Jul 102009

The news is full of commentary about how significant the speech that President Obama is going to give in Ghana tomorrow is going to be. And the White House is making a serious social media effort –Facebook, SMS, Twitter… And virtual worlds, as the Annenberg Center for Public Diplomacy notes. And Metaplace is working with them to host an event with a live video stream of the speech, plus additional speeches and music afterwards, crossworld with Second Life. It’s all happening early tomorrow morning.

This is exciting to me on many levels. Lately, a few of the speeches I have given have been about the broad question of where virtual worlds are going, and how they may connect to real people’s lives. What we have here is a powerful tool for social media, one with different affordances than are brought to the table by SNSes or streams — but in many ways it is underutilized because of the barriers of entry and the ways in which VWs are still tied to models established in the 1970’s.

I’ve often stated that the clear killer app to date for virtual worlds is escapism. How much of this is because virtual worlds have been islands unto themselves, not interacting with or interwoven with the larger Internet? In many ways, it may be permeability that opens up the many use-cases that are possible — not just for serious purposes, but for escapist ones as well. Virtual worlds need not be a world apart. Here we see virtual worlds taking their place alongside other social media in a discussion that is truly broad, bringing the unique characteristics of placeness and co-presence to the table.

Please join us for an event featuring Obama’s speech streaming from Ghana along with leaders speaking: Kenton Keith, Tim Burke and Derrick Ashong.

On Saturday, July 11, a global conversation will push definitions of citizenship by demonstrating how new technologies enable global civic participation. Citizens from numerous countries will meet together in virtual worlds to collectively watch a speech from President Obama, view Twitter feedback on his talk, and a join in discussion with musician and activist D.N.A. (Derrick Ashong), Ambassador Kenton Keith and African historian Professor Tim Burke.

President Obama will speak to a live audience in Ghana, Africa. His speech will recognize Ghana’s stable democracy and leadership in the region. It is expected that Africans from all over the continent will converge for this momentous speech. The White House is using a Twitter feed which will enable individuals from around the world to participate in the conversation and share their thoughts with President Obama.

This event provides a public sphere for people to come together as citizens sharing independent views which in turn shape the political institutions of society. These conversations, literally hosted in a virtual physical space, are essential for the marketplace of ideas in our globalizing society. Following the event will be music from D.N.A. Please join us for this historic event.

Come to http://www.metaplace.com/Interval/play on Saturday the 11th at 5:00am Pacific for this great event!

  25 Responses to “Obama’s Ghana speech in Metaplace”

  1. Raph, small request. When I click http://www.metaplace.com/Interval/play and log in with my Google account (click here to log in with another service), it doesn’t redirect me back to the link I clicked to get to Metaplace. It instead dumps me at my Metaplace profile page. Any chance that can be changed/fixed to redirect after logging in with another service?

    Unfortunately, I’ll be away this weekend, so I can’t catch the event.

  2. I’ll check into this!

  3. […] Vesuvius Group is proud to participate – with the Center for Public Diplomacy and Metaplace (Raph Koster, the founder of Metaplace, as usual, writes a very smart blogpost about the future of virtual […]

  4. Obama’s African speech cuts straight to the heart of 21st century Africa – a continent as rich in mineral resources as it is infested with corruption.

    However full of political rhetoric his sugar-coated speech may be, Obama’s decision to visit Ghana over other African nations speaks more than a thousand words.

    The fact of the matter is that Ghana, spearheaded by Atta Mills, is making historic progress in its democratic and economic stability. In a continent, which is the spiritual father of many nations, including millions of Americans, spiritual guidance cannot be overlooked in Ghana’s success.

    While many presidents run to native doctors, ‘seers’ or politically inclined prosperity preachers for spiritual guidance, Ghanaian President Atta Mills has chosen to sit under the ministry and mentorship of renowned Nigerian Prophet, TB Joshua, of The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations. Mills makes no secret of this close relationship and openly declares that TB Joshua has been his mentor, and close friend for the past 10 years, and even prophesied his surprising victory against the opposition in January 2009. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzR1poV0r04

    So, let us learn from Atta Mills who like Saul in the Bible, was anointed as King by Prophet Samuel. Ghana’s success is possible for other African nations if the people from whom we accept advice are led by God each day.

  5. Ananse,

    Who Sabotaged Obama Live Speech In Ghana?

