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LOTRO Fanbois: Suffering From 'Religious' Fervor?


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As a formerly religious person, I keep noticing a familiar pattern in the censored forums among LOTRO fanbois versus those who 'dare to question'. Many of the die-hard fans have an extremely emotional response to even the implication that their game is less than perfect. Some seem zealots to the point of absolute blindness when it comes to critically weighing the pros and cons of the game. 

 

That's quite interesting and seems true.

 

I might guess that Turbine's PR and Lotro are their objects of worship. Definitely a group thing too - wanting to feel their group is "right" and better than other people.

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ALL "fandoms" have that segment, borderline cult-ish. For example, Harry Potter. Star Trek. Apple. Twilight (/vomit). Have you been to a fan convention before? It's crazy.

While I'm happy for people who find an entertainment hobby into which they fling themselves without shame (and who are generally quite harmless about it :P), I try avoid labeling myself a "fan" of anything/anyone... To say fanboy/fangirl has that negative connotation of not only being closed-minded about flaws but also built-in defensiveness from other viewpoints.

I mean, the closest I can come to saying I'm a "fan" of a famous person is Atul Gawande. Otherwise I always try to take a more granular approach to liking something. Rift, for example, is hardly perfect, nor is Trion.

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I know that as a man of faith the work of Tolkien has special meaning for me Tinker. :)

 

Do some follow Sap as a prophet? (I've gotta chuckle at that thought :P ) ... Follow the Hobbit prophet into the wilderness to Isengard.

 

The "extremely emotional response" isn't unique to the defenders though IMO as I certainly felt I was too emotionally consumed during the BETA experience.

 

It is clear to anyone with eyes open that the game has suffered as a result of multiple factors over a long time. The talk of "percentages" and the recent jack booted response to even politely worded forum comments could be having a similar response among fanbois that now "see the writing on the wall" as the skill tree, raids, PVMP, big battles... have had with other groups at other times.

 

Perhaps more "desperate" than "religious".

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While the connection to the Professor's ethos in his literary works isn't convincing to me, I will completely agree that "religious fervour" is precisely the term I would use to describe the actions of those who will only consider Turbine's side of things.  Religious fervour is very much man-made, with an emphasis of doing things in order to secure favour.

 

Faith doesn't work that way.  If the fanboys were possessed of faith in Turbine's motives and actions, they would not only be able to suffer differences of opinion (being secure in their faith) but be able to create well-reasoned responses to those differences.

 

However, when someone with only religious fervour is challenged, ad hominem and worse is the result.  Instead of well-reasoned responses, they propose scenarios (often appearing in a literary sense to be deus ex machina) and motivations that aren't backed up by observable evidence.  Nevertheless, the religiously fervent among them will absolutely refuse to accept that the fervour they have devoted to their desire is misplaced or that the object is, in itself, untrue and undeserving of that devotion.

 

Going back to faith, it has solid ground to rely on.  Many times, when challenges come, the responses that result from those with faith are based on a foundation which proves itself and has has effects that are observable.  It does not require the faithful to prove it.  It has been often said "Faith is the substance of things surely hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

 

In the case of Turbine, however, their "foundation" is shaky and very mutable, seeking to justify itself solely by its consistent penchant for frequency of shifting.  I would consider it highly impossible to hold faith in such a foundation.  So, in the place of such faith, the fervent come in and try to accomplish the same thing themselves, often failing miserably.

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There are some similarities.  I think it has more to do with how humans tend to react to anything they feel strongly about.  Tolkien and Middle Earth definitely have some strong advocates.  Turbine, by virtue of being maker of the game, comes under intense scrutiny from some while others assign to it the near hallowed status of Tolkien himself for being the one who puts forth the game for us to play.  Naysayers become Orcs.  

 

Karl Marx said that religion is the opium of the people.  I tend to expand his definition of religion when I think of the phrase.  People who believe strongly in something (like a religion) will react often without a measure of objectivity, but with a measure of zealotry.  They have 'faith'.  One definition of faith? (1) :  firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2):  complete trust  Sapience and Turbine say it, so it must be true.  To challenge their word is to challenge the faith of their followers who have complete trust.  Historically, engaging such people in meaningful discourse is an exercise in futility.

 

In practical terms, I agree with your theory, if not with all the 'religious symbol' mentions.

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There are lots of religious people who are open minded, non dogmatic, open to discussion and new ideas, etc. Just saying. 

