The Problem With “Trade” Chat

For ages I didn’t think this needed a post, because everybody knows how idiotic trade chat is, but the more I read the stupidity in /2, the more I wish there was something we could do to.. well.. tone it down a little. Usually I just don’t read it, but last night I saw something that really got to me, and no, it wasn’t what I linked in the screenshot above, that is stuff you see all the time, sadly, it’s something I didn’t screenshot, something that made me instantly ignore the person responsible for it.

In the trade channel, you can usually expect to see people looking for crafters, things to buy, things to sell, the things that the channel is intended for. It’s also used as a guild recruitment channel, and a looking for group channel, because it is the global channel that you can see from any city, and you can guarantee that the majority of people in cities will be able to see it unless they have it turned off. The other thing you see in trade chat is conversation. Whilst it’s not intended to be a chat channel, that is what it has become. Sometimes the chat is fine, sometimes it’s full of idiots. A bunch of people who don’t know much about life going by their derogatory statements about how all girls who play WoW are fat, how if you have less than 5k gearscore you’re a crap player, insults being thrown around, so and so is a retard, that guy’s a fucking noob, and so on, I’m sure you know how it is. I’ve also noticed a difference between the 3 servers I’m on. My main server always seems to be full of these idiots, and trolls who think they’re so very clever. Argent Dawn has always seemed more friendly than Vashj, though with the odd troll. My Alliance server always seemed to be a little bit witty, until recently, when one person took it upon themselves to constantly tell people about their day and their owning a vagina. From what I can tell, they’re half trolling, and half flaunting their supposed femininity.

The trouble I’ve found is, whilst trade chat spent hours discussing weight, and how to lose it, and generally doing the stupid dance, the perpetrator of the entire crap came out with a statement, “I wish I was anorexic.” Making light of mental health and disabilities really is where I draw the line. I’m used to the dickheads insulting female gamers, I don’t like it but female gamers can stick up for themselves. People with mental disabilities generally can’t, and the more people make light of mental health issues, the less they become issues (the same argument with the use of the words “rape” to mean “kick ass” and “gay” to mean “bad”).

I may be guilty of using the word ‘retard’ once in a while, but that doesn’t mean I agree with it, and I am trying not to use it so much because it’s a word that’s as lazy as the word ‘noob’. They’re insults people use to insult people when they can’t think of anything else to say, it makes me cringe a little. I guess growing up around people who are mentally handicapped gives you a little more tolerance, I always remember the time I went into town with a friend from the other side of the city, a guy with Down’s Syndrome walked past shaking a pot, trying to ask for some spare change. My friend started laughing, and I couldn’t understand why. I’d like to hope this is something that changes with age, but watching trade chat worries me a little bit. Admittedly, it has got to the point where most people seem to be de-sensitised to the word ‘retard’, but one that really gets me is the use of ‘downy’ as an insult, because that hasn’t become ‘just an insult’, that is very specific with what you are calling them and why, and it makes me feel ill when I see insults like that.

When it comes to mental health, admittedly I haven’t seen much. Somebody once told me that they “didn’t believe in” depression, they felt that people who said they were depressed were just lazy and looking for an excuse, that they have no reason to feel that way and should just stop it. That was a conversation I backed out of pretty swiftly, being a sufferer of depression myself, I know how hopeless you can feel, how difficult it is to go on some days, hearing somebody think that it’s not a real feeling but a bunch of lies designed to get you attention? Yeah, I was a little mad, but I forgot about it and moved on. When I saw that person say “I want to be anorexic” in trade chat, it made me realise how people haven’t necessarily become de-sensitised to mental health issues, but in fact, they don’t know a thing about them. This is something that needs to be taught in schools, to make people aware that people with these illnesses, in fact, can’t help it. Anorexia is a horrible illness that is not something I would ever wish upon anybody, seeing that in trade really made me wish that it wasn’t so futile trying to change it.

