Monday, July 03, 2006

The Shape of Things To Come

Now here's a chilling thought.

Are the little techno tyros and Gimme Jimmies of Generation Yn the shape of a scoiety to come, or just an exageration of our worst behaviour IRL when we're granted the anonymity and license that an online persona gives?

Karen Traviss recently blogged about some pretty horrendous behavour by the virtual worlds equivalent to the green crayon scribblers and the impact that that has on the REAL flesh and blood people behind the screenname.

Scott Jennings has had a lot to say on the relationship between the devs and the players. Or at least, on their respective perspectives on each other when they get up close to Oz's Curtain.

Now Mark Wallace has a look at bullying in MysSpace, cloning and the 'It's Just A Game' attitude not only of the commentators but of the people producing the VWorlds and the people inhabiting them.

Given that VWorlds are huge social spaces in which people are expected to behave within a set of social rules which *most* would recognise as 'good behaviour', even when the purpose of being there is to rip the spines out of the enemy, shit into the neckhole and then use the carcase as an unguided biochemical weapon, it surely can't just be me that finds 'rude' people ingame to be such an extreme pain in the arse?

If these people are reflecting, even in part, something about their own RL values, Heaven help us when we need to interact with them in the Real World. The question is, are they reflecting a part of their personality that they feel they have to suppress IRL or do they actually think that being rude, hurtful and downright imbalanced is 'alright' as 'everyone is doing it'?


Kenshu said...

It must be close to two years ago when I had a conversation along these lines with a guildmate in The Game.

A player that had been a member of the guild the day before, robbed the guildhall and the city hall (it was a guild city) of all its decorations, some of which were very hard to obtain. Presumably, s/he then passed the items on to an alt, deleted the original character, rinse and repeat with the alt.

When I was asked why people seem to be such assholes, I pointed out that is what comes with virtual worlds and anonimity.

Not everyone behaves in this way, but having the ability to completely change your name, appearance and even race can lead to some pretty horrible actions.

I like to look at the positive side though. I have met some people in game that were extremely generous. I like to think that those encounters outweigh the bad.

The Lost Ranger said...

On the whole my experience has been similar, that the good outweighs the bad, both in terms of quality and quantity.

But it is interesting just how far people think they have license to go just because they are targetting an onscreen persona, completley forgetting that that persona is an integral part of the individual behind the screen.