On Civility

 

When a couple of space buddies and I attended 2012’s Fanfest I wasn’t shy about declaring myself a highsec griefer.

Wikipedia (paraphrased):

  • A griefer is a player in a multiplayer video game who deliberately irritates and angers other players within the game often using aspects of the game in unintended ways. A griefer derives pleasure primarily or exclusively from the act of annoying other users, and as such is a particular nuisance in online gaming communities since griefers often cannot be deterred by penalties related to in-game goals.
  • Many subscription-based games actively oppose griefers since their behavior can drive away business. Some space sims like Eve Online and Elite: Dangerous have incorporated activities typically considered griefing as part of the gameplay mechanism. Corporate spying, theft, scams, gate-camping, and PVP on non-PVP players are all part of their gaming experience.

While CCP allows griefing, their TOS does curtail certain behaviors.

EVE Online Terms of Service (paraphrased):

  • You may not abuse, harass or threaten another player or authorized representative of CCP, including customer service personnel and volunteers.
  • You may not use any abusive, defamatory, ethnically or racially offensive, harassing, harmful, hateful, obscene, offensive, sexually explicit, threatening or vulgar language.
  • You may not organize nor be a member of any corporation or group within EVE Online that is based on or advocates any anti-ethnic, anti-gay, anti-religious, racist, sexist or other hate-mongering philosophies.
  • You may not use “role-playing” as an excuse to violate these rules.
  • You will report out-of-game issues regarding harassment, such as threatening phone calls or correspondence, to your local law enforcement officials or Internet provider. We are not responsible for actions taken by our subscribers that occur outside the jurisdiction of our game servers or web site.

Despite not putting a great deal of effort into it, I apparently stayed within EVE’s TOS. CCP never contacted me about my highsec griefing though I wouldn’t be surprised if a ticket or two was filed. In hindsight, keeping out of trouble with CCP appears to have occurred via two avenues. First, I was obsequiously polite. Not because I was trying to avoid CCP’s language restrictions but rather because being polite was enjoyable way to contrast my ‘reasonableness’ with my mark’s ‘irrational’ outbursts. Second, I didn’t persist which, as chance would have it, meant I wasn’t harassing anyone.

Dictionary.com: Harass

  • [huh-ras, har-uh s] verb (used with object)
  • to disturb persistently; torment, as with troubles or cares; bother continually; pester; persecute. to trouble by repeated attacks, incursions, etc., as in war or hostilities; harry; raid.

Harassing just never struck me worth the bother. I’d hammer my mark, maybe collect a tear, maybe not, and then move on to the next poor sot. I can’t say what would have happened if a mark had fervently carried on our unhealthy relationship since interaction tends to engender further interaction but my marks rarely pursued that path. Accordingly, like so much of my life, I simply bumbled into good fortune and discovered ‘civil griefing’ along the way. This may take a little unpacking.


Context

So this happened: Goon Watching. With eighty comments on r/eve and another forty on Crossing Zebras I got excited. I’m not that important you see, and suddenly you like me. Right now you like me! If only that were the case. If you cast aside the unimaginative ‘grr gon hat gon’ trolling, few people in either of the comment threads particularly liked or disliked me; few people paid me much attention at all. Rather, I’d blundered into someone else’s long running slap fight to be shanghaied by those belligerents as handy club to continue bludgeoning each other with. My incidental presence to the kerfuffle grows most evident when one recognizes that most comments weren’t especially well connected to my essay which wasn’t an exposé on goons but rather an exploration of their public (i.e. pubbie) image and how that public image colored my experience of The Fountain War Kickstarter. Discussion sites have knack for getting away from you. This distresses some participants.

Long before I passed an eye over r/eve I’d been warned by players far more important than I that “/r/eve is a haven for rogue players with no stake in the game, no shared fate in the destiny of our virtual world. Toxicity is mislabeled as passion, falsehood as insight, ignorance as strength. It is a tremendous tragedy that many prospective players’ first contact with the greater EVE social structure is through so myopic and dirty a lens.

