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"Give us a break, you fucks"
January 24, 2008 12:30 PM   Subscribe


 
Well at least they're trolling Second Life and not anything useful or interesting.
posted by Artw at 12:39 PM on January 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


Pool's closed due to WIRED.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:45 PM on January 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


Well, being inexcusable is, after all, the griefers' job. Ours is to figure out that caring too much only gives them more of the one thing they crave: the lulz.

Nah, that's just blame-the-victim bullshit. Trolls are assholes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:47 PM on January 24, 2008 [6 favorites]


INTERNET. SERIOUS BUSINESS.
posted by Dr-Baa at 12:48 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


The article has a ridiculous tone. These people, they're saying, are rude, but they're doing something good.

No they aren't. Their purpose isn't to 'enlighten you' or any such bullshit, it's to do their very best to ruin your day, for no other reason than because it makes them smile.

We all knew the physical thugs when we were young; they exploited their size and strength to bully the weak. These guys are mental thugs. If they could torture kittens and get away with it, I strongly suspect that would be high on their list of 'epic lulz'.
posted by Malor at 12:49 PM on January 24, 2008 [12 favorites]


Speaking of Second Life, there's a banking crisis now. Bank runs. Banks being closed by certifying authorities. People losing their savings. Bankers being revealed as crooks. All virtual.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:49 PM on January 24, 2008


Griefers are losers who should be ignored until they fade away into oblivion. This downer of an article doesn't help matters.
posted by JaySunSee at 12:51 PM on January 24, 2008


An asshole on the internet is still an asshole. Though the EVE Online thing was fascinating, if you destroyed $10,000 worth of real-world property you'd be taken to court in a heartbeat. It makes me wonder how much of that 10K was generated in-game and how much was actually purchased with real money.
posted by Ndwright at 12:51 PM on January 24, 2008


Man, that photo of the "Second Life entrepreneur" might be the worst photo ever used in the history of journalism.
posted by jbickers at 12:52 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is WIRED spam if I ever read it.

Oh yeah, you're dead on Malor.
posted by JaySunSee at 12:52 PM on January 24, 2008


The magzine cover story is a list of "things that suck", so I found it a bit ironic that they had this article. Yes, lots of things in life suck so why write a fawning article about people whose whole purpose in life is to make things suck more?
posted by bitmage at 12:54 PM on January 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm addicted to this shit. I never play mmorpgs and have only logged into second life once and decided it's crap, but I can spend hours reading reading about the intricacies of griefing attacks. It's probably not a good thing that I know who Prokofy Neva is.
posted by afu at 12:56 PM on January 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Also previously mentioned on metafilter.

As for the values or the Internet Asshole horde, I believe they are neither mysynogistic nor racist; they are misanthropic. Race, gender, and religion are simply hooks they use to assault their foes. That which enrages, is what is applied.

Note that this is pretty common to Internet communities, even from the beginning, as Dibbell surely knows. The 4chan/SA/ED metroplex has increased the skill of those involved through rather the rather business like pursuit of best practices, using web 2.0 technologies like wikis and flash mobs to aggregate data and pursue actions. 21st century Merry Pranksters, with a bitter edge. Granted, it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. I predict similar results if that ever happens.

I find myself rooting for them from time to time. They smite many, including many of the self righteous. And like most bullies, their actions are precisely calibrated to cause the loudest wailing. And there is much to admire in something done well.

Malor: But they aren't powerful. Without reaction, they usually slink back to dark corridors. A strong moderator with emotional detachment usually gets rid of them.

bitmage: Because people who do anything with a flair for the dramatic usually get covered. It's why we are so interested in bank heists; the art in which they stole make them interesting. Someone yelling obscenities in the middle of Second Life would be simply banned away, inflaming half the server and causing a million angry blog posts is the lulz.

Note: the Eve Online ship destruction was perfectly legal within game. A common maxim among Eve players is "Never fly what you can't afford". Death and destruction are quick and commonplace.
posted by zabuni at 12:59 PM on January 24, 2008 [6 favorites]


Yup, there's something pathological about the trolls, no doubt.

The problem is: what do you do about them? In a pay to play game, like WoW, or EVE, if someone truly violates the rules, its fairly easy to ban them in a semi-perminant way; if nothing else it costs too much real life money to keep buying replacement accounts.

But Second Life is free to play, and IP banning won't work because pretty much everyone has a dynamic address, so what do you do to keep 'em from just making infinate accounts? A temporary IP ban (24 hours, 48 hours, something like that), would at least keep them from popping back in over and over. Obviously tightening the security is good, but with SL the whole point is that its user modifiable, so truly tight security isn't realistically possible.

I could care less if they just make grotesque parody locations in SL, its easy enough to stay way from places you don't like. But crashing servers, and screwing with other people's property is another matter.

Ndwright as in most games, purchasing EVE in-game money is against the terms of service, and a bannable offense. As for blowing up the $10,000 ship, that's also an in-game risk, the Band of Brothers knew when they built it that it'd be a target. If the trolls used an exploit to do it, that's another matter. But EVE is supposed to be a rough and tumble world.

Minor Example: My corporation is a mining and manufacturing corp, very few of its members are combatants. A thug and a few of his buddies decided to play "protection racket" with us. He was small potatoes, but so are we, the protection money he damanded had an RL value of about $2.75. In RL extortion is illegal and definately not cool; in EVE its just one possible thing that might happen, it makes the game interesting.

So blowing up BoB's Titan was an asshole thing to do, no denying it, but in the context of EVE it isn't anywhere near as bad as what they did in Second Life. Unless they really were using an exploit or cheat to blow it up, that's just part of EVE.
posted by sotonohito at 1:01 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


For some, being unhappy can only be ameliorated by spreading the infection.

The very definition of "sick".

It's easier to ruin the joy of others than to look inward and fix one's own foibles. The 'net just makes it easier, safer, and more socially acceptable. Anyone who shows up IRL and harshes others is risking their safety. Not so with the semi-anonymous and "safe" virtual world.
posted by SaintCynr at 1:13 PM on January 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Griefers are losers who should be ignored until they fade away into oblivion.

In fairness, this is also true of anyone who's making a living off Second Life.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:16 PM on January 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Measured against the history of expressed white male aggression, this seems pretty benign.

It's still teh suck, though.
posted by uri at 1:19 PM on January 24, 2008


"As a matter of cosmic history, it has always been easier to destroy than to create."
posted by aerotive at 1:20 PM on January 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Though the EVE Online thing was fascinating, if you destroyed $10,000 worth of real-world property you'd be taken to court in a heartbeat.

If you destroyed $10,000 worth of cars in a demolition derby you'd be fine, I think.

A while back I played this waste-five-or-ten-minutes-a-day browser based zombie game, Urban Dead. Something Awful came on and "griefed" the shit out of it. They took over one of the 100 areas of the game and declared it a sovereign nation where they would kill anyone, human or zombie (both are controlled by human players) found inside. A few people whined about how SA was ruining the game, but most people dealt with it by playing in some other area of the game or establishing massive zombie hordes and human resistance armies. The area ended up becoming a huge battleground and lulz were had by all. Some of the more reflective players even noted that people getting killed by humans instead of zombies is actually a trope of the zombie genre. On the whole it made the game more interesting.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 1:22 PM on January 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah, the guy who made the Team Fortress 2 griefing video is a member of Metafilter. He was in one of the games the other day.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 1:24 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mostly I don't have much sympathy for griefers, but this was absolute genius.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:30 PM on January 24, 2008


Does that article change substantially after about the fourth paragraph? Because as of right now, that's about some of the dumbest shit I ever read.
posted by The Straightener at 1:36 PM on January 24, 2008


Double.
posted by fleetmouse at 1:36 PM on January 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


griefer

And why was it necessary to invent a word to describe something that lame?
posted by psmealey at 1:37 PM on January 24, 2008


Fuck all the trolls, griefers, and other assorted shitwads who like to ruin other peoples' harmless fun under the guise of being "righteous pranksters."

