I considered staying away from this topic, but it bothered me sufficiently to the point where I thought it was worth writing about. I understand the purpose of Reddit and other boards in which opinions are showcased—the most popular opinions are drawn to the top through voting, and a communal opinion is usually formed. Some threads will have true discussions in which there is no consensus; unfortunately, the threads I'm referring to have a fairly strong repeated opinion.
For whatever reason, the competitive community will form a permanent opinion on any professional player and hold onto it for however long they feel is appropriate whenever ANY sort of controversy emerges—whether it's true or not. No issue highlights such a phenomenon more than the hate brigade surrounding André "iddqd" Dahlström's attempt at a Bronze to Grandmaster stream.
To be clear, tanking his account to a super low Skill Rating was certainly not the right thing to do. Other streamers have done this experiment, but tanking games is never okay given innocent people might be affected. However, the community's response was borderline ridiculous. iddqd later admitted he didn't consider the games might be skewed because he deliberately fell to a low rank, and he apologized on his stream, but doing so was not enough: people on Reddit cried out that he was an incredibly toxic player and that he demonstrated poor sportsmanship. "No wonder he got kicked from his team," read a comment before it was later deleted by a moderator. Many of the most upvoted comments were simply attacking iddqd's character, as people did not stop to think that he might have made an honest mistake. Some even exclaimed that he should be banned, stripped of all of his Overwatch accounts.
In any case, iddqd never displayed real toxicity—the extent of his conversation on stream was entertaining viewers and joking about the objectively poor play he encountered down under 1000 SR. Community members used iddqd's departure from Fnatic to determine that he's indeed toxic without ever even bothering to interact with him. When word got out that he was trialling for NRG, people in the community seemingly either praised his skill or bashed his assumed behavior, though the latter category seemed to be more represented.
He is of course not the only player to deal with this kind of criticism—with or without reason. Remember the drama surrounding Taimou and Surefour when the community was convinced they cheated? Their lives were made needlessly harder by a hivemind opinion that did not stop to consider the other side of the issue. The first time anybody is labelled as "toxic" is all the community needs to repeatedly pedal such an opinion. We have repeated claims by FaZe that Erik "TwoEasy" van Hoorn was not a bad teammate, and he even has a track record of owning up to his mistakes (his toxicity while on REUNITED). Yet, when TwoEasy lost his spot on the active roster, the only opinion that was supported that he was toxic towards his teammates yet again.
Remember that our opinions are not just words. The way we present our community to the public is important. Both Taimou and Surefour have proven themselves again and again, but people from the main Subreddit will still, to this day, claim that the two players are cheaters. Remember that the community's actions are not without consequence, that they will be jumped on by outsiders; that's exactly what spawned this garbage.
By no means am I asking people to believe only what is spoon-fed to them—reading between the lines is often necessary! Needlessly downvoting people that are excited to see iddqd compete again or continually parroting opinions you've seen but did not form for yourself are not exactly conducive to an open environment, where discussion can occur without attacking one another, though.