With such dire warnings in place I was slow to examine r/eve: one catches diseases mucking around those sorts of things.  But there are prophylactics and eventually I latexed up and dove in.  These days I’m a disease free reader though I rarely comment reserving my pretentious nannerings for Crossing Zebras.

Yes r/eve is a rough and tumble place but EVE is a rough and tumble game.  Seems good fit to me.  Yes my essay uncorked hostility and some portion of that hostility was directed squarely at me but, as best I can tell, it was entirely space hostility meaning, given the context, everybody remained appropriately civil.


Celebrity

Thrilled by the clamor, I dashed off emails to a couple of EVE associates to crow about the pot my essay had stirred. Their respective responses were interesting.

Pilot T (yes it’s pseudonym):

  • That was a pretty amazingly hostile thread of comments. It seems that Goons or grrr Goons is still a topic that can get a lot of vehemence from the community. I’m looking forward to your next Goons article. I suppose you’ll have to put on your flame-proof suit when you post it and be ready for another round of comments . . . 🙂

Keren (yes, also pseudonym):

  • I read your essay. Not bad. I also poked around in the comments of the piece and have to say that overall it seemed fairly civil compared to what it could have been. Having never been particularly controversial in the past, I think there was little to incite anyone to want to get out their pitchforks and start a witch hunt against you.

Pilot T bubbles enthusiasm.  It’s all part of the fun.  Keren shrugs her shoulders noncommittally while delivering a delightfully subtle “Dire, you’re not important enough to grief” slam. One has to appreciate that kind of zing. I certainly do. Nonetheless it got me wondering how things might have gone had I been celebrity enough to make griefing worthwhile. Accordingly, I waltzed over to a couple of folk better known than I for their thoughts on space celebrity griefing. Their respective responses were illuminating.

Rixx Javix (via Discord):

  • OK so name some famous Eve players / Mittens, Chribba, etc / Somewhere in that list you’ll probably get around to Rixx / Not blowing smoke but I’ve been writing a blog for eight years / I’m involved with the community / I work with CCP / And I cause trouble in game / I run a large Pirate Corporation and an Alliance of 800 players / So mix all that into sharing real life / And that rubs some people the wrong way / I never try to rub people the wrong way / But I also don’t go out of my way to *not* rub people the wrong way

Mynxee (via email):

  • I wonder if EVE fame also provides a bit of a shield against this kind of thing. Bullies will pick on the person they feel they can get to and choosing someone under the radar of the EVE community means they don’t have to endure chastising by the rest of the community which could conceivably happen if someone popular within the community were to expose details of harassment which happened to them personally.

Bollocks! Both of these comments ring true. Why does everything get so complicated? Celebrity not only increases your enemy count, it also increases your ally count. With new enemies come new defenders. If only that were always enough.

Rixx Javix elaborates:

  • I think celebrity breeds a false sense of familiarity that doesn’t really exist / It’s a common theme / People tend to think they “know” you / And how you should act / When they can’t possibly know everything about you / I can’t even show my face on Reddit anymore / A few weeks ago someone posted one of my blog posts over there / It got 500 comments / And people started calling my RL former biz associates / And posting my Court documents / It was a nasty shit show / Luckily a moderator shut it down

Holy hell griefers, what the fuck’s the matter with you?  You *don’t* know these people and that’s not space hostility, that’s real life malevolence. You keep this up and we’re going to run out of celebrities. Not civil, not civil at all.

Post Draft Edit: This essay was written before the recent Grath/Rixx slap fight busted out. Curiously, aside from this edit, I see no need to change anything.


Venues

Despite the bad blood, Goon Watching’s comments struck me civil because no one hassled me out of venue. I didn’t get real life phone calls. My game account wasn’t compromised. Nobody even EVEmailed me. What was said and how they said it proved inconsequential. No, my feelings of propriety grew out of where those things were said.

