Posted Fri, Jul 05, 2013 by gunky
The Professional Victim
Type: Unfortunate Victim, or Intentional Troll
Habitat: Complaint threads, Customer Service queues
The Professional Victim is offended by simply everything. While it is perfectly natural for a person to be offended when someone violates his personal code of ethical and moral behavior, the Professional Victim has a much stricter, more narrowly-defined code, and will respond with the most righteous of indignations whenever this code is breached. It doesn't even have to be a rude comment in General Chat or an offensive forum post that sets the Professional Victim off - it may be something as trivial as gameplay that is perceived as somehow incorrect, or - in extreme cases - different interpretations of certain common words.
The Professional Victim comes in two very different varieties. The first variety consists of those unfortunate, sensitive souls who actually do have extraordinarily precarious world-views and whose delicate sensibilities are genuinely affected by the chaos of other human beings. What may seem witty and amusing to most is morally outrageous to these unfortunate people. It may come as a shock to some of them that all the rest of humanity does not share their same exact ideology or viewpoint, and when these variations are given expression, the Professional Victim takes it personally.
The rest of us need to go easy on these poor people. It's probably not their fault that they have no "filters" or that they are invariably insulted by every attempt at levity by the Jim Halperts of the world - they may have had a sheltered upbringing in a very strict household, and may be unaccustomed to the raw depths of human depravity that are glimpsed in the online gaming community. They may even have somewhat noble intentions, acting as a "white knight" on behalf of a third party to give them a voice against a perceived offense. While their strenuous objections to seemingly everything may be obnoxious and annoying, they are not trolling for a reaction. Their concern is genuine. It's not that they cannot take a joke - they simply don't recognize that there is anything to joke about. Some people really are that humourless.
The other variety of Professional Victim is the flipside of that coin. These are people who act at being offended by everything for the lulz. They loudly voice their objections to anything and everything, whether it be controversial or not, deliberately taking offense in the least offensive situations. This is a method of "reverse trolling" - regular trolls act in an offensive manner to get a reaction from their audiences, and the Professional Victim troll takes it a step further by giving them a reaction above and beyond their expectations.
Taking offense at the inoffensive can also spark its own reaction. Supporters of the person committing the original offense may encourage the Professional Victim to "call the waaambulance." The internet - and, by extension, the online gaming community - is full of hate, and hating on the haters who hate haters can be a full-time job if one tries to take it seriously.
It can be very difficult to tell whether a Professional Victim is doing it on purpose or is actually offended, except by very careful observation over time. Actual victims are likely to be offended repeatedly by the same type of thing, over and over, throughout the course of their gaming careers, and are more likely to fill out complaint reports in attempts to get offending players banned or punished for their transgressions. Victim-trolls will more likely drop the act once the lulz wear off, because maintaining the Professional Victim persona takes a fair amount of work.
It's not wrong to be offended by someone acting offensive, and some people do take things too far. But growing a thicker skin and accepting that others may have ideas and beliefs different than one's own, and that it doesn't make them automatically "wrong" or offensive, makes everybody happier.