 

It's too easy to stereotype a group that is over 4 billion people. And please don't tell me the percent of non-fanatical, open minded religious people is less than 10%?

 

(ok, maybe there are too many religious PvP'ers)

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I think that we're over-analyzing things a bit too much here. :)

 

The most fanatical posters on the OF:

 

1. Are life-long, die hard Tolkien fans(like most of us)

2. Have virtually no experience with any other games.

 

An MMO nomad like myself has a wide range of different games and companies to compare against one another. I think that people like the Heydts truly don't get exactly why LotRO is doing so poorly(or even the very notion that it is) because they have no real basis of comparison. Hence, the pogroms against any perceived threat to the game's image.

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I dunno about it being religious ferver but rather those folks that gravitate toward authoritarian convervatism... basically believe in whatever the authorities say, don't like change and are often very judgemental and want to control other's lives.

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1. Are life-long, die hard Tolkien fans(like most of us)

 

I'm going to have to disagree a bit there.  Most of the "Tolkien fans" there are those whose main claim to fame is watching the movies, which doesn't really fit the definition.  Just saying.

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Going back to faith, it has solid ground to rely on.  Many times, when challenges come, the responses that result from those with faith are based on a foundation which proves itself and has has effects that are observable.  It does not require the faithful to prove it.  It has been often said "Faith is the substance of things surely hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

For a guy that likes to argue semantics, you sure are playing fast and loose with the definition of 'faith'!

But I would say that this and religious fervour are merely symptoms of a larger part of human nature. You see it with the whole PlayStation vs Xbox crowd. You see it with sports fans. You see it with nationality, politics and 'patriotism'. You even see it in petty things like how to cook a bit of food. It comes down to stubbornness, ignorance and habit. It's like a built in mechanism to protect what you are used to and what you know. Most don't like the idea of things not being solid around them.

For example, if you say a football team someone supports is crap, they won't care that their team hasn't won a match for ages. They won't care that the players, the kit, and in some cases the grounds, aren't even the same as they were when they first started supporting them. They won't care that their chosen team is effectively arbitrary and they hold no allegiance to them. Because they're so deeply dug in that to them you've just insulted them personally.

It's like people grab things they like (or believe they should like) and anything that may criticise or counter that is now an act of aggression against themselves. They remain too narrow-minded to see their own human condition to properly talk with. No point trying to reason with someone who can't even separate themselves or their emotions from the discussion.

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Roger Ebert agreed with Doro, the way he put it was:

 

"There's a human tendency to resent anyone who disagrees with our pleasures.  The less mature interpret that as a personal attack on themselves.  They're looking for support and vindication."

 

For these folks, any negative words about Turbine, the game, or Sapience are taken as negative words about themselves as people.  They can't see their own identity as separate from the pixels or the pixel provider, so they attack anyone who doesn't have the same "this is the best thing ever" opinion.  

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For a guy that likes to argue semantics, you sure are playing fast and loose with the definition of 'faith'!

But I would say that this and religious fervour are merely symptoms of a larger part of human nature. You see it with the whole PlayStation vs Xbox crowd. You see it with sports fans. You see it with nationality, politics and 'patriotism'. You even see it in petty things like how to cook a bit of food. It comes down to stubbornness, ignorance and habit. It's like a built in mechanism to protect what you are used to and what you know. Most don't like the idea of things not being solid around them.

For example, if you say a football team someone supports is crap, they won't care that their team hasn't won a match for ages. They won't care that the players, the kit, and in some cases the grounds, aren't even the same as they were when they first started supporting them. They won't care that their chosen team is effectively arbitrary and they hold no allegiance to them. Because they're so deeply dug in that to them you've just insulted them personally.

It's like people grab things they like (or believe they should like) and anything that may criticise or counter that is now an act of aggression against themselves. They remain too narrow-minded to see their own human condition to properly talk with. No point trying to reason with someone who can't even separate themselves or their emotions from the discussion.

 

Agreed

There is still a big difference between being a blind fanboi and an ardent fan.

Religion has nothing to do with either.

 

In video games there's a lot of competition.  As there is in sports.  Asking someone to give up their allegiance to their chosen video game is alot easier than asking them to give up on their favorite team.  

 

I apologize in advance for the analogy I am about to use for my European counterparts. 

American football.

I'm a huge Cleveland Browns fan.  So what makes me different from the blind fanbois when someone calls my team shitty?  I am willing to admit that they are shitty given the other teams in the league.  The competition.  I love the Browns but I can still admit there are other teams much more successful than my own.  That other organizations are run better, and spend money more wisely.  That the guy who is leading my team isn't always making the best decisions.