Mynxee gives striking example:

  • Several years ago, I published a showcase of my art mainly to serve as a marketing tool. At the time I was a regular on a third-party forum mainly populated by EVE players. I linked the showcase in a “real life accomplishments” thread. Almost immediately, x-rated and troll reviews were posted for the product. The hosting site removed the x-rated ones but my requests to remove the troll one were ignored: apparently it was not offensive enough by traditional measures despite being an obvious “comedy review.” When that review’s author eventually outted himself on the forum, I privately asked him to consider how his review could negatively impact my real life income and requested he delete it. He refused, indicating that I should be grateful for his glowing review. Talk about a WTF moment! He and the other involved parties either did not consider the possible real life consequences of their actions or didn’t care (even after being made aware of the potential fallout). They did it merely for a good laugh among themselves and their peers on the forum (which I have long since disassociated with). Apparently, neither empathy nor respect for the actual person they were affecting played any role in their actions. I still can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that people will behave that way despite knowing how commonly it happens. Thankfully, that experience remains a stark anomaly in the bigger picture of my experiences interacting with others online across many venues and topics.

To the troll, griefing on an EVE forum and griefing on retail site feel much the same. To the mark they feel very different. If you’re hopping venues, keep this in mind. It’s the civil thing to do.


Harassment

You should know that excitedly dashing off to Keren to crow about the noisy payoff my Goon Watching essay generated wasn’t entirely innocent on my part. I had ulterior motive. Despite dropping on her stoop with good reference, I duplicitously directed Keren to the essay’s lively comment section not primarily to crow, but to see how she would react. I fully expected something similar to Pilot T’s ‘That was hostile!’ Instead I received a ‘Not bad, seemed fairly civil to me.’

Turns out Keren is no ninny. She has endured a sobering amount of targeted harassment from other EVE players over the years. One experience in particular began with otherwise typical griefing tactics like wardecs and local trolling. When that didn’t produce the desired tears it grew to include in-game stalking through multiple systems like hate mail, convo spamming and locator agent assisted log on camping. “I was never so happy,” she commented, “as when the watch list mechanic was changed.” When they couldn’t find her they griefed her corpies. When that failed to produce the desired tears the harassers began a smear campaign. An enormous amount of time and energy was invested in the project over many many months eventually growing to encompass multiple out-of-game venues. “I felt like I couldn’t do anything in-game or out without being watched by them,” she explained. “Sometimes I still feel that way.”

Aware of my griefing history, Keren asked me what was motivating these people. How could anyone be so hell-bent on driving her out of the game? Were they jealous of what she stood for? Did they truly despise her? Were they just psychopaths? Though it’s difficult to step inside another’s mind, I can make an educated guess. Somewhere over that long period of time things changed. What began as a typical EVE griefing shifted to a contest between Keren’s harassers. Finding themselves in a cruelty competition, each of the harassers kept hiking up the brutality because, well, you don’t want to lose do you? That would look really bad. Toward harassment’s end Keren herself had nearly dropped out of the picture; mere means of scorekeeping between harassing buddies. One wonders, as the months passed, if the buddies were still enjoying themselves as the project had grown into a massive amount of work for very little reward. Still, none of the buddies knew how to escape the trap they’d laid for themselves.

So griefer, if you find yourself thinking “This mark’s not fun anymore” show some spine, release the catch and move on to another target. Sticking around just to posture before your mates is a surrender of autonomy. Be the master of your own fate. Treat yourself decently too. It’s the civil thing to do.


Perspective

If you haven’t seen Mynxee and Johnny Splunk’s 2016 ‘Counter-Culture’ EVE Vegas presentation I suggest you have a look/see. Tucked away in the Signaleer goodwill you’ll find this:

Keren sees things differently:

  • The whole “HTFU” mentality in EVE is actually one of the worst aspects of the game and its community. HTFU is nothing more than a CCP endorsed excuse to engage in crummy behavior. Thanks to that godawful acronym players feel empowered and justified treating other people in the most horrid ways and when the victim rightly calls those people out for it the perpetrators laugh and say “HTFU you pussy” as if it makes everything okay. HTFU glorifies negativity and places blame on the victim for supposedly not being “tough enough” to put up with whatever the bully is dishing out. HTFU removes accountability from the perpetrator and gives them permission to disregard how the human being on the other end might actually be affected by whatever they did. That is not okay. It really, really isn’t.

