It's been a tiny bit sparse with new information lately, so here's just a small article, talking about the choices we all make in most games, and why explaining these choices so often lead to conflict.
This is a subject I’ve been thinking quite a bit about and have made some effort in changing the past couple of years.
It will be mostly focused on game related, though I’m sure it can be translated to other things as well.
When there’s two or more choices that really only depend on personal preference, it seems like it’s quite natural to want to explain why you made the choice you made. I certainly know I’ve done so many times.
However, what I very often find happen, and what I’ve found myself doing in the past, is, rather than argue FOR the the choice picked, they start arguing AGAINST the other choice. It might sound like it’s the same thing, but the focus is very different. If you argue for your personal pick, you can still easily accept that the other pick is just as valid, which, since we’re talking personal preference here, is most likely the case. If you argue against the other choice, on some level, you’re saying it’s wrong: That your choice is the better or more right one. This, I think, can end up leading to quite a bit of hostility that isn’t necessary and probably wasn’t intended.
Let’s take factions as an example. This is just one example, I’ve seen it happen with stuff like which game to play, what race to play, etc, but factions is a pretty clear cut one, so I’m gonna use that as an example.
Now, I’m not talking friendly banter between the two factions.
What I mean is arguments like:
"I picked this side because all the kids will be going the other side"
"I picked this side because the elves are on the other side, so you know everyone there will be vain and only want to ERP"
"I picked this side because I think the other side will be too goodie-two-shoe"
"I’m picking this side because everyone else picks the other side because it’s the most popular"
Seeing the pattern? With all of these types of argument, you’re basically saying that picking the other side is less desirable, not just as a personal preference for you, but for a specific reason that affects other people. You’re indicating, even if it might not be intended, that someone who picks the other side is a kid, vain, only interested in ERP, a goodie two-shoe, a sheep. You might not have meant that, but it’s pretty much what you’re telling people, and then many will feel a need to defend themselves, which will often happen with a similar statement about why YOUR side is the wrong one.
This create a conflict where none need to be had. In a game with factions, you have to pick one, that’s just how it is. You really don’t have a choice, and so, you will end up with some people picking one side, and some people picking the other, each for our own reasons. (Of course there will be people who have alts on both sides, I plan on doing this myself, but this is beside the point, so let’s just pretend you have to pick one for now).
What I’ve been working on myself is to avoid above scenario, avoid explaining my personal choice by putting the other choice down, and instead focus on the positives, the reasons one faction attracted me. It’s not always easy, because explaining by focusing on the reasons we DIDN’T pick the other side is such a common thing to do, and such a natural reaction. But it creates much healthier conversations, because people doesn’t have to feel attacked: They can explain their choice rather than defend it.
The same goes for race choice. You can personally choose not to play a certain race, but you don’t have to explain why that race is bad to pick. Instead, try focusing on why you picked the one you did, what attracted you to it?