16 thoughts on “The Problem With “Trade” Chat”

  1. The difference in trade chat between servers is amazing. My first server, Aman’Thul (US), was benign, partly because it’s an Oceanic server and I’m American; times were off. But even at peak times, trade was manageable. My second server, Sen’Jin, was nice and quiet. Maybe I missed the parties, but I didn’t notice a lot of badness. My current home, Elune, makes me weep for humanity. I suffered it for about three months before I left trade chat. I’ve missed at least 10k gold in gem cuts, but there’s no price for sanity.
    Lyraat recently posted..Ca-ca-cata ch-ch-changes- The pet pass and new talent trees

  2. I work in mental health, and it is true that one of the greatest obstacles we (professionals and consumers) face is a general and often staggering lack of education and understanding. Hell, this can even extend to those with mental illness and to the staff working with them. Unfortunately, there are always going to be those who don’t understand, nor care to, and subsequently are unwittingly insensitive or even willingly hurtful.

    I will add a positive, however, in regards to this game we play. I have personally found myself, in game, discussing MH and providing some education and explanation. Now, I’m not going to go jump in trade and try to hold an online class on MH, but the game does provide a medium for some education. I’ll add that these interactions have always been initiated by others upon finding out what I do, so there are people who are interested in gaining some understanding. Previous commenters are right, there just aren’t any widespread education programs (through schools for example).

    Oh well, I don’t want to prostelylize too much here, just thought I’d throw my 2 cents in. Keep up the good bloggin!

  3. I think everyone is guilty of using a politically incorrect slur sometime, simply because we hear them so often we might catch ourselves using one without being aware of it. I also believe that it depends on what ‘circle’ you’re in, the way you talk among friends who all know each other, should differ from how you talk on more ‘official’ platforms imo or public ones that go with a certain responsibility.
    I’ve never paid attention to gen. chat in wow, it’s a waste of time and nerves (it kinda helps to know which individuals to avoid but then I rarely socialize outside my guild anyway). the fact that the smacktalk moved from general chat to trade also means we cant really use that channel for anything, ah well. =/
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  4. I’m glad that when I went to school we had a lot of education about various illnesses. We had days when we had visits from people who had recovered from anorexia, or bulimia or even alcoholism. I wish it was something done in every school, because I think information and knowledge on the issue is severely lacking in a lot of people.

    Where I live people often say people are “CP” when they think someone is being stupid. It’s short for cerebral palsy which is mainly motoric/physical handicap. While I of course don’t think we should use retarded in a bad way either, I always get upset when people use “CP” too since one of my best friends in High School suffered from this and people automatically assumed she was “stupid” as well as handicapped.

    I think people in general just need to learn more about all kinds of mental and physical handicaps/illnesses.
    Saga recently posted..Cataclysm- Dwarf Starting Zone

  5. Making fun of Down Syndrome or any other mental disability is something I do not stand in the least bit. My little brother has down syndrome so I definatly fly off the handle when I see a message in trade along the lines “That group was so fail makes me think everyone in it had downs”. You bet your ass I called them out on it, by the time I was done with him he was stammering out an apology to me, trade, and his group memebers. Followed by a swift ignore and a submitted report to the GM’s.

    Also on my realm there was a guild by the name of You can bet they had to name change after I reported them. I find it sick how I have to report people without enough common sense that a name like rapeduhard wont be reported. I encourage everyone to report names and guilds with names that dont sit right with them.

    -Anslym
    Anslym recently posted..Day One-

    1. Oh definitely, it depends on the name for me, I report so much crap that if I reported *everything* I’d just spend all my playtime reporting, I swear.

      I tried reporting somebody who for no real reason was just insulting everybody in trade chat. Calling them all retards, constantly, and it really pissed me off, but Blizzard’s response was “you have an ignore button” so I pretty much gave up. It also depends on how dickish a person is being, with names and insults like that, you can usually guarantee they are dickheads, but I actually enjoy getting some of these people bans because how else are they going to learn that what they do is wrong?

      In my secondary school, we had ‘Birkett House’, which was basically like a care center for people with mental disabilities, there were the teenagers, and there were also the adults, it was a community college, I’ll always remember one of the adults, Geoff, he was so friendly, spoke to everybody, always smiled and said hello to people, and it pisses me off that people could even consider being nasty to/about somebody as lovely as Geoff. /sigh.

  6. Loved this post! We hear a lot about racist and sexist slurs, but mental health is so far behind in the awareness factor.

    Actually, a few weeks ago, I saw a tweet that really upset me. The tweeter was a former guildie who was rather obsessed with political correctness, manners and everything else. In fact, the whole reason he left our guild was because he couldn’t handle our smack talk. Fair enough. But then he goes and tweets: “Arguing on the internet is like running in the Special Olympics… Even if you win, you’re still retarded.”

