Last week the Dota 2 community was in a heated discussion after caster Michelle “Moxxi” Song posted a TwitLonger addressing the online toxicity mainly directed at the female talent at TI10.
Upset at some of the comments her female colleagues endured during TI10, Moxxi shared her personal feelings whille also expressing disappointment at how some of the community have been treating newcomers to the scene.
Moxxi addresses her thoughts in a public TwitLonger
The first major point Moxxi brings up in her TwitLonger is the community gatekeeping Dota 2 from newcomers. She expressed her frustrations after the community pushed back against TI10 desk host, Frankie “Frankie” Ward.
Dota 2 is notorious for being one of the most difficult games to grasp due to its steep learning curve. Most players don’t really ‘get’ the game until well past a year of play.
Gatekeeping prevents new people from entering the scene
Moxxi feels this is not a good excuse to push new people such as Frankie away from the game, saying, “But for some stupid reason, some people in the Dota community felt the need to gatekeep her and shun her simply because she didn’t have as many hours or knowledge as them.”
Instead, Moxxi encourages the community to be more welcoming to new people to Dota 2. To her, the consequence of gatekeeping is that the pool (of new players and talent) will stagnate and eventually evaporate.
“Gatekeeping is the fastest way to watch something you love die. I would say one of the major reasons the NA scene is crumbling is because of the massive amounts of gatekeeping that used to occur. When you refuse to let new people enter, your pool stagnates and eventually evaporates.”
Female talent being judged unfairly
Her second point was the community’s tendency to compare female talent to one another regardless of what roles they played during the broadcast.
TI10 was a big moment in Dota 2 history as it had the largest number of women working/participating in the event ever as talent. Within this pool of six women, the community would publicly critique and compare them to each other. This included comparing them regardless of whether they were a host, analyst, or caster.
The women who officially participated in the English broadcast for TI10 included:
- Jorien “Sheever” van der Heijden – Host
- Frankie “Frankie” Ward – Host
- Kasumi “Sumichu” Yogi – Host
- Mira “Ephey” Riad – Analyst
- Michelle “Moxxi” Song – Caster
- Alexandra “Sheepsticked” Roberts – Talent/Analyst
Instead, she wishes that the community can do better raising individual talent up without putting someone else’s hard work down. Moxxi firmly believes that it’s still okay to dislike someone’s work while admiring another.
The community weighs in on Moxxi’s TwitLonger
It didn’t take long for the post to go viral and Dota 2 fans expressed mixed reactions on social media.
Some fans agreed with Moxxi’s feelings about gatekeeping and pitting women against one another.
Whilst others felt that gender isn’t the issue and that the community’s critique was reflective of whether the talents were qualified for their roles regardless of gender. Keep in mind TI is the biggest Dota 2 event of the year so it’s understandable why fans would also want the best talent there.
Other Dota 2 talent share their thoughts on toxic online culture
Former Dota 2 caster now Valve employee, Bruno “Bruno” Carlucci acknowledged the online toxicity lurking on social media. In his Twitter thread, Bruno writes, “in spaces where hate can thrive, it’s not enough to not be hateful, we have to be anti-hate.”
He applauded the women who had to endure the harassment and threats and even goes on to say he wouldn’t have lasted a week if he had been attacked the same way.
Analyst Troels Lyngholt “syndereN” Nielsen joined the discussion on Twitter by pointing out that talents aren’t immune to critique. Criticism itself isn’t bad, it’s how it’s delivered that can be abusive.
Even the beloved Jake “SirActionSlacks” Kanner voiced his concerns in an unlisted 44 minute Youtube video titled Be Good: My Response to Current Drama.
One of the many points Slacks touches on is the new player experience and how Dota 2’s community can unknowingly drive them away. It gets particularly bad when new people trying to get into the game see so much criticism that it makes the Dota 2 community look unwelcoming.
Fnatic’s coach, Lee “SunBhie” Jeong-jae felt that Moxxi’s TwitLonger was doing more harm than good however as she had placed the blame of the toxic behavior on the entire community.
He Tweets that antagonizing the community as a whole will turn them off from the game and scene altogether, ultimately doing more damage than good.
Moxxi apologizes to the Dota 2 community
After a private discussion with SunBhie, Moxxi openly apologized on Twitter for criticizing the entire Dota 2 community in her original TwitLonger. Though she had hoped to be able to make a positive change in the community, she understands why some fans may have felt attacked by her original post.
She further clarifies that she also didn’t mean to downplay the experience of male talent who had similar experiences. In particular, Alvaro “AvoPlus” Sanchez Velasco was also a victim of harsh criticism during TI10. Her post originally focused on women because she drew from her own past experiences.
Moxxi still stands by the good that she hopes will come from her original TwitLonger and hopes that fans can rally together as a community to eliminate the elitism and hate that prevents the game from growing.
Hungry for more Dota 2 action? Check out the Heroes of the Game documentary presented by foodpanda.