    How Come Obama Ghana Speech Is Not Flawless?

    I woke up in anticipation to see our great son give his first speech in Sub-Saharan Africa. The speech was great, but the production was horrible people. As mama Lucy would ask, “Hii ililetwa na PPS gani?”

    The picture was often interrupted, often in B&W as if to ensure that Africa and Africans will still look they did when the west came to capture Kunta Kinte!

    Was the production of this speech left to Ghana? Was Ghana truly prepared to stand up to this great moment? If not, why? Was the US press, or media truly interested in showing our son shine in the motherland? Or did they travel with second hand equipment, because they were travelling in the dark continent? Why was every live production of Obama’s visit in Europe flawless? Also notice that after his speech, there was no panel of analysts on any channel to discuss Obama’s speech.

    Let me say it. FUAKNI!

    My 10th great grandfather Ragem, is dissappointed and embarrassed at this production and broadcasting, in the era of GPS. I am still searching the web for a good recording of this video.

    Joram Ragem
    wuod Ndinya, wuod Onam, wuod Amolo, wuod Owuoth, wuod Oganyo, wuod Mumbe, wuod Odongo, wuod Olwande, wuod Adhaya, wuod Ojuodhi, wuod Ragem! (Are you my relative?)

  6. It’s all good, it’s great, but what I totally reject is the contention that somehow Metaplace is “more permeable” than SL and also, counterintutively, even “less griefable” than Second Life, or that you have somehow built Metaplace with architecture that is “not griefable,” a claim the griefing Second Life Herald’s Pixeleen Mistral is making.


    I also find it *infuriating* that you have to declare Metaplace as “open to the wider Internet” because of…some widgets…when SL is just as open. It is on the Internet. You download it — and you do once what you have to *keep doing* with browser worlds constantly all through the session. Yes, browser worlds are easier, people jump into them faster, etc. but…there are limitations. There is always six of one and a half dozen of the other. There is no need to sneer at one to build up the other, however, or to keep repeating this well-work tekkie meme about SL being “a silo” — just to flog the ability to jump into a shallow well where you can’t even click on anything and where the avatars are little cartoons.

    What you *have* to realize, Raph, is that *people* make a meeting like this. NOT PLATFORMS. NOT TECHNOLOGY. PEOPLE. Technology doesn’t “magically” transform people or make them “better discussants” in one place versus another. The platforms, the tech merely hinder or help somewhat, and have their plusses or minuses.

    If you hadn’t had a network of people in fact that Second Life helped create for you, you wouldn’t have had a meeting. And that’s ok. But don’t pretend that your technology is making fabulous politically meaningful discussions.

    And — as my blog points out, the people making up this meeting are one whistle away from being griefers. I can have the exact same kind of meeting in SL with these exact same people and they harass me and heckle me and drive the other meeting participants away with self-replicating prims and particles.

    But…people do this. Not technology.

    The virtual world of Second Life is not “a world apart”. You’ve hardly spent any time in it, Raph, and when Cuppycake comes in it she goes shopping or goes hopping around exploring groovy art sims. There are lots of serious discussions in SL, too. I know, because I’ve been putting them on myself for years. But there are far more serious people than me discussing and making builds on all kinds of subjects ranging from Guantanamo to Iraq to stroke victims or the blind. Surely you know this, and you don’t *have* to play this stupid tekkie game of banging on SL so that you can feel superior.

  7. Prok, I didn’t say Metaplace was more permeable, nor did I say it was less griefable. Pixeleen’s words are not mine, and I find out about them when you do, when they are posted.

    I completely agree that people do this, not technology. But the easier it is for people to use the technology, the more likely they are able to do these things with the technology.

    You seem to assume some sort of antagonism towards Second Life in the above. I am not sure why.

  8. Raph,

    I’m simply not persuaded about your reply on the Metaplace/Second Life Herald relationship. Whether you just refused to discourage — and didn’t discourage — letting this tabloid become the main reporter in the VW blogosphere about MP — or how it happened, it’s still a fact.

    That means, I have to consider the following, regarding Pixeleen and her trail of Woodburies:

    1. You don’t know or realize the extent of Pixeleen’s incitement and celebration of griefing and thuggery in SL, and even Pixeleen’s ride-alongs with griefing posses in SL.

    2. You have some inkling, but it’s not something you can take the time to research, you are too busy with MP — understood.

