On Being “Pro”   20 comments

In the past 6-9 months or so new slang has entered into the WoW vocabulary.  I’m not entirely sure how it happened or where it came from, but it’s there.  I’m sure you have all heard it, are familiar with it and perhaps even use it!  The term that I’m referring to is “pro”.

As far as I can tell, to be “pro” is to do something exceptionally well.

The problem is, I hate the phrase.  Perhaps it’s just my old age coming through, and my dislike of this new-fangled term is just me being stodgy.  (Hell, let’s face it, I still find Tom Selleck, circa Magnum PI, as the pinnacle of a gorgeous man!).  I mean I also disliked it when people said “Money” or “$$” back when it was the term du jour in Vanilla WoW.  Maybe I just dislike all slang terms, and am a stuck up goody tooshoes, who knows.  I just know that every time I see/hear the phrase “pro” I cringe a little bit on the inside.

Because I dislike the term, I thought perhaps I should try to pinpoint exactly why  I don’t like it.  So I started thinking about what it is about the phrase that rubs me the wrong way.  What is it that makes me /sigh every time I hear or read the term.  I mean, it’s just a word right?  Why does it bother me so damn much?  And ultimately I think it comes down to the fact that I think the word, or the phrases, are somewhat degrading and condescending.

I know, I know.  Those of you that find this word in your vocabulary probably think that I’m off my rocker.  But really, I think this is why I dislike the usage of this word about 98% of the time!  Let’s take a few examples of its usage, and see if I can better pinpoint or analyze my feelings.

  • Pro Tip - To me, this just says “I’m awesome, and this is the awesome way to do it”.  Really?  Why couldn’t something just be some “advice” or “a tip that might help”?  To me tossing “pro” on it seems to indicate that you, the tip giver, are superior to those that you are providing with advice and that really bothers me some.  Toss on top of that the fact that usually when this is used it is actually in a negative fashion, such as when someone is struggling with something and asking for advice.  And someone pops in and says “pro tip, blah blah blah” as if the “pro tip” should have been obvious to begin with.
  • That was Pro - This is generally used as a compliment when someone did something that was pretty outstanding.  In this setting, the word doesn’t bother me so much (this would be that 2%).  I mean, I would probably convey my feelings differently.  Perhaps I’d say “man, that was really great!” or “I have no idea how you pulled that off, that was amazing”, but I don’t think I’d actually utilize the terminology “that was pro”.  But, because I think this is a way of offering a compliment, I can tolerate the usage of the word, because it doesn’t seem that there is any negative attachment to telling someone they did well.
  • Just be Pro - Utilizing this as a way to tell people not to fuck up I think is perhaps where it rankles me the most.  I think this is because 1) the person making the statement is in essence saying “I’m pro” and that’s a got a little bit of ego attached to it that likely rubs people a little bit wrong, even if it’s not your intention for it to convey “I’m better than you” (and I think most likely it’s not the speakers intention), I think a lot of times that’s what people hear; 2) it’s automatically assuming that people aren’t going to make an effort to do a good job, or be “pro” and 3) it doesn’t actually communicate anything!  It doesn’t analyze issues that need correcting, it doesn’t tell you anything about the encounter, it just says “hey don’t fuck it up”.  To me that’s not particularly productive!

I don’t necessarily think that people who use “pro” mean it to come off in a negative or condescending way.  I don’t think that people mean for “pro” to even come out as them saying “I”m better than you”, but a lot of times, I think the usage of the word has that effect.  As a matter of fact, I’d say probably 80% of the people that use the term use it to indicate something good.  The problem is that some of the underlying connotations with the term are a little bit negative.  At least that’s how I kinda view it.

Then again, I could be completely off base, and it could just be that I am showing my age a little bit as far as the usage of this particular piece of slang is concerned.  Perhaps saying “pro” is utilizing one word for what my overly verbose self would say in 5-10 words.  Maybe I’m just getting rankled for no reason whatsoever.  Maybe when someone says “be pro”, I’m just offended that they are assuming I’m not “pro” and my id is screaming back.  Who knows.

Hell, I’m not even entirely sure why it rubs me the wrong way so many times when I see it!  And the thing is, people that I really respect and like utilize the word in their everyday vocabulary, be it in game or in a blog somewhere.  I’ve seen any number of people that I really enjoy conversation with tossing out “pro” with a growing frequency.  Maybe my dislike really truly is just a case of me not adjusting well with the times.

So what is it about this word?  Am I way off base?  Am I just being a grump?  Does “pro” rub anyone else the wrong way?

Posted March 15, 2010 by Beruthiel in /rant

20 responses to “On Being “Pro”

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  1. Can’t say I’ve come across this yet. But I agree #1 and #3 would annoy this “old man”.

  2. I’ve heard the ‘Pro’ term come out after a good 5-man a few times… you know ‘Thx guys, that was a pro run.’ or whatever. That doesn’t bother me so much.

    However, I’ve seen the term thrown around a lot in Trade and LFG chat lately as well, and I don’t care for it much. The reason is that I think most people that use the term in scenarios #1 and #3 are really just cleverly disguised WoW-bullies.

    In general I think most WoW-bullies would like to have someone to pick on. In that case, they would get their gratification by calling the unfortunate person a Noob. However, what’s a WoW-bully to do when there’s nobody to knock down with the +5 Noob Hammer? Simple, they just raise themselves above everyone else by saying they are ‘Pro’.

