On Insert Gamer’s Facebook page, we recently posted a discussion prompt: What do you like and dislike about gamer culture? The answers were interesting and quite varied, but one of the top comments was the most relatable of all: “The culture and the culture.”

Gamers, in many ways, are awesome. We could go on and on about the fellowship that can arise from gaming, the sense of community, and the amazing crowd-funded initiatives that gamers have organized. But gamers also kind of totally, completely suck sometimes Not you, of course. But, I mean, maybe you.

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Anyone who’s played an online game for about five whole minutes knows that gamers can be sleazy a-holes of astonishing caliber, and there are a variety of habits that make you a special grade of scumbag online. You might not fancy yourself a bad person (and maybe you aren’t), but if you regularly partake in any of the following habits, you’re actually kind of the worst, and we’re calling you to repentance.

If You Play Music Over Headset

gaming headphones
Headphones. Use ’em.

Why? Why do you do this? Are you trying to educate the world of your wonderful musical taste, which is actually terrible? Are you purposely trying to annoy people? Do you just leave your headset on at all times and you don’t even realize you’re doing it?

The strangest thing about music-blasting headset warriors online is that there are so many of them, but I’ve never actually met one in person. Where do these people hide? In any case, if you’re one of them, know that you make it about ten seconds before everyone mutes you. Was it worth it?

If You’re a Jerk to People On Mic

angry headset gamer
Breathe. Just breathe.

Remember back in the glory days of Xbox Live when every single person seemed to have a headset in every single online game? Back in those days, it was more uncommon than not to be the silent, mic-less teammate. But now, microphone marauders are few and far between.

How did this happen? Is there some kind of secret phenomenon that’s leading to the slow extinction of headsets? Oh wait, it’s probably just because so many people are dicks. Look, it’s only natural to be frustrated if things aren’t going your way in a game, but headset jerkwads get old pretty quick. Whether you’re a sore loser, a smug winner, or someone who verbally harasses their teammates when they’re not playing to your standards, no one likes you when you’re being a real clod over the microphone.

For the record, this doesn’t mean you can’t be critical of players and teammates who aren’t pulling their weight. But, there’s a way to do that constructively, and there’s a way to do it rudely and aggressively. Shoot for the former.

If You Get Weird Whenever There’s a Girl

scott pilgrim gamer girl
She probably just wants to enjoy her game instead of listening to your obscure video game trivia.

See, here’s the cool thing about the human race. Of the seven billion-something people on this planet. Roughly half of them are female! So with that being said, when a girl logs on, let’s all resist that temptation to turn into a total freaking weirdo, shall we? You might see your feminine teammate as a Certified Gamer Girl™, but she’s really just a normal person like anyone else, and things get weird for everyone real fast when she’s treated like some kind of otherworldly goddess.

If you don’t want to become the professor of Cringe 101, please refrain from asking your lady teammates about their sock preferences. Please don’t ask them what they’re wearing, or start mouth-breathing when they lay out their control point defense strategy.

Oh, and things get just as weird and annoying when you go in the other direction and harass them for not being a “real gamer.” For the sake of everyone in your game, just act like a normal person when the ladies log on. If you don’t, well, you’re just the worst.

If You Treat Every Game Like Deathmatch

doom slayer
It’s undeniably satisfying piling up the corpses of your enemies, but sometimes it’s entirely unnecessary.

Great, you got 38 kills. And while you were busy doing that, the enemy team captured your flag seven times and won the game. Congratulations! Your achievements mean nothing.

Seriously though, we’re glad that games are starting to move away from glorifying a kill/death ratio, because there are way too many boneheads out there who prioritize killing, killing, killing over the actual objective, and they end up losing games because of it.

For the record, there is a time and place where a high body-count helps your team to secure objectives, but sometimes, you need to just relax from your sniping and help climb onto that capture point. If you’re playing a good old-fashioned match of Slayer, by all means, go nuts. But in objective games? Forget about that K/D ratio, my friend.

If You Don’t Respect the Game

widowmaker overwatch
Be the hero the world needs. Stop sniping when it’s not necessary and switch to healer.

This is sort of a broad category, but it comes down to not playing the game or mode how it’s supposed to be played, to the detriment of everyone else on your team. As an example, let’s take Overwatch.

Overwatch is a team-based game. If you don’t take that into consideration and you lock yourself into Hanzo or Widow every single round, you’re not respecting the game. If you waste time and mess around in competitive playlists, you’re not respecting the game — go to Quick Play instead. If you whine about not having a healer while you get killed for the 47,582nd time as Genji, you’re not respecting the intent of the game.

The point I’m making is to play the game how it’s designed to be played. Most games have modes that allow for non-committal fun and shenanigans, and others that are meant for serious play. Just, whichever one you choose, don’t ruin everyone else’s experience by going against the intended nature of the game.

