Are Power Scalers a cause or symptom of toxicity in the fandom?

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Are Power Scalers a cause or symptom of toxicity in the fandom?

Post by MarCas92 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:50 pm

A loaded question I know. But an observation I (and many others) have made is that people who put a lot of emphasis or stock in how powerful characters are, usually end up being some of the crassest, ignorant and disrespectful members of the fandom.

I know most people on this forum understand that there's more to Dragon Ball than guys punching and throwing ki blasts at each other. However, because most conflicts are solved by just beating or killing the opponent (i.e Being Stronger) it's not unfair to say Dragon Ball glorifies certain aspects of hypermasculinity. This is especially apparent in the Z-portion where all major villains (except arguably Boo) are defeated by just being physically stronger. And since the Z-era is the most popular I don't think it's an unfair assessment to make. I'm pretty sure we all have seen at least a dozen people who don't like a certain character or story element simply because of how strong they believe certain characters should be. I know it's not unfair to demand consistency in power, especially in a series like DB where the amount of power someone has is the source of most of the drama. It's important to demand SOME consistency. But at the end of the day, the biggest difference between the type of fan I am and Power Scalers, is that I don't mind if characters battle powers are logical or not as long as it serves the story. They, on the other hand, think if the Power Scale is out of whack the story element in which it is presented has failed. There is nothing wrong with liking those elements in DB but I think people who focus on that are usually the ones who display the most toxic traits.

I'm not saying if you power scale at all you're toxic. I would never generalize like that. I power scale a bit too and I prefer things to be kept consistent. But I guess the point that I'm trying to make after all this is that: If some fans really care about the power scale THAT much that they go out of their way to argue and crap on people and a story because strength is what's most important in this narrative, what does that say about their real-life values? Obviously, this isn't EVERYONE but it is a pattern I have noticed and I think it's worth addressing. Does DB attract hyper-aggressive people and those traits are revealed in discourse? Or does the narrative in DB itself unwillingly encourage these traits due to a focus on strength and power to achieve victory?
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Re: Are Power Scalers a cause or symptom of toxicity in the fandom?

Post by Cursed Lemon » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:49 pm

While DBZ is a trope codifier of power scaling, since it literally has power levels, the obnoxious fans obsessing over tiny details are present in every deep fandom regardless of the presence of that characteristic.
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Re: Are Power Scalers a cause or symptom of toxicity in the fandom?

Post by Shaddy » Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:21 pm

Neither? I think they're just a thing that exists. Toxicity is separate from debates over character strength, Dragon Ball just eggs on those debates more than other series by attaching literal numbers to the characters while ironically being built absolutely fucking terribly for those debates to be relevant or meaningful. I think the most you can say is that in being as fucking stupid a type of discussion as they are, you get a lot of people completely missing the point and idea of the show, and this are more easily agitated by the series not being what they want.
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Re: Are Power Scalers a cause or symptom of toxicity in the fandom?

Post by KBABZ » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:02 am

I think it's a contributing factor, but equally so is how serious the show was in the dub. The original show was like that a lot as well of course, but it was more... dramatic, and of course if you knew your Dragon Ball then you'd be well aware that the show wasn't only that (as shown with the Ginyu Force, the frog, and of course the Buu arc). The dub's new music, different dialogue and of course the various hardcore openings implies that one could take all that stuff very seriously, when of course you can't.

I think another facet is that from an American perspective, the show was already "done" in terms of the overall story, and we were getting it "revealed" over time as they dubbed it. Knowing that it was finished has the subtle effect of thinking that everything was meticulously planned when of course it SO wasn't.

A lot of stuff regarding power is open to debate too, be it "Oh but Gohan didn't have electricity so it wasn't REALLY SS2" to vague "OFF THE CHARTS" statements made by bystanders such as Krillin and Piccolo, and as we all know it's very difficult to change somebody's opinion about something they vehemently believe in. Plus the most famous portion of the show heavily involved numerical measurements of power, and the dub at least didn't seem interested in pointing out that transformations, hiding one's ki and outright skill and technique is precisely why you SHOULDN'T take so much stock in those numbers.