    I don’t usually react to offensive stuff (any kind of attention is reinforcing the behavior), but I was shocked that someone who was so obsessed with being politically correct would think it’s ok to mock Special Olympics athletes.

    For mental illness in general, you’ve hit the nail on the head, people just don’t *know*. Like you mentioned, even conditions as widespread as depression (what is the current prevalence? 1 in 4 people or something like that?) carry a huge a stigma.

    Mental health is topic near to my heart (personally and professionally), so I’m really glad you wrote this post.
    Ophelie recently posted..WoW on the First Date A geeky chick’s take

  7. I use the word retarded… but not because of the way other people use it. Having studied a lot of other languages, in just about every language except english (well, even in english in some cases), retard means slow or late – and that’s what it means to me primarily. Generally, I am referring to someone or something who isn’t getting it or takes a while to work out whatever we are doing. Yes, it is an insult, no, it is not referring to anything other than that person/thing being slow or late to the party. And I use it always in the passive tense (That object is being retarded).

    Inflection on the word makes a difference in english for giving the word a different meaning – reeeeetard is an insult, retARD is not. I always mean the latter (which even in english means slow, generally in conjunction with machinery of some kind… and I’m an engineer)

    I know I shouldn’t use it because for just about everyone else it means something ENTIRELY DIFFERENT AND BAD, I try to catch myself every time I do, but for some reason it has crept into my vocab recently and has settled in as a squatter in my brain I just cant dislodge. *rages at brain*

    Now, this is completely at odds with the word ‘downy’ which is a disgusting twist on a medical condition. Especially when most people with Down Syndrome are freaking awesome, well, all the ones I know are.

    There’s an open confession for you ;)
    Brangwen recently posted..So- tell me about your mother

  8. I have big problems with the trade channel, no reason to have it on imho as theres nothing useful in there either.

    Unfortunately trade channel in terenas has seemed to have moved into icc /1 channel with people spamming random crap in there instead.

    In the old days you would only get ‘raiding’ guilds congratulating each other in raid /1 but now as anyone can raid (not debating if its good or bad at the mo) its getting full of the biggest pile’s of doo doo in this planet

    1. Ohh I remember that, the higher end guilds back in BT. It was nice to watch the banter in /1 without any old moron joining in, but I’m definitely glad they’ve made it easier for people to raid these days.

      1. Any old fuckwit wiping on Marrowgar talks in /1 on my server. It normally turns into an ewhore from some minor guild flirting with everyone until people start spamming memes. Or one of the players from the Something Awful guild trolling (for example “could all you lesser players please leave ICC we’re working on a hard fight and all you scrubs are making us lag”) Mind you this is thankfully a rare occurance and you still get the occasional small guild posting to say they killed something for the first time and getting congratulated.
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  9. There was an article in the Daily Mail last week in which a female columnist was talking about the fact that her six year old had picked up on her own issues about body weight. Eating disorders are definitely something close to my heart, having suffered from them in varying degrees throughout my life (I come from a family in which being fat is up there with getting divorced in terms of sins) and yes, even when I was at my lowest points, most people were less than sympathetic. I think partly because if you’re thin and attractive people feel you shouldn’t suffer from things like body dysmorphic disorder in the first place. It’s like how dare you hate yourself, pull yourself together, even the medical profession were less than kind. Which when you see huge piles of wobbling fat when you look in the mirror, really doesn’t help, even if that fat is in your head. Being made to look in a mirror by a doctor, even though you’re in tears because you see makes you sick, really doesn’t help regardless of what they tell you.

    Even now, and I’m probably happier with myself now than ever before, I can’t look in a mirror before going anywhere important just in case I spot an imperfection. I have to rely on my boyfriend telling me I look ok.

    There is definitely a need for education, both to stop abuse from idiots and also to help people who suffer from these disorders. I spent my teenage years living on diet cupasoups, cigarette’s (because they suppressed my appetite) and diet coke, doing all sorts of damage to myself. The poor self image also led into an abusive relationship, simply because I was so much at rock bottom I believed him when he told me that I’d never get anyone else and that I was repulsive. I would really hate anyone to go through what I went through and what I know my Mother (who still suffers from eating disorders and is currently dangerously thin) goes through.

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