It would be easy to proclaim that Mynxee ‘gets’ EVE while Keren does not. It’s certainly the case that their disparate approaches to HTFU greatly affect their experience of the game. For the griefers deploying HTFU as cover I’m left wondering if they’ve actually paid attention to the song’s lyrics, “First off – let me make a short introduction, I’m the space 5.0, keeping EVE from destruction . . . Isk spamming scum bags disturbing the peace?  WOOP WOOP it’s the sound of space police! You best watch out bitch if you’re an exploiting scammer, Guard will gank you in the face with his big ban hammer . . . .” HTFU is peppered with things you *shouldn’t* do in EVE and if you don’t like that griefers, well, harden the fuck up.  While I disagree with Keren that HTFU provides a CCP endorsement of crummy behavior, it doesn’t change the fact that far too many players interpret it that way. Songs, like discussion sites, have knack for getting away from you. Genuine HTFU isn’t license, it’s challenge.

Regarding harassment, Mynxee observes:

  • EVE (and maybe all of online gaming) seems to attract a lot of people who are psychologically challenged to a more or lesser degree…it’s always a trick to figure out how to navigate that landscape wisely and compassionately.

Regarding harassment, Rixx Javix observes:

  • You kind of wish for the other guy to outplay you, to challenge you, to beat you in a fair fight / That’s one of the reasons I play in Low Sec and why I started Stay Frosty / For the good fights / So it’s kind of a letdown when they can’t do that / When all they can do is cross a line and be crass, or stupid, or insulting / It’s always a bit of a disappointment / “Ahh, so that’s all you got?” / Bummer man

EVE asks us to walk a tightrope stretched taut between compassion and bellicosity.  It’s a delicate, exacting journey.  Consider your situation pilot.  Don’t lose your way.


Respect

Assembling a pirate alliance like Rixx Javix has is onerous work. Doing it in wormhole space with a no aggression credo as Mynxee has is hard mode. Resisting HTFU misinterpretation as Keren has paints a target on your back — that’s really hard mode. And me? I putter around in game and occasionally write essays about it. That’s easy mode. So thank you all, your perseverance deserves mad respect. My universe is better because you three very different players are here.

I’ve long had the crazy ass dream I’d meet one of my marks at a player gathering. “No shit!” I’d proclaim whipping out my smartphone to look up the kill. “Looks like I owe you a drink,” I’d say waving my hand to get the barmaid’s attention. “What have you been up to since our unfortunate meeting?” I’d ask as our drinks are delivered. It’s not likely to happen, especially these days as I’m now more entranced with gentle pleasures like manufacturing, grandbabies and formal dining, but it’s not a bad rule of thumb. If your EVE griefing absolutely precludes meeting your mark in real life, you’re doing it wrong. Civility has its rewards too.

 

Tags: DireNecessity

About the author

DireNecessity

A soloish long-term casual player since 2009, sporting a troubling history of preying on the good people of highsec, these days DireNecessity enjoys the gentle pleasures like manufacturing, grandbabies and formal dining.


  • Dirk MacGirk

    Nice article. Thoughtful, well written. Kinda need these from time to time.

    • Ashterothi

      Well thought out articles are a refreshing change of pace to the standard drivel that gets tossed around here 😛

  • Mike Dawe

    Damn that was a good read.

    m

  • Brendan Drain

    Fantastic read, and some great quotes and insights into griefing in EVE and dividing line between EVE and real life. The vast majority of EVE community members are perfectly normal people and in general it’s the friendliest and most inclusive MMO community I’ve ever seen, but there are some total assholes who are happy to take things out of game or attack people in a real life capacity. Mynxee’s review story is a perfect example of someone harming another person just for a laugh, a common enough and relatively benign occurrence in-game but totally not acceptable in real life.

