When someone runs a Minecraft server (or any other game server), the culture is not often something that is thought about. However, it is arguably the most important aspect of what defines that particular community. Even though most server owners may not think about their servers’ culture or even realize its significance, that culture is still there. The actions taken by the server owner determines what kind of culture that server has.
What is culture in regards to a Minecraft server? I think of culture as the behavioral patterns of the community as a whole, as well as the moral standards of that community. A server does not need to preach morality in order to have moral guidelines. When the staff of a server decides who to punish and for what reason. The rules define where the line is drawn between right and wrong. However, some lines are blurrier than others.
Rules against stealing, for example, can be easily defined. Everybody knows what stealing is, and it can be enforced very consistently. What is most difficult is enforcing behavioral rules. These rules pertain to the words and thoughts expressed by players on the server. These rules are often most difficult to enforce because of the wide spectrum of meanings and intentions that words can convey. Additionally, even a well-defined rule can be fuzzier than it sounds. You can have a rule against harassing other players, but if you were to ask 10 different people about what constitutes harassment, you may get 10 entirely different answers. This same principle applies to the many other rules that can be made pertaining to player behavior.
Even if a server owner is unable to describe where these lines are drawn, that server owner will inevitably draw those lines in practice. Every time that server owner decides whether to ban a player or not, the line has been drawn. If the server owner ignores everything and allows everyone to stay, that is still a line. It is simply a very lenient one. Where those lines are drawn will entirely set the stage for the kind of community that server will have. If someone with unsavory behavior is kept around for awhile, the server will begin to become an unenjoyable experience for many others. If behavioral rules are enforced very strictly with poor explanations, other innocent players may be fearful that they will be the next ones to be inexplicably punished.
The players who are allowed to stay on the server will define what kind of culture the server has. The behaviors that are prevalent in the community will consist of only those who are there, and not those who are not there. That is highly self-explanatory. At the end of the day, who that base of players consists of will be defined by who you allow to stay there, along with who the server appeals to.
Here’s the most important part: How do I define my own Minecraft server, and what culture am I going for? One of the phrases I often use to describe my Minecraft server mentions that I am trying to make sure that my server is not like Twitter or Reddit. Though the meaning of this statement may be obvious to those who share my disdain for the culture of these websites, others may not know what I mean. It is hard to quickly define, so I will give some examples of how the culture I desire for my server differs from that of the aforementioned websites.
I think the biggest difference pertains to revenge. Getting back at someone seems like the norm at this point. People derive satisfaction from inflicting pain upon those who they feel have wronged them. It also satisfies their personal sense of justice. If you walked in my shoes, you would quickly realize how big of a problem this causes. In my experiences of running Minecraft servers, I have seen many situations of players getting into nasty arguments. It starts when one player interprets something that the other player said as a personal attack. Then, that player will say something passive aggressive to get back at them. The player whose words were misinterpreted will feel unjustly attacked and clap back at the other player. The situation escalates until it reaches complete verbal warfare. Neither of them were able to handle conflict maturely and it resulted in drama. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that standing up for yourself or not letting yourself get stepped on does not have to involve revenge, and there are many other ways to deal with conflict. These situations may occur between kids on my Minecraft server, but I’ve seen this behavior among many adults on the internet as well. Imagine if everyone acted in this immature way. The world would be a miserable place. Everyone would constantly be misinterpreting each other’s words and trying to get back at each other, and everyone would just end up hating each other. For Twitter and Reddit users, this is made worse by the fact that these people will often dehumanize and demonize others just for having a different opinion on something.
Another distinguishing factor pertains to how people define themselves. In general, I view who a person is as a combination of the values that they live by alongside their personality traits. On websites like Twitter and Reddit, people tend to put themselves in narrowly-defined boxes, give themselves certain labels, and be wary of anyone who falls outside of those boxes. Their entire being becomes self-defined as being a member of a particular group. It is as though they give up all of their individuality. I find this idea to be quite problematic and I think it is very unhealthy for young, developing kids to be surrounded with people who try to actively recruit them into their self-defining boxes.
Those were just two of the examples of the kind of culture that exists on Twitter and Reddit. Unfortunately, these problems are not exclusive to Twitter and Reddit users. These problems seep through every corner of the internet. Every corner of the internet is also dominated by conversations related to drugs as well as various sexual topics. Keeping my server clean and making the culture different from the rest of the internet is a near-impossible task, as all users who join the server likely use social media apps and participate in other communities where this disdainful culture exists.
Despite this, I continue my fight to defy the usual culture of the internet. As someone who has used the internet since a young age, I do not feel that I would be comfortable having my own future kids joining any communities on the internet. I would not want them seeing the same things that I have seen. In running my Minecraft server, I strive to create a place where the kids who may be led astray elsewhere can be surrounded by positive role models here. It is also a place where level-headed adults can join to escape the usual nonsense present around the rest of the internet. I’ve been running the latest iteration of my Minecraft server for a year and a half now, and I have added many safeguards in place to keep my server and its community as protected as possible in the wild west of the internet. I am satisfied with how the culture of my server has developed thus far, and I will work toward continuing this success in the future.
If you would like to join my Minecraft server, you can do so using tmv.zone server address. Both Bedrock and Java players can join.