  3. We’re all allowed our irrational hatreds of particular words!

    I’ve been using pro for years (it’s not a new thing), never in a negative way. Usually to encourage people in my raid to do things like “shake off those silly wipes and let’s be pro, guys”, or “let’s grab Bob for this run, he’s a pro tank.”

    Joking around with friends, if they mess up, I might say “that was pro”, but rarely. It’s usually positive.

    Perhaps if someone does something really great, if a boss encounter is flawless, if a 5 man run was quick and painless, or if someone flukes something amazing and really should have messed up but ended up being successful. Say, oh I don’t know.. a druid face-pulling Blood Queen but the raid picks it up and keeps going for a kill. Pro pickup guys, awesome work.

    In my vocabulary it’s just another word for “good”, but perhaps slightly better, and generally only gamer oriented.

    Personally, I seethe at:

    Cata (I suspect a lot of people can’t spell Cataclysm)
    drood
    geard
    pst/psst/wisp/wsp me
    pst achieves
    pl0x

    (among others)

    • Strange, it’s something that just fairly recently I’ve seen! Definately not years old :)

      It might be something that just bugs me and very few else. And I could just be getting the wrong jive from the word, and juxtaposing different meanings to it than it should have!

      But I think it’s still going to annoy me some!

  4. I find “pro” reminds me of when I was teaching 4 years old to ski: “Yay! Wow! You’re such a pro!” I can’t think of the word “pro” without images of preschoolers coming to mind.

    That said, I’m guilty of using the expression “pro tip”. I never really thought about the actual meaning of the expression before. I do usually use it for small tidbit tricks that either others have told me, or that I learned from doing something over and over and over, but I agree there are more fitting expressions I could use.

    • I don’t know if it’s bad or not. It’s really just how I have been viewing the usage of the word. And perhaps it’s also just my experiences with the word that leave a bad taste in my mouth!

  5. I don’t mind the word ‘pro’, Beruthiel, unless somebody is using the word to talk about themselves. In that context it has an egotistical tone to it. I read it as somebody saying “I’m convinced I know everything there is to know about my class and yours, so pipe down and listen up.” But, that probably stems from the experiences I’ve had with people who actually call themselves “pro tank” or “pro healer”.

    IMO, if you’re truely great at what you do you don’t have to announce it to anyone.

    • Well, even if they aren’t using it to discuss themselves, per se, I think the implication of it is still there a little bit.

      But, I suppose there could be a lot of ways to use the word that I’m just not “getting” :)

  6. I have to admit I don’t mind the phrase “pro” but then this is coming from a girl who also likes to say things are “gay” or tell people that they are a “goober” (don’t ask where I got that one from!) so I’m not entirely sure that my opinion can count :P I might be nearly 30 but I’m definitely still silly!

    Many people in my guild like to say “pro tip” when they are attempting to be witty and sarcastic. They then go on to point out someones fairly obvious mistake like “standing in purple stuff and killing all the melee is bad”.

    Aussie culture is so full of sarcasm and paying out each other that I don’t think it would be considered particuarly annoying in my guild when used in the context described above. Now if someone used it in your context and was being full of themselves then we aussies would be determined to take them down a peg – we don’t like inflated egos!

    • I guess it’s that sarcasm though that bugs me a little bit. I often see the exact scenario that you are describing, but I’ll see it on a message board or forum from someone that is genuinely asking for help or advice, and someone will pipe in “pro tip [insert something obvious in a sarcastic manner]“.

      I guess what bugs me about that a little bit is that it’s those types of things that discourage people to speak up and ask for help. Often times all it takes is one semi-nasty reply to a request for people to feel embarassed, and perhaps too shy to ask for something else in the future.

  7. I admit to using the term ‘pro’, albeit not in everyday conversation but rather to be cynical/funny/sarcastic.

    “pro tip, don’t stand in the green shit” (all voidzones/slimepuddles/whathaveyou are henceforth known as [colour] shit)

    I think part of the problem is that some people use a catchphrase to a comical effect, and then it spreads to the general masses and somehow gets ‘lost in translation’. There’s a surprising amount of people who’d shout “leeeroy” or “MOAR DOTS” without knowing where those expressions come from

    • Or part of the problem might be that people are being witty and it doesn’t transfer well via text, and instead of coming off as witty they come off as arrogant :)

  8. This post was pretty pro.

  9. Oooh I forgot to add – I will admit that when someone goes “oh yes get such as such person into raid – they are like pro heals man” I have already determined they are most likely pretty shitty and will not be capable of taking constructive criticism…. does anyone else have that same reaction? I would be interested to know :)

  10. My guild used “Pro” a lot, but usually in an ironic/sarcastic way. For example, “Bob accidentally wore his chef’s hat while tanking the lich king and got us all wiped, that was so Pro.” In this context it doesn’t bug me at all. I think I’d get sick of it being used too often the ways you mentioned though.

  11. The word “pro” drives me pretty insane when it’s used to describe everything in WoW, particularly when you consider the fact that it means absolutely nothing. “Pro” does not tell me whether or not I can trust this player, if she’s experienced in the content, if her personality is enjoyable, if her gear is strong, or if she’s available for the duration of the raid. All “pro” tells me is that is that you have an acquaintance with this player and want to recommend them, but can’t think of a good reason why.

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