343/366 – Don’t Fall Into The Gaming Salt Trap
Online competitive games give us the chance to play matches and have battles that allow us to, in theory, have friendly yet spirited communication between teams and be able to give out a nice “GG” at the end of it all. Obviously, there are many times when this doesn’t happen, but it’s an interesting little ideal to try to aspire to ( and it does tend to happen in many of the competitive games that I do play.
The primary reason that I think this doesn’t happen is that I think there are players out there who fall into what I call the “salt trap”, so aptly named because of the colloquialism of salt being someone who makes a comment or talks in a way that makes them seem like they’re a bit sore about the outcome of something rather than having a legitimate concern or criticism about it. While I feel like accusing someone of being “salty” is a bit overused a lot of the time, there is some legitimacy about getting trapped in an endless cycle of never-ending justifications for the comments you make. It goes well beyond banter or even trash talking, and just simply into territory that results in people trying to legitimize something that happened in the last match that bleeds over into the next one.
Saltiness is a trap because instead of discarding the outcome or at least moving onto achieving the one you want to have happen later, you’re stuck in an loop trying to make a point that no one on the opposing team will frankly appear to accept, mostly because salt traps are delivered and entrap people who are typically on the losing team. That something feels OP, or that team coordination was bad, or that (in some cases) someone’s own teammates are terrible/awful) doesn’t really have much productive value, and that value decreases exponentially with every comment made or every argument that continues. It’s also a trap in that you’re likely to taint any kind of future interaction if you retain the same opponents or teammates for the next match (a frequent occcurence in games like Overwatch), making the situation ten times worse if you lose again.
Really, the best way to avoid it is to either make your comment and move on, or simply not bother with the outcome at all, even if people try to goad you into it. While I’ve succumbed to the occasional salty or snarky remark, generally I let my gameplay do most of the talking, and that’s mostly because on the internet, the one who wins is mostly the person who chooses to shout and talk the longest rather than the person that has the legitimate point. Nothing, however, speaks louder than a big win on your side and the fact that you contributed significantly to ensuring that your team was victorious and the opposing team suffered defeat. Besides, it’s a better spectator seat for the people who do let the salt flow from with the trap. You couldn’t get more seasoning in your popcorn if you tried, and perhaps that is the best part about making sure that you don’t fall in. There are times when being an active participant is a good thing, but other times when sitting back and watching others go at it is the real entertainment. Don’t be the former when it comes to being salty.