    3. You’re quite prepared to believe it if told, or even have read the accounts, but ultimately, it’s not relevant to your world and you have to follow a liberal policy of “innocent until proven guilty”.

    4. You know about all the griefing and thuggery, but…you don’t care, or at least, not that much, because people can block entry to other avatars in the MP world and that’s sufficient.

    What I realize I’m *not* likely to hear from you is “I know all about Pixeleen and the Woodbury griefing in SL, I share your concern about it and condemn it, too, let’s talk about how we can prevent it in Metaplace.” And that’s because you are, at the end of the day, one of them — of this class of tekkies and Internet children who don’t really think griefing is really that terrible, especially SL griefing, where people are engaged in “serious business”. You don’t think it’s that terible because at root, for you, *it’s a game*. And people that become upset at games past a certain point don’t have your respect.

    Of course you have antagonism, Raph, and you aren’t even in touch with it, as it comes as such a second nature to you. This isn’t some sort of subjective perception on my part, this *is* your attitude.

    Here’s what you said:

    “I’ve often stated that the clear killer app to date for virtual worlds is escapism. How much of this is because virtual worlds have been islands unto themselves, not interacting with or interwoven with the larger Internet? In many ways, it may be permeability that opens up the many use-cases that are possible — not just for serious purposes, but for escapist ones as well.”

    You’ve taked the “and for escapist ones as well” on there as a kind of balancing act, that’s clear.

    You really are performing a sleight-of-hand if you claim it’s merely “Pixeleen’s words” making an assessment that “Metaplace is more permeable.” Of course you think that, Raph, or you wouldn’t have the architecture you do with all your stuff being part of the Web, easily integrated, etc. I’m surprised you are being coy about this.

    And you’ve now mounted, with this one sentence, a whole theory, which basically says “virtual worlds are escapist because you can’t hook them up to other things on the Internet, and are flops therefore because they are closed”.

    It is one of the tiresome tekkie mantras of Web 2.0 that SL is “closed” and “a walled garden” that is “like Compuserve” or is “the geoctiies of today”. And? That’s bad because…why? As if the next iteration of the Web has to slavishly follow the model of the original versions which…aren’t business models given all the Free built into it by people worried that the costs *for themselves* would discourage use of the Internet if they didn’t gut out the value of, say, newspapers. (That’s why back in the 1990s as you can see in old YouTubes now the geeks made the newspapers free — *their time* was the cost in the equation.) As if, in fact, walled gardens might be the way to ensure value and integrity and reverse the destructive tide that Free has brought to the Internet.

    At core, of course, you are a gamer, and for obvious reasons, that’s your essence. And you can’t shrug that off in a discussion like this and suddenly take on a positive perspective of virtual worlds which you don’t really have. For you, it’s perfectly natural that you meet someone online and…kill them in a big splat of red blood with a canon ball. That you invent a little game that turns them into red mist reliably as they try to find a quest. That…they will be exasperated trying to beat the fire barrels or cannons coming at them. That this is a natural backdrop to your experience online. You can’t lift yourself out of that grisly little bit of gamery to say, my God, this is awful. It’s really mean-spirited. It really makes for a nasty atmosphere when people come calling. It’s just depressing!

    And what I can never understand about gamers is why you think it’s the virtual worlds that are “escapist” (a pejorative word for you in that very telling line) and your games aren’t. That always baffles me. Here people get into avatars that are dragons or men in tights or elves, and they go into battle in WoW and spend 10 hours straight beating bosses, and yet they sneer at someone going on SL and socializing and shopping. Huh? Who has escaped more, the person who is completely immersed in a game environment, or the person who talked about their real life day with another real human being online, even if they were dressed in superior-looking skins and outfits? Makes no sense. I won’t even make the argument that virtual worlds of the open-ended sort *aren’t* escapism if people are meeting in them to talk about President Obama in Ghana. My point is that the average person logging on isn’t in some game or elaborate “escapist” roleplay where they have no reference to themselves in RL. Instead, they are in fact very much grounded in RL in their relationships with people and their discussions online much of the time. I always used to marvel at how people sat in the skill houses in the Sims Online, playing chess or turning the pages to get the skills, and holding conversations about RL issues, to be sure, at a mass-culture not “intellectual” level, but at a level of engagement and interest for them. People do not have to be discussing Proust. They could be talking about Oprah. It’s all good.

