Learn To Be Nice, You Freaking Morons!

We can’t run Tony’s opening paragraph on the front page because this is a family website, but it goes without saying that he’s pissed off at the behavior he’s seen in both casual and competitive circles recently, as well as on our very own forums. If some blithering idiot has textually assualted you online recently and you’ve been looking for a place to vent, Tony is there for you.

I have issues with some of you people. My main issue with you moronic freaks is that I have issues with your issues, and especially with you issue-burdened idiots who like to force your attention-deficit problems down our collective throats here in the Magic-playing world. I’m talking about you lant-gulping dirtchutes who just can’t be nice to other players – whether in person, in articles, or even in the forums in our little world. Imbeciles like you chap my a$$ far worse than anything Chris Romeo ever mentioned in his articles. I’m really sick and tired of creeps who are always belittling others or arrogantly claiming intellectual superiority (or both), and it’s about time someone confronted you immature SOB’s over it and forced some accountability and respectability down your throats. Well, allow me – because I sure know more about maturity than any of you scumbags.

So tell me, how much did you like reading the above paragraph? Are you still reading? Did you take offense, even if you know that my rant doesn’t apply to you? Does it make you want to do violence to me? Did you get the point of my argument, or did you just tune it out as soon as I started throwing flames around?

Now, how many of these questions resonate with your own feelings when you read abusive or imperious garbage like I just threw around? I would think that if you are any kind of a human being with feelings at all that you would react to my diatribe in one of the ways I described, write me off as immature, and not take my point seriously.

And that is exactly the point I want to emphasize in this article: when you write in an inflammatory or imperious manner, you do nothing but discredit yourself and detract from your points or arguments.

The reason I am broaching this subject is that I am seeing more and more negativity, arrogance, and personal attacks in articles and especially in the forums here on StarCityGames and other Magic sites. Also, I have noticed a disturbing trend of poor sportsmanship in tournaments and even casual gaming settings that I have rarely seen before. There is absolutely no reason for this. Since when did people get the license to treat fellow humans so poorly? When did good sportsmanship, positive reinforcement, and constructive criticism take a back seat to demeaning psychological tactics, personal belittlement, and scathing criticism? Did this start with the Iraq war? Is it due to the polarization of the political environment? Or is it something far deeper, something in the collective unconscious that is causing more and more people to blame others for their difficulties and take out their aggressions on them instead of taking responsibility for their own foibles? Well, this is an argument we could debate for days – but know that things don’t have to be this way.

Now, before you go around thinking I’m trying to invoke memories of some purple dinosaur and make us all hold hands and sing "Kumbaya", I don’t want to imply that criticism is never warranted – far from it. However, there is far more value in constructive as opposed to negative criticism. When you criticize negatively, call people names and act like a know-it-all, you alienate your victim and your audience. Do you really expect someone to accept your point of view or improve their writing and gaming skills by chastising them and telling them how wrong they are, instead of thanking them for sharing their viewpoints and providing constructive criticism and encouragement? All you will do by calling someone names and telling them how stupid they are for not doing things your way is turn them off to anything useful you might actually have to say, turn them off to you personally – and maybe even turn them off to the game of Magic.

There is a proper way to go about providing constructive criticism, and it is all about showing proper respect without being abusive or condescending in your attitude. Before you berate someone for committing what you would construe to be a mistake, you should always first ask what it is the person is trying to do, and if you then determine they are making an error you should offer to show them what they are doing wrong in a friendly manner. By listening to their reasoning you show that you respect their thoughts and maybe, just maybe you may learn something if they are doing something you never would have thought of that works! Also, by offering to show them what they might be doing wrong instead of forcing your viewpoint on them you show courtesy and sportsmanship without condescension. And – always, always thank them for their time and efforts. This is the most effective way to get your points across, and also a very good way to start a friendship!

So, please – before you go to criticize someone, think twice – and BE NICE!

(I apologize to any of you who took offense to my introductory paragraph – I just wanted to give an example of the kind of commentary I see in the forums…and maybe shock you just a little bit so you’d understand the feelings that kind of stuff invokes in people if you’ve not been subject to it before yourself!)

Tony Costa

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