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Dragon Age writer: the tone of the BioWare forums has become 'increasingly toxic'

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Dragon Age's writer on fandom and toxic environments

The tone of the BioWare forums has become "increasingly toxic," according to the lead writer of the Dragon Age series David Gaider, and it is generally avoided because of its negativity.

Gaider addresses the subject in a blog post where a reader asks him whether he is aware of how many people avoid the BioWare Social Network (BSN) due to the poor behavior of its participants.

In the diplomatic write-up, Gaider says he is aware that the opinions expressed on the BSN do not necessarily represent the wider BioWare community, but he also notes that "the overall tone of the forums has become increasingly toxic."

Gaider writes:

I tend to largely avoid them these days, myself. Why? Because spending too much time there starts to make me feel negative- not just about the games we make, but about myself and life in general. That's not a good feeling to have. I'm sure there are folks there who would bristle at that comment, suggesting that all negative feedback is justifiable and that ignoring it is the equivalent of us sticking our heads in the sand. How will we ever improve unless we listen to their scolding and take our lumps like good little developers?

That is, of course, ignoring the idea that we haven't already digested a mountain of feedback- both positive and negative- and there's really only so much of it you can take. Eventually you make decisions (informed by that feedback, though only in part- it can only ever be in part) and move on.

Gaider continues by discussing why some fans might resort to hateful messages and anger that contribute to a "toxic atmosphere" and muses about the level of rhetoric and entitlement among online gaming communities. He ends his post on a hopeful note by saying there are other ways for him to have positive interactions with BioWare fans and it's "best to take a breath, smile and remember there are a lot of really genuine, positive people to talk to."

The full post can be read here.