Let’s talk about the dreaded “f” word. No, not THAT “f” word – the other one: “fanboi“.
I’ve been watching this for a while on different game forums. I’ve seen it over and over, time and again. The idea that if you don’t agree with someone that X part of Y game “sucks” or that “developers should be fired” or some other equally extreme opinion, then you’re automatically some sort of apologist suck-up fanboi. It’s all black and white to these people, with little to no room for happy mediums. You either agree with me, or you’re the worst kind of sycophant that crawls on your belly.
I think what’s most amusing to me is that the word itself has become a negative epitaph. Calling someone a fanboi on a forum isn’t a compliment. It’s not a pleasant term typically. Frankly, calling someone a fanboi these days is generally seen as an outright character attack. You’re well beyond whatever argument someone was making when you resort to calling them a fanboi. At that point, you’re making your feelings about them personally quite clear.
Calling someone a fanboi seems to be an act of dismissal more than anything. You refer to a person as a fanboi, and you’re basically stating that nothing they say is of any worth, since it’s completely tainted by blind devotion.
What’s most telling to me is that rarely is someone referred to as a <insert game name here> fanboi. It’s almost always a reference to a company or developer. You don’t call someone a WoW fanboi generally – you refer to them as a Blizzard fanboi. There aren’t really EQ2 fanbois, but there sure are SOE fanbois, right?
I think this is because every player sees themselves as fans of the game itself, but that the developers of said game are the real enemy. If said players were to refer to a forum opponent as a “game” fanboi, that would put them on relatively even footing with other fans of the game, right? And let’s face it, if you’re arguing on a message board about a game, you’re not likely to want to give them any real favorable consideration, right?
There’s some pretty surreal polictical parallels one could make if one were so inclined. After all, isn’t it ok to love America, so long as you hate the “guv’ment”? It’s the same basic idea I think. If you don’t like the overall performance of the current Washington administration, you’re certainly not likely to give any possible slack to Dubya, now are you? Do so and you’re almost seen as weak, and by extension, your arguments must be weak as well, right?
That’s right, fanboi!