(It’s pronounced: pwn)
I first saw mention of this yesterday through Massively‘s tweets (see? it’s worth being a twit! be on the cutting edge of breaking news so sharp it hurts!).
Being human, I followed a few of the links and read on for a while. Being not entirely stupid, I gave up when the drivellous nature of some of the comments on various blog posts made me fear for my sanity, and for my few remaining IQ points.
In any case, Lum the Mad Jennings does his usual elegant summing up complete with exposition, quotes, authorities and commentary, so I can just send you over there. There’s coverage elsewhere, too — can’t you see the info-tsunami cresting on the horizon? And no, I’m not paid to link to Broken Toys… but hey, that’s not a bad idea! — how about it Scott?
Carrying out sociological experiments in MMOs is nothing new, and as an MMO player I don’t find the idea strange at all. MMOs are strange little crucibles of human behaviour at its most normal and at its most extreme — many of us are asshats online, thanks to internet anonymity, but I suspect the only thing that proves is that most of us are asshats, period.
Carrying out an experiment to see whether being an asshat will attract attention and vilification, but justifying it by saying “Oh, I never expected this to happen, honest” — that’s disingenuity for ya right there. By all means experiment with being a dick and a griefer, but don’t pretend you had no idea you were being a dick and a griefer. Especially after taking so much care to stay within the bannable boundaries so you could continue being a griefing asshat, purely for the purposes of scientific research of course.
Either the man experimented on something whose outcome was painfully obvious from the start, or the man isn’t nearly as savvy on the subject of sociology-and-MMO-playing as he claims. It’s something the “soft” sciences are really good at — claim to be studying something when, from the outside, it sure looks like you’re just giving yourself permission to be a dick. But wait, that’s probably me projecting.
It’s not the experiment I mind — it’s the “Oh dear, dear me, look at what I stirred up” expression while standing there, dripping spoon in hand. At least have the balls to admit you’re studying asshatitude; it’s not like you’ll be lacking for research material.