If You Message People After Matches

gamer keyboard
Your fancy gaming keyboard was meant for better things than petty insults.

It’s a tale as old as time. You log onto Mortal Kombat 11, get in some solid matches with, oh I don’t know, Sub-Zero, pull off a few victories, and then prepare to turn off your PS4. And then you see it: a fresh new inbox message.

“cheapass BITCH learn how to play a real charctr u fkin noob KILL YOURSELF”

Ah, what a pleasant way to end a lovely gaming session! Seriously though, what effect do people hope these angry messages will have? They don’t really affect my day in an impactful way, and most other gamers are probably pretty good at brushing them off. It really achieves no purpose except for making the sender look like a total putz who needs some anger management classes.

If You Cheat

fortnite cheat
Cheating is especially prevalent in online games, and it’s fun for no one. 

In most games, there’s not a baked-in way to be able to “cheat.” If it’s in the game and anybody can do it, most people would consider this to be fair game. These kinds of things are usually patched out of the game if they become an issue. But, there are more insidious ways to cheat, and countless clever folks have created ways to tamper with the game’s architecture to give themselves an unfair advantage.

Cheating is a bit tougher on consoles, but if you’re a regular PC player, you’ve probably had quite a few run-ins with cheaters. Finding a cheater isn’t the worst thing in the world, it’s just kind of a bummer. It’s like, “Oh. This match doesn’t matter anymore because this guy is here. Great.” Usually you can move on to other lobbies, but it still sucks.

If you’re one of those cheaters, can you just, like, not do that? It’s hard to understand why a game would even be fun when you’re not doing any of the actual work, but whatever. Cheaters gonna cheat.

If You Report People When You Lose

nintendo ban
Some bans are notoriously hard to reverse — pretty lame if you got suspended for false pretenses.

This is where things start going from “mildly annoying” to “you’re actually starting to ruin my day.” As most online gamers are probably already aware, most games have a report function that’s reserved for the worst of the worst. If someone if verifiably cheating, sexually harassing someone, throwing games, and so on, these are often valid offenses for a report.

What’s not a valid reason is them beating you. Unfortunately, there are far too many sore losers out there who jump to that “report” button when they see someone they don’t like, fabricating some tall tale about their inappropriate behavior.

Oftentimes, you can defend yourself against a report or even get the charges undone. But on the other hand, some developers are uncompromising and they hand out bans like candy. There’s nothing worse than being locked out of your account and losing all your progress because some fussy manchild couldn’t handle losing. There are countless stories of people losing their accounts forever from this kind of thing. Does that make you feel good? If so, you should probably go get some help somewhere.

If You’re a Griefer

troll griefer
Actual photo of an online griefer (1968, colorized)

Did you know that there’s an entire “genre” of Youtube videos that are about making fun of upset children when trolls come in to ruin their gameplay experience? I’m looking at one right now where a dude invaded a child’s Minecraft server and wreaked so much havoc that the kid was in tears, shouting profanities at the guy. 20,000+ views. Endless comments of people laughing at the kid’s expense.

This, in a nutshell, is griefing — it’s the act of deliberately going out of your way to ruin someone else’s experience online and laugh at their expense. And if you’re one of these people, ESPECIALLY one who does it to children who are just trying to have a good time, what the hell is wrong with you?

Look, there’s a time and place for shenanigans. When I play games with my buddies, I grief them all the time, but it’s all tongue-in-cheek and they do the same to me. Sometimes it’s okay to be a clown because that’s the nature of the game you’re in. But if you go out of your way to harass strangers, record their reactions, and then laugh at them online with a bunch of other basement-dwellers, pat yourself on the back, because you’re a special kind of jerk.

If You’re a Swatter

swat team
These guys shoot to kill. Maybe you shouldn’t call them because you got mad over a video game.

We’ve saved the best for last. This has happened so many times that most people are probably familiar with what a “swatter” is, but to sum it up, it’s when somebody calls a SWAT team to invade the home of a streamer. This is usually the result of a disgruntled gamer who wants to see their nemesis get publicly humiliated, or the actions of somebody who has a seriously twisted sense of “humor.”

Swatting is not only a dick move on the highest degree, it’s also an extremely serious offense that can land you in jail. It also eats up taxpayer dollars since SWAT operations aren’t cheap, and it can very likely result in injury or death. This isn’t hyperbole; in 2017, an innocent man died as a result of a swatting “prank.” In this case, the caller had the wrong address, and when the man opened his doors to a SWAT team, he was understandably confused and his non-compliance led to him getting shot.

The aforementioned swatter was sentenced to 15 months in prison. Would you like to see yourself rotting in a jail cell while you ponder about the person who was killed because you got mad in a video game? While most of the items on this list are relatively harmless, swatting is not, and you actually are just the worst person ever if you’ve done this.

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