Line Of Defense Tactics - Tactical Advantage
dsmart  [developer] Feb 13 @ 4:58am
In Pursuit Of Fairness
Hello Everyone,

First, let me introduce you to a primer on entitlement an article in Psychology Today.

9 Types of Entitlement Tendencies and How to Overcome Them[www.psychologytoday.com]

To save you some trouble, though you should read the whole article, I am going to list these important ones.

1 You expect the same rules that apply to others shouldn’t apply to you.

4 You disregard rules that are intended for everyone’s comfort.

7 You think it’s ok to upset or offend other people.

We as developers - especially here on Steam forums - have come to expect all manner of anti-social behavior by those who feel that they are entitled to something when they are not.

Posting irrelevant, inaccurate, mean and spiteful reviews in retaliation is and always will be a fool's errand. In fact, it is rather funny to watch and it is the #1 reason why, despite this sort of behavior, games still prosper on Steam and simply because those who have every intention of buying your game are more sensible in their decisions than to listen to and take advice from a bunch of people whose favorite online hobby is to troll, disrupt, harass and insult others just because they can.

It is the garden variety schoolyard mob bully mentality. Magnified in a medium where accountability is non-existent.

It ranks up there with sticking worms to the sidewalk with super glue and watching birds get hernias, pulling wings off butterflies etc. CNN recently posted a research study[edition.cnn.com] about how this behavior manifests itself in the patterns of those who do it. Jeff Vogel, another dev, also posted a missive[jeff-vogel.blogspot.com] about exactly this sort of thing.

The forum mob mentality is the bane of internet forums and is the primary reason why, across the internet various content providers are taking steps to curb (you can't prevent haters from hating or people from behaving badly) this behavior as best they can. So much so that many a lawsuit has been filed against some people who went too far.

And it is the primary reason why the Steam forums - as big as they are - have probably the worse reputation for online forums. If you were thinking that distinction goes to NeoGaf, then you're very wrong because, believe it or not, most everyone on NeoGaf seemingly grew up when we weren't looking. And somewhere along the way, they also grew a sense of humor. Either that or, unable to compete with the wit and culture of the average all growed up NeoGaffer (!), the churned weak simply left.

A sampling of data clearly indicates that in any collective pool, especially one where gamers are involved, there will always be those who are left to their own devices to disrupt and complete destroy the ecosystem making it difficult for anything meaningful to come out of it.

The result is that the sensible ones end up leaving. What's left is your garden variety mob who talk among themselves and, like a virus or fungus, dominate the ecosystem driving and sucking the living air out of it.

When you are in a room of ten people and they're all yelling, screaming, throwing poo all over the place, your only hope of survival is to duck out the door. When you do that, go outside and look into the room from a window. That's what you just escaped.

Which is why, no gamer in their right mind is going to come to the Steam forums looking for any sort of meaningful discussion. It is and always will be, good for a laugh.

While this needs no explanation, here is the chronology of events and which any admin here can see for themselves in our Steam group forum.

  • The game went live on Steam.

  • The people (we know all of them because, well, we banned every single one of them - on cue) you see here, were up in arms because, due to their false sense of entitlement, decided that the game, at $18 (!) was over-priced when compared to its mobile counterparts at $4.99. For, according to them, a port of a mobile game.

  • We disagreed and in several posts, tried to explain why. If you know anything about the internet forums, then you already know that this was a pointless exercise and one fraught with futility. But we tried nonetheless because it was the right thing to do.

  • In between those discussions, the insults and rage began. Some started posting internet memes, abusive art etc. All in clear violations of Rules and Guidelines for Steam Community Discussions

  • So we pointed this out. It fell on deaf ears as expected. So we started deleting posts.

  • This escalated to the point where we had no choice but to start banning people.

  • As expected, that further escalated to the point where the banned, started creating new profiles (three of the people here, including the creator of this review, did just that and they really thought that we - as admins - didn't know how to root that out) in order to continue the behavior pattern

  • Undeterred, we continued taking action. And in doing so, once in a while, some innocent people got caught up in the dragnet. e.g. if you delete a post that someone innocently excerpted you have to edit and delete the excerpt or else. In some cases, we had no choice but to remove entire threads because deleting posts ended up with disjointed conversion flow.