Well, guess what? To be a righteous prankster, you either have to be plying your skill in a good-natured fashion, or else be using it to unmask prominent cowards. If you aren't doing either, you're just a dick.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:45 PM on January 24, 2008 [7 favorites]


Another way of rephrasing the article: say you go to a park to fly kites, and a bunch of hooligans show up and start shouting and bothering people and just making complete asses out of themselves.

Wired, it seems, would have you believe that you enjoy the park entirely too much, and you need to learn a Buddha-esque serene detachment to having your fun interrupted. It's your fault, they say, for not having other things to go do when the Kite Mafia shows up.
posted by Malor at 1:47 PM on January 24, 2008 [6 favorites]


On a personal level, I think griefers are useful. That isn't to say that I like them, but they're a good reminder of how little anything matters. This perspective is often useful in bringing to other things which don't matter - the coworker who treats everything as an attack, the driver who cuts you off in traffic, the upstairs neighbor who likes playing drunken DDR at midnight.

Griefers remind you to take an anodyne pill and stay carefree, because it just doesn't matter.
posted by suckerpunch at 1:49 PM on January 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I believe that this discussion belongs here.
posted by horsemuth at 1:50 PM on January 24, 2008


I think griefing serves a valuable function in online communities... World of Warcraft and Second Life have become too safe, they're like boring corporate theme parks filled with earnest dullards like Prokofy and IntLib. The PN and other /b/rethren who hail from various sekrit places give these enviroments an edge, a wildness, a sense that not everyone here is just interested in racking up virtual gold or grimly maxing out the stats of their stupid Night Elf.

Chaos needs its champions too.

PS: Have fun...
posted by Spacelegoman at 1:50 PM on January 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


You have got to fucking kidding me.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:54 PM on January 24, 2008


Ah, the toilet of the Internet.
posted by porn in the woods at 1:57 PM on January 24, 2008


I didn't read the article as "fawning" at all. I thought it was quite well balanced, and well written. Well done, Julian Dibbell.

The problem is: what do you do about them? In a pay to play game, like WoW, or EVE, if someone truly violates the rules, its fairly easy to ban them in a semi-perminant way; if nothing else it costs too much real life money to keep buying replacement accounts.

But Second Life is free to play, and IP banning won't work because pretty much everyone has a dynamic address ...


You've hit the nail on the head. If free players are causing oh-so-much trouble, why not *stop letting people play for free*? Gee, I wonder why ... or build something into the fucking game to prevent avatars from wreaking havoc. No? (I've only used SL very rarely, once or twice, fwiw.)

The EVE Online attack sounds fantastic, and completely within the terms of use. No?

I know the article was looking at some of the more extreme elements of the griefing community, but griefers are essentially performing QA for the games they grief (well, aside from the whole shooting your own team thing - that's more like trolling). The developers should be grateful, and they probably are.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:59 PM on January 24, 2008


Thanks for the article about the war between alt.tasteless and rec.pets.cats, fleetmouse. That was a great read.
posted by Kattullus at 2:03 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


The PN and other /b/rethren who hail from various sekrit places give these enviroments an edge, a wildness, a sense that not everyone here is just interested in racking up virtual gold or grimly maxing out the stats of their stupid Night Elf.

Chaos needs its champions too.


Dude, there is an awesome, wild place that is more chaotic than you can possibly imagine, and this environment is called OUTSIDE.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:07 PM on January 24, 2008 [11 favorites]


Wahh, wahh, I spend 80 hours a week pretending to be an magic elf princess and these guys showed up and threw fake penises at me for five minutes, wahh wahh.
posted by notmydesk at 2:10 PM on January 24, 2008 [12 favorites]


Generally, no, developers AREN'T grateful for griefers because there's a lot of cool real-world style stuff that can't be done because you have to take all this metagame bullshit into account. Also, griefers never fucking report the serious bugs they find - you only find out after the fact.

Plus, many people really are looking for a holodeck experience - they want a completely immersive fantasy roleplaying environment. Whether or not that's a stupid goal aside, it IS a major market we can't cater to precisely because of this phenomenon. In the final sum there are billions of dollars per year being lost on the part of MMO developers due to an inability to meet the market's demands.

All that said, I agree with the general tone of the article - griefers are ultimately a force for good on the Internet as a whole because they provide those who are observing them (if not their victims) with a much-needed healthy dose of perspective.

I'm honestly not sure whether a 'real' online simulation of Middle Earth is a good thing from a societal perspective - people well and truly escaping their physical reality for a manufactured one. What I *am* sure about though is that as a game developer I'm never going to get the chance to try it out and see what the result is.
posted by Ryvar at 2:13 PM on January 24, 2008


but griefers are essentially performing QA for the games they grief

And spammers are essentially performing QA for mail providers' spam filters!
posted by dersins at 2:15 PM on January 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


On one hand, I think griefing is pretty lame.

On the other hand, I like that griefers expose serious flaws in what are serious businesses. If you're going to host a virtual world as your business, allowing others to make real-world money there, you'd better be damn sure your code is up to snuff and that people can't lose money because your guys don't know what they're doing. Expecting people to "act nice" is just not realistic...it's what has brought spam to our inboxes and malware to our computers.

When the exploit to the tag parsing code showed up in a metatalk thread here, well...imagine it had been someone more malicious out here on the blue, dumping goatse into threads, etc. A real bummer, to be sure, but that would have prompted mathowie and pb to patch the exploit right-pronto. Griefing often can suck in the short-term but result in real long-term improvements.
posted by maxwelton at 2:15 PM on January 24, 2008


Interesting article, thanks.

On a personal level, I think griefers are useful. That isn't to say that I like them, but they're a good reminder of how little anything matters. ... Griefers remind you to take an anodyne pill and stay carefree, because it just doesn't matter.

I have no idea if you're serious, but if you are, I'm here to tell you that this attitude, which you think so sophisticated and self-protective, will not in fact protect you. You will find that things actually do matter. When you're young, though, it can be fun to pretend otherwise, I realize.
posted by languagehat at 2:18 PM on January 24, 2008 [9 favorites]


Goons in MMOs pretty much always turn out to be hilarious and awesome. In addition to the stuff mentioned in the article (I adore GoonFleet's horrifying human wave tactics in EVE), World of Warcraft's Goonsquad Mal'Ganis figured out how to attack a flight master (sort of a vendor who sells flights between towns) at some town or another and, by slowly moving away, eventually lure him to a spot half the continent away. At that point, they hopped on the forum for the Mal'Ganis server and announced that they were holding the flight master hostage and issued demands for his release. Alliance players on the other side started negotiating and searching for the missing flight master, and everyone was having a good time until a GM manually despawned the flight master, causing him to respawn in his proper place.

