< Letters


Friday, April 06, 2012

BOB GARFIELD:  This is On the Media, I’m Bob Garfield
And now for a few of your letters. Last week Brooke spoke to Tom Bissell, a writer for the video game magazine Grantland, about the angry response from gamers to the ending of the video game Mass Effect. Our story got some angry responses from gamers, as well. While discussing what made the ending of Mass Effect so disappointing, Bissell revealed what happens at the end of another popular game, 2010’s Red Dead Redemption. George Dragoumanos from Brooklyn wrote, quote, “I’ve been playing Red Dead Redemption on Xbox 360, and I heard a segment of your show where the ending of the game was discussed. Aren’t you familiar with the concept of ‘Spoiler Alert’? WTF?!?!!!”

Others were unhappy with the talk of the Mass Effect game’s ending. Michael Cooke wrote, quote, “I thought it was a little odd you spoiled Red Dead Redemption, but since that game is a few years old, it doesn’t matter too much. But Mass Effect has only been out for about three weeks.”  

And Andrew wrote, quote, “Many of us avoid discussion of endings because we want to be surprised, for better or worse. The ME3 ending is not yet gamer common knowledge. Thanks for spoiling the ME3 ending on public radio.”

But still others didn’t see much of a problem with the conversation at all. Aaron writes, quote, “Anyone complaining of spoilers in this piece is insane. Who knew that a discussion on the controversy of the ME3 ending would include a discussion about the ending?”

On another subject, a few weeks ago I spoke with DailyDot writer Fruzsina Eordogh about the phenomenon of “Reply Girls” who’ve been driving YouTube users crazy with their barrage of nonsensical cleavage-baring videos.

FRUZSINA EORDOGH:  They reply to every popular video in a low-cut top and they make sure that their breasts are in focus, and this means that the top of their heads are cut off. And they've figured out that if they copy the tags on the video, that their video will appear on the right side of the screen at the very top, and people will click on them because they're showing their cleavage. They've been called whores and sluts, as well as idiots. You know, a stupid person wouldn't have been able to manipulate the algorithm the way that these women had.

BOB GARFIELD:  A writer calling himself DMV from Brooklyn found the attacks on the “Reply Girls” troubling, writing, quote, “The larger issue remains the disproportionate response of angry YouTube users calling these women derogatory names, physically threatening them and sharing their private information as retribution. That is worse than spam. The women are neither ‘exploiting’ nor ‘forcing,’ but doing what YouTube allows.

CtPaul from Connecticut agreed, saying, quote, “Who are the bigger whores, these few women trying to make a buck, or Facebook and Google, who never saw a website that they did not want to monetize.”

But Adreana Langston from Long Beach, California points out the “Reply Girls” are problematic even for people who don’t watch their videos. She says, quote, “I have never seen any of these videos because I purposely avoided clicking on them. But these videos still intruded on my YouTube experience by crowding out animal-related videos that I might have actually wanted to see. Thus, some other person with a clever video of their cat riding the Rumba does not get a click from me because I never saw their video in the sidebar and YouTube itself makes less money because I spend less time on the site.”

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Bob Garfield