    There are some players who don’t seem to understand the dividing line between EVE Online and real life, and that’s a dangerous thing in a game as politically charged as EVE. EVE is such a big part of many of our lives that we get heavily invested in it, and in-game interests have in the past motivated people engage in everything from out-of-game harassment to real life criminal acts. I’ve experienced this first hand (e.g. this story http://bit.ly/2neIPM6 ), and It really isn’t something we should be OK with as a community.

    Anyone who is heavily emotionally invested in EVE has their own set of allegiances and enemies, people they will do anything to defend and people they will go to extraordinary lengths to harm, and those communities do naturally extend out of the game in some ways. But when you go to an event like EVE Fanfest, you see mortal enemies sharing stories with some laughs and buying each other beers. You realise that the true spirit of EVE is far less serious business than it usually appears and that the dividing line between harming someone in EVE or the EVE community and harassing them in real life just isn’t worth crossing.

  • Very good article, Dire. Thanks for the opportunity to contribute to it.

  • Viince_Snetterton

    More passive aggressive crap from a sociopath.

    It does not matter how many words you spew out, nor how eloquently.
    If you play this game, or any game, for the primary purpose of inflicting emotional pain on others, you are scum.

    And no, I won’t ever be wasting my time and money on Fanfest to look for idiots like you.
    So no, I won’t be threatening you with bodily harm, no matter how much I would like to inflict it, because I will never meet you.

    Damn it, I read this post 8 hours ago, and I am still incensed.
    Job well done, griefer.

    • DireNecessity

      Wow this might be my favorite Vin/Din response post ever! While I wasn’t out to incense you, hearing I’ve managed to do so for at least 8 hours purely by accident fills me with the giggles. Soldier on son. In your own wonderful way you add a lot to my universe.

      • Brendan Drain

        I think his response comes more from the idea that if your primary motivator is to inflict emotional distress on the person behind the character, that is griefing by most definitions and shouldn’t be acceptable behaviour in an online game. I kind of agree with that, to be frank. EVE allows players to scam and suicide gank and infiltrate corps to rob them blind, social engineer people into doing what you want, etc all within the context of the game. It’s perfectly legitimate gameplay and you might do it to make an in-game profit, or because you like inflicting in-game losses in an unconventional way, or maybe you just enjoy playing the spy master. That’s all fine.

        But if your primary goal is admittedly to cause the player distress and that’s the part you derive your enjoyment from, then your intentions really have crossed the line between in-game and out-of-game harm. It’s the kind of mindset that led to the Bonus Room fiasco, and that on a smaller scale fuels most of the antisocial behaviour and vulgarity you see on the forum and in-game chat channels. That part’s obviously not even exclusive to EVE but is pervasive across gaming, wrapped up in distasteful euphemisms about salty tears and people having autism or deserving cancer. Online discourse would certainly be better across the board without that.

        Back in 2008 when suicide ganking was becoming a big issue, CCP’s official definition of of a griefer was “a player who devotes much of his time to making others’ lives miserable, in a large part deriving his enjoyment of the game from these activities while he does not profit from it in any way.” That’s the reason Jihadswarm initially had to claim they were role playing a holy war and left one region out of their ganks back in 2008, and could be why certain organisations sell “mining permits”. I don’t know if that’s still the official definition today and it’s admittedly quite easy to wriggle out of, but the intent was clear back then and I do agree with it.

        • DireNecessity

          I’m inclined to believe Vin/Din’s response generates out of genuine hate. He hates me, he hates a lot of EVE players and he hates most of CCP’s management. Hate’s kinda his thing. At the same time, I suspect he genuinely believes he’s fighting the good fight even though he’s the only person in this discussion intimating desire towards causing bodily harm. (I also compliment him on carefully crafting his words to avoid delivering actual threat).