 

With the fanbois they aren't actually supporting Tolkien when they defend poor development decisions, but Turbine.  Turbine did not write the Tolkien works.  The game is merely their interpretation of the works.  The more blind they are the less they compare other more successful titles in the market.  I'm sure it is much easier for them to continue the defense when Turbine is actually catering to their loves and hates.  Most of them hate raids, PVP and challenging content.  No one can explain why.  They simply hate them.  And when Turbine announces that they will not add these features or update current ones they are happy.  Simply because it means more content for them, the stuff they love. 

 

It's funny because when I came to Lotro from WOW, anytime WOW was mentioned on the forums it was as if some evil dark cloud formed over the thread.  As if it was the game whose name can not be mentioned.  People got overly defensive about Lotro when WOW was mentioned.  And this is the thing the blinder fanbois can not fathom.  There are games,in the same genre, that offer at times 10 times the content at the same price they are paying.   One simply needs to read a website to see it.   You don't need a crystal ball or to play the other game to know it.    The fanbois are the same people that say they want to see the game reach Mordor, but in the same breath support development decisions that alienate large portions of the in game population, making seeing the story less possible (shutdown)

 

The only equivalent I can come up with for this in sports is if you want your team to win a championship, but you support the team's general manager when he off loads all the best players, ensuring failure.

 

The fanbois support Turbine (General Manager) not the actual game itself (winning).  any decision made by the general manager is accepted as gospel.  Sports fans tend to attack the decisions of the general manager when their team is losing, due to his poor decisions, no matter how blind they are.

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For a guy that likes to argue semantics, you sure are playing fast and loose with the definition of 'faith'!

 

Dal, I too was curious about your definition of "faith". Maybe it is too off topic, but can you share it (or where it is from), or PM me. I am curious.

 

I myself am pretty pro-religion - meaning I see the good side of it, and think it can do a lot of good, in spite of the bad side of some religious groups (I am not a fan of fundamentalism in Christian or any other groups). People rightfully see the bad side of some religions, but can't see the good sides IMO. The world would have been a darker place without the major world religions. I guess religion has had some good and bad effects in history.

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Doro described a very important component of human psychology which I call "Identity Politics", although there are probably other phrases that sociologists and psychologists use for the concept. It's very difficult for people to accept, but a very large amount of our brand name purchases, sport team and political affiliations are due to subconscious decisions to aspire to fit in with certain demographics, lifestyles and ideals. Some of the people on the OF have seemingly internalized Turbine and LotRO in this way.

 

 



Agreed

There is still a big difference between being a blind fanboi and an ardent fan.

Religion has nothing to do with either.

 

In video games there's a lot of competition.  As there is in sports.  Asking someone to give up their allegiance to their chosen video game is alot easier than asking them to give up on their favorite team.  

 

I apologize in advance for the analogy I am about to use for my European counterparts. 

American football.

I'm a huge Cleveland Browns fan.  So what makes me different from the blind fanbois when someone calls my team shitty?  I am willing to admit that they are shitty given the other teams in the league.  The competition.  I love the Browns but I can still admit there are other teams much more successful than my own.  That other organizations are run better, and spend money more wisely.  That the guy who is leading my team isn't always making the best decisions.

 

With the fanbois they aren't actually supporting Tolkien when they defend poor development decisions, but Turbine.  Turbine did not write the Tolkien works.  The game is merely their interpretation of the works.  The more blind they are the less they compare other more successful titles in the market.  I'm sure it is much easier for them to continue the defense when Turbine is actually catering to their loves and hates.  Most of them hate raids, PVP and challenging content.  No one can explain why.  They simply hate them.  And when Turbine announces that they will not add these features or update current ones they are happy.  Simply because it means more content for them, the stuff they love.

 

It's funny because when I came to Lotro from WOW, anytime WOW was mentioned on the forums it was as if some evil dark cloud formed over the thread.  As if it was the game whose name can not be mentioned.  People got overly defensive about Lotro when WOW was mentioned.  And this is the thing the blinder fanbois can not fathom.  There are games,in the same genre, that offer at times 10 times the content at the same price they are paying.   One simply needs to read a website to see it.   You don't need a crystal ball or to play the other game to know it.    The fanbois are the same people that say they want to see the game reach Mordor, but in the same breath support development decisions that alienate large portions of the in game population, making seeing the story less possible (shutdown)

 

The only equivalent I can come up with for this in sports is if you want your team to win a championship, but you support the team's general manager when he off loads all the best players, ensuring failure.