    I just don’t accept the double standards — games good, not escapist because bracketed in a magic circle as a game, virtual worlds bad, because open-ended and scary — who knows, your marriage might break up due to a fantasy online, etc.

    A key reason why virtual worlds — and that *is* what you are making now, not games — don’t grow and become comfortable places for a lot of people is due to this culture war at the heart of it presented by its geek devs — the double standard of how it’s ok for them to cynically and at a remove play games in which they turn people into red mist, and yet somebody who jumps on a kissing animation in a virtual world is “escapist”.

    If I visit you in Metaplace I’m turned into a bloody red pulp and I’m supposed to laugh and maintain an arch sense of remove and cynicism about being turned into a red pulp. But if you visited me in Second Life you would get a donut and coffee — a donut that I made myself. Where is the “escapism” in that?!

  9. I never got the sense that Raph was referring to Second Life when he was speaking about escapism; I got the impression that he was talking specifically about games. The permeability was the connection to an outside event of significance, and it happened in BOTH Metaplace and Second Life.

    SL may be something of a walled garden, but it’s one in which the residents and gardeners have been busily building tunnels, walkways and peepholes to other gardens and the wider world. Metaplace has been doing much the same (and arguably they’re more nimble at it by design and because there’s less there to adjust).

    And on a side note, assuming that anybody endorses the opinion of the Second Life Herald (or bothers to read it), is probably not the safest assumption.

  10. Thanks, Yukon, couldn’t have said it better myself. Clearly when Raph is talking about the “killer ap” he is talking about World of Warcraft and all the MMOs that were king before it was king, and all the variations of that same combat game. And clearly it’s escapist. I mean, Escapist Magazine is about video games.

    And only people focused on the drama of players vs. Lindens care about Second Life Herald. It’s really not important in the big picture of the internet, or even the smaller picture of Second Life.

  11. I defer the discussion of who has the most open pers and escapism. While locally important, in context of the event itself, it seems well… local.

    I thought President Obama and his planners and staff did an amazing job in Ghana. Where lesser politicians would have taken the opportunity to excorciate rivals over tragedies of the past, he noted the tragedies and went on to talk about the real problems arising from corruption, education and the failure to sustain transfers of power among administrations peaceably, the one critical element of social development that sustains democracy. The future of Africa is in the hands of Africans at last.

  12. Rik, I utterly reject what you say. By pretending that you are “above” and “beyond” the problem of the Herald’s thuggery and griefing, and the Lindens’ subtle authoritarianism, you are helping to legitimize it and keep it all in place. You are merely someone who has chosen internal exile — or external exile from the problems.

    The issues of governance and authoritarianism — even totalitarianism — in virtuality are not trivial, and indeed are centrla to the Internet and of course Second Life. This is a common posturing by those on the left who use SL for leftist causes and remain heedless to the ways in which the Lindens, who dovetail with some of these leftist causes, are in fact insidiously controlling of the discourse and silencing dissent. and of course it leaves untouched the problem of griefing and governance by simply waving them all away and saying, essentially, “We have our grant from the MacArthur Foundation to work with teens with VWs as augmented reality so we’re done, we don’t care what else happens with these worlds, we’ve been paid.” It’s smug and self-referential. Trying to belittle these very fundamental power issues by calling them “drama” lets us know which side you are on.

    And “Clearly” nothing — Raph spoke of virtual worlds, not games, when he spoke of escapism and did not invoke WoW as the escapism but invoked *virtual worlds* which is not something WoW is called.

    All of you intellectuals claiming you are beyond the Herald or don’t endorse it or don’t read it never *condemn it* and never *condemn its leaders* and confront them, so your piousness is worthless.

  13. WoW is a virtual world, and I have a long history of using the term as the blanket term for the medium. So yes, I meant the games.

  14. By pretending that you are “above” and “beyond” the problem of the Herald’s thuggery and griefing, and the Lindens’ subtle authoritarianism, you are helping to legitimize it and keep it all in place.

    Public condemnation of a griefer (or sites/organizations that support griefing) is a big mainline dose of the drugs they crave most – angst and infamy. If you go off on them, that’s a point for them on their twisted scoreboard. But if you ignore them and have them quietly removed from the premises, that doesn’t give them the payoff they’re after. They want your outrage, they want their name plastered across the netz. What they can’t stand is to be overlooked and marginalized.