          I’m not trying to squirrel my way out of the meaning of “griefing” in this piece Brendan. When I quoted Wikipedia’s definition of “griefing” I fully intended that definition to stand throughout the piece.

          The thing is EVE’s TOS allows a surprisingly robust degree of griefing. It’s one of EVE’s hallmarks. This may distress you. It certainly annoys Vin/Din. I’m fascinated by it.

          With the introduction of grandchildren into my family I’ve gotten to watch with odd bemusement as the older sister flip flops between malevolently torturing her little sister one day to lovingly caring for that same little sister the next. And Brendan, she means it both times. You can treat people you genuinely care about malevolently. Humans are complicated. EVE embraces that complication. If we so choose, EVE lets us be six again.

          Of all the griefing I’ve done in EVE I’ve most enjoyed suicide ganking (other folk enjoy other things). I liked it because it was direct. I’d sneak up on some unsuspecting innocent, hall back and kick them in the gut. I didn’t dress it up in roleplaying or hope to make any ISK at it. I partook out of sheer malevolence. I’m also pleased to report that partaking in EVE suicide ganking never elicited a desire to do anything similar in real life. Unlike Vin/Din above, I’m not restraining a desire to do bodily harm.

          I often suspect EVE’s griefers do themselves a disservice when they say one can compartmentalize things. I do know that I never experienced it that way. I never slipped hats on and off. I never had to put on my space mask. Rather, I simply discovered I experienced schadenfreude in some environments but not others. I’m sure this sounds like absolute nonsense to Vin/Din and it might well befuddle you. Still, there it is.

          Generally speaking I’ve liked most EVE players I’ve met. I’ve also been lucky enough to discover that at least a few EVE players like me. Respect’s easy when you like people. Vin/Din rarely displays much respect.

          • Brendan Drain

            I won’t comment on your association with this particular player, his motives and thought processes are largely immaterial to the broader discussion of griefing and what is and isn’t acceptable, and I think the points I made stand on their own. I’m also not quite sure how to respond to that weird aside about being six years old and treating people you care about malevolently, because I don’t think anyone believes for a second that a griefer lovingly cares for their target like a sibling. I’m not willing to just throw my hands in the air and declare that people are complicated so all bets are off.

            Wikipedia’s definition of griefing is very close to CCP’s old definition that I quoted above, the main point being that someone is deriving their enjoyment primarily from the emotional distress of their victims rather than the actual gameplay. That’s the important distinction, and in that context EVE Online does not actually permit more griefing or harassment than most other games. EVE just happens to have gameplay in which a greater proportion of griefing is often indistinguishable from normal play, and it has years of hands-off community management setting few community standards and often not actually enforcing its own rules.

            Suicide ganking is a perfectly fine use of the game mechanics, for example, but repeatedly hitting the same person with the primary goal of making them miserable and angry is clearly griefing. Going by CCP’s 2008 definition, you just need to be able to argue that you’re profiting from it in some way, but that’s insanely easy to argue if challenged as anyone could be carrying something valuable. Even in the case of Hulkageddon, the argument was made that it was designed to stimulate the Hulk market or drive up mineral prices. The end result is that EVE is easier to hide griefing in, but that does not mean it’s necessarily allowed or that the community should tolerate it when it’s unmasked or obvious.

            Plenty of people experience emotional distress in games as a result of normal gameplay, especially in a game like EVE with scams, heists, and betrayals of trust for financial gain. It’s also commonplace in EVE to enjoy getting a reaction from an enemy which shows that they FEEL beaten or rattled, it fuels a lot of political drama and I’ll be the first to admit that the schadenfreude of watching an alliance tear itself apart or a notable person self-destruct can be great. But in all reasonable cases, the distress caused to players is a secondary effect of some other goal. If you make eliciting distress your primary goal and motivator for harming someone, you have crossed the line into harassment. The only problem is, you’re often the only one who knows you’ve crossed it.

