Friday, January 25, 2013

Just a bit on why we need more gun control

I find that the fun of reading an article online is easily spoiled by people who have not done so, but feel the need to leave their self-important gripes in the comment section anyway.

I hate all the hyperbole associated with it anyway. The loudest gun control advocates live in some kind of fantasy land where violent psychopaths somehow can't circumvent the law to hurt people, and the loudest gun control opponents have the kind of unresolved rage issues that make me unwilling to trust them with lethal firearms. If I ever want to talk about gun control, it'll be with the quiet reasonable people that never get the attention of lawmakers.

In truth, though, this post has nothing to do with gun control. I don't even want more gun control legislation in this country, I just wanted to see how many people would fire off a comment as soon as they caught the title. That's what this rant is actually about: paying attention.

What actually sparked this post was an article on Kotaku about a game in development on Facebook. I don't care about the game much, but I found the subject matter kind of interesting. Then I got to the comments section and was reminded that I share my gaming passion with a lot of really immature people.*

*: As obnoxious as most of the anti-Facebook comments were, there is certainly an argument to be made for why game developers should not turn to Facebook as a gaming platform. That argument was not being made effectively by any of those people, but that's besides the point. At least their thoughtless complaints were relevant.

One comment really jumped out at me. In addition to refusing to play any game on Facebook for poorly defined reasons, the person said they're not interested in playing that type of game on a keyboard (which is a valid concern), and then the question that made me furrow my brow in disappointment  They asked whether the game will be available elsewhere.

You may justly wonder why that disappointed me. If you didn't read the article (much as this person didn't), you are likely unaware that the writer of the article specifically said "It'll eventually be on Android and iOS."

You know what will always make you look bad? Asking a question that was answered moments before you asked it.

The writer of the article also mentioned that the game was made with Flash 11, "which should one day support an Xbox-style controller." So, while the commenter's point about preferring to play such a game with a controller is a valid one, it likely won't be for long.

Really, I can't comprehend how people take part in behavior like this without even realizing it. Consider this: if you were talking to me in real life, and I decided to ignore the key points of what you were saying, because I was just waiting for you to take a breath and allow me to express the opinion I already had in mind, would you value my input? You'd probably just think I was a rude, egocentric person and you'd stop talking to me.

This is just one of those things about the human condition that always baffles me. It's like when professionals stress that their employees should display "active listening" skills. Active listening is not a skill, it's a basic component of human communication. It's what separates the beautiful art and science of human discussion from, say, the instinctive guttural bleating of sheep.

I guess it's to be expected somewhat. I've heard of studies about how people on average have much shorter attention spans these days. I mean, I've heard bits of them; I never bothered to follow through and hear the whole thing. I think that in itself may legitimize the findings, though.

This is part of the reason only a select few of you are still reading these words right now. I would applaud you for sticking with me, but I kind of thought the act of reading words for any length of time stopped being an impressive feat sometime after the Dark Ages.

At any rate, I thank you for your attention, and I hope you appreciate the point of this post. The act of commenting should not be a one-way process. You're meant to take in information as well as expel your own thoughts. So, the next time somebody tries to talk to you, but makes it clear that they don't care enough to pay attention to you, let them know in no uncertain terms:

If you can't actively listen in a discussion, then nobody is going to listen to you either.
If you don't care what I think, why the hell would I care what you think?

That's all for now. Peace and love, my wonderful readerkin.

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