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Reader Comments (7)

Posted: Oct 6th 2008 10:11AM Ayenn said

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Y'all got some of them proof-readers hanging about?

Posted: Oct 6th 2008 1:34PM Idle said

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Griefer! 8)~
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Posted: Oct 6th 2008 4:33PM Ayenn said

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I only realized that my comment may be construed as much AFTER I confirmed the post. My wife and i had a LOL over it.

and again LOL
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Posted: Oct 6th 2008 10:38AM (Unverified) said

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Well, this is all sort of non-new news. Bullying has existed probably since the first person realized that being bigger than everyone else allowed them to get away with things the smaller people couldn't. In fact on a large scale 'Bullies' with bigger armies tended to shape the nation borders that we have now.

So no, griefing is hardly new, but I do think it's a lot more common because it's so easy. In the physical world, those that bully others tend to do so because they are in some way superior to others, and use this behavior to reinforce that. Be it because they have greater political or financial clout, because they are in a higher company position, or just being the big jock around campus, they use what clout they have to make other people miserable.

However, none of that matters online. All you have to do is be willing to be a jerk and you can. There is virtually no repercussions to it, so people can act badly without any fear.

Of course, we also act in a society these days that often makes it more difficult to act as in your own defense than to be the attacker. How many times have people used phrases like turn the other cheek, you shouldn't stoop to their level or even the famous I don't care who started it? So people who stand up for themselves often get treated as badly, if not worse, as those who attack others, which only reinforces the behavior in the attackers.

Posted: Oct 6th 2008 12:46PM Temploiter said

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Victim card much?

Posted: Oct 6th 2008 2:47PM (Unverified) said

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Some people enjoy being griefed. About half of us, I'd say. It's not just a phenomenon at work. A non-griefer will usually marry a griefer.

Posted: Oct 6th 2008 6:35PM (Unverified) said

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This was a brilliant column and exactly the sort of thing I love to see from Massively.

Really although anonymity plays a big role, I feel, in drawing out peoples' darker impulses that says a lot about the virtues of the "real world" and how false many people may actually be in the much vaunted face-to-face interaction.

Furthermore it is indeed true that the Internet realistically presents us with fewer social threats. The simple reality is that it was never easier to tune out words you don't like than it is on the internet or in an MMO. A simple /ignore command or the closing of a window and they're gone. A far cry from real life.

Secondly, you also cannot be physically hurt online. While there's much to be said for a poetically written metaphor comparing the Net to The Streets, the fact remains you cannot literally be mugged or assaulted online unless you let mere words hurt you that much.

And yet the media cleverly obfuscates all of this, which should be obvious. Tateru Nino should be applauded for this fine piece which states with brilliant perspicuity that which is so often ignored about our hobby.

As I've often had to tell critics of online gaming and the Internet in general who've warned their children and even me about all the spooky "bad men" lurking out there- the Year Zero for human vice was not 1985. We've lived with depravity and sickness of the soul for centuries. The Internet hasn't exacerbated it. If anything, as Nino points out, it may actually ameliorate it.

I'd rather fight with words any day. :)

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