use the authorities (who ARE similar to them) to support them in beating down anything that is mildly different.

At this point, allow me to give an example. Day after day, certain people are attacked for their heritage and cultural and religious beliefs. One woman is called a goat, goat eater and suggestions are made about her being married to a goat. There have been homophobic and xenophobic comments made in the lobby with such frequency that it most probably violates the human rights laws of most civilised countries. However, the authorities do not act on these indiscretions…instead they act on the banal complaints about the use of a cuss word. They choose to ignore the hateful and inciting comments of their ‘friends’.

I would ask…which is worse in the development of a community?

To conclude: I would like to say that I live in one of the world’s foremost cities. It is a truly diverse place and bustles and thrives on the difference that exists therein. Here, we do not always agree with each other – but we do all uphold the right to hold opinions and ideas that are different. Our laws support this diversity. WGC and SHG are NOT thriving communities. They are dysfunctional communities with a rotten heart. They exist to alienate anyone that is different as they hurtle closer and closer to achieving what I believe the owners do not really want – a small population of people with a small town mentality.

Last edited by spacemariner26 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:18 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: WGC and SHG - thriving online communities or a virtual small town mentality?   Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:34 am

I agree, yet again, with almost everything you say Nathan. But I don't think only tokens can ruin a site/game room. Being a small community with a small town mentality, players can damage a lot what others try to build. Its easier to have groups (almost gangs) that fight for taking over a territory. They incite the other group, they complain, they even try to have on their side a token so they can harass with one goal in mind: to get them out of the site. I saw this happening in spades, in hearts and in BG.
The thrill of the "win" doesn't last long, other groups will be formed, old friends become enemies...and the war will continue, until the site disappears or until we will have large communities where small groups formed on a gang based mentality will not be so visible and so influential.
But this is a vicious circle: if players leave because they have enough of the fights, how can we get more players?
Lets face it: people don't change, we will always have small minded tokens and bloodthirsty players. My problem (question) is; is there the end of the sites made following the zone model? Is this an era for pogo kind of site? With their neutral look, ugly graphics and bots domination?
And can sites like WGC be saved?
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PostSubject: Re: WGC and SHG - thriving online communities or a virtual small town mentality?   Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:39 am

Nina, I agree....


I do believe that fights can be controlled. That control has to be objective. We both know players will fight - but how that is managed is the key to success.

So...I do believe it is in the hands of the pluses. They can calm a situation or escalate it through their actions. The problem has always been that people who become pluses are NOT trained to fulfill their responsibilities with competence.
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