    This isn’t a theoretical exercise for me; I’ve been participating in player-organized events since the early days of Ultima Online. I’m currently running tech for three live performances a week in Second Life. Kick fast and disengage, and never feed them, in-game or out.

    To tell the truth, I wish the Lindens would adopt a more proactive police-state stance when it comes to dealing with griefing. Unless your world is actively dystopian, griefers are toxic waste, and a laissez-faire attitude can decimate your player base.

    Moving beyond the authoritarian model of the virtual world is going to require new models that give players something beyond a psychological investment in virtuality. Second Life broke a wall by giving players creative control and a real financial stake in the success of the world. Raph wrote a bill of rights for avatars, and then did something about it by incorporating the principles into Metaplace. Eve Online’s Council has been dismissed as being essentially toothless, but it’s a body elected by players to represent their interests, which is a definite step forward.

    I don’t think you ever get a totally non-authoritarian VW until the day that the publisher can’t turn off the servers or make major revisions without a majority vote of the players (or their representative body) – and that will likely require some sort of real-world player ownership of the infrastructure. Whether that’s capitalism at its finest or a commie-pinko conspiracy (or maybe just the way a condo works), I leave as an exercise to the reader.

    But if you want the players to engage in the very real, demanding and often anti-fun work of legislating, adjudicating and enforcing, there’d better be something more substantial in it for them than warm fuzzies.

  15. Yukon,

    I totally, utterly repudiate your notion that public condemnation feeds griefers. It doesn’t. It’s a geek notion, from geek culture, and I refuse to countenance it. Griefers *hate it* when they are criticized, they hate it when their bad deeds are clinically exposed, they would like to bully everyone into thinking it’s all LULZ and fun and games, and their goals is always to try to get you to stop it by trying to hoist you on your own petard, but that’s no reason to stop it. Condemnation of griefing lets those on the fence know right from wrong; it also provides some deterrent.

    If hundreds of people reading about the fact that Pixeleen Mistral applauds the Woodbury goons in SL who grief would say to their faces, “stop it, you’re an appalling disgrace,” eventually, they might feel some social heat and quit it. If people would stand up, and stop being guilty spineless liberals about griefing, and say “stop the infantile behaviour, it’s stupid,” some of it would stop. For example, they hijack key words like my avatar name, for example, putting it in their own ads in search, thereby forcing my tenants to teleport to their griefy sandboxes, or distracting people from seeking help from me, or harming my business by associating it with their 4-chan racist and imbecile nonsense. Why is that ok? It’s not. It needs exposure, condemnation, and social opprobrium regularly and often, and not a snicker and a pass.

    You don’t say “Let’s be silent about terrorist attacks and never mention them and never condemn them because that only feeds them.” The press struggles without how to cover terrorists, too, but they don’t put a news blackout on the issue as a result of the fact that sometimes giving them attention fuels them. The same concept applies to the virtual version of this sort of hijacking.

    In fact, that’s the griefer’s secret weapon — to get everybody knowingly and aggressively saying that and put down any effort to create the social wall of shame that should go around these people. You in fact feed into their agenda when you come along and lecture and finger-wag in this way.

    Ignoring them DOES NOT WORK. I’ve tried that over the years — and I’ve had nearly five years of griefing from these asses — and at times I will strategically ignore them on some issues or on all issues. It never works. That is NOT what works. We all know that. You merely need to feel superior by dispensing this Julian Dibble like advice — but it’s a disgrace, and aligns you with them. Stop it.

    I don’t care who you are, what games you are in, how many miles you’ve clocked on every game or world. What you are saying is geek religion that *does not work*. When you’re ready to stop that useless fueling of their infantilism and hostage-taking, and show some human solidarity, then it will stop. It won’t stop until you’re ready to stop backing up their infantilism with silence, which is complicity.