  • Then, in the "What on Earth were they thinking!?" dept, we discovered that Valve had started allowing people to tag games. You can pretty much guess what happened next to the games by myself and other devs who simply don't put up with this crap. That's right, the tags (Diva Dev etc) went up, shots got taken, posted on imgur and elsewhere and in our forum threads. We deleted them.

During all of this, in an attempt to collate my thoughts into a single post so that we didn't have to keep repeating it, I penned a rather lengthy explanation of why the game was priced the way it was, why the PC version is not a port of a mobile game etc. You can read it here in my Tales From The Dev Side article.

That solved nothing. At least not to those who were hell bent on disrupting the forums and perpetrating this behavior.

At this point, we knew that we were at war.

Sadly, the years have taken their toll and at 50, I don't have the same vigor and drive that I used to. So, rather than engaging in any intelligence draining discourse, I simply did what Steam allows us to do. Delete posts and threads, ban people.

And here I am, writing up this stuff in a review made by an otherwise anonymous person who, after perpetrating unsanctioned behavior against us and our game to which we had no choice but to take action, gets to do this - without any sort of accountability. Because he can and he has a mob.

The funny thing is that I have a lot of experience with stuff like this and for over twenty years in making many games, my resolve has never been tested to the point where I just upped and quit, thereby letting people I wouldn't otherwise stand next to in a crowded room, harass, abuse, insult and put me under siege.

Succumbing to bullies is exactly how it starts. And if you think that just because it is happening online, that it has no real world consequences, then you clearly have not been paying attention to all the instances and reports of how our online lives tend to collide with our real ones. And sometimes with deadly results.

Never succumb to bullies. It is never okay.

Never allow someone put you down just because they can. It is never okay.

The person who said it was okay to turn the other cheek, never got slapped hard enough.

The game is free on mobile devices in that you can play the first three missions in the sixteen mission campaign. While the PC version is far more graphically improved than on the mobile version, the gameplay is the same. Which is why I didn't bother with a PC demo because I felt that everyone who owns a PC or Mac, already has an iOS or Android device.

NONE of the hateful, spiteful reviews of this game you see here, are true. None of it. The game - even if I say so - is great, plays well, runs well and is worth every penny.

In fact, in a direct counter to this nonsense, here is what I am prepared to do in order to stand by my game as well as completely dispel this nonsense. This is, in a sense, my full-on gear for a war that can have no winners but is worth fighting nonetheless.

Between today, Thurs, Feb 13th to next Thurs, Feb 20th....

If you - who aren't involved in this farce - bought this game either before trying the free mobile versions or because you feel that your experience is better on the PC so you bought it first and you find that a single one of these hateful and inaccurate reviews is true, I will refund your money - and you still get to keep the game in your Steam account

In return, I have only these conditions:

  • Your Steam a/c must be an established one that is at least twelve months or older and must have more than FOUR games in it. Not some new dummy account. Yeah, we know how that game is played.
  • You must write an objective and honest review of the game and your experience, here in the game's Steam store page where you are reading this.

I have created this thread where you can alert us to your desire to have a refund and I will make it happen after reviewing the aforementioned conditions. No questions asked.

That is all.
Last edited by dsmart; Feb 13 @ 5:18am
Showing 1-15 of 173 comments
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MinionOfCthulhu Feb 13 @ 10:18am 
"The person who said it was okay to turn the other cheek, never got slapped hard enough."

You mean...Jesus? The guy who was crucified? Literally crucified? Not 'some people on the internet are being mean to me' figuratively crucified?
splash-back (Banned) Feb 13 @ 10:25am 
Derek Smart is getting an excellent start to his career in comedy
dsmart  [developer] Feb 13 @ 10:34am 
Guys, keep it clean or the post/thread deletions and bannings will continue. We don't give warnings.
Techbane (Banned) Feb 13 @ 11:46am 
Criticism isn't entitlement.
[Hell] Karl Max Feb 13 @ 12:32pm 
TL;DR bad meanie internet trolls are mean to me mommy.
DANTE THE DEMONKILLER Feb 13 @ 2:22pm 
The idea that game devs can call their critics "entitled" is beyond hilarious to me. If anything, it's the other way around. Devs are not entitled to positive feedback. They are not entitled to anything. They put their product out for the public, and the public can respond however they want.

