Disagree Online? Don’t Worry, Some Brave Soul Will Diagnose You

When you write opinion pieces, people don’t see it that way. To an amazingly high number of people, your opinions are alleged facts. Moreover, if you feel one way about something and they feel another way, people are quick to diagnose you with some kind of problem. As herd animals, maybe this shouldn’t come as a big surprise, but I find myself constantly amused by humans’ inability to disagree without throwing around labels and personal psychiatric evaluations. Check out this comment I recently received on a preview I wrote:

Most of the post is fine. The person spends most of his/her time expressing an opinion about a game. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. That’s what comments are there for.

The part that gets me is: “More like mediocre, maybe decent at best depending on how much of a FF fanboy you are.”

That’s not a comment about the game, that’s a comment about the other person.


As a “fanboy” is generally taken to mean someone who follows a brand with blind loyalty, that’s a misguided view that doesn’t move forward any constructive discussion and doesn’t foster understanding.

If you like something that someone else doesn’t like, it should be as simple as that, right? Wrong. To a lot of people, it means you have a problem. For example, I loved the story and combat in Final Fantasy Type-0, and was indirectly called a “fanboy.” Indeed, doctor.

It’s particularly funny, because all the time, meanwhile, I have a reputation for being a critic whose praise is hard to earn. And in the most ironic cases — you guessed it — I’ve even been labeled a Final Fantasy “hater.” Here’s just one example from earlier this year, when I reviewed Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII:

I see…

So when I like something you don’t like, I’m a “fanboy,” but when I dislike something you like, I’m a “hater.” Gotcha.

And that’s just the first one I snagged in 30 seconds of Googling. I’ve been doing this for a decade, now, and I’ve been called all kinds of things, merely for telling people what I think of video games. The crazy thing is, the very article which earned me a “fanboy” label has earned me scorn elsewhere, for its harsh criticisms. Sweet irony.

In my experience, too many people can’t stand to see others just disagree and leave well enough alone. It’s as if there’s just some kind of alarm bell that goes off like “What!? Disagreement?  My favorite things are not awesome? No, that can’t be true! Something can’t be wrong with the things I like! Something must be wrong with the person who said this! Yes, yes that’s it!  He’s a (choose “hater” or “troll” or “fanboy” or other applicable term)!” It may or may not be that way, of course. I’m not claiming to know, because as I’ve said, this is a mindset that baffles me. Is that what it’s like?

If you happen to be a person who goes around calling people haters and fanboys based on simple video game discussions, by all means explain to me the thought process. I am on a quest for understanding here.

My reply to the first post was this:

Civil enough, I think. I’m not going to carry it any further because it’s just like talking to a wall at some point. Where have I heard that before…?

…Wait, I probably remembered that because I’m a Final Fantasy fanboy! Oh no! The haters were right! The haters win! Soylent Green is people! It was Earth all along and the butler did it!

Because every discussion is about winning, right? But now I’m getting into a whole other can of worms.

Let’s just enjoy games, alright? Play what you like, I’ll play what I like, and let’s celebrate the differences rather than demonize them.

But alas, I know I am asking too much.