To expand on the Urban Dead anecdote, Something Awful first came to Urban Dead in the form of The Many. When the game first started, people mostly played on their own, occasionally gathering in small groups of humans and zomibes. The Many was the first real horde, the first time a huge mass of zombies worked together, and the effect was utterly devastating. They easily destroyed any building or suburb they targeted due to their numbers and their cooperation, striking terror into the hearts of the humans and inspiring dozens of later zombie hordes like the Ridleybank Revolutionary Front and the various Mall Tours. Even months after the goons lost interest, you could still spread rumours that The Many were on the march and cause fear.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:18 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


FWIW, the people who I know that do this stuff are crooked in real life, too. I guess they're purists.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:21 PM on January 24, 2008


You're welcome, Katullus. I wish I'd been there for that. I did get onto Usenet before it turned into nothing but porn and warez binaries, but I think I missed out on the real glory days.
posted by fleetmouse at 2:25 PM on January 24, 2008


Steven C.- That was indeed epic. Didn't happen on my server, but I heard on some servers high-level characters with the disease were surrounding lower-level towns of the opposite faction to prevent anybody from getting in or out without dying from it.

I'm surprised that even happened, too, because IIRC during beta they had a similar situation- a raid boss gave a debuff to players that would turn them into a living bomb and deal a ton of AoE damage- like the disease debuff, this could initially be applied to hunter pets, who could then be dismissed and re-activated in a populated area (like a bank). The damage was usually not enough to kill a high-level character, but the number of lowbies you could suicide bomb like that was basically dependent on how many of them you could find in one spot.

Blizzard of course made the Living Bomb debuff unable to target player pets, which made it impossible to do. They fixed the disease problem by changing the boss encounter more substantially than that.
posted by baphomet at 2:26 PM on January 24, 2008


Erm, I like Knytt.

*hears the mermaids calling, each to each*
posted by everichon at 2:27 PM on January 24, 2008


Yeah, they're all clever and smart and shit and rah rah for making people not take the net so seriously, but if they showed up here we'd call them trolls and completely lose our shit. And rightly so.

It's only funny if it's not a game your playing.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:27 PM on January 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


You know who else thought grief was good? That's right: Charlie Brown.
posted by everichon at 2:28 PM on January 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


And spammers are essentially performing QA for mail providers' spam filters!

This is very true. And thus far, spam hasn't been seen as enough of a problem to move away from the idealistic, free, open relay model of email to something where spam can actually be done away with--say, a pay-per-message model or something similar.
posted by maxwelton at 2:29 PM on January 24, 2008


It's only funny if it's not a game your playing.

Tell me the TF2 Griefing videos aren't hilarious.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:29 PM on January 24, 2008


The only way I can see that the griefers are useful is in the same way disease is useful for thinning out populations. Still, I'm not about to be cheering "Yay Bubonic Plague" anytime soon.

They think they're cool for ruining someone else's fun and that seems to me both cruel and juvenile. If I honestly think that someone is lame for spending their free time in a furry sex orgy, then how I am less lame for spending my free time mucking up their fun?

These guys are mean. Period.
posted by pointystick at 2:32 PM on January 24, 2008


Dude, there is an awesome, wild place that is more chaotic than you can possibly imagine, and this environment is called OUTSIDE.

The griefers I know don't spend nearly as much time playing as the self-righteous targets. There are a couple of core individuals who really enjoy scripting and organizing and are online quite a bit, but the rest just join in for raids and general merrymaking and then go their separate ways. Flashmobs indeed; info about upcoming raids is distributed through trusted channels and people just assemble out of nowhere. Many of them get b&, but they're back next time under a new avatar.
posted by Spacelegoman at 2:36 PM on January 24, 2008


Tell me the TF2 Griefing videos aren't hilarious

Where are these?? I'm dyin' to see them...
posted by BobFrapples at 2:39 PM on January 24, 2008


If I honestly think that someone is lame for spending their free time in a furry sex orgy, then how I am less lame for spending my free time mucking up their fun?

Seconded. That's what really baffles me about griefers. And Malor's right, this article does try to paint these people as avant-garde artists trying to fuck with people's conception of the "reality" of the internet.

Give me a break, people who get their kicks from ruining other people's shit are assholes, regardless of how they justify it.
posted by Ndwright at 2:39 PM on January 24, 2008


In World of Warcraft, the legendary Goons of the Mal'ganis server had figured out a way to slay the revered nonplayer character that rules their in-game faction — an achievement tantamount to killing your own team mascot.

I don't have the slightest clue what any of this means, but it actually sounds kind of cool (in that, from my read, it shouldn't have affected other players in a negative way).

In general though, the idea of griefers is just irritates me. I have no problem with their activities as long as they keep in their own houses. It bugs me when it crosses over into the world of innocent bystanders who just want to enjoy whatever game or virtual space that they are paying to experience.

I appreciate their cleverness and creativity, I just wish it was put to a more useful end.
posted by quin at 2:53 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have no idea if you're serious, but if you are, I'm here to tell you that this attitude, which you think so sophisticated and self-protective, will not in fact protect you. You will find that things actually do matter. When you're young, though, it can be fun to pretend otherwise, I realize.

Unfortunately, I am serious. My position is not sophisticated and it's not very self-protective. It's my choice when the all of the alternatives appear to be inappropriate.

Your response bothered me. I didn't let it go. Instead, I'm writing this response, because a response is appropriate.

But the examples I listed are cases where I ran out of appropriate actions. The coworker would not change his ways and I needed the job, so I let it go and worked with him (and discovered the true meaning of passive-agressive). The upstairs neighbor wouldn't listen to me, the landlord refused to do anything, so I waited out the length of the lease. 10 months. And someone who cuts you off in traffic - really, what do you do about that?

I won't pretend that this is an effective method of dealing with things. Most of my energy in these cases is spent dealing with that crushed feeling in my center when I try to forget; I've gone outside and hit dumpsters with metal rods, sat in my car and screamed at nothing. It's frustrating. But forgetting is the only thing that I can do. Let it go. It's not important. Move on.

All I know is that the world isn't fair and any jerk can get to you at any time. There's nothing you can do about that. So... let it go.
posted by suckerpunch at 2:59 PM on January 24, 2008


Second Life entrepreneur Prokofy Neva (Catherine Fitzpatrick in real life) likens griefer attacks to terrorism.

sometimes it is difficult to tell on which side are the internet asshats. likening griefers to terrorism feels like something out of the film Brazil.
posted by 3.2.3 at 3:06 PM on January 24, 2008


Griefing is not causing maximum destruction to "ruin other people's shit", it's being provocative and weird and antagonistic to extract the inherent humour from humourless follower-types who get angry when someone doesn't play the game the way everyone else plays it. Targets are the sort of people who are enraged that bouncing Mario figures are running across their internet lawn, and write angry letters to the virtual Second Life newspaper about it. Why s0 serious?
posted by Spacelegoman at 3:08 PM on January 24, 2008


It's akin to a mob of bullies going around kicking sandcastles. To suggest that the victim should have made the sandcastle bully-proof is to lose sight of the point: bullies are assholes.

I'm not saying that novel EVE tactics are unfair in-game, or that a bit of clowning isn't beneficial, but if you're ruining peoples' fun, you're an asshole.
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:22 PM on January 24, 2008


Oh, another link:

Youtube video of the titan kill.

One thing that the affiliated griefers mentioned above have is great propaganda skills. Through videos, posters and the like, they usually win any emotional war they fight.

As for real life analogies, they are hooligans, and their targets are somewhat indiscriminant, but if they decided to grief the Republican National Convention with photoshopped pictures of a nude Ann Coulter, it'd be funny. Bring lulz to power so to speak. The current target of the 4chan aggregate, Anonymous, is Scientology, a rather deserving target.

