I'm writing this on a few hours sleep, so it might not make sense at some points, but since I'm so tired I'm sitting here just thinking about it.
I have witnessed first hand how people get pulled into a cult. A cult is similar to religion. A cult is similar to a group of collective ideas. Some of these ideas can be outlandish, ignorant, idealistic... well I don't know.
Anyway, I have witnessed first hand and been on the receiving end of a cult's wrath.
Facebook.com. A book of faces. Well not really. More like a collection of people from around the world who network and entertain themselves. Facebook is like myspace, except better. I'm biased for Facebook because Myspace is a collection of 14 year olds only and Facebook has all ages.
Facebook has one thing that makes it ultimately better than Myspace: applications. These can be games, daily newsletters, mostly games, random annoying status updates, viruses, games, etc.
There is one such application that is a game where you raise adorable kittens, puppies and recently, random barnyard animals and rodents. (I think originally it was just kittens.)
This game is very popular, and rightly so, it's cute, unique, mostly free, and has a pretty big fanbase. Of course like all free games anywhere on the internet, they have to make their money somehow. This revenue comes from selling special pets in the shop for a few USD. Most are between $1 and $4 and are generally always available. During holidays special Limited Edition pets will be available for up to about $8.
I have spent maybe $50 on the game in the 6 or so months I've been playing it. Some people spend that much in one week or one day. Others don't spend any money at all.
And some people just cheat to get what they want.
I have always been called a "tattle tell." I am the one who tells on you for smoking pot and cigarettes, driving while drunk, having underage sex, or otherwise breaking some serious laws.
Well, let's introduce someone whom I will not name (even though he slandered my name) we will call him G-bot.
G-Bot is pretty well known because he is a Robin Hood type figure. He buys many, many of the cash shop only pets and gives them away for free for the people on his friend list. He gets quite a following after doing this for a few weeks. Before long he has 200, 500, 800, 1500, 2200, and even over 3000 friends who wait patiently every day for him to give away 2 or 3 dozen cash shop pets. One would think, wow, he is extremely generous, spending so much money on this little game. He's giving to the game developers with every purchase, and he's giving people he doesn't even know a chance to get one of these pets.
Not everyone can buy one of these pets. Either they really don't have the money, or they are too young to have their own credit card, or whatever reason. Those are the only two I can think of. One for each hour of sleep I got last night. Anyways..
Somehow I became friends with this person. He added me I guess because we had about 100 mutual friends. (PS: I despise when people add me because of mutual friends, and I've since changed my settings so no one can add me.) At first, I just ignored him. I had him on my friend list for several weeks before I really started to watch what he was doing. And at first, I thought "Wow! He is pretty generous!"
....then I kept on thinking. No, I didn't stop at that thought! "Wow! He is pretty generous! I could never be that generous. I wonder if he gives away _item_?"
So I went to look at his profile. Every few minutes he was giving away multiples of the same cat or dog or duck or whatever.
....Then he started giving away pets that weren't even in the shop anymore. I knew immediately he was abusing a recent bug that everyone had discovered. I ignored this and went on. Within a few days after that incident, the bug was fixed.
A few days later however, he was once again giving away pets that were no longer available in the shop. This struck my attention. And I began watching.
On this particular day, he gave away in excess of over 40 pets, at least 2 dozen were pets that were no longer purchasable. Then he began to increase his level. Every few minutes.
In less than an hour, he increased his level over 30 times, all the way to level 55. Now, I don't know about you, but it has taken me 6 months to increase my level 45 times. Maybe I'm just slow.
I started reading the comments on his posts.
"I wish I could level that fast!"
And I made a comment...
"You are all ridiculously foolish if you honestly believe he is actually leveling his account."
This sparked a mini-riot. Several people started calling me names and telling me I was jealous. I rolled my eyes, shrugged it off...
Then a little while later I learned from status updates on my page that a girl we will call Jay was being ridiculed and people were sending her hate mail. Why? She also said that G-Bot was not playing the game fairly.
So I began reading and watching.
This person, G-Bot, had a following of about 3000 people who sincerely believed that he was a Robin Hood figure, that he was being generous, that he was amazingly nice, that he was being slandered and treated like crap by "jealous twats and whiny bitches" and that he was doing absolutely nothing wrong. Of all of these people, it only occurred to TWO of us that he was cheating in some way?
So I reported him. Publicly. Mistake? Almost, but not quite.
(I know this post has become long)
G-Bot found my post and made a comment I was a traitor and that I was ungrateful. A dozen or more followers immediately ascended on my report thread and began viciously attacking me. I sat and watched and read as they fell over themselves to defend him and make me into a bad guy. I was reported multiple times to the moderators. I was told I was being hateful. selfish, a child, a bitch, and some other names that made my jaw drop.
This boy had convinced over a thousand people that he was doing a good thing.
And as I thought about this one fact, I began thinking. THIS is how religions start. THIS is how cults start. People are so ridiculously ignorant and foolish and gullible.
I have felt like, through all of this, an atheist. If it were legal, I'd have been hanged, lynched, shot, decapitated, set afire. I was the witch, the atheist, the evolutionist, the antichrist, the hater amidst a sea of religious fuckwads.
And I laughed and laughed, cried in pity, then laughed harder.
Then I stopped. If that's 1000-3000 people who believe he is doing no wrong on the internet, is that 1000-3000 people who would willingly join a cult or religion in real life, just because they thought...whatever they thought? Actually I don't think many of them thought at all.
Several mutual friends said "there's nothing wrong with what he is doing, but those people shouldn't have said those things to you."
So you're ok with him cheating at a game and costing the developers a few hundred bucks, but not ok with everyone attacking me.
It really really really didn't register with ANYone that he was cheating.
(Which by the way, he was found guilty of using a bot program that ran a script to duplicate copies of items, pets and experience points. So I'm not making this shit up.)
So, people can't think for themselves. People are ridiculously stupid. I know this is all a bunch of internet drama bullshit and I'll never meet any of these people in real life, and thank whatever holy or unholy being for that, but the fact is, these idiots exist. People who believe these things actually exist. They're not myths, people! THEY'RE LIVING BEINGS, AND WE NEED TO GET RID OF THEM IMMEDIATELY.
Sorry or the long post. I still left out a lot of points I wanted to make but I am so tired.