Dear Ms. Netiquette,
I have read stories like this many times in your column. I have had bad experiences in games before but not like this.
I am trying to learn how to play backgammon. Normally with new games I play against bots for a long time before even attempting to play a real person but Backgammon doesn’t give you that option. I read the instructions but I often learn better by doing than reading. Losing and mistakes on my part dont bother me because that is how I learn, but…
Last night I found a person waiting for a player in a beginner room and clicked on it. I said hello but got no response, which is fine. I made a couple moves and this person managed to put several of my pieces in that bar and had their pieces in place so I couldn’t get out of it. Once I managed to move a piece out and they put it right back in, which is part of the game I suppose.
After the first two moves on my part I got called an “idiot” and a derogatory term for mentally disabled people, plus a couple other creative names. Then each time it came up that I lost a turn I got various “haha” comments and negative emoticons each time that message came up. Needless to say 80% of the game I had to lose a turn so there were many such instances before the person won and I left.
No bad language was used other than those which are minor. I didn’t leave the game because I knew that would be bad sportsmanship and I’ve read things about that as well. I decided just to wait till they won and leave right away which I did. I didn’t report abuse because the comments weren’t profane or anything and I don’t like to do that to others as a rule. I also know many are like that and I try to let it roll off.
I know some games have very spirited players and some just beg for negative comments and I avoid playing real people in those games (like spades and bingo etc). In this case I had no choice because I could not play bots.
Once again please remind people that it’s just a game and most people who are learning (and in a beginner room) know they aren’t very good. I felt humiliated and almost swore off the game but am working on a badge and did meet one player before who was very nice and helpful and reminded me there are nice ones.
I play pogo to have fun, learn games and make friends sometimes. Not to be humiliated, end up in tears etc. I wish Pogo would allow us to have a bot option on that game but until they do I will be avoiding Backgammon unless I can play that one nice person I met.
I know I need to develop a thicker skin but I will never understand why people do that. It was obvious this person was not a beginner but in a beginner room.
I am not sure how much of my letter is venting, asking Pogo to provide that option or asking if I should have just left when it started.
Reluctant to Play
|Dear Reluctant to Play,
You put up with a lot more than most people would have, and I commend you for keeping your cool throughout your ordeal.But you shouldn’t feel obligated to stay in a game with an abusive person in an attempt to be a good sport. If your partner is being less-than congenial – oh poo-bah - if your partner is being a jerk, then you are under no obligation to remain in the game with him or her.
I do understand your reluctance to report others for abuse, especially if it seems like it’s low-level. However, your partner actually did break the Terms of Service by using that derogatory term for people with special needs, and it would have been appropriate for you to have reported him or her.
Having thick skin on the Internet behooves us all, but we also don’t need to put up with people out to cause us grief. Life is too short for that! I’m very glad that you did eventually meet someone who was kind.
Dear Ms. Netiquette,
I recently sent an email to a Pogo friend about “Touching words from the mouth of babes. ”
It went as follows: A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, ‘What does love mean?’
The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined” It went on to tell what several of the children had said. It was a very moving story and I felt I wanted to share it with my friends, so I sent it on. One of my friends sent me an email saying that when she went to forward it to her friends she got the following message.
Your Electronic Arts Pogo account has been flagged for violating the Terms of Service for Electronic Arts Online.
Violation: Prohibited solicitation or advertising while on the EA Online service
Post messages for any purpose other than personal communication, including without limitation advertising, promotional materials, chain letters, pyramid schemes, or make any commercial use of our Service.
Message Log: The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined
See what you think:
When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore
Can you explain this to me, please.
Thanks for your help,
Flummoxed By Failed Forward
|Dear Flummoxed By Failed Forward,
I can explain. Forwarding messages to large parties is a Terms of Service violation. Your friend sent out the message to a bunch of people and one of those people reported her. So, she received that e-mail warning.
How can she prevent that in the future? She can start by trimming her list of friends that she sends things to. She should have regular contact with everyone on that list, so anyone who she doesn’t communicate with regularly should be removed. Next, she should send out individual e-mails to everyone on her trimmed list asking them permission to put them on an e-mail list where she can forward humorous, touching, etc… emails, and that she’s fine with receiving them as well. Those that respond with the affirmative can be added. Those who say “no thanks” and those who don’t respond at all should not be put on the list.
Basically, there is a very large segment of the population who find forwarded messages to be annoying. They don’t send mass-messages, and they don’t wish to receive them. And then there is a large segment of the population who do enjoy them.
The onus is on each of us to respect the wishes of our friends. Thus, if you are one to forward messages, then you need to find out who enjoys receiving them and who doesn’t. If you end up sending a forwarded message to someone who doesn’t want it, that person may decide to report you. You don’t want that, so spend a little time now to ensure that it doesn’t happen!
Dear Ms. Netiquette,
Recently, someone with an offensive screen name won $100 on Chess. I really do not like vulgar screen names, and I wish Pogo didn’t allow them. When I am in a room with someone who makes vulgar or suggestive remarks, I leave and find another room.
This person’s screen name is not nice at all. Also, when someone wins a prize, it is announced for a long period of time. Therefore, I have to see that horrible name in every game I play in the chat column for at least two days. What do we do when something is offensive to us? Not play the game for a couple of days? Because if I turn off chat, I don’t get to talk with friends or interact with other people in the room. I realize that I am in the minority probably, but I just wanted to state my views.
|Dear Offended Player,
I would reckon you’re in the majority, actually, but most people do tend to ignore these things when they see them. That does not mean you have to!
I did remove the screen name you included with your letter, but my guess is that any regular player knows exactly who you’re referring to! That name has been addressed by our Customer Experience department.
In cases where you’re in the room with someone who has an offensive screen name, you can click on their name in the “Who’s Here” list and choose “Report Abuse” from the options presented. From there, you can choose the screen name from the list of room participants, and report them for “Bad Screen Name (Vulgar/Spoof/Impersonation)”. That will send a report to us so that we can take the appropriate action against the account, and it will also automatically mute the player, so you while their name may be in the Who’s Here list, you won’t actually see anything that they say in chat.
Now, Pogo does limit how many “naughty” names can be created, but people can be quite creative, and a little change here, a little change there, and presto! You’ve created an offensive name that does not get acknowledged by our system! So, we definitely have our fair share of offensive names out there created by people who beat the system. They’re free to play until they get caught.
Unfortunately, on occasion these folks win prizes, and then their offensive name gets blasted all over Pogo. That’s most embarrassing for us, but it’s a sure guarantee that the name won’t be on Pogo much longer!
So, if you see an offensive name, report it. The system will automatically mute the player, and you can go on playing. If the player is someone who’s won a prize, you can report it to our Customer Experience team through our Help Site, if you’d like, or you can do nothing, secure in the knowledge that our Prize Manager will see the screen name and work with our Customer Experience department to have it addressed.
Have an etiquette question for Ms. Netiquette? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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