Of course, the above logic is the logic of a lynch mob, or the black block anarchist. The current system does not address the perceived or real wrongs perpetrated by the people in question, so direct action must be taken. Destroying a Starbucks is just one more way of ruining someone's shit. And all harbor people who use the implied wrong to mask their love of destruction.I have to admit I am conflicted at the morality of such actions. Using "evil" to combat "evil", while an effective solution, makes all a shade of gray.

And if we received a wave of griefers to mefi, the powers that be would do what they usually do, close registrations, and silently ban the idiots. ADD addled as internet collectives are, they'd move on.
posted by zabuni at 3:22 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


After reading the article and the comments attached to the article, I think that Prokofy could stand to be griefed a little more often, preferably in such a way that it continues to hurt her bottom line. I'd like to sign up, please.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 3:26 PM on January 24, 2008


You will find that things actually do matter. When you're young, though, it can be fun to pretend otherwise, I realize.

I have often felt that, to the contrary, the world we live in would not be so screwed up if more people didn't take things, and themselves, so damned seriously.

I'm not a fan of griefers or griefing. I also am not a fan of people ignoring their families to play WoW for hours on end (and I used to be one of those players). You have to have balance, and though I don't see griefers as modern-day Robin Hoods, if someone gets a wake-up call as a result of their actions, I can definitely see the benefit.
posted by misha at 3:33 PM on January 24, 2008


Spacelegoman
it's being provocative and weird and antagonistic to extract the inherent humour from humourless follower-types who get angry when someone doesn't play the game the way everyone else plays it

Please, spare us. These people aren't iconoclastic pranksters spreading enlightenment. They're assholes getting humor, as you put it, by making other people miserable. They make themselves feel better by spouting the same crap as you, that their victims deserved it. Is it really so hard to just let people have fun the way they like? You're not doing anyone a favor, you're just being an asshole who laughs at other people's misfortunes.
posted by Sangermaine at 3:35 PM on January 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


ten pounds of inedita: She's been banned from almost every forum she's posted on with regularity for similar posting tactics. Self righteous to a word, and will make what everyone does as somehow analogous to some form of soviet history. The official Second Life forums, Terra Nova, and several others.

And that's what I was talking about. She's annoying, and there is some schadenfreude seeing her blow a gasket.
posted by zabuni at 3:39 PM on January 24, 2008


To begin with, we've been confidently (and correctly) expecting this sort of thing since at least 1956: Monsters, John. Monsters from the id. To end with, internet disputes are so venomous because so little is at stake.
posted by jfuller at 3:52 PM on January 24, 2008


"The urge to destroy is a creative one too"

Care bear games like WoW and, presumably, Second Life NEED griefers. These climate controlled environments that offer no real challenge, except that of swallowing your bile to do the exact same thing you have done for the entirety of your existence in game, deserve all the anarchy people can try to create.

"...techniques designed to push users past the brink of moral outrage toward that rare moment — at once humiliating and enlightening — when they find themselves crying over a computer game."

That quote pretty much sums it up.
posted by Max Power at 3:56 PM on January 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I won't pretend that this is an effective method of dealing with things.

That's why it isn't admirable to try and grief people into dealing with things that way. It's also arrogant, presumptuous and ineffective. Oh, and a dick move (or in the case of the flying penises, moving dicks).

All I know is that the world isn't fair and any jerk can get to you at any time. There's nothing you can do about that.

"Damn, I tried getting really upset and punching a door, but it just didn't work! The world is a meaningless wasteland of misery!! And I won't countenance anyone thinking otherwise..."
posted by Drexen at 3:58 PM on January 24, 2008


The GHSC heist and the destruction of BoB's Titan weren't griefing; they were early events in the history of a developing virtual world. Players didn't (as far as I know, I could very well be wrong) exploit the game mechanics or the ethos of the world.

But dropping big pink dicks down on someone's press conference is...well, funny the first time, but progressively less so. Like streaking a sports event. With a megaphone. Screaming, "Lookit me!"

Some irruptions of art into public space are fun and imaginative and provocative, some are simply tendentious and annoying; whether IRL or not.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:12 PM on January 24, 2008


To those suggesting griefers in online games are necessary to bring home to players that they're playing too much, or that what they're doing doesn't matter, or whatever such bollocks: how many hours of football practice does a person have to do each week before someone's justified in coming up and rubbing some fresh shit into their face?
posted by terpsichoria at 4:15 PM on January 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


They smite many, including many of the self righteous. And like most bullies, their actions are precisely calibrated to cause the loudest wailing. And there is much to admire in something done well.

Yeah, Bush might be a fuckwit, but he's *our* fuckwit, and there's much to admire about waterboarding/bombing the sand niggers/taxing the poor, etc.

Strictly for the lulz, of course.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:16 PM on January 24, 2008


Depending the courtesy of strangers on the internet to maintain emotional equilibrium is pretty unhealthy, and, under the right conditions, lol-worthy.

Mostly though, I like griefers because they puncture those egos, fantasies, narratives, et cetera that balloon all out of reasonable proportion. By prying away at weak spots they make the whole structure stronger.
posted by Ictus at 4:19 PM on January 24, 2008


TF2 Griefing

More Tf2 Griefing
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:29 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


D00d, that old lady's house down the street looks in good shape. She must think she's hot shit for keeping a nice home. Let's burn it d0wn!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:32 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is the destruction of the titan in EVE really an example of griefing? It looked like a masterpiece of strategy to me.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:34 PM on January 24, 2008


Something I happened to be in the middle of writing about this very thing:
Second Life (and for that matter online troll/griefer culture in general) reminds me strongly of the movie Paint Your Wagon. It's a long but good movie, well worth a Netflix rental; the upshot is that the principals build a town "just the way they want" in the untamed goldrush West, with casinos and saloons and whorehouses and not a care in the world. But the they
discover that a fortune in gold dust is literally falling through the cracks in the floorboards of those places, so they excavate to get it. Their efforts cause the town to collapse -- except for the new church and courthouse, built by the farmers where the fortune seekers couldn't be bothered to notice.
For an example of how this goes down, check out the charred husk of kuro5hin.org sometime.
posted by localroger at 4:39 PM on January 24, 2008


Based on this and a previous post about a infiltration/coup (within the rules), EVE sort of sounds like an awesome game. Is it?
posted by Bookhouse at 4:50 PM on January 24, 2008


OK Pope Guilty, I didn't laugh until the TF2 griefers held the team ransom with periodic table quizzes.
posted by anthill at 4:52 PM on January 24, 2008


Bookhouse: Do you enjoy spreadsheets and treachery? (In that order.)
posted by absalom at 4:53 PM on January 24, 2008


zabuni writes "21st century Merry Pranksters, with a bitter edge."

I disagree strongly. That gives the Pranksters a bad name. From your link:

"There are no membership requirements to be a Merry Prankster. As Kesey put it when asked how you become a Merry Prankster, "I don't pick 'em, I recognize them." People who consider themselves Pranksters in spirit are said to be "on the bus" whether or not they ever actually took a bus trip with Kesey. In other words, the bus has become a metaphor for the lifestyle of anyone who is in solidarity with the psychedelic movement and who encourages others to have mind expanding experiences, with or without drugs. While everyone is invited to consider themselves a member of the Merry Pranksters, Kesey was strict about what should constitute a proper prank. He said a successful prank must not physically hurt anyone, and the person being pranked must in some way be enlightened by the experience."
posted by krinklyfig at 4:58 PM on January 24, 2008


Oh, and I think the problem with these discussions are the false equivalents. Burning down an old ladies house? Terrorism I mean, that's just absurd. Someone throwing a basketball at my Cataan game is not the Holocaust.

