Bit Socket
Bold Swagger, Monthly

The Internet Bully


Accidentally becoming a monster

Joe Merrick

I hate the internet sometimes. As a society-changing tool it has brought a lot of good into the lives of many. I wouldn't be able to share my thoughts with you every month on this very site if the internet didn't exist!

But sometimes it's way too easy to act online in ways I would hate myself for in 'the real world.'

The lack of face-to-face contact or the instant reaction of a person in real conversation can mean I post things on twitter or write things online on a whim that, on reflection, I'm not proud of. This month I accidentally became a bit of an internet bully.

It was just for one day, but it was enough to make me reflect a little and remind myself to think before posting.

Here's what happened.

I'm a bit of a lurker and sometimes poster on r/yakuzagames. Of course I am. The Bit Socket twitter account also follows any Yakuza-related news. Of course it does.


Next month Yakuza Kiwami 2, the long-awaited remake of Yakuza 2, releases on PS4. In the run-up, the various Yakuza twitter accounts have been starting up the hype train. And under every post about upcoming Yakuza games that are finally coming west, there is always a post begging for Yakuza Ishin, the PS4 feudal-Japan spin-off, to be localised. The hashtag #SaveIshin makes an appearance.

My patience broke after seeing these tweets for the umpteenth time; we're living in a golden age of Yakuza games being localised, so how dare this person be so entitled to demand more from Sega? I tweeted my annoyance and posted a link on r/yakuzagames. A lot of folk agreed it was annoying, some thought it was fairly innocuous. I switched off my phone and went on with my day with smug satisfaction at my deed. 

A few hours later I went online again to find the writer of the tweet, who also started the campaign to #SaveIshin, replying to every thread that mentioned their tweets. They begged for forgiveness from Sega and the Yakuza fan community. It was a bit of a shame to see, if I'm honest.

I did that.

I made someone feel so ashamed and embarrassed by their actions and words that they felt the need to beg forgiveness from strangers on the internet. What was just a mild annoyance for me, something I could've easily brushed off and forgot about, became a shameful episode in someone else's life; they were one step away from cutting off a pinky in penance.

So from now on I'm going to try a little bit harder not to be an online bully. It's an easy trap to fall into, but I'm going to try my best.

I'll just take a a step back, take a breath, and get on with my day.

Until someone demands Shenmue HD's cutscenes to be 16:9 or something.