Intolerance isnt a game

I find myself in an interesting situation. Recently while playing with my Linux installs I decided to give some of the games a shot. Being especially fond of RPG games I took a look at several. One of which was an online MMORPG. I tried it out and it was pretty good. While solitarily advancing my character I started to run into some of the other players in the world. As with any online community there were shining stars and there were bottom feeders with a little variety in between.

I started to take a more active interest, I socialized with these people in the game, I even went so far as to build new RPM packages from the games source code as my Linux distro had not had time to do so yet. I found myself enjoying the game so much I came across a joystick patch for the game that I applied and once again rebuilt the RPM and reinstalled, it made playing even more fun.

One of the draws was the interaction with people. I love to people watch! Since the online chatting was very rudimentary and of an open sort it lends itself to this quite a bit. Groups of people tend to conglomerate and chit chat, sharing of game tips, and even some sharing of important game items. It was pretty nice, until last night.

I was working on leveling my character up, a slow tedious task at times, and occasionally talking to some of the regulars. At one point I made it into the main town and found a spirited debate going on about Obama, racism, etc. The content of the debate isn't important, everyone got a chance to voice their opinion myself included.

One of the things I noted early on in the game was that the player base was very geographically diverse which is very cool it leads to new exposures and experiences from various countries and cultures.

So last night after the debate some others started showing up, both regulars and a few new folks. One of the people who had been very opinionated during the previous discussion and a little immature began speaking to someone they knew in Spanish. Very shortly after a key opponent in the previous debate began fussing at this player to speak in English as he had been before. I found this kind of pushy and tacky, but then the player escalated the situation by arguing that the rules said you had to speak English. I was floored. I checked out where they said the rules were for myself and sure enough, they only wanted English spoken.

I've seen this argument made online before. That it's rude to speak in a different language, that speaking in a different language clutters the chat window, etc. None of which are ever the real reason. The real underlying reason is intolerance. People dont like things that are different. After all if there are 5 of us in a room virtual or otherwise and 2 or 3 are non English speakers there is nothing rude about using another language, what it does do, is it leads people to feel insecure because they dont know if they are being discussed in this other language. It's especially self centered to demand someone else speak in a certain language if its not their native tongue. The situation continued to escalate with other players bickering over whether the players should speak English. Even going insofar as threatening the non English person with getting their character deleted.

Well that was the last straw. Despite having invested 60+ hours or so to the game, and enjoying the game and some of the company in it I decided I wasn't going to play in such an intolerant world.

Mind you, this is a free open source game, distributed with many Linux distros and even has a Windows version, but its a young project in terms of maturity. It has a few bugs and a lot of holes where features should be. At no time have I ever seen more than 55 people logged into the server and yet they feel justified in a policy that is inflammatory for a large portion of the world.

So I tried to give my variously collected and gifted items to one of the players whom I thought had been exceptionally nice to me. When she asked for an explanation I explained my reasoning, being a nice person she tried to get me to stay but to me it was Game Over, I dropped the items on the ground and left. I didn't want to be a part of such an intolerant group of little Caesars who fell justified in dictating how others should act just to make themselves more comfortable. You may note I haven't named the game, this is out of respect for the decent people in it who I don't feel need to have a bunch of kids jump into their world and give them a hard time. I also haven't named it because I sure don't want to wind up in Google as some sideways type of endorsement.

We all need to strive to be more tolerant of our differences because in the end we may find that we can learn something from those differences, unless all you want is a cookie cutter society where everyone look acts thinks and talks the same, an utterly terrifying thought.