Red Dead Redemption 2 - Duels

I actively avoid online voice chat almost entirely unless it’s with people I know. Truth be told, though, I also don’t play online competitive or co-op games (with the exception of Red Dead Online, I suppose, but that’s a sinking ship these days). I also have very little interest in playing MMORPGs, so solo play is a comfort I am easily afforded.

So I have to make some assumptions here. For instance, I assume that if I did flock to co-operative games, voice chat would be almost impossible to avoid, especially if working as a team with other players. And since I don’t have a sizeable group of either IRL or OLO friends that I know and trust, if I did venture into this realm of cooperative gaming, I would be at the mercy of matchmaking with randos. Don’t get me wrong, I have met a good number of cool randos, and randos aren’t exclusively people you might not otherwise want to socialize with. But you also run the risk of grouping up with the dregs of society.

Now, to be clear, some people hate randos because they also hate large swaths of people in general. I like to call these people idiots, racists, bigots, homophobes, xenophobes, sexists and misogynists, but labels aren’t important. What is important is that voice chat with randos can devolve into a toxic swamphole more often than reasonable, well-adjusted gaming enthusiasts would hope.

There is something about anonymity and a lack of any real accountability that seems to embolden the very worst in people. Note that I’m about to make some offensive statements, so this might be a good time to back out of this article if you don’t want to read that absolute filth.


The sentiment usually goes something like this; “Hark, is that a female voice on the other end of chat controlling that Tracer? I’d better comment about how women are inferior and are only meant to serve my admittedly less-than-virile sexual urges.” Or this one: “Pardon me, are you black? Well then you must be a monkey. You are worse than Jews, who, if you couldn’t tell, I also dislike vehemently.” It should be noted the tone and choice of words are usually far less civil than even those incredibly offensive sentences I just typed. It should also be noted that I vehemently disagree with the sentiments expressed in those sentences.

In short, online chat can really suck. At times, it can even become incredibly harmful. However, it seems to be a disease that no one has been able to find the cure for. I’d like to think that it would be easy enough for humanity as a whole to ascend to a higher level of consciousness and, to quote a popular movie, “Be excellent to each other.” But that seems to have proven incredibly challenging for some of our less-than-enlightened brethren.

And of course, it’s also easy enough for me to cast stones — especially from my solo-play pedestal here.

But, I mean, maybe I shouldn’t respect other people and strive to make their interactions with me as pleasant and harmless and beneficial as possible. Maybe I should alienate myself and aggrieve everyone I interact with online, even if I am too much of a coward to ever say any of that to another person’s actual face since I’m obviously not nearly as tough as I would like everyone to think I am.

Maybe. But also, obviously not.


What was that old saying? Oh yeah, “If you’re at a party and you keep meeting assholes, maybe it’s you that’s the asshole.” Well, if you are offended by this article and engage in toxic chat interaction, yeah, you’re the asshole.

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