 

The fanbois support Turbine (General Manager) not the actual game itself (winning).  any decision made by the general manager is accepted as gospel.  Sports fans tend to attack the decisions of the general manager when their team is losing, due to his poor decisions, no matter how blind they are.

 

I can explain why.

 

Most of the people that want raiding and grouping gone seem to be people that have had bad experiences with group play, or perceive that to be the norm. Let's use the Heydts as a perfect example. According to them, they grouped only once for a single instance in Moria. DJ's Mini didn't heal anyone, and a number of wipes ensued. She was apparently called out for it. This single incident permanently left a bad taste in their mouths for any other attempts at running in a Fellowship, and gave them an extremely negative impression of literally every single person that would even want to group up with other players. They've both made numerous disparaging and revealing comments that insinuate that "groupers" are:

Young and immature

Filled with hate and lacking in manners

Not erudite Tolkien fans like themselves

 

The loss of the raider demographic means that they can stop being constantly reminded of that one time that they embarrassed themselves. They know they suck, but instead of learning from their bad experience, they've internalized it into animus towards the people that called them out for it.

 

Although being a great, high-quality game, World of Warcraft is the the pure embodiment of the negative stereotypes I mentioned in the minds of most people that play MMOs, even among those of us that have played it!

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Although being a great, high-quality game, World of Warcraft, its players are the most targeted by negative stereotypes .

 

There, fixed it.

 

It is possible there is a silent majority in WoW that are not as bad as the steretypes or the vocal, immature kids playing the game?

It would be interesting to see the age or other demographics broken down for WoW.

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Let's make this very clear as of now... 

 

LOTRO fanbois are WB, Turbine, and Sapience fans... 

 

***Tolkien*** fans would never support a company that has dragged the professor's works all over the mud like WB/Turb/Peter Crapson have.

 

LOTRO fanbois and the generations that spawn from them will complain that "Tolkien removed Tauriel from the books"

 

All I need to say.

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First things first, great post Tinker, very well said, and a subject of much interest to me too.

 

Since Tolkien uses a lot of religious elements and symbols in his books...

 

It's funny, as a life long atheist, I always thought Tolkien was brave for writing his books completely free of all Abrahamic religion.  I assumed religious people would have taken issue with him not paying proper respect to their god.  I though it was almost rebellious.  I also thought his creation story in The Silmarillion was refreshingly beautiful, of singing reality into existence.  Almost irreligious.  "Screw your stale old religious junk, let's make up something really beautiful and simply righteous instead."  But I haven't looked past those uninformed impressions, I don't know what Tolkien had to say about his intent.

 

 

As a formerly religious person, I keep noticing a familiar pattern in the censored forums among LOTRO fanbois versus those who 'dare to question'.

 

I see the same thing for sure, but what I see is a comical micro-version of despotism, wrapped around a bloody video game this time, instead of a country.  You have a capricious leader, who's real message is lick my boots and thou shall be rewarded.  You have a cadre of loyal lackeys, who feel inflated status for their obedience.  It's all too familiar in all kinds of other venues, from corporate politics to national politics to religious institutions.  The common thread is actually simple: we're all great apes, and our instincts motivate us to form social hierarchies, and when you put a lot of us together and complicate everything with words and abstract behavior, this kind of despotism behavior often spins out.  It's not caused by religion, it's a human universal problem that affects religion very strongly, which is why you have come face to face with it.  That it crops up in LOTRO forums is comical, but even more, it is pathetic.

 

I also think this is by design, and Turbine chose Sapience quite well for the role (he likes playing god).  Genuine human interest is not the purpose here, profit is.  When people who love the art start calling bullshit on your corporate process, you stop allowing them to speak.  You appoint a tyrant as leader, and enjoy the fact that there will always be plenty of boot lickers eager to follow rather than think for themselves.

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First things first, great post Tinker, very well said, and a subject of much interest to me too.

 

 

It's funny, as a life long atheist, I always thought Tolkien was brave for writing his books completely free of all Abrahamic religion.  I assumed religious people would have taken issue with him not paying proper respect to their god.  I though it was almost rebellious.  I also thought his creation story in The Silmarillion was refreshingly beautiful, of singing reality into existence.  Almost irreligious.  "Screw your stale old religious junk, let's make up something really beautiful and simply righteous instead."  But I haven't looked past those uninformed impressions, I don't know what Tolkien had to say about his intent.