    The Lindens do not need to develop a police state — they already have many of the awful features of lack of due process that a police state has, i.e. no right to face your accusers, etc. They only need to drop their snickering geeky laissez-faire attitude towards the same goons that they play on the JIRA and the sandboxes with, and punish them under the existing rules. They need to withdraw from the fan groups, scripting groups, sandbox groups, etc. that they join with all those griefers in them. Griefing had a very long hiatus when Philip Rosedale finally got fed up in 2005 with all the crashing of sims and antics and bullshit and just said he was calling the FBI, and then eventually expelled 50 known, repeated, well-documented griefers from W-hat/b-tards. It concentrated their tiny little minds wonderfully. Some quit for good; the fact that they could resurface was a function of Philip and the other Lindens not grasping the nettle *and closing their group, too*. The groups are how they keep their strongholds (like gangs). There is this liberal mantra about “not having guilt by assocation,” but of course real life doesn’t work that way once the evidence mounts to show crimnial conspiracy. If a 100 alts have passed through a group, using its name and association and connections to sustain griefing, at what point can you say, um, let’s close this group, it’s a griefers’ group? Surely you can when the numbers get that high.

  16. WoW is a virtual world, and I have a long history of using the term as the blanket term for the medium. So yes, I meant the games.

    Raph, I’ve just asked four teenage boys having a WoW party here in my living room whether they think WoW is a virtual world.

    They are staring at me in puzzlement.

    “No,” one finally said. “It’s not like Second Life.”

  17. Prokofy, I blame Second Life FOR that, for co-opting the term that used to mean ALL virtual worlds. I’ll keep fighting the good fight as long as I can, because SL and WoW have more things in common than they have differences.

  18. Publicly condemning griefers becomes like a message board argument. Each side then must “win”, and it escalates. It’s really nothing more than that. I think Yukon is right that it feeds the griefer in the beginning, since griefers are looking for a fight anyways, and Prok is right if and when the public agrees with the condemning person. However, that’s just a single battle, and not the war. Prok is also right in the point that silence, ignoring the griefer, doesn’t work because that’s really the same thing as the condemnation. That too is just a battle.

    The problem with MMO’s is that they are much bigger and encompass much more than a message board. Both establish “social norms”, but it’s much harder to police them in a MMO. So much so that it’s impossible to do so. Thus the reason why games like WoW, instead of policing all of it, simply remove some of the more obvious possibilities, and then try to police the rest. Even that is impossible though.

  19. Prok, I’m not citing anybody else in my observations; I’m just saying what has been effective for my groups in my experience. Ban, report, mute, disengage. Make the report as detailed and factual as possible, and back it up with evidence in the form of logs and screens (from multiple people, if possible). If the company doesn’t enforce its own rules on griefing, then absolutely call them on it in any and all forums available. But I’ve never seen any positive effect from calling out the griefers themselves.

    There are bad actors in virtual worlds against whom you can employ social approbation to good effect. These are “griefers” only in the sense that their actions cause grief — it isn’t their motivation. Examples would be the virtual libertarian, who believes it’s his gawd-given right to build whatever eyesore he sees fit on his property regardless of its effect on the neighborhood, or the horndog n00b who is painfully ignorant of social conventions. These may be susceptable to social pressure.

    But real griefers? They’re not playing the same game at all. They have their own game, which transcends all virtual worlds and the Internet. It’s called virtual sadism. They get off on the psychic pain of others. Vitriol is their food and drink. The more upset you get, the better they love it. Best of all? If your response is far enough over the edge, they’ll report YOU for griefing and get you banned.

    I don’t suffer these fools gladly, and I do everything in my power to take them out of the picture. Reporting their antics to management (with logs proving I did NOT respond in kind) is often effective, depending on how keen or lax the company is on enforcing the rules. But calling them out personally, in game or on a message board? No effect but to amuse them. You can’t shame somebody with no sense of shame.

    Again, this is my experience. Your milage may vary, but don’t tell me it doesn’t work when I’ve seen it work. I’m not lying, I’m not stupid, and I’ve been at this awhile.

  20. Yukon, once again I can only *strenuously* disagree.

    When sadists act in real life, does the news media remain silent about them? If it happens to you in real life, would you remain silent? Not call the police? Not do something?

    If you didn’t do anything, would it be because you had to cower in fear that you might be targeted again, or because you lived in a country where the police are ineffective or part of the sadists, too?

    So why should we allow this to happen in online life?

    We shouldn’t.

    Sadism does not get to stand. Silence is violence. It’s part of the feeding of the culture. I don’t care that some dysfunctional and depraved sadist has gotten *you* to think that none of us can condemn him for fear of looking uncool, or out of some pedantic tekkie notion that we are “fueling” him or appearing “upset”.

