Thursday, November 13, 2014

Anonymous trolls and online gaming

Wil Wheaton, actor, writer and gamer, makes it clear:  "It's time to name names".  

His subject is gaming:  where people online anonymously produce venomous words and threats of violence.  He writes in The Washington Post:
To be sure, anonymity online has it uses and is very important. Governments hoover up people’s telephone and e-mail records without oversight, and companies track astonishingly granular personal information. If we want dissent in places where it would otherwise be quashed, whistleblowers to come forward, investigative journalism, and people who can feel like their authentic selves, they need tools like the Tor browser and GnuPGP to let them speak their minds with impunity. In the age of total-information awareness, citizens need certain protections.  
But in the gaming community, those protections aren’t necessary, and they aren’t helping. Anonymous trolls have made the gaming community toxic — especially for women — and upended the industry at a time when the games we play are finally being recognized as the incredible works of art that they can be. While I don’t believe bad actors represent gaming culture’s mainstream, I feel sure they wouldn’t issue rape and death threats, or harass other gamers, if they would be held accountable for their actions.

Wheaton highlights the principles of sportsmanship and full knowledge that the opponent is a living person, and that the situation of competition is temporary.  So it does matter how we react to the results of the game:
I’ve seen players fight for every point in tournaments, then graciously congratulate each other, regardless of who won. I’ve sat down with complete strangers — just like the random person I’d likely encounter online — and had an absolutely wonderful time being obliterated by them, because not only were they more skilled than I was, they were also nice and decent human beings. 
Wheaton's pitch for funding his independent online show, TableTop, is framed by this spirit:

1 comment:

tonip1 said...

Thanks for this post.

I love Wil Wheaton.