How "Normiefication" Causes Everything to Go to the Dogs
It depresses me sometimes to think back about how the Internet, and what used to be nerd culture as a whole, used to be back when I was introduced to it back in the 90s and how it is nowadays. The conventional wisdom seems to be that everything should be made as accessible and inclusive as possible to even the least common denominator, but the past 30 years proves that this idea in principle is good for no one but the simpleton consoomer and the person making money off of them.
There are a wide variety of factors that have contributed to the decay of the Internet over the past few decades, but I believe the chief one was the deranged rush to make everything as accessible and "inclusive" as possible. I will cover this more later, but the generally agreed upon time period for when the normiefication of the web truly reached the point of no return is somewhere around 2007-2008. This is around the time that iphones and social media took off, prompting an invasion of the kind of normalfags that can't even be arsed to figure out how to use a desktop PC, or to use computers for anything beyond fishing for attention on social media.
"But Koshka, you're gatekeeping! What's wrong with letting every last drooling, smooth-brained peasant have a piece of the pie? Are you racist/sexist/whateverthehellelseist???" First of all, "gatekeeping" is an idiotic term invented specifically by the kind of people that objectively deserve to be excluded from the Internet (and a plethora of other things.) Since when is having standards considered a bad thing?
Do people get accused of gatekeeping if they're running a business and refuse to hire people who dropped out of middle school and show up to the job interview 15 minutes late smelling like bottom shelf whiskey? Is it unfair discrimination if one isn't willing to date anyone who shows any interest in them? Is it gatekeeping to force people to attend driving school and pass a test showing that they're at least capable of pulling off basic maneuvers before allowing them to drive? If you ask me, we need a lot more gatekeeping in that area, but that is for another rant.
The practice of gatekeeping hobbies or fandoms is controversial, and something that I too once held in a negative light, but time has proven over and over that it is necessary. There is a school of thought in criminology that emphasises policing of more "minor" crimes such as vandalism and jaywalking, because targeting these crimes will help maintain an atmosphere of law and order and thus reduce more serious crime. Most people are pack animals that strive to conform above all else, and seek cues from their environment to deduce what is expected and allowed of them.
And just like a neighbourhood dirtied by litter and grafitti will signal to potential criminals that it is an area where crime is acceptable, a fandom that allows itself to be dirtied by an invasion of casuals and normies will signal to corporations that they can degrade and casualise the work that the fandom is centered around without much consequence. In fact, it signals that they should
do so because they can attract more normies to consoom the work now that it has become mainstream. In capitalism, quantity is infinitely more important than quality.
There are many franchises where this race to degrade quality (casualisation) to increase the quantity of consoomers (normies) can be seen, but my favourite example is Bethesda's RPGs. The first three Elder Scrolls games were all targeted at the kind of people that made up the vast majority of gamers back in that era (1994-2002,) and were all unapologetically hardcore RPGs. From that point on, every consecutive game Bethesda put out had numerous sacrifices made to make the game more streamlined and easy to use for casual fans.
It wasn't all bad, and Fallout 3, which came out in 2008, is actually my personal favourite of all of Bethesda's games, but the decay can be seen clear as day. Fallout 3 is very simplified compared to Fallout 1 and 2, Fallout 4 isn't even a real RPG so much as a basic shooter game with a leveling system, and Fallout 76 can only be considered a Fallout game if we also consider Doom 2 to be a Commander Keen game because Keen had a stupid joke cameo
in the secret level. In contrast to the first three Fallout games, which allow quests to be completed in all sorts of diverse ways and allow the player to do whatever s/he may want, Fallout 4 doesn't even allow you to decline side-quests half of the time.
There's an annoying quest near the start of the game where you have to rescue a bunch of losers from bandits.
Said losers will then proceed to move into the street that you lived on before the war and spend all of their time loitering on your lawn and complaining about how much their lives suck. There is no way to kill them or to tell them to bugger off, so the only option you have to is to avoid ever encountering and rescuing them. I suppose it's a good thing that Bethesda didn't even bother to add any NPCs to Fallout 76.
The Death of the Internet
This problem goes a lot deeper than just boring and diluted video games or websites, and has been happening long before video games were even a thing. Tourism is another example that most people will be able to understand. Mount Everest was, at one point, a pristine mountain whose summit had only been reached by a few particularly courageous and talented mountain climbers. Fast forward to today and it is covered in trash and feces, swarming with tourist locusts paying money to basically be carried up the mountain so that they can take self-photographs to decorate their inane social media pages with. When this blight isn't polluting and destroying pristine nature, it's destroying unique human cultures
around the world.
