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Weekly Musing: Co-responsibility

The general weakness of internet communications is that they can be made without consequence. The internet is the Ring of Gyges. Even if your name is known, nothing else usually is, and you're certainly physically far enough to be spared from any form of physical or social consequence.

It wasn't until Rosemary Port had her identity revealed for her trollish behavior that this was officially violated. And that case will likely remain an exception.

With gamers, you've already got a population that seeks more control over its circumstances. That alone is not a flaw. What is a flaw is that in some people, powerlessness festers into insecurity, which leads to anger, which, for the Jedi, leads to a whole lotta shit blowing up, but for the rest of the dweebs, leads to them taking potshots at anything they disagree with or reminds them that they are insecure. And what better position to take potshots than when you cannot be seen?

Being here mostly on account of Halo (and because the community here already is 500 times better than anywhere else I've been, and I'm only lightly involved), I have a Halo analogy to explain my solution.

In Halo 3 there is a little God-weapon known as the laser. The worst nerds set their egg timers the moment they pick it up - that is, immediately after killing two or three teammates to secure it - so that they will know the exact moment it has respawned, and their five guaranteed kills will begin to multiply. The laser is a terrible idea. It's absurdly overpowered and becomes the jizz-idol for acne-faced wannabe bros everywhere. They get to play ultimate renegade and boast at their team about how they made all the kills on the team, particularly when the game type didn't require that they kill anything.

My proposed solution to a friend of mine was that the laser should require two pairs of eyes on the target to fire.

It sounds like a lot of work. It's not perfect either. But it would force the uber-nerds to interact with somebody else. It would force them to ask somebody for help. It would almost be like they had...a friend.

Is it impossible for trolls to team up? Of course not. In Halo you find groups of them in private chat. But something similar could work in online communities. I don't know precisely what, but it has to involve being responsible for one another, and being responsible to one another. Staying positive is good. Respect and compassion are good. They're easier when it feels like you have something at stake.
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About socialnormsone of us since 10:07 AM on 07.14.2009

Final Fantasy VI, VII, IX and X
Myth: The Fallen Lords & Soulblighter
Halo Series
Resident Evil series (minus six...)
Donkey Kong Country
Chrono Trigger/Cross
The Warriors
River City Ransom
Midnight Club series
Metal Gear 1 and 3 (the others can die a postmodern, narcissistic death)
Marathon series

Mixed Martial Arts
Playing online with friends
Xbox LIVE:Angry Liberals


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