 

 

 

National epic, not a religious work at all.  Check out the Finnish national epic, Kalevala.  Written by a Finnish nationalist and published in 1835.  Major inspiration for Tolkien.

 

Tolkien was attempting to write something like that for Britain, but without being so obvious.  A national epic with themes that resonated with every Englishman.  Not specific like Kalevala, with its roots in Finnish folklore and mythology, but a more general work that captured the "feel" of his country.  The Shire is England.  The ordinary hobbit Frodo saves The Shire, oh, and the entire world as well.  Middle class hero with middle class values.  The last paragraph of The Return of the King is Sam returning home after seeing Frodo off to Valinor:

 

     He drew a deep breath. 'Well, I'm back,' he said

 

Now put on a dressing gown and slippers, and enjoy a nice cup of tea and a piece of toast by the fire.

 

So I don't think there's any religious aspect to LoTR at all.  If you compare it to the Narnia and Perelandra books from C.S. Lewis, you can see how much they differ.  Tolkien wanted to create an epic, and I think he succeeded.  Lewis was writing as a Christian (Anglican) apologist.  Ended up with some fun children's books (Narnia) that often lose their appeal in adulthood.

 

 

 

Now back to the OP....

 

I think it's just fervour.  Perhaps epic fervour for an adequate representation of an epic work of literatiure, but not religious fervour.  There is no other representation of LoTR in an online or single player game that comes close to this.  The visuals match the books very well. (Goblintown, The Shire, Meduseld, etc.)  The story matches a lot, and much of the fiction in the story (made up fiction :D  ) is fairly accurate. For me, it's amazing and wonderful to be able to enter the world of a trilogy that I've loved my entire life and have it look nearly identical to my own mental image.  (Yeah, I'm gushing.  Get over it.)   

 

The other facet of this is internet forums.  Some people get on a forum and make sure that everyone knows what they think.  That's fine if you think the same and annoying if not.  For any question/topic/opinion on any forum, there are people on both sides who express their beliefs and feelings with great fervour.  I wish both sides the best at winning that special little Olympic event and go on to something more interesting.

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Since Tolkien uses a lot of religious elements and symbols in his books, is it possible fanbois are reacting to his works as a belief-system, however subconsciously?  This might explain the severe 'devoutness' of some of these fanbois in the game. 

 

As a formerly religious person, I keep noticing a familiar pattern in the censored forums among LOTRO fanbois versus those who 'dare to question'. Many of the die-hard fans have an extremely emotional response to even the implication that their game is less than perfect. Some seem zealots to the point of absolute blindness when it comes to critically weighing the pros and cons of the game. It's rather common for them to demonize skeptics of the game in very negative terms.  Some of their comments remind me so much of  how my in-laws responded when my husband and I left our church, it's a little disconcerting.  As a matter of fact, one could substitute the words "religion and god" for "game and Turbine" in most of their posts. 

 

Of course, perhaps all fanbois are this blindly loyal and I'm totally wrong. 

 

Short answer: you're totally wrong.

 

Long answer: try if the wrongdoings of religious extremists compare well to the wrongdoings of LOTR(O) 'extremists'. '' for emphasis. Boat does not float at all, so it must be a rock.

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Long answer: try if the wrongdoings of religious extremists compare well to the wrongdoings of LOTR(O) 'extremists'. '' for emphasis. Boat does not float at all, so it must be a rock.

Give it a dozen or so centuries...

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Short answer: you're totally wrong.

 

Long answer: try if the wrongdoings of religious extremists compare well to the wrongdoings of LOTR(O) 'extremists'. '' for emphasis. Boat does not float at all, so it must be a rock.

 

I think there's merit to Tinker's observation.  I don't think that Tinker was trying to claim that the deeds of LOTRO "extremists" in any way compares to what religious extremists have wrought over centuries of conflict, but rather was noting a similarity between the (zealous?) urge of some to fervently defend the particular authority that they revere - in this case, Turbine/LOTRO.