Like a bunch of culture locusts, these normies swarm any culture or sub-culture that they think is interesting or unique until they completely destroy everything and anything that made it interesting or unique in the first place, all while claiming to be authentic members of it in the first place. ("I'm a huge nerd! I fucking love science!!!111") It's a minor grievance compared to everything else that I am covering, but I want to add how grating it is to see normies appropriating everything that they associate with nerd culture to make themselves feel special. All of a sudden, everybody thinks they're an introvert because they didn't want to make smalltalk with someone one time, and that they're a nerd because they watched a superhero movie. Even autism
is now being appropriated by moronic zoomers on tiktok and elsewhere. Again, this is all minutae compared to the more serious problems that the normiefication of the internet has brought with it.
I mentioned earlier the idea that allowing "minor" crimes such as vandalism creates an environment where crime is seen as more acceptable, and thus leads to higher levels of more serious crime. In the case of the internet, the influx of normies and the disintegration of the internet culture of olde, has led to the establishment of some very troublesome norms. 10-15 years ago, it was considered common sense to never reveal any personal information on the internet, and the internet being serious business
was merely a meme poking fun at people who take internet drama too seriously. Hard as it may to believe now, even severe privacy offenders like Microsoft and google used to tell people to not post personal information online.
Fast forward to the internet of today, and you can't even make an account on most mainstream websites without doxxing yourself by sharing your cell phone number, if not your real name and a photograph of yourself. The old wisdom of not revealing personal information online has been replaced by a creeping leftist fascism that not only forces self-doxxing, but also punishes anyone who shares dissenting viewpoints with real life consequences. Leftism is the preferred religion of NPCs, largely because it thrives on forced conformity and leftist ideology has so many holes in it that no one with enough neurons to be capable of self-awareness would ever believe it.
Another very unfortunate change that the locusts brought with them is the utter decrease in quality of the average webpage. Once upon a time, the internet was a fun, creative place where anyone willing to learn how to use a computer and create a website could create a place to share their passions with like-minded people. I have very fond memories of spending entire days on the web working my way through directories of quaint web 1.0 sites dedicated to video games that I liked, created from the ground up by fans.
Back then, the cancers of smartphones and social media had not yet metastised, and as such there was a bar of entry for having a "voice" on the web. This was not a very high bar in my opinion - owning and being able to use an actual computer with Windows 95 or Linux, being able to connect it to the internet, being able to register an account on Geocities/Angelfire/Tripod (hosting it oneself was obviously much more difficult so most people did not go this route,) being able to use basic HTML to create a good looking and interesting website - but it nonetheless served as a barrier that kept the internet diverse, interesting, and fun.
In this day and age where every simpleton is carrying a smartphone, the bar for entry has been essentially lowered to being able to use social media "apps" on a smartphone, a device designed such that even a toddler or a chimpanzee (and even a Democrat voter!) can use it. The millions of voices with viewpoints of actual substance have been drowned out by the billions of NPCs flooding the internet with self-photographs and inane comments about their lives. The decay of the internet is at times so absurd that it feels like satire. There is an actual popular social media site now dedicated entirely to communicating with people in one's own neighbourhood
, because apparently nobody has yet to invent "going outside."
A related and equally worrisome issue is the increasing centralisation of the internet, a process that went hand-in-hand with the normie invasion. In some ways this is an online version of the strip mall effect, wherein small, independent retailers and restaurants are run out of business by big name corporations and unique communities are transformed into one big, identical sea of copy and pasted Wal-Marts and Starbucks establishments. The wild internet of olde has never been something that appealed to normies, who want to be told where to go and what to do so that they can make sure that they're conforming to their group, and big technology companies have taken full advantage of this. It is now literally impossible to be online and completely avoid giants like google and Cloudflare, and there are untold hordes of NPCs whose entire online existence is spent in safe walled normie gardens like Facebook and Twitter. Just install NoScript
in your browser and try to find a single website that it doesn't detect having third party scripts from google or facebook on, if you want to see just how terrifying the problem has become.
What makes this particularly scary is that all of these big companies are run by far-left fascists who have a long history of censoring and suppressing anybody who holds views that they do not agree with. Pretty much all of them make the vast majority of their money from spying on users in ways that Orwell wouldn't have dreamed of
, and selling this information to advertisers. The approval of the new majority has allowed the transformation of the internet from a wild, free jungle to a cold, boring, concrete shithole run by totalitarian corporations.
For better or for worse, the internet has now become the most important and powerful tool for communication that our species has, and I don't think I need to explain why these changes are absolutely terrifying, whether or not you care about preserving the old Internet/nerd culture or not.