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Re: Are Power Scalers a cause or symptom of toxicity in the fandom?

Post by VegettoEX » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:13 am

I did a podcast episode topic segment about this a few years back, soliciting feedback from this and other communities and fandoms that you may be interested in tuning into. This particular segments starts at 21:12.
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Re: Are Power Scalers a cause or symptom of toxicity in the fandom?

Post by ABED » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:32 am

It's always just a symptom. Something so innocuous could never be a cause. The bigger reason for toxicity in a fandom is the nature of the internet having no gatekeeper. Everyone can spout any opinion with a stroke of a key.

A problem I have with fandom or nerd-dom is they want to turn everything into easily digestible math problems. I'll also point fingers at myself. I held that sort of view for a while, but I grew out of it. I also agree with Shaddy. Power scaling is a perfectly fine thing to discuss like anything else, when you do it respectfully. The content of the debates are separate from the way it gets discussed. I would be interested to see statistics of what sort of discussions draw that sort of fan(atic).
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Re: Are Power Scalers a cause or symptom of toxicity in the fandom?

Post by PerhapsTheOtherOne » Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:25 am

As others have said, the actual idea is perfectly fine.

It's just that, when toxic elements are already present, they can be amplified through the usage of otherwise neutral ideas such as this one. Power scaling is but another means of spreading a certain mindset; nothing more, nothing less.

Can be used for good, but is often abused in order to serve the needs of toxicity.

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Re: Are Power Scalers a cause or symptom of toxicity in the fandom?

Post by WittyUsername » Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:34 pm

I think one of the biggest mistakes Toriyama has made in regards to Dragon Ball was coming up with the entire concept of power levels to begin with. It completely sapped away the fun and creativity in the fights, and only served to spawn a bunch of debates about how high x character’s power level is. Not to mention that it has given fans the impression that raw strength is all that matters in a Dragon Ball fight. I guess if there’s one thing to give the Universe Survival arc credit for, it’s that it did hammer home the idea that there’s more to winning a fight than having a higher power level than your opponent.

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Re: Are Power Scalers a cause or symptom of toxicity in the fandom?

Post by MarCas92 » Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:46 pm

VegettoEX wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:13 am
I did a podcast episode topic segment about this a few years back, soliciting feedback from this and other communities and fandoms that you may be interested in tuning into. This particular segments starts at 21:12.
Nice shill. But.....Wow! We have the EXACT same opinion. Like 100%. Eerie. I listen to the podcast on occasion. Shame I missed that one. Like, I can't even add to that. That's how similar our thoughts on the matter are. Has your opinion changed since then?
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Re: Are Power Scalers a cause or symptom of toxicity in the fandom?

Post by MasenkoHA » Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:08 pm

Is power scaling and power level discourse in Dragon Ball discussions pretty much ass cancer? Yes.

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Re: Are Power Scalers a cause or symptom of toxicity in the fandom?

Post by Rory » Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:55 am

WittyUsername wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:34 pm
I think one of the biggest mistakes Toriyama has made in regards to Dragon Ball was coming up with the entire concept of power levels to begin with. It completely sapped away the fun and creativity in the fights, and only served to spawn a bunch of debates about how high x character’s power level is.
No? The whole point of battle powers were that warriors who had a greater mastery of ki could overcome those who didn't. After (or towards the end of) the Freeza arc they were dropped entirely, rarely mentioned again, if ever.
The most powerful fighters winning were a thing since Dragon Ball started, I can't think of any fight other than maybe Pu'er/Upa fighting Dracula Man where the out-right weaker characters won. The fights after seemed to be Goku/Piccolo vs Raditz, and Goku/everyone vs Vegeta... the two fights that were debuted with battle powers.

