Over the last several weeks, we’ve heard of independent game developers getting hacked or harassed unfairly by people online. We’ve seen celebrities hacked and their privacy exposed.
When I first read about one of the developer’s that was hacked, I saw some articles with comments of pity and disgust of the Internet, and some articles that said “he deserved it.”
The problem is that when you post something online, be it a picture, video or post, it immediately becomes subject to review by the world, and to anyone who actually cares. And in today’s world, EVERYTHING is online, be it your photos or your television-watching habits. Nothing is sacred anymore. And if anyone actually cares who you are, they will comment.
Some people say that game developers are self-entitled individuals with terrible personalities who think they are better than everyone. That’s basically the definition of an “artist.” Be it in painting, sculpture, writing, film, music or dance, these are all situations where a person makes something from their heart and mind and soul, and claims it is good, if not great, enough so to share it to the world and hope that it will support them financially. That’s a brave thing to do. You have to open yourself up completely, accepting all praise and criticism. People have committed suicide for less. And game development is truly an art, a combination of writing, music and visual arts with a hint of unpredictability. It’s difficult to do it right, especially in the indie scene where individuals with little to no experience give it a shot, and is easy to find faults in the cracks. I still hesitate to call myself an artist, being fully aware of how mediocre I am with much of what I do. But I do it anyway, and that in itself makes me an “artist,” and I’m sure you can call yourself one to for the same reasons.
I remind you that the Internet is for free speech. You can say anything you want. That’s fine. You can talk about my work as much as you want, pick at it and tell me what’s wrong with it, insult it. Talk about what I MAKE as much as you want. If you talk about ME, that can be seen as a form of bullying based on what you say, so be considerate, but such is still fair speech. If you hack me, harass me, and make it your duty to ruin my life and the lives of my friends and family from the ground up, that makes you a criminal and nothing less, and if people you knew were aware of it, they’d tear out your eyeballs and send them to me as an apology. You aren’t a hero for ruining a person, no matter how important you think they are.
At the very least, use your writing skills, hacking skills, and free time to do something productive. Make something, Do something. Change the world. Don’t focus yourself on such small matters. If you wanted, you could lead an online revolution for countries and people who need your help. At the very least, spend a little time and make something in your basement. You can be an artist too, it isn’t hard at all.
This doesn’t necessarily apply to me, but I fear it randomly will one day, and want to join in with everyone else in support of the artists. Generally, the Internet has been very kind and reassuring to me. Probably because I’m a tiny blip of a thing, and I never plan to be more than that. Making me feel a little important, even I did get harassed a little, but even then it was always constructive and meaningful, not empty and only with hate. And 99% of the comments and feedback and online writings of my work have been positive or kind, despite me being fully aware that I probably deserve much worse. So I thank you, sincerely, I hope there are more people like you out there. And if you are one of the other people that I haven’t yet met… please don’t hack me.