Forums, as we all know, are wretched hives of scum and villainy, filled with crazy folk, talking crazy. Especially gaming forums and in particular those regarding MMORPGs. The toxic and hostile nature of these environments keeps the casual gamer away. Yet into such wild and uncouth regions we are all compelled to go on occasions. Someone has to find the link to the latest dev diary or collate data on the up and coming stats changes, so they can share it with the wider community. Such ventures are very akin to having a scheduled prostate examination or mammograms. They are driven by necessity but far from pleasant. These infrequent visits are often proceeded by a hot shower, or in worse cases, counselling and therapy.
Now as if having to dip ones toe into such a misanthropic cesspool wasn’t bad enough, such fact finding trips are being further impeded by the wilful and deliberate obfuscation of information. I refer of course to the increasingly popular and worrying trend that is the growth (both in size and proliferation) of the forum signatures. This trivial, self indulgent, narcissistic, self self-aggrandizing, first world disease is becoming more and more common and making it increasingly difficult to actually discern what is legitimate forum commentary.
Why do we have these? What purpose do they serve? They do not form or illuminate in any positive fashion. So you have a guild? So what. I don’t want to join it. For starters it has you in it. Oh and then we have the pithy quote from a writer or academic who’s demonstrably more intelligent than you. However, if you include it in your signature perhaps you may be able to fool some other poor cretin that you’re as equally erudite. Well I have news for you buster. You’re not. It’s all just internet white noise and a pitiful attempt to create and control some sort of online image, because you’re so inherently uncomfortable in your own skin you monster!
Then of course we have the info-graphics that informs us of how many foul Marmidon’s you’ve killed, or the speed of your internet connection. Yes, there’s nothing that impresses a total stranger more, than by publicly declaring how wise you are for living in an area with high quality telecommunication infrastructure. It’s like this centuries equivalent of drinking piña colada to denote your sophistication. I bet you have to beat off the prospective partners with a stick. Perhaps you can add a picture of that to your signature as well. Or how about a QR code with a breakdown of your DNA?
This is the bullshit that you have to wade through, just to find out if your primary alt is getting nerfed in the next hotfix. These hideous conceits bloat forums pages like some gaming Rorschach test, forcing the unfortunate visitor to further extend their floundering around in the cesspool of leetspeak and human misery. I’m not overstating the problem when I say its a tragedy equal to the sacking of Carthage. What’ makes matters worse, is like any other area suffering and degradation, there are those who seek not to alleviate the suffering but to exploit it. Just do a Google search on forum signatures and you’ll find a wealth of enabler and facilitators, feeding off the misery and getting rich as they pick at the dead carcass of online dignity.
If this trend is not halted in its tracks soon, then the day will surely come when all forums will simply implode under the weight of resources required to deliver a complete biography of all registered users, to an unsuspecting internet . Eventually the original purpose of forums will be lost forever as they evolve into northing more than banal online postcards. Virtual semen stains, offering hollow soundbites and false dreams from humans who barely pass the turing test. There will no longer be a need for traditional posts about games, as no one will be playing them any longer. All MMOs will have died because everyone was too busy creating and updating their fucking signatures, rather than playing them.
NB. We live in humourless times, where the prevailing social etiquette is to cosset the stupid. So for those who missed it, this post was meant tongue in cheek. The fact that I included my own forum signature was a bit of a giveaway. Please note the others used here were simply randomly picked and are not indicative of any wider conspiracy, nor are they victims of any misconstrued abuse.