Friday, July 6, 2012

“The Line in the Mind”

Blog Banter 37: “The Line in the Sand”

"EVE Online sits on the frontier of social gaming, providing an entertainment environment like no other. The vibrant society of interacting and conflicting communities, both within the EVE client and without, is the driving force behind EVE's success. However, the anonymity of internet culture combined with a competitive gaming environment encourages in-game behavior to spread beyond the confines of the sandbox. Where is the line?"


For me, this is as simple as “If it feels like its wrong, dunt do it.”

Virtual Case in point:
In an episode of The Big Bang Theory (one of my fav shows as I am sure it is for many a New Eden pilot)… Sheldon had his account on WoW hacked and all of his virtual ‘stuff’ was stolen… “…picked clean like a carcass in the desert sun.” Now he was very very buttthurt and all ‘umadbro’… but in a very Sheldonesk sorta way… you see he called the police (after the FBI hung up on him) and reported it as a crime. Now of course the cops blew him off… as our society does not accept the theft of virtual ‘goods’, ‘in a game’ as a Real World crime.

So? Well, the boys then find out the identity of the real person who did the dastardly virtual deed… and they go to his home, IRL, to confront him AND Sheldon takes along a (TV/movie prop) Bat’leth… The guy is huge, and rude, and the boys back down… he even goes so far as to grab the Bat’leth from Sheldon’s hands and goes back into his house closing the door… stealing that too.

The guys leave until Penny, who drove them over, decides to show them “…how we finish a quest in Nebraska.”. She now confronts the ebil Ted Zarnecki, demands Sheldon’s stuff back, is told “No.” so our sweet little Nebraskan lass rears back and plants foot to crotch. Ted, now physically hurt and humiliated agrees to return Sheldon’s real and virtual property… "The Zarnecki Incursion"

Hmmm… OK let’s see… “IF” this was a real world incident, to my layman’s understanding (DISCLAIMER: I am NOT now nor have I ever been a lawyer or an authority on the law ever anywhere at any time) that said, as I see it…

1.      A virtual theft took place inside a virtual game world – not a criminal act.
2.      Person “H”, hacked computer systems to discover the name and address of a real person  - possible criminal act.
3.      A group of five people “G”, went to that persons home in order to confront him regarding the virtual theft - possible criminal act.
4.      Person “S” had with him a TV/movie prop which could be construed as a weapon, specifically to use for coercion - possible criminal act.
5.      Person “T” stole the TV/movie prop from person “S” – a criminal act.
6.      Person “P” physically assaulted person “T” without reasonable justification of self defense - a criminal act.

So… a virtual theft, allowable in a consensual game, led to 2 definite and 3 possible real world criminal acts involving a total of 6 people.

And I can betcha if/when you saw this episode you were rooting for Sheldon and thought Penny was completely justified… and you would be wrong.

We all have moral compasses; even amoral RL hit men for hire know and understand when they are performing an illegal or socially immoral act. We all do. Run a DDOS against, say… White Rose Conventicle… regardless of your motive… no matter how justified you may feel (for whatever reason), nor how well paid you are (if paid you were) or even if you were, “Just Following Orders” (oldest and worst cop out EVER)… you KNOW you are performing an illegal act… period.

The details of the ‘laws and societal norms’ we each operate under may differ from country to country but I have yet to see national or societal differences used as a supporting argument for griefing or to support any ‘perceived’ wrong acts in any of the blogs or forums. We all know and accept that murder is wrong, that theft of another’s property is wrong… just as we know that to forward information on or to start a charitable cause is considered an honorable act… In Real Life.

In EVE the ‘laws and societal norms’ (read: EULA & Rules) are different from RL ‘specifically and intentionally’ to allow the players to create and/or act out and/or become involved in highly dramatic virtual life-or-death situations where virtual murder and virtual theft are accepted modes of gameplay just as sending ISK to a noob you killed before you realized just how new he was, or to post “GF” in local are considered honorable acts… In Virtual Life.

We all KNOW the difference. If we dint the great mass of forum whining and blogging and ingame discourse could not take place as almost all of it is heated arguments, knowledgeable discussions and outright rants and whining regarding the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ of a given situation. We all know right from wrong. We all know that in EVE the rules are different, I dunt know about you but I do know that the different "laws and morals' of EVE are among the reasons why I am here.

These different rules allow me to live out a fantastical and dramatically rich virtual life unlike anything available to me IRL. I know that to do or say anything to another player, outside of the EVE Client, that “I” would be offended or possibly even legally wronged by is something I should not do.

The most obvious ‘RL/VL Line Crossing’ to take place recently (and most probably the genesis for this particular Banter) is the recent attack on White Rose Conventicle, an EVE corp and Blog run by a player who had been recently War Dec’ed and aggressively targeted for griefing by the Goons. I do not know who was involved in the DDOS attack, and I am not making any accusations, but whoever actually was involved…

knows what they did,
knows that what they did was wrong,
and knows that what they did was illegal...
it’s as simple as that.

Actions taken inside the EVE Client on the EVE server(s) take place in Virtual Life and are subject to discussion by the playerbase, the CSM and CCP but are in the end subject to decisions made and implemented by CCP.

Actions taken outside of the game take place in Real Life and are subject to discussion by the playerbase, the CSM and CCP but are in the end subject to the laws and societal morals of the country they take place in, period.

So where is the line?  Where it has always been… inside of each and every one of us.

We each know if/when we stand at The Line… and then decide whether, or not… to cross it.

So what can we do about it? Nuthin. Try and catch the ones who decide to cross, and punish em if/when we do...

“If it feels like its wrong, dunt do it.”.

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=


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