I've recently posted two videos from Extra Credits (Harassement and Toxicity as topics) on /r/DotA2. To my astonishment, only one person showed any sort of willingness to produce a constructive conversation on those subjects.
Granted, I haven't been very informative myself: I merely posted the videos without any commentaries along, so I can see how a mindless product can get mindless reviews. I should have added some of my own thoughts on the subjects rather than simply point at the videos and say "Guys, watch that! It'll be good for ya!". Still, reading the comments makes my heart ache because of the rational and well-meant conversations I've had on Hubski.
I mean, shit, what kind of a pit I must have been in to see the highest-upvoted comment being "i always hated these fuckers"? I know the game isn't known to have friendly playerbase (I've been peer-pressured into becoming the worse part back when I was playing), but what the hell is up with those people? I love the game and I enjoy the fun times it brings (not merely a few of those there are, either), but many of the players make me want to shed a tear at their merciless narcissistic behavior in a game that's supposed to be about cooperation and teamwork.
I've heard plenty of time that there are always bad apples in the barrel. I find it a weak excuse to tolerate and even accept this kind of behavior and null of an explanation in this case. Surely, there will always be people willing to boost their frail egos by verbally denigrate others, but this is not the case with the community.
If you're here on your own, you probably know what I'm talking about: a stranger is willing to slur over your every mistake if you don't play perfectly and don't put your team to victory while protecting everybody else from harm at the same time. In short, for some, you have to be not just a perfect player, but a perfect person; as we've all learned by now, perfection doesn't exist, and neither do those ideals of human beings the slurmasters take care to imagine in all beauty. Tolerating such behavior by replying to it or saying nothing against (both implying that you're fine with it, and with time, you start to believe it) is what gave it rise in the first place.
I know that this game is not the only one to have such communities. I've played plenty of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in my time, and there, too, were more than enough of such dirtmouths. What makes Dota 2's special for me is that the game is very good on its own: it has strategy and tactics, it requires both good planning (picks and counterpicks, how to win runeraces, Roshan attempts etc.) and good thinking on one's feet (especially in teamfights where a mess might happen twice a second). I will be as bold as to consider Dota 2 a fantasy version of chess, with its own format of playfield and its own extensive rules of interactions. You can see how such a game can be attractive, and how its community can become important.
What I can't wrap my head around is - what drives such a community? What drives such toxic players? Why didn't we drive those away already? Has it anything to do with the phenomenon of Eternal September (10M active players, as far as I remember, and those had to come from somewhere)?