Tuesday 1 December 2015

MMO Agendas: Freedom of Expression vs Public Decency

[Part of my MMO Design Folder]

Based on the ATITD Test of the Coalition I thought it might be fun to see how the rest of you feel about the following agendas when it comes to MMOs. I not only invite but encourage you to post your own thoughts on your respective blogs or if it's more convenient, in the comment section below.

Today's Agenda: Freedom of Expression vs Public Decency

Where do you draw the line when it comes to how people behave in MMOs? At what point should their actions become a punishable offense? When they start religious debates? Dressing their character improperly?   Blaming the healer for your pixel death?

It's on that last one I'm going to base my response as it basically boils down to harassment. Blaming anyone for anything is harassment, and harassment should be a punishable offense. Getting angry and frustrated at another human being because of any pixel event gets a big thumbs down for me so I guess that squarely puts me in the Public Decency box. :P

What do you think?


  1. Public Decency camp here, your freedom of expression stops once it hits someone else's personal space.

  2. Harassment has to involve repetition. If you heal for a group and at the end someone says "You are a totally crap healer. It was your fault I died. It was your fault we failed. You should re-roll. Better yet, delete your account because you're going to be crap at any class because you clearly have no idea how to play this game" that is not harassment. It's rude and cruel but for it to become harassment the person would have to continue doing it, or something similar, over a period. How long a period and how many times constitutes harassment is open to debate.

    I don't think there's any reason why players in video games should be expected, let alone compelled, to be nicer to anyone than they would be in real life. Indeed, it's far, far easier to deal effectively in games with unpleasant people than it is in the outside world. If the person is just being nasty or rude or boorish or even slightly annoying you can switch him or her off like a light with the /ignore or /block command. I use mine liberally and on my most-played GW2 account the current total is well into three figures.

    Basically, there are laws in real life and rules in games. Break those and you can expect to be sanctioned. Then there are social conventions. Break those and you can expect to be shunned. Outside of that no-one can make you be nice and you can't make anyone be nice to you. Imagine how that would work out if you could. Not well.

    1. Harassment doesn't need to be a verbal thing. Could be kill or loot stealing... or silently following you around making awkward gestures... hrm... Trying to think of an example in GW2...

      Ah I got it - though it's an unlikely one. A huge charr character with large clothes can block your view for something like... a jumping puzzle. If they are intentionally trolling people (or hell just afk dancing at exactly the do or die jump) would /ignoring them make them vanish?

      I really don't remember how that command worked since I haven't played GW2 in a long while... :P

      Good point about repetition and squelching though! Didn't even think of them previously.