[EDITORIAL] The Real Life Impacts of the Club Penguin Army Community

ALASKA, CP Army Hub Headquarters, Coolguy’s Desk – Since the beginning of Club Penguin Armies, many members have struggled in this community. Club Penguin Army news only covers an army’s strifes, yet as individuals, we suffer too. Throughout the years, we have seen many people enter and leave the community for many reasons. What are the real-life impacts of the army community on the individuals within it?

Disclaimer: The following post is an editorial and contains the writer’s personal opinion. It does not represent the views of the CP Army Hub as a whole.

The Club Penguin army community has never been the quietest place. With thousands of people coming in and out, there is a lot of history, some recorded, some not. Just like any other large society, the army league has been subjected to drama within our circles. Many problems have surfaced in the community, but how does this affect the troops?

How The Army Community Affects Troops

Point 1: Time Consumption

Armies expect all troops to attend events, recruit, and be active. What troops must do differs in every army, but these three things are at the core of being a good troop. Usually, events are 30 minutes long, with some exceptions. This, in itself, is a big chunk of time out of a day. When armies used Xat, some armies expected troops to be active throughout the day. The purpose is to show their commitment to the army and hype up the chat. Armies have changed over time, but the same idea of activity applies to this day. In fact, Discord allows tracking of how many messages a member has sent, thus enabling measurement of their activity in the server.

A Dark Warriors’ Active Count’ from 2015. Troops filled in this form to prove they’re active.

All of the above shows how much time armies require people to take out of their daily lives. The Club Penguin Army community is child-friendly and was built by kids. However, many kids lost their youth by playing Club Penguin. Many people within the community gradually ruined their own social life and even family relations by ignoring what was going on around them and concentrating on the community. Some may argue that this is not the community’s fault, but the fact remains that armies were the cause of this effect.

Army leaders want the best for their army, and that is understandable and respectable. Leaders also say that activity is necessary, especially during wars. However, troops can be very vulnerable, feeling as if they are being dictated.  The question we need to ask is, was it truly intended to have this effect on them?

1.2: Growing up in the community

Armies require troops to be active, and because of this, they may spend most of their time in the army. Many people spend years in the community while others spend months. While this community is based on a child’s game, people learn and grow in this community. Even adults who grew up in this game are still learning from it as it provides valuable lessons. However, should people be growing up, from a young age, in the world of CP armies?

Some armies allow NSFW content and condone certain offensive things despite being based on a child-friendly game. Some of these things could include racism and sexism. If children live their childhood in a community where this was condoned, how would they ever really grow up? Indeed, an online community may not affect a person’s life adversely. However, growing up in a mini-society that has a toxic environment inflicts real damage on people. This could also lead to complications in their non-virtual life too. The impacts of a toxic environment are scary, and we have seen a rise in toxicity over the years. Army leagues may try to eliminate armies that openly condone immoral ethics, but is this enough?

I asked the Club Penguin Army Hub CEO Pookie for his opinion on this subject as a whole and if he thinks people are genuinely affected by the community:

At its core, we know that Club Penguin is a game who’s core demographic is younger kids. Although the community is a bit on the older side nowadays, we still need to remember that even in an era of private servers built for nostalgia, new generations will still find themselves playing club penguin for the first time and joining armies for the first time.

With this being said, CP Army Hub takes actions that is sort of a middle ground for both the older and younger demographics. For example, CP Army Hub’s Discord main chat follows a PG-13 guideline which allows for mild swearing, while also having our moderators discourage conversations about topics such as sex and drugs. I believe that kids are highly influenced by this community and that the community can affect them in a positive way.

In a new era of mostly older army community members, we must remember that this community at its core was created by kids who loved playing Club Penguin and wanted to put their own spin on the game. Army titans such as Oagalthorp, Iceyfeet1234, and Commando717 started their armies when they were as young as 10 years old. Although the community can have its downsides sometimes, I still believe that it can has a positive personal affect on the people in it.

Leading an army can teach you valuable skills such as management and communication, while writing for a news site like CP Army Hub can increase your understanding of grammar and spelling. In the end, I do believe that kids should participate in this community. As a community, we need to remember that at one point we were all that new recruit with a twinkle in their eye.

Although the age of those in armies has risen since the death of Club Penguin, setting an age limit to participate in the army community dishonors those who armies were built by and built for. The community can have a great impact on people’s lives, from either helping you through a bad day or even helping you find a lifelong best friend.

Point 2: Learning From Our Efforts

While the community can be deemed toxic and have adverse effects on people, is it all that bad?  Many people have grown up with this game and have fully experienced armies. While there can be many negatives to the community, there are a lot of positives too. Many do not consider this aspect, but we can learn from our efforts towards this game.

The expansive army community can be experienced in a plethora of ways. Despite the ever-varying number of ways users can participate in this game, the basics are done by both troops and leaders. Recruiting, attending events, being active, introducing the army to newcomers; both troops and leaders do all of these with much more being done too. In the community, we have created our own world in which we have a league that is very similar to a government. The armies in this game are also identical to countries. In a post written by LuciferStar, he asks, “Is this really a game“? This post contains very similar thoughts on the community as a whole, and he questions, “Is this the closest we’ve come to a utopia?” However, the comparison of this fake reality and the real world is clear to see.