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Re: Are Power Scalers a cause or symptom of toxicity in the fandom?

Post by WittyUsername » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:47 pm

Rory wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:55 am
WittyUsername wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:34 pm
I think one of the biggest mistakes Toriyama has made in regards to Dragon Ball was coming up with the entire concept of power levels to begin with. It completely sapped away the fun and creativity in the fights, and only served to spawn a bunch of debates about how high x character’s power level is.
No? The whole point of battle powers were that warriors who had a greater mastery of ki could overcome those who didn't. After (or towards the end of) the Freeza arc they were dropped entirely, rarely mentioned again, if ever.
The most powerful fighters winning were a thing since Dragon Ball started, I can't think of any fight other than maybe Pu'er/Upa fighting Dracula Man where the out-right weaker characters won. The fights after seemed to be Goku/Piccolo vs Raditz, and Goku/everyone vs Vegeta... the two fights that were debuted with battle powers.
Huh? All I was saying was that I think attaching a numerical value to a character’s physical strength was a very poor decision that only served to spawn a bunch of unproductive power scaling debates. I never said that the series has never placed importance on strength before. I was simply saying that I personally think telling us the stats of the characters made the fights feel less interesting as a result.

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Re: Are Power Scalers a cause or symptom of toxicity in the fandom?

Post by PerhapsTheOtherOne » Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:32 pm

As I said before, the concept and sometimes execution isn't toxic or even bad in and of itself.

However, it can be misused to put down the opinions of others, spread a bad message, etc.

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Re: Are Power Scalers a cause or symptom of toxicity in the fandom?

Post by ABED » Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:51 pm

WittyUsername wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:47 pm
Rory wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:55 am
WittyUsername wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:34 pm
I think one of the biggest mistakes Toriyama has made in regards to Dragon Ball was coming up with the entire concept of power levels to begin with. It completely sapped away the fun and creativity in the fights, and only served to spawn a bunch of debates about how high x character’s power level is.
No? The whole point of battle powers were that warriors who had a greater mastery of ki could overcome those who didn't. After (or towards the end of) the Freeza arc they were dropped entirely, rarely mentioned again, if ever.
The most powerful fighters winning were a thing since Dragon Ball started, I can't think of any fight other than maybe Pu'er/Upa fighting Dracula Man where the out-right weaker characters won. The fights after seemed to be Goku/Piccolo vs Raditz, and Goku/everyone vs Vegeta... the two fights that were debuted with battle powers.
Huh? All I was saying was that I think attaching a numerical value to a character’s physical strength was a very poor decision that only served to spawn a bunch of unproductive power scaling debates. I never said that the series has never placed importance on strength before. I was simply saying that I personally think telling us the stats of the characters made the fights feel less interesting as a result.
It was subverted as soon as it was introduced. It was there to provide a weak point for new villains who were overwhelmingly stronger than anyone the heroes ever faced. It's not Toriyama's fault people missed the point and nerds like to turn everything into a math problem.
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Re: Are Power Scalers a cause or symptom of toxicity in the fandom?

Post by WittyUsername » Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:45 pm

ABED wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:51 pm
WittyUsername wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:47 pm
Rory wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:55 am

No? The whole point of battle powers were that warriors who had a greater mastery of ki could overcome those who didn't. After (or towards the end of) the Freeza arc they were dropped entirely, rarely mentioned again, if ever.
The most powerful fighters winning were a thing since Dragon Ball started, I can't think of any fight other than maybe Pu'er/Upa fighting Dracula Man where the out-right weaker characters won. The fights after seemed to be Goku/Piccolo vs Raditz, and Goku/everyone vs Vegeta... the two fights that were debuted with battle powers.
Huh? All I was saying was that I think attaching a numerical value to a character’s physical strength was a very poor decision that only served to spawn a bunch of unproductive power scaling debates. I never said that the series has never placed importance on strength before. I was simply saying that I personally think telling us the stats of the characters made the fights feel less interesting as a result.
It was subverted as soon as it was introduced. It was there to provide a weak point for new villains who were overwhelmingly stronger than anyone the heroes ever faced. It's not Toriyama's fault people missed the point and nerds like to turn everything into a math problem.
The weak point for the villains wasn’t really that they applied numbers to a person’s strength. It was that they couldn’t sense a person’s ki like the heroes could, which meant that they had to rely on their scouters,

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Re: Are Power Scalers a cause or symptom of toxicity in the fandom?

