I play an online game called MafiaWars. Some people take it way to serious and group together in gangs to terrorize other players. Some people group into clans to protect themselves against the bullies. People like me refuse to be intimidated and we just play the game for fun.
Since I have a mafia of 1400 sooner or later I had to run into a gang of bullies and this weekend I did. This group is called [NYC] and they claim to have a set of ethics, which they don't follow. This keeps the rest of the clans off of their back since they only gang up on independents.
MafiaWars is a game, but, these people play it like their lives depend on it and I would bet that for a lot of them it does.
Sad, I know. There will always be bullies in this world and we should identify them and work with them to change their behavior. When that does not work we have prisons and execution in real life. In the game world those things don't exist so people allow their inner feelings to take over and they become the people they would be in real life.
Some people are generous and protective. Some are vindictive and mean. Some people allow themselves to get frustrated and become vindictive and mean, these people get over themselves and come to their senses.
Not [NYC] though. I messaged 7 players and of those 7, 4 were just reasonable people and 3 were vindictive bullies. Any group with that many vindictive bullies is out of control.
Is there anything anyone can do about it? Not really, nor would I want to.
Ever watch Bones?
Many years ago I worked with a group using computers to build psych profile models from social groups. This was before AOL, but, you can bet onLine communities were recognized early for this potential.
I would bet that there are groups that pay money to monitor interactions on websites like Facebook and MySpace specifically to help develop personality profiling. These websites offer tons of objective statistical data on people and by monitoring the behavior of the people who use these games. Plenty of Universities would pay money for that data and since Facebook in particular was developed for university students.......
You get the idea. Having these games in places where behavior can be studied and personality profiles can be developed is useful. Putting too tight a rein on these games would result in more guarded playing and less useful objective data.
Someday our onLine game playing will help behaviorists identify individuals who are ready to go postal and get them help before they do something horrible.
I am glad to be a part of that. My play is boring, but, it helps build the profile that will eventually identify the real nut cases out there, people like those in [NYC].
Anthropological studies for the new millennium.