United States – Club Penguin Armies. Map Comparison

While scheduling invasions on land, going to war, having practice battles, and a lot more, we learn from every situation. As people, we can apply these fake scenarios to real life and learn from the mistakes that we made. A massive thing that we take away from armies is our knowledge of how things work. This fake reality can help us learn a lot, but what do we take away from it?

Point 2.2: Lessons Learned

A big thing that we take away from the community are lessons about trust. While trust isn’t the only thing we take away from this game, it is undoubtedly shaken by our participation in it. Our closest friend can suddenly become our worst enemy if they choose to backstab us. This factor makes us stay alert and tighten our levels of trust. It can also make us deceptive, making people think we trust them for the sake of a partially good (temporary) relationship between armies. We can use this in the real world because there are a lot of deceiving people out there. We can use what we’ve learned–for example, how to tell if someone is lying–and put this to good use.

While this may be a positive thing, it’s also a bad thing. This generation of people has become more sensitive over time, yet the amount of toxicity in the community is off the charts. The breaking of a bond and trust, in particular, can make people vulnerable. When trust is broken, people become closed off, scared; they don’t know who they can trust. This can lead to that person becoming hostile and possibly lashing out. While this may be an outcome that people usually do not consider, it is one of the darker consequences. This is just one of the effects, there are many others, and they differ a lot. These are just some things that the army community can do to people.

Point 3: Toxicity

Toxicity isn’t an unknown part of the army community; there have been apparent increases in it. However, does the toxicity within the community drive people away, and how do we still get recruits?

In one of my previous editorials, I talked about toxicity within the CPA community. In it, I made a statement: “The army community has become more toxic as time has gone by.” It still rings true, more than ever, armies remain toxic and have many harmful actions made by many different people. Doxxing/Ddosing is an action that reveals the personal information of individuals. These actions have caused many victims to fear for their life.

Fear is something no-one should have in a child-friendly community, and yet many have it. The threats made can and have impacted people’s lives, and it can trigger anxiety, depression, and high levels of stress. It could also lead to worse issues, such as the person becoming suicidal. Toxicity and harmful actions are things that we, as a community, try hard to get rid of. However, our attempts haven’t been successful, leading to a rise in toxicity and people leaving this game.

In 2016 CP Army Central held a poll in their editorial, ‘The Plague,’ which addressed toxicity and asked, “Do you think the community has gotten progressively worse?” The majority of readers voted “Yes,” showing that even in 2016, toxicity was rising. This poll contributes to the statement that “The army community has become more toxic as time has gone by,” we cannot deny that this game has indeed grown to be more and more toxic.

CP Army Central’s poll on the community.

The Community Prepares People For The Real World

The real world is far from perfect, and in terms of the structure of authority, the army community is similar. This game is toxic but does this negatively impact a person or prepare them for the future? Some people may ask, how do toxic people being racist, sexist and botting tournaments help others?

Despite living in a more progressive world, many traditionalists believe in traditional values. This community shows that, and it also prepares them for when they come in contact with these people. With botting and many other similar actions, people learn that the world isn’t all fine and dandy. Many toxic people in this world may even take another’s life for personal gain. The community lets people experience this early, so it doesn’t hit them harder later. People can live and learn from their problems and experiences within the community and apply them to real-life situations.

With this in mind, does the community negatively impact people’s lives? My answer to that is, of course, it does. Everything you experience, whether negative or positive, will impact your life. The penguin army community just affects your life a lot more quickly. If someone doxxed a 13-year-old, they’d be scared for their lives, which could change them indefinitely.

How Do Toxic Actions Affect Someone’s Life?

Everyone will know that harmful actions will affect someone’s life, but few will tell their story.

I asked a person who will remain anonymous about their personal experience and how doxxing affected them.

I was scared for my family’s safety, all their previous and current addresses were just sent to me, including names, emails, phone numbers. It was a big shock. I didn’t change what I did in the community but it definitely changed my whole view on it. I heard stories and obviously I knew about Riley, I knew about all that way before it went public. But it never hit me hard until it happened to me.

People think this community is all for fun but there’s always a darker side. There are very dark people in this community that do crazy things, if you think Riley was the worst, you haven’t heard the dark stories. When I realised all of this, I left the community, retired from my leadership position and enjoyed the rest of my life. If the reader wants advice then here you go, seriously do not judge a book by it’s cover. Someone you may think is amazing and truthful can be the complete opposite. Look after yourself.

Conclusion

The community can have real-life impacts on people and has affected many negatively. However, the experience can affect many positively too. By no means does the good outweigh the bad; however, we have to look at both sides to improve the community. The community affects many people, yet this issue is left unspoken. We should all be speaking up about things that have happened so that they can never happen to anyone else.

What do YOU think? Do you believe that the community has real-life impacts on people? Should these harmful actions be spoken about regularly? Let us know in the comments below!

Coolguy
CP Army Hub Reporter

One Response

  1. Great report Coolguy!

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