X_Bongripzzz_X1998 is Destroying the Internet
Knowing nothing concrete about someone’s identity leaves you with one terrible option: judge them by their actions alone.
Imagine you’re sitting down with a cup of Fair Trade tea to play a few rounds of Call of Duty or Halo. More or less immediately, you’re shot in the head by X_Bongripzzz_X1998. Naturally, you’d like to know a bit about the person who just murdered you. That’s when it hits you.
You have no idea if X_Bongripzzz_X1998 graduated in 1998 or was born in 1998.
For many people who enjoy online gaming, the passive harassment of “handle ambiguity” is reaching a fever pitch.
You are reasonably sure ze enjoys marijuana. Beyond that, the identity of your killer is shrouded in ambiguity. This fuzzy identity makes it hard to draw many conclusions about your assailant. Were ze coming of age in 1998, applying to colleges during the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal and ironically reminiscing about the eighties? Or are ze just now at the doorstep of adulthood, applying to colleges and ironically reminiscing about the eighties? Knowing nothing concrete about someone’s identity leaves you with one terrible option: judge them by their actions alone. And the only thing you know about this burnout/twerp is that ze just shot you in the head.
Ambiguity has its place: gender and Rorschach tests come to mind. We detest the pompous certainty of science. We’re as mortified by the dominant culture’s insistence on binary heteronormative gender roles as anyone, and probably more so. In fact, we recently took a quiz on the subject and scored a perfect 100%: Completely Mortified. So definitely more so.
But there are places where ambiguity can be an tool of the oppressor. Consider the colorblind community’s struggle against the absurdity of a red/green traffic light system. For many people who enjoy online gaming, the passive harassment of “handle ambiguity” is reaching a fever pitch.
For instance, I have no idea what various protected/oppressive groups X_Bongripzzz_X1998 may belong to. Unlike the worlds of Twitter, Facebook, and life, I can’t criticize X_Bongripzzz_X1998 based on outward identifiers like his race and/or socioeconomic status or gender, which would be totally appropriate in any circumstance and eminently righteous, obviously. Instead, I have to sit here like JFK and wonder who just lit me up.
According to the Council on Online Harassment and Identity, more than 45% of online identities, or “handles,” contain a date. That’s a significant increase since the last similar study in 2013. While the trend of incorporating dates into handles is on the upswing, so is the ambiguity.
Consider the case of Packers_Fan_1992, an avid online gamer whose profile radiates ambiguity. Where is ze from? What does ze want? By the time ze has popped your melon with a 720 degree no-scope, it’s too late to ask. If I wanted to do battle with an invisible killer, I’d spread awareness about radon and carbon monoxide. Which is something we should all be doing anyway.
In fact, here are some links about the danger of radon and carbon monoxide:
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly, colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. It is produced by the incomplete burning of…www.cpsc.gov