And, I don't deny that there are people out there who might be as psychically scarred by a penis attack during their QandA as by losing their sister in 9/11 (Whoa, this heavy handed metaphor hammer swings both ways? Ye-haw!). That person is at least as maladjusted as the griefer.
posted by absalom at 4:59 PM on January 24, 2008


absalom, you're quite right. It's felony theft and what would be felony assault under a pretty reasonable extension of current legal thinking. (You don't have to touch someone to assault them, just make them feel threatened. Feeling they might be robbed is good enough.) Check out the land use fees for SL sometime, which for the more elaborate rigs are comparable to renting a real apartment, and tell me nobody should be upset.

Incidentally, having played around with it for a few hours I fault Linden for a lot of it in SL. The way people are using it there is no reason at all for a lot of these attacks to be possible, but the restrictions that do exist are designed much more effectively to separate you from your money than to keepy ou secure in your online person.
posted by localroger at 5:06 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have no idea if you're serious, but if you are, I'm here to tell you that this attitude, which you think so sophisticated and self-protective, will not in fact protect you. You will find that things actually do matter.

Gotta agree with languagehat here. Nothing in the world is funnier than people on the internet taking things seriously - until YOU are that person.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:12 PM on January 24, 2008


If you destroyed $10,000 worth of cars in a demolition derby you'd be fine, I think...On the whole it made the game more interesting.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 1:22 PM on January 24 [2 favorites +] [!]


Griefing is not causing maximum destruction to "ruin other people's shit", it's being provocative and weird and antagonistic to extract the inherent humour from humourless follower-types who get angry when someone doesn't play the game the way everyone else plays it.
posted by Spacelegoman at 3:08 PM on January 24

I think these guys nailed it. I run a large (25k players) MUD, one that attracts the full range of Bartle personality types. It is a PvP/PK-optional game. The people that 'play' the game in a straightforward fashion are 3/4 of the players; the explorers/do-everythings, the socializers/RPers, the achiever/number-runners. The remaining players are the PKers, absolutely the most controversial bunch of players, but the ones that play the game in what I find to be the most interesting way. They are the ones that hunt and kill everyone else, within the normal, permitted and encouraged confines of the game's PK system. They drive the system, and are the most dynamic group of the bunch, by which I mean that because they are forced to fight not scripted monsters but each other, they must adapt and become better at fighting than humans, not just better than whatever big monster they've found.

They are frequently accused of griefing, both rightly and wrongly. If all you were interested in was socializing, some asshole coming up to you and killing you for no reason would be unacceptable, indefensible and unexplainable. Yet, it is a PK game. There will be assholes, and it's a matter of finding acceptable asshole outlets for them so they're not forced to make them up themselves. In terms of Second Life, it's much better to just allow the occasional penisstorms coming through than it is to lock everything down- that would stifle innovation, and force people to just come up with worse, more wiley harassment tactics. There are people that cross the metagame line, and do things that break the system, or exploit social/code oversights. They are punished, and validly so; I don't think anyone has a problem with that. However, it would be ideal to create a playspace for the assholes as well, where they can be legitimized and have their asshole fun in a way that jibes well with others.

When people die in our game, they can lose equipment, if they're in the wrong spot- equipment that it's taken dozens of man-hours to make or find, equipment that might only be obtainable one holiday a year. this isn't particularly different than the ship lost in EVE, albeit on a smaller scale. As long as people know that their investments can be lost, there shouldn't be a problem when it happens. If these were peoples' livelihoods, then that was a stupid choice on their part. Otherwise, it's just the recreational activity that it's intended to be; no different from sinking money into demolition derby or video games or any other non-constructive hobby.
posted by zevious at 5:16 PM on January 24, 2008 [6 favorites]


I haven't read through this thread, but I do have mixed feelings on griefing. On the one hand, I applaud subversive activities meant to throw a wrench into the machinery with a bit of surreal flair, like Robert Anton Wilson's character Markoff Cheney, the Merry Pranksters, the revolutionaries in Fight Club, culture jamming, etc. Some of what qualifies as griefing almost touches culture jamming, except that there is no point to it at all except to irritate people. In that sense it's juvenile and destructive, and only sometimes surreal. I'd also add anti-social, but that's such a loaded term, though I think it applies here. This is the equivalent of streaking during a football game, or toilet-papering someone's house, or, in extreme cases, like egging someone's car and causing paint damage. In other words, this sort of activity is something you're supposed to grow out of by the time you graduate high school. But telling the Internet to "grow up" doesn't work very well, either.

This is along the lines of the Usenet spam-griefer hipcrime. At the time, the activities of hipcrime were clever and interesting from a technical perspective, especially as he demonstrated very clearly the fatal shortcomings of nntp, but ultimately he rendered many newsgroups unusable and destroyed a lot of online communities, all for his own amusement (and now his software benefits real spammers backed by organized crime, although to be fair it's very simple and anyone could have created it). Seems like the same thing going on here. I don't miss hipcrime, and I wouldn't be sad if these guys grew up and moved on with their lives. Or at least if they just figured out how to be clever and subversive in a non-douchenozzle sort of way.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:22 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Bookhouse: Do you enjoy spreadsheets and treachery? (In that order.)

So it's the Enron game?
posted by Bookhouse at 5:24 PM on January 24, 2008


This is no game. You might think this is a game, but, trust me, this is no game.
posted by Slap Factory at 5:29 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Max Power writes "Care bear games like WoW and, presumably, Second Life NEED griefers. These climate controlled environments that offer no real challenge, except that of swallowing your bile to do the exact same thing you have done for the entirety of your existence in game, deserve all the anarchy people can try to create."

It doesn't offer people a "challenge." It just pisses them off. Nothing constructive comes out of it. It's a very shallow view of what "anarchy" really means. Nobody "deserves" to be fucked with, just because you don't approve of their activities.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:37 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I love the lulz, but I think trying to justify the lulz using the same moral framework that is used to condemn them is both futile and unnecessary.

I freely admit that, under certain values, pursuing the lulz is "useless" and "being an asshole." I have no use for such a system of values, though, and the opinions of people who adopt such a system are of no particular concern to me.

To the extent the lulz need to be justified, they justify themselves.
posted by "Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys at 5:52 PM on January 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


These climate controlled environments that offer no real challenge, except that of swallowing your bile to do the exact same thing you have done for the entirety of your existence in game, deserve all the anarchy people can try to create.

You're so adorable.

That picture's awesome, too. Couple of pasty bros out together havin' a few smokes, a few brewskis, and an evening of furry-taunting. (Look at broheems in the middle--he looks so determined). The night was made for Michlelob!
posted by octobersurprise at 6:05 PM on January 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Technicality: The artical mentions goreans rather than furries.
posted by Artw at 6:08 PM on January 24, 2008


Everybody needs a victim.

every kumrad is a little bit of concentrated hate
posted by solistrato at 6:18 PM on January 24, 2008


Artw: Furries are a main target of pretty much every trolling and griefing organization spawned from SA/*chan. They are a perversion and an abomination, and when their AIDS-ridden fortresses are brought low by the holy fire of a self-replicating prim, their tears are like sweet music to every right-thinking citizen of the internets. The impure must be cleansed. lul.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOtCXxKZV9o
posted by Spacelegoman at 6:41 PM on January 24, 2008


"Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys writes "I freely admit that, under certain values, pursuing the lulz is 'useless' and 'being an asshole.' I have no use for such a system of values, though, and the opinions of people who adopt such a system are of no particular concern to me."