            Shadenfreude is typically used to describe feeling pleasure on hearing about or seeing another’s misfortune or failures, the word that better describes feeling pleasure on actually causing someone harm is sadism. I don’t think it’s a controversial statement to say that if you derive your enjoyment primarily from the emotional distress you cause in other people then you are not behaving as a morally good person. Some people do that a little to someone and let them go and that’s arguably not a big deal, but then you have people who do things like the Bonus Room, trying to get people fired from their jobs, or doxxing and you realise EVE does create a bit of space for true sociopaths to do some horrible things.

            Ultimately, CCP is building a community of real people and I think they are responsible for ensuring that those people are not harassed. It’s just incredibly hard to actually do that in a game like EVE and an online community that extends far from the game servers and forums and well into people’s real lives. Apologies for wall of text, I do that a lot!

          • Cosmo

            test

          • Brendan Drain

            Quick heads-up, my reply to this disappeared and Disqus says it was detected as spam. Any chance of unflagging it or whatever to get it back?

          • DireNecessity

            I saw it disappear too. I’ll see if I can bring it to the attention of the CZ powers that be though I can’t guarantee anything. (How Disqus works is mystery to me.) In the mean time I’ll save the response I was working on in hopes of its return.

          • DireNecessity

            And now I can reply to what we managed to recover 🙂

            No need for apology Brendan, it’s good discussion.

            The piece about the grand kids wasn’t intended as aside. It’s actually crucial to what I was trying to get at. When the older grand kid teases the younger one (I probably should have used “tease” initially since “torture” is a bit strong) it’s pretty clearly a sadistic act. Not clinically sadistic. Neither grand kid exhibits anything near that. Still, there’s nothing ‘loving’ about it. It’s intended to cause distress. My point is I can see a touch of malevolence in the older grandchild (younger too – she knows how to get even). I can also see she’s no Erotica 1. Sadist isn’t the only thing they are. It’s not even what they are most of the time. Still, on occasion, they’re pretty mean spirited little tykes. I also know similar about myself – touch of malevolence, no Erotica 1.

            I’m certainly not pro-harassment in the “disturb persistently” sense defined in this piece. That’s not *touch* of malevolence. Still, I have engaged in a whole lot of ‘one offs’ and even the occasional ‘two off’ and harbor no guilt about it.

            I appreciate your desire to draw clear lines though I’d dispute that it achieves the moral clarity you hope to find. In a leisure activity like a game, if it’s not OK to cause distress simply out of desire to cause distress (i.e. grief), it doesn’t suddenly become OK to cause equal distress because you did it for some other reason like, say, financial gain. This is a leisure activity we’re talking about. Nothing about any of this obligates any participant to perform necessary evils. We can all of us just shut the computer down and walk away.

            I sometimes find it helpful to step away from moral language since such language tends to push nuance out of often complicated, not entirely stark line clear situations. One of my major goals in assembling this piece was to treat my sources humanely. I believe I’ve succeeded at that. It wasn’t terribly difficult. As you can probably imagine, I know a whole lot more detail about what Keren endured than the cursory review presented in this piece. I’m also never coughing any more up. That wouldn’t be in her best interest. I never once paused to consider what the moral thing to do is. I don’t walk around with such moral heavy bootedness. Rather, (Vin/Din protestations aside), I’m just naturally humane. I never particularly worked at it. I haven’t taken empathy lessons. I’ve also a touch of malevolence. It’s a curious set of proclivities though not especially unique. It certainly lets me hang with very different crowds.

  • Kael Decadence

    Excellent work boss man

  • Kamar Raimo

    After reading this twice I am still not entirely sure what the central message of this article is. A showcase of how griefing can take different forms and can be experienced at different levels by different people and under the bottom line you make a plea for keeping griefing strictly in-game?

    • Bill Bones

      Same page here, I wonder whether he’s trying to communicate something at all or just is putting random thoughts in written form.