Post by Rory » Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:12 pm

WittyUsername wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:45 pm
The weak point for the villains wasn’t really that they applied numbers to a person’s strength. It was that they couldn’t sense a person’s ki like the heroes could, which meant that they had to rely on their scouters,
They're one in the same, they view their opponents as numbers because they've not gone through the positive development that our heroes have. It's a narrative tool and goes hand in hand with the whole "the lower class get sent to weak planets like this" type thing. They don't realise that they're dealing with people who's power comes from a better place. It's a pretty simple narrative tool, right there with friendship being the most powerful thing of all, but it works.
As ABED said, battle powers were essentially created as a weakness for the villains, not a gimmick which forced lower level fighters to lose.

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Re: Are Power Scalers a cause or symptom of toxicity in the fandom?

Post by WittyUsername » Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:35 pm

Rory wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:12 pm
WittyUsername wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:45 pm
The weak point for the villains wasn’t really that they applied numbers to a person’s strength. It was that they couldn’t sense a person’s ki like the heroes could, which meant that they had to rely on their scouters,
They're one in the same, they view their opponents as numbers because they've not gone through the positive development that our heroes have. It's a narrative tool and goes hand in hand with the whole "the lower class get sent to weak planets like this" type thing. They don't realise that they're dealing with people who's power comes from a better place. It's a pretty simple narrative tool, right there with friendship being the most powerful thing of all, but it works.
As ABED said, battle powers were essentially created as a weakness for the villains, not a gimmick which forced lower level fighters to lose.
Except there’s no indication that the entire idea of battle powers is flawed. By all accounts, battle powers are in fact an actual quantifiable measure of a person’s strength in the Dragon Ball world, and that’s what’s annoying about it. If the series had suggested that all these numbers are really just a big pile of BS, I wouldn’t have had a problem with it, but that’s not what the series has suggested at all.

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Re: Are Power Scalers a cause or symptom of toxicity in the fandom?

Post by ABED » Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:33 pm

They were relying on something unreliable. It didn't take very long after discovering scouters to find ways to hide their full power from it. The numbers are shown to be BS in the show. The Ginyu Force underestimate Goku when he first arrives. Trunks' power was measured to be a measly 5, and Raditz didn't realize the battle power he saw from Goku and Piccolo wasn't the true extent of their power.
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Re: Are Power Scalers a cause or symptom of toxicity in the fandom?

Post by Hulk10 » Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:36 pm

Power Scaling has become fairly obselete but its true that a lot of people do get testy with them.
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Re: Are Power Scalers a cause or symptom of toxicity in the fandom?

Post by WittyUsername » Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:52 pm

ABED wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:33 pm
They were relying on something unreliable. It didn't take very long after discovering scouters to find ways to hide their full power from it. The numbers are shown to be BS in the show. The Ginyu Force underestimate Goku when he first arrives. Trunks' power was measured to be a measly 5, and Raditz didn't realize the battle power he saw from Goku and Piccolo wasn't the true extent of their power.
The characters being able to suppress their battle powers doesn’t mean that battle powers as a concept is BS. It just means that the scouters are flawed for not being able to take ki suppression into account. Freeza’s battle power in his weakest form was stated to be 530,000, and he was clearly stronger than anyone else for most of his arc. Meanwhile, Zarbon stated that Vegeta having a battle power of 24,000 meant that he surpassed him and Dodoria, and indeed, Vegeta proved that assessment correct.

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