Except that, for instance, when you join a community like Second Life Metafilter, there is a certain behavior expected of you, or you have to leave. Yeah, there are some epic threads in Metatalk of high melodrama, but anyone who qualifies as a griefer ends up spending a very short time here. Would this be a better place if it were otherwise?
posted by krinklyfig at 6:52 PM on January 24, 2008


To the extent the lulz need to be justified, they justify themselves.

The lulz that can be named are not the true lulz.
posted by Kinbote at 6:54 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Except that, for instance, when you join a community like Second Life Metafilter, there is a certain behavior expected of you, or you have to leave.

I don't disagree with any of this. As a practical matter, one often has to tailor one's behavior (or at least the perception of one's behavior) to obtain the results one desires (or to avoid undesired results). Simple cause and effect.

However, in the abstract, I don't think I am obligated to justify anything I do to anyone. I have no interest in purely moral arguments against the lulz.
posted by "Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys at 7:11 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


They are a perversion and an abomination

The lulz are that you sound like Tipper Gore on the topic of 2 Live Crew. You know what I think? I think the furries are trolling you!
posted by octobersurprise at 7:14 PM on January 24, 2008


I AM ZARATHUSTRA!!! I TEACH YOU THE OVERMAN WHO NEEDS NOT JUSTIFY THE LULZ!!!!
posted by octobersurprise at 7:22 PM on January 24, 2008


The thing is, entertainment based virtual worlds (I exclude Second Life here, for the moment) are fundamentally all about stories. The game itself is often stupidly boring. As a raw game mechanic, WoW is pretty terrible. For the vast majority of PvE encounters, you press the same 4 buttons every time for hours, and just hope you don't pull another mob that messes up your pattern. The same goes for raids that you've got on farm status. They're really repetitive. But what makes these worlds so compelling is the stories that arise. The controversial characters, the time you did all the wrong things on a raid but survived anyway, the time you beat the bullies at their own game, the time you won a Halo game against people who were cheating. That shit feels GREAT, and you'll tell those stories to your friends (the ones who won't make fun of you too much, anyway) for years.

The goons have refined the process of creating these stories for themselves to a fine art. The flight master hostage taking incident is brilliant – it was probably annoying for a few hours, but it's a pretty funny story that lightens an otherwise monotonous existence in WoW. What the goons do isn't strictly griefing, and it isn't just cheating. It's pushing the boundaries of how people look at the worlds they inhabit. At its best, it doesn't victimize people too much, and represents a sort of public performance art. Of course, there is a fine line here that is sometimes crossed. But I still salute the goons for their inventive public creativity in spaces that are normally homogenous corporate blobs.
posted by heresiarch at 7:23 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


They are a perversion and an abomination

You really need to look into goreans more.
posted by Artw at 7:27 PM on January 24, 2008


OctoberSurprise, that's part of the fun - the rhetoric, the propaganda that operates on multiple levels for those in the know, griefers using American Flag textures and patriotic imagery, etc... it's obviously false moral outrage, but people take the bait anyway.

PS: Tex knows of what he speaks.
posted by Spacelegoman at 7:35 PM on January 24, 2008


. . . . for once.

(lulz)
posted by absalom at 7:42 PM on January 24, 2008


that's part of the fun

Wait a minute? How do I know that you're not Tipper Gore?

GRRR!!! I AM A FAT BOY WITH NO FACIAL HAIR!!!! I AM THE OVERMAN!!! I WILL TEACH YOU THE LULZ!!!! GRRR!!!!
posted by octobersurprise at 7:44 PM on January 24, 2008


Nothing is being taught. I'm not fat. Although I don't have facial hair, so you get one out of three. Not enough for a gold star, sry :-(
posted by Spacelegoman at 8:14 PM on January 24, 2008


You cannot teach the lulz. You can only live them.

I think it would be epic lulz if everyone in this thread banned themselves. I'll start!
posted by "Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys at 8:23 PM on January 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


GRRR!!! I LACK FACIAL HAIR BUT I AM NOT A FAT BOY, REALLY I AM THE OVERMAN!!! I DO NOT GIVE OUT GOLD STARS!!! YOU MUST EARN THEM!!! GRR!!

Whatevs, Tipper.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:32 PM on January 24, 2008


I CLAIM THIS THREAD AND ALL OF IT'S RICHES IN THE NAME OF HOT MAN SEX FOR ME AND MY DESCENDENTS. GRRR!! ARRR!!!
posted by octobersurprise at 8:41 PM on January 24, 2008


"ITS" riches - there's no apostrophe in the possessive form.
posted by Spacelegoman at 8:55 PM on January 24, 2008


Some of this stuff is somewhat creative and arguably necessary in the maturation and development of online experiences, and some of which is the equivalent of an asshole in a movie theater with a laser pointer.

This article is the equivalent of an article about schoolyard shenanigans that manages not to discern the difference between spitballs in the lunchroom and beating the crap out of weak kid after school.
posted by billyfleetwood at 8:57 PM on January 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


You know, when I think about it, I wish grieving were a lot more specific with its targets.

've seen my son, for example, work really hard to get to a level in a game because he thinks a certain kind of armor is really cool and just wants it for his character, and then someone on the same quest turns around and betrays the whole party and takes all the loot. It would have him practically in tears. I would call that "farming," but some might consider it grieving...that type of stuff sucks.
posted by misha at 9:01 PM on January 24, 2008


APOSTROPHES WORK FOR ME, SONNY!!! YOU'RE AWFULLY ANAL, AREN'T YOU???
posted by octobersurprise at 9:02 PM on January 24, 2008


I think it would be epic lulz if everyone in this thread banned themselves. I'll start!

I'll be damned. He did.

I wonder if one of the mods finally agreed to give him his old account back.
posted by dersins at 9:10 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


There are two types of bullies: cowards and non. When I was a sophomore in high school, I was tormented by a bully in the former category. He would sneak up and slap the bottom of whatever paper cup I was holding, which always contained copious quantities of carbonated beverage and ice. It wasn't funny then, and it isn't funny now, retrospectively. This asshole did this more times than I accurately remember; dozens at least.

One day, I saw him approaching out of the corner of my eye. I swung and coldcocked him before he had wasted another drink. I pushed him into the fountain (yeah, we had a fountain. What an inspired design decision!), then held his head underwater until I was pulled off by more rational people.

There were other bullies who also tormented me, but they weren't cowards. They just strode up and pummeled me. This particular asshole, the coward, would sneak and run. After I had almost killed him, he never bothered me again.

If there was any risk of true physical altercation between griefers and their victims, most of it would stop overnight. Because griefers are chickenshits, most of them.

If a group of assholes came running into my house, sounding claxons and beating drums, terrorizing me deliberately as I was attempting to enjoy dinner or my most recent Netflix delivery, I would call the police. After a dozen times, if the police had been unsuccessful at preventing this bullying, these cowards would all come to grievous bodily harm.

If Linden and Blizzard and CCP actually punished the chickenshits, with heavy fines (by wage garnishment, if necessary), and public unmasking, they would go away. If courts can ban people from using the Internet for years (or for life) for other crimes, then griefing should be no different. The average griefer would rather felate his father on cable then lose his Internet access.
posted by Chasuk at 9:23 PM on January 24, 2008


dersins: I wonder if one of the mods finally agreed to give him his old account back.