As for saying that NeoGaf is somehow better than the steam forums, that's a joke. NeoGaf is the pinnacle of the insane entitlement that makes up the hugbox mentality of typical forums. It's just as bad as Something Awful or Reddit with the same circlejerk mentality.

You are not entitled to put out whatever you want on steam and expect people to accept it. Phil Fish is not entitled to have a massively obnoxious attitude and not be criticized for it. The Gone Home devs are not entitled to take a massive steaming dump, label it "progressive and moving art", and expect me to shower them with praise and affection.

You're right in one regard: Entitlement is killing the games industry. But it's not the consumers who are entitled, it's the other side of the fence. Give me gold and I'll call it gold. Give me crap, I'll call it crap.
Mancomb Seepgood Feb 13 @ 2:53pm 
You are full of ♥♥♥♥ beyond your years.
Pleads Feb 13 @ 3:19pm 
"Hey, these guys are calling us divas!"
"Well obviously we had better start posting long diatribes raging against the very communities supporting our company in the first place! Make sure to ban everyone for criticism, and if you can fit some 'throwing poo' reference in there, all the better! That will sufficiently prove we're not over-reacting!"

Sylenall Feb 13 @ 4:05pm 
How much does this game cost on IOS again? Love the tags btw.
MR.S Feb 13 @ 4:19pm 
Wow. From usenet years ago, to Steam. Who would have ever imagined. You and Eep are like peas in a pod. Pretty damn good at what you do, I guess.
stalinchan (Banned) Feb 13 @ 5:18pm 
I'm not even trolling, the gameplay in this is boring and the graphics are way too out of date for a modern game. It's one thing if you are going for a retro look but this game isn't.
Mog Feb 13 @ 5:42pm 
Total hogcrap I say. Some people were giving good feedback most of it vanished, I wonder why. You cannot stand the heat from the frying pan. Should learn from other dev's who take similar trolling. Most of time just ignore and lock the threads not delete them.
Last edited by Mog; Feb 13 @ 5:44pm
dsmart  [developer] Feb 13 @ 5:50pm 
Yes, that happened as well. And I explained above why that happened. Sometimes perfectly normal posts get killed in the process of dealing with trolls. I make no excuses for that.

Also, other admins (e.g. Valve) can see what posts/threads were deleted because they don't go away you know. They stay there and only us admins and mods can see them. We can even undelete them if we chose to.

That's why I was telling someone in another thread that unless he has seen what we deleted and who we banned, he has no idea what the hell was going on. The evidence is all there. And the Steam admins who some posts got reported to, have also seen them.

If you guys think that we're alone in all of this, Shirley you jest. This is not some protracted effort to stifle anything other than trolling and abusive posts.

The game is great, its getting accolades where it has been released and very soon (it's still early yet since it only just released three days ago) the PC reviews will start appearing. So we're not here deleting posts by people who are giving the game bad reviews. Those reviews are malicious, vengeful and not based on reality.

Which is why I'm doing a demo.
Last edited by dsmart; Feb 13 @ 5:52pm
Ash Feb 13 @ 6:27pm 
Originally posted by dsmart:
Yes, that happened as well. And I explained above why that happened. Sometimes perfectly normal posts get killed in the process of dealing with trolls. I make no excuses for that.
You've got to admit, though, that somewhere down the line a dev's attitude is at least in part responsible for the state of its game's forums. I mean, I've been afraid to stalk the Steam forums for a very long time because of its reputation. But most game's forums are perfectly fine, all things considered. The only real problems I've myself experienced were on either really, really bad games or on forums where the dev had trouble dealing with the PR side of things.

I own your game on Android so I see no need to get it here, but I'm pretty sure things wouldn't be half as bad if you learrned to let things slide a little. People complain about the price? Well, let them. They'll get bored sooner rather than later. Responding as you did, in my opinion, only stirred the proverbial ♥♥♥♥.
dsmart  [developer] Feb 13 @ 6:31pm 
Originally posted by Armid:
Originally posted by dsmart:
but I'm pretty sure things wouldn't be half as bad if you learrned to let things slide a little. People complain about the price? Well, let them. They'll get bored sooner rather than later. Responding as you did, in my opinion, only stirred the proverbial ♥♥♥♥.

I can't disagree with you on that. But it is what it is.
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