Sore Paws & Attention Whores (Those misusing real life problems online)

The internet is the great equaliser. Online you can be anyone you want, indeed pretend to be anyone you want – and it is no surprise that with a fantasy game about a fantasy real life you can make your own way, the Sims series online and offline attracts plenty.

Look no further than the phenomena of the ‘Simself’ – for every SharkloverPlayer (Catloverplayer) posting up an honest version of themselves, there’s always going to be those whose Simselves would only be true after 48 hours worth of liposuction and a lot more salad in their diet (isn’t there, Lisa!).

It’s all part of the escapism that makes the game fun.

One of the largest groups of people to be found online are those who may face heads turning away from them in real-life, and no surprise that the disabled, those with mental illness, etc. rank highly (and let’s not kid ourselves that there isn’t still a fair old bit of unconscious reticence towards them from society as a whole – even in the 21st century ): it’s the one place they can be guaranteed to be treated not at face value, but in how much fun they are to be around with online.

Perhaps that was the reason Madame Lee stirred up a bigger hornet’s nest than she bargained for with her demand for disabilities within the Sims in the EA forum this year – some may have felt she was trying to ‘walk the ghost’, others meanwhile didn’t like the idea of the game about a fantasy ‘perfect society’ becoming that bit ‘less perfect’, and that it was one call for realism too far. Still others felt that in a more inclusive age, it’s time that computer games reflected this, and the debate will doubtlessly crop up again in 2010.

There is however the other side of the coin: those who will use disabilities and illnesses as a moral club to beat others with, and the Simming community is no more immune from this than the real world.

A rather nasty example of this occured a fortnight ago c/o of one Simsmaster4110, who decided to berate people for not replying to them on a Create A World building thread – in particular the originator Lady Emilye:

Sarah_0223, one of those from the Aquahorse building team (‘neigh project too large or small’) who make Slartibardfast look like a novice, made a polite defence of Lady Emilye not jumping to Simsmaster4110’s demands:

Look what happened next:

Now no matter how ‘upset’ Simsmaster4110 was, she was completely out of line in trying to use her condition as something to establish some ‘moral high ground’ with, especially as one suspects that she knew that Sarah_0223 – who is a nice soul that doesn’t like seeing people on the board getting hurt – would be inclined to be conciliatory if they did this.

One of the nastier facets of modern life is the way basic civility or compassion – the hallmarks of a civilised society – is seen by others instead as weaknesses to be exploited for their own benefit (whether material or egotistical), and Simsmaster4110 proved to show themselves as a prime example of the latter:

Poor Sarah_0223 was somewhat at a loss, and matters were made worse when one of the forum piranhas arrived, making it plain they were there to stir it:

The irony of course was that Simsmaster4110 was willing to swing their Morality Mallet in all directions at once:

But Lady Emilye was more than ready to swing for Simsmaster4110, and was not prepared to either take shit or have shit dished out to others on her own thread:

Browning backed off, but Simsmaster4110 – still seeing Sarah_0223’s good nature as something to take advantage of – was not for getting out whilst the going was good.

Bad enough that they were hijacking someone else’s thread for their own ends in the first place:

It’ll be a bloody plate glass window at high speed if you keep this up, sunshine!

Browning came back to say that Simsmaster4110 perhaps ought not to be posting up such personal information about themselves in the first place, and it was only when Lady Emilye told Simsmaster4110 that they’d blown it and to leave the thread that they apologised.

There was however, one final interesting twist to the tale, courtesy of JCsS1ms:

We wondered whether one of the three autistic people JCsS1ms was referring to happens to be one of those you’ve all been voting for recently in the Most Entertaining Poster (Within EA Forum Only) category for the 2009 ‘Six of the Best’ Awards – but we can guess only too well how they must have felt over Simsmaster4110’s boorishness if they got to see it.

JCsS1ms’ second of the two posts touched on a subject that had also been recently covered over at Crazy Town, but with somewhat darker tones as to how low some people will stoop online in order to have something to have ‘over’ others for their own ends:

It was the Isz’s response that shocked us:

With Simmerqueen and Sleepycat summing up the reasons and consequences of such selfish actions:

The latter of which sums up our own cynicism towards those in the Simmers world who have regular conveniently timed sympathy-demanding real life problems whenever

But Simsmaster4110 wasn’t quite finished with their troublemaking for that day:

She even managed to get a certain Jazz Hand-er – Moryrie (who has kept a very low profile on the EA forum) into appearing out:

 As a certain individual would put it, ‘Honeychild, her overuse of Upper Case is the least of her problems!’ (Altogether now, ‘Oh, Mare’s Nest!’)

Luckily there was someone that had seen the earlier carry-on ready to give due warning to the unwary about Simsmaster4110 behaviour:

And that put the tin lid on it – another example of why forewarned is forearmed so that – as the Isz would put it – you know when there’s a big kettle of crazy to avoid.

An attention whore is an attention whore, and it matters not two hoots what sort of sore paw they may hold up in their ‘defence’ – one doesn’t require to be completely able-bodied and uncertifiable to know the difference between being civil and boorish – especially when you can always pause before hitting the send button, no matter how angry you are.

There is not a single person on any of the forums that leads a perfect happy problem free life. Anyone that’s a member of the large Boolprop Fight The Addiction False forum will testify to that (they have specific sections for just about any life problem imaginable – which is a good way to keep it from the General or Off Topic boards where some of the issues may make some people feel uncomfortable).

However, as much as the Internet can be a place to gain support and comfort from such things – including with those sharing common interests to begin with such as The Sims – it is also a place where others go to escape from the miseries of the real world, and that equally has to be respected.