They did. Then he got himself banned.
posted by Kattullus at 9:29 PM on January 24, 2008


If Linden and Blizzard and CCP actually punished the chickenshits, with heavy fines (by wage garnishment, if necessary), and public unmasking, they would go away. If courts can ban people from using the Internet for years (or for life) for other crimes, then griefing should be no different.

Unfortunately for your plan, a private entity doesn't generally have the power to levy punitive fines. I suppose Linden and Blizzard could refuse to let the offender resume using the service without the payment of a large fee, but since they can't even seem to make an outright ban stick, I wouldn't be optimistic on this front.

As for making griefing a crime, such a law would surely run afoul of the First Amendment.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:38 PM on January 24, 2008


Punishing people who make fun of you in a computer game with "wage garnishment" is probably the stupidest idea ever.

Someone call the internet police! That guy over there fired a gun at me which shoots pictures of Spongebob! All... the... schoolyard... pain... coming... back... nrrrggggggggggg...
posted by Spacelegoman at 9:39 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Heh, I jumped the gun. Apologies to you, Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America, I thought you'd been banned.
posted by Kattullus at 9:43 PM on January 24, 2008


If Linden and Blizzard and CCP actually punished the chickenshits, with heavy fines (by wage garnishment, if necessary), and public unmasking, they would go away.

Well, I'm sure it sucks for the SL users, but personally, I think that being the sorts who spend time taunting furries (or Goreans, whatevs) in SL is punishment enough. I mean, gosh--I look at the pictures of those guys and I'd no more want to be them than I'd want to be Steven C. Den Beste with a catgirl fixation.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:53 PM on January 24, 2008


Punishing people who make fun of you in a computer game with "wage garnishment" is probably the stupidest idea ever

It might be a stupid idea, but I can think of a stupider one: basing your entire identity as a person on making fun of people in computer games.
posted by dersins at 9:56 PM on January 24, 2008


It is indeed interesting that internet misanthropes are universally ugly. Does inner ugliness despoil one's appearance? Does being ugly result in a lifetime of mistreatment and rejection, leading to internet hooliganism? Is there another explanation?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:00 PM on January 24, 2008


Everyone on the internet is ugly.
posted by Spacelegoman at 10:10 PM on January 24, 2008


OMG The ironic lulz are ever so strong with you two.
posted by dersins at 10:12 PM on January 24, 2008


I don't grief, but it's hilarious and so I approve of it. Honestly, these guys drive Internet pop culture. They're the early adopters who create memes, popularize new technologies and so on. Besides, the straw men arguments that these are serious crimes miss the point. These are words and pictures on the Internet. It isn't that important.

Besides, griefing produces great comedy like this invasion of an online dating game.

Oh and the griefers can be motivated to do good. Groups of them regularly go after 419 scammers, pedophiles and other real criminals, all for the lulz.
posted by clockworkjoe at 10:13 PM on January 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


It might be a stupid idea, but I can think of a stupider one: basing your entire identity as a person on making fun of people in computer games.

Since when do these people do that? Occasionally, they do it for the lulz, just like any other hobby.

Obviously it's not all good: I'll draw examples from the current ongoing attack on Scientology. For a while some elements of Anonymous were vandalizing Wikipedia as part of it, which is pretty much anti-lulz. However, the spreading of secret documents and the truth about Scientology, the DDoS, the flyers and whatever at Scientology headquarters, the vague hope that someone might just manage to hack in and find out where the money's going? Epic lulz.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:39 PM on January 24, 2008


clockworkjoe writes:

These are words and pictures on the Internet. It isn't that important.

You just don't get it, do you?

So, let's suppose that you and your buddies get together once a week to play poker, and it is a major source of anxiety relief. Or maybe you and your buddies go fishing every week, for this same stress relief, for unwinding. Now imagine that a bunch of assholes run in, and for no reason other than malicious kicks, sabotage your poker or your fishing.

Now I can say, it's only cheap beer and pieces of paper, or it's only cheap beer and a can of maggots. It's not that important.

To many of us, it is that important. I have two daughters, one in South Korea and the other in Hawaii. Nephews and brothers and sisters and mother-in-laws and sister-in-laws all live in distant places. But we get together in this make-believe world of "words and pictures on the Internet" and we laugh and we love and we share just as authentically as if we were meeting in my backyard. When we can afford it, and when schedules allow, we do meet face-to-face. But it isn't often possible, so these virtual meetings are very important.

What can be said of family can also be said of friends. I know severely disabled people whose only, or major, social interaction is made possible by MMORPGs. But it's only "words and pictures on the Internet," according to you.

Any human activity or pastime can be reduced to an "It's only-" unimportance. Anything can be trivialized. But enjoying an MMORPG is no more "only" about words and pictures on the Internet than baseball is only about men spitting and hitting balls with sticks.
posted by Chasuk at 11:45 PM on January 24, 2008 [7 favorites]


How many hilarious griefs have we heard about? Like 10? 20, tops? Across the entirety of the multiplayer gaming world? That's like, one every six months. Yet griefing goes on daily, hours and hours of time that are not even worth posting on YouTube. The hilarious griefs are to the practice of griefing what Jackass is to the guy who shits on the seat of a gas station toilet.

Ignore the philosophical self-justification. Griefing is motivated by the community of goons. There's a reason it's centered around SA and projects are achieved by huge teams. With the exception of the organizers, each griefer is just a gamma male in the wolf pack, hoping to distinguish themselves and move up to beta. The babytalk, the self-congratulatory images and brassy stories: posturing. Someone with video editing skillz > someone who can make clever photoshops. There's no point to griefing unless you have someone else to brag to.
posted by breath at 12:31 AM on January 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


I have mixed feelings about griefers in general; one the one hand what they do can occasionally be inspired, amusing, much deserved, or for the common good, but for the most part it is a mean spirited impulse masquerading as anything other than that.

It really isn't helpful to refer to griefers as if they were simply one entity either. There is certainly a qualitative difference between someone who makes themselves a pain as a PKer in a game, or between a forum troll, or a petty scammer in an MMO, or the goons at SA, or someone who gets their kicks out of launching DDoS attacks. All of those people are griefers, but the differences in tactics and levels of maliciousness make it hard to really lump them together.

Is suspect that some of these people are young and frustrated at a lack of ability to effect change in their lives or in the world at large in a meaningful way, so taking it out on the internet against an inviting target like the Church of Scientology is the next best thing. Others are just bored and looking for something entertaining to do under the veil of semi-anonymity, which can be anything from devising a clever prank to tricking you out of a few bucks. Some, like PKers, are looking for a challenge or a way to prove how superior they are. And then again others really just like to wreck your shit.

They certainly keep things lively, and, aside from a few cases, they cause much more aggravation than genuine harm, but it's also a mistake to romanticize them as very much more than e-thugs with a bit of creativity. I guess it comes down to a case by case basis of whether a particular person or incident leans more towards the outlaw spirit of the internet or towards plain old fashioned bullying, and the gulf between those two things makes it easy to end up talking past each other when it comes to griefers.
posted by CheshireCat at 12:41 AM on January 25, 2008


I freely admit that, under certain values, pursuing the lulz is "useless" and "being an asshole." I have no use for such a system of values, though, and the opinions of people who adopt such a system are of no particular concern to me.