    I’m not “upset” at griefing, nor have they “gotten a rise out of them”. I cooly and calmly condemn them in the strongest way possible. You can’t really be “upset” about something that happens in a virtual world for any real or in-depth length of time by contrast with real life, where far worse things happen. I certainly put it in perspective.

    But I absolutely refuse to be doubly bullied by not being able to expose and condemn sadism again and again out of some pious, ineffectual notion that this “feeds” them. They have gotten you to do their bidding not by reacting to them but by *not* reacting out of fear that it will hit you, or escalate.

    I don’t believe in attempting to shoot griefers in safe zones, etc. and somehow break the rules to defeat them. But I do believe in publicizing them from time to time and publicly condemning them. I refuse to see why the press or the blogging community has to be silenced. Julian Dibble’s portrait will forever hang on a wall of shame for me because of his absolutely atrocious coddling of griefers in his Wired article (in which I am interviewed).

    Call them out, over and over and over again. Be as deadly dull and deafening as they are to you if you need to be. Don’t shrink out of fear that you will look uncool or face worse griefing. Eventually, they will be banned. You help people triangulate and compare notes and empower each other when they all see that they are victims and can band together. So often people are in solitude being griefed and feel helpless. It’s wrong.

    When there are more grown-ups — and particularly more women — in these games and worlds, this awful coddling of mainly young male griefers will change.

  21. >like a message board argument. Each side then must “win”, and it escalates.

    This illustrates how you view this issues — as a “message board” in a “game”.

    A virtual world like Second Life has forums that are different in feel and style than a “message board” which is often part of the game for the players where they brag about kills and stats and such. It is less of a discussion forum.

    Try to take this out of the hothouse of games. There are blogs and RL media and discussion forums that all should condemn griefing.

    Something like the harassment of Kathy Sierra happens because male tekkies with hacking gamer culture think it’s ok to behave like this. It’s not. They think cynically and nihilistically that everything that happens on the Internet isn’t real and not serious. They are wrong. Eventually real life lawmakers will catch up with this attitude.

  22. In the event of a griefer attack, I shut them down (if I have the access to do so) or I have the land owner shut them down immediately. I follow that up with the best report I can make to the “police” (game staff). And if the “police” are dragging their feet, I reserve the right to take my case to the message boards and blogosphere and raise holy hell about lax enforcement. I make it my business to report blatant violations of the rules (including griefing) even if those violations aren’t targeted at me, as a civic responsibility to the game world as a whole. I think sharing ban lists with other users is a fine idea.

    I don’t think we’re diametrically opposed on this issue. If my previous post didn’t make it clear, I support zero tolerance for griefers. The only major point on which we differ is that I don’t believe that there’s anything to be gained by communicating with the attacker. Fight back, yes, with any or all tools at your disposal. But you don’t waste effort trying to shame smallpox. You eradicate it.

    When there are more grown-ups — and particularly more women — in these games and worlds, this awful coddling of mainly young male griefers will change.

    I’m a strong proponent of women in gaming. The Golden Brew’s non-engagement policy was formulated under the capable leadership of Ursula Wyldstorm and Kita Talith, and implemented over my considerable skepticism. But it works.

  23. Prok, didn’t I say that?
    Me: “The problem with MMO’s is that they are much bigger and encompass much more than a message board.”

    Also, I was refering to a specific, like so:
    Publicly condemning griefers becomes like a message board argument.”

    I don’t know the specifics of this Kathy Sierra example. I do agree that there are extreme cases of abuse against a person that should be condemned by all. Unfortunately, some of the developers out there aren’t any better than these abusers with hacking gamer culture who do it, because they’re cut from the same cloth.

  24. Kathy Sierra was the victim of a concerted campaign of harassment that escalated to death threats. Her case was a different kettle of fish, and to my mind, the FBI should have been actively involved, and the perpetrators arrested and convicted. Criminal harassment may be part of the griefing continuum, but escalated far beyond anything I was envisioning into a threat of violence against the person at the keyboard. There is no sane ethos under which that is acceptable.

  25. When sadists act in real life, does the news media remain silent about them?

    I would not recommend getting my moral compass from the news media. 🙂

    I’m not “upset” at griefing ….

    You clearly are. You come here and complain that Metaplace has some vague connection to basically a glorified blog about Second Life that Raph should take some sort of moral stand against them because they have a connection to griefing.

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