BB37 – Where’s the line?

July 6, 2012

In this month’s Blog Banter, Seismic Stan asks us,

“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 behaviour to spread beyond the confines of the sandbox. Where is the line?”

For any behavior that would be unacceptable in RL society, the line is when you log out of EVE. However much you enjoy killing people, taking their stuff, and collecting their corpses in EVE, you can’t do that outside the game. Neither can you scam people, run pyramid schemes, or… well, actually, you might be able to set yourself up as a warlord and conquer swathes of land in the lawless regions of the world.

But, levity aside, if you’re not in the game or thinking about what to do within the game, then it’s over the line, at least as far as plotting action against other players goes. Attempting to cut off the power or internet access of an enemy FC or alliance leader so that they will not be available at a crucial moment is over the line, and is probably also against the law in most places, but there is an argument to be made that they are, to borrow RL terms, “legitimate targets”, and eventually their power or net access will be restored and they’ll be able to continue playing and work to salvage the situation.

But what is absolutely unacceptable is when the line is doubly crossed – when the objective is to deal someone lasting RL harm – be that physical, financial, social, or emotional harm.

Examples of this kind of activity include attempts to drive another player to suicide or to hound them until they leave the game – to inflict continuing and lasting emotional trauma on a person until they can no longer bring themselves to play EVE. Those acts are beyond the pale.

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