 

Quinn noted the same fervor in sports fans, and I see the same thing happen quite often on Twitter when someone challenges a media celebrity (journalist, TV anchor, and the like).  Oddly, I notice it happen most often when liberal/left heroes are attacked, but that may just be a product of the fact that I don't follow anyone who engages with conservative/right-leaning celebrities.  A celebrity left will write an article, someone will bring up legitimate criticism, and scores of people crawl out of the woodwork to defend their chosen hero.  Most of the defense has nothing to do with the merits of the original piece nor the criticism of it, but instead usually focuses on the obvious personal failings of whomever dared question the infallible celebrity left.  The ad hominems range from the usual ("how's your mom's basement?") to stuff we don't see on LOTRO forums (accusations of being a CIA, NSA, or GOP plant; accusations of envy or psychological disorders).

 

It's truly bizarre at times, but it jives with what Tinker is talking about - some people will blindly defend the authority figure of their choosing, and will quite often viciously attack those who question said authority.  (In a semi-amusing twist on the celebrity left thing, the particular one I have in mind wrote quite often disparaging authoritarians, and rightly so, but yet seems quite content to let his own little army of authoritarians tear apart anyone who dares question him.  I guess authoritarians are only bad if they disagree with you. :P)

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I think there's merit to Tinker's observation.  I don't think that Tinker was trying to claim that the deeds of LOTRO "extremists" in any way compares to what religious extremists have wrought over centuries of conflict, but rather was noting a similarity between the (zealous?) urge of some to fervently defend the particular authority that they revere - in this case, Turbine/LOTRO.

 

Quinn noted the same fervor in sports fans, and I see the same thing happen quite often on Twitter when someone challenges a media celebrity (journalist, TV anchor, and the like).  Oddly, I notice it happen most often when liberal/left heroes are attacked, but that may just be a product of the fact that I don't follow anyone who engages with conservative/right-leaning celebrities.  A celebrity left will write an article, someone will bring up legitimate criticism, and scores of people crawl out of the woodwork to defend their chosen hero.  Most of the defense has nothing to do with the merits of the original piece nor the criticism of it, but instead usually focuses on the obvious personal failings of whomever dared question the infallible celebrity left.  The ad hominems range from the usual ("how's your mom's basement?") to stuff we don't see on LOTRO forums (accusations of being a CIA, NSA, or GOP plant; accusations of envy or psychological disorders).

 

It's truly bizarre at times, but it jives with what Tinker is talking about - some people will blindly defend the authority figure of their choosing, and will quite often viciously attack those who question said authority.  (In a semi-amusing twist on the celebrity left thing, the particular one I have in mind wrote quite often disparaging authoritarians, and rightly so, but yet seems quite content to let his own little army of authoritarians tear apart anyone who dares question him.  I guess authoritarians are only bad if they disagree with you. :P)

 

And you (maybe unintentionally) bring up a very relevant point: how people behave on the internet. This is why I love the internet. People can be who they are, as raw as like because they hide behind anonymity. You see them for what they are. And it's so easy to type, too. So what would be the behaviour of a minority of people in real life becomes the behaviour of the majority online. It's electronic liberation that allows people to fly off the handle in defence of something or someone totally meaningless (and vice versa) because they are completely open.

 

Your celebrity point rings very true for me. I see it all the time. YouTube is like a hotbed for this sort of thing (I commented on a Doctor Who video that I wasn't excited about the new guy and oh my god you'd think I'd just murdered someone!). If you criticise or even give your opinion, there will be dozens of people who will jump on you for doing so. You haven't attacked them, you haven't even referenced them, but they still take it personally. The internet, it seems, heightens who people are instead of giving them the chance to take a step back from it all before making a judgement. And, as we all know, most people are stupid... and it only gets multiplied online! #nofilter I guess.

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It is not really about religion, even though you can see the same behaviour among some adherents to various religions (especially in smaller sects.)

It is more a case about validation and wanting to not be wrong.

 

When people have invested heavily (be it emotionally, with time or even with money) in something they understandably do not want find out they have invested in the "wrong" thing.  Therefore they tend to defend their choice.

This is most apparent in those cases where it is difficult to say that one choice is objectively better than the others, like MMOs, religions, computer systems, even sport teams.

 

What it basically comes down to is that any attack or criticism on their chosen object is interpreted as an implication that they have chosen the "wrong" thing to invest in.   They do not like that at all, and thus tend to lash out at any such criticism, while simultaneously seeking endorsement from other people invested in the same thing that they have indeed chosen the "right" thing to invest in.

 

This behaviour tends to be more common and fervent among smaller groups, since those belonging to the larger groups can just look at the numbers to convince themselves that they have chosen "right".  

 

Taken to the extreme this leads to small cults where the members keep trying to convince themselves and each other that they are right, and it is everybody else who is wrong.

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