Well, Tex, someday someone is going to punch you in the face just for the lulz.
posted by Malor at 3:27 AM on January 25, 2008


How many hilarious griefs have we heard about? Like 10? 20, tops? Across the entirety of the multiplayer gaming world? That's like, one every six months. Yet griefing goes on daily, hours and hours of time that are not even worth posting on YouTube.

"I only see movies when someone hands me a DVD and tells me to watch it, but I'm qualified to talk about movies in an authoritative way."

"I only drink beer on the rare occasion that someone buys me one, but..."

Eh, you get the idea. If you're not plugged into the culture and, like most netizens (I know that word never caught on, but dammit, I like it!) only find out about this stuff when it filters out to the mainstream, of course it looks like funny things only happen every few months. You might as well claim that that one show that you happen to catch every month or so is only good once a month.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:14 AM on January 25, 2008


Sorry, but I'm actually with the griefers. There is a huge difference between griefers and trolls, btw. Sure, there's a bit of powertripping with both, but they're completely different critters.

Trolls are motivated by anger. They enjoy pissing people off. That's what it's all about - the time spent creating multiple personas, the idiot board/post hijacks, the namecalling, the sheer screechiness of 'em, the death threats when they're banned.

Griefers are motivated by mockery and satire. Sorry, but it is just a game, y'all. It's fun, but it's a game. When you start thinking of something you only could ever see in pixels on a screen as being equivalent to a house or a car you could sell, you really need to take a break. That guy who spent $10K on the Titan? You're saying he couldn't spend that time, effort & money on something better in the real world?

The woman calling griefing terrorism? Please! You mean someone having a penis parade or a Mario invasion of an island is just like suicide bombers in a train or a mall. Yep... just like the Trade Centre bombings, in fact. Get a grip, folks. Of course she'll be pissed off - she's making money off of this nonsense. To her it's deadly serious stuff. But it's nowhere as serious as people losing limbs, fer chrissakes.

I don't know a single person I'd think of as well-adjusted that plays internet games as anything other than a way to blow off steam and problemsolve (questing). Instead of saying the griefers are maladjusted, I'd ask who these people are who are going online and expect it to be nonstop instant wish gratification.

The minute you start interacting with people in any capacity, you run the risk of conflict & challenge just as much as you might find cooperation and support. The minute you play a game, you run the risk of having your character killed off by a tougher opponent. You post an argument to a board, someone's going to disagree with you. There is a type of person on most boards who screeches to the mod the minute someone posts something they don't like, or that they are being picked on if someone disagrees with them. They make the "I'm just here for fun" argument, many of them.

Sorry, just a cranky old lady who's tired of the endless march of fluffbunnies across the internet. And who thinks griefers are hilarious, stimulating and frustrating in equal measure.
posted by Grrlscout at 5:31 AM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Grrlscout: I take it griefers have never given you personally any grief. It's always easy and fun to sneer at other people's problems.
posted by languagehat at 7:23 AM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sorry, but it is just a game, y'all ... [I'm] just a cranky old lady who's tired of the endless march of fluffbunnies across the internet.

If it's just a game, why do the fluffbunnies yank yer crank so much?
posted by octobersurprise at 8:45 AM on January 25, 2008


girlscout The people who built the Titan (it was a group of people, not just one guy) did not spend $10,000 on it. That figure comes from how much realworld money they would have had to spend to buy sufficient in game money to buy the thing. While it is possible they did buy some of the money from gold farmers, which is a violation of the EVE terms of service, it isn't at all likely that they spent ten thousand actual US dollars on it. The corporation that built it is big, had a lot of players who mined for in game resources, and in all likelihood built it without spending much, if any, real money.

Personally, I doubt that the gold farmers even *have* $10,000 in EVE money to sell. From what I understand EVE isn't a particularly lucrative field for the gold farmers to work, places like WoW, Everquest, etc give them more profit.

Also, I think the inclusion of the destruction of BoB's [1] Titan was not proper. In EVE that's not griefing, that's just the way the game world works. Its a big, bad universe out there, and there are people who will blow you up. In other games, like WoW or whatever, it'd definately be griefing, but in EVE its just part of the game.

Bookhouse Fun in EVE depends *entirely* on the people you play with. The PvE (Player vs. Environment) content in EVE is, frankly, pretty bland and uninspiring. All computer generated missions come down to two basic things: deliver X goods to Y station, or fly to X location and blow up some NPC's. The only content worth mentioning is the player generated content, and that is often quite fun and involving.

There's also a learning curve that's more like a learning cliff, and for the first few weeks of play (longer if you don't build your skills properly) you won't be able to do much of the really cool stuff.

The good news is that there isn't any grinding in EVE. Skill training is based entirely on time, you set your character to study a skill and in X hours that skill will advance to the next level, while the studying is taking place you can play, and the studying continues even if you've logged off, which is nice.

[1] That's Band of Brothers, the corporation that built the Titan.
posted by sotonohito at 9:26 AM on January 25, 2008


Instead of saying the griefers are maladjusted, I'd ask who these people are who are going online and expect it to be nonstop instant wish gratification.

Probably the same people who are looking for a little escape from the bullying, trolling equivalent of griefer assholes who plague the real world.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:27 AM on January 25, 2008


So, let's suppose that you and your buddies get together once a week to play poker, and it is a major source of anxiety relief. Or maybe you and your buddies go fishing every week, for this same stress relief, for unwinding. Now imagine that a bunch of assholes run in, and for no reason other than malicious kicks, sabotage your poker or your fishing.

Now I can say, it's only cheap beer and pieces of paper, or it's only cheap beer and a can of maggots. It's not that important.


Great strawman argument! Because the Internet is exactly like meatspace and there is absolutely no way to privately communicate with people online. You can only do so in publicly available MMORPGs that griefers can also access. Using Ichat or some other chatroom program or IM or any of several dozen options is totally impossible.

Because, as we all know, the Internet is very serious business.
posted by clockworkjoe at 9:41 AM on January 25, 2008


octobersurprise: they annoy me because they tend to push intelligent discussion towards mush and they whine. A lot. I used to mod a board back in the dark ages and would be spammed by fluffbunnies whining about things that frankly weren't worth whining about. Fluffbunnies also tend to turn into trolls if they feel they aren't getting the attention or validation they crave. Kind of like the internet version of mogwai.

languagehat: no, but then again, I am not a furry. I'm sure I'm in a category of some sort that can be mocked, but frankly, if you're a furry or a juggalo, imo, you're begging someone to mock you.

Sotanohito: I understood what they meant by in-game gold vs IRL gold. I also meant freaking time. That's a lot of Saturdays and weeknights in front of a computer for something that really doesn't have much value. If you're playing a game in that kind of dog-eat-dog universe, why be surprised that someone destroyed it and looted your corpse?

That being said about griefers, PKers who wait in newbie portal spots to kill them for whatever gold and pathetic armour/weapons they have when they first start the game are lame. But ganging up on a massively powerful overlord & figuring out how to beat him? Coolness!

Speaking of real lives... ;)
posted by Grrlscout at 9:43 AM on January 25, 2008


Grrlscout That's my point. BoB wasn't surprised. Dissapointed, naturally, but I don't think any of them were wailing about it being mean.

Which is why I say the article is *massively* biased in favor of the assholes. The author included numerous incidents that aren't, actually, griefing. It sets up a false frame, and poisons the well for actual discussion of griefing.

Look at the incidents included in the article:

1) The use of hacks, exploits, and other crap to mess over Second Life. Genuine example of griefing. They crashed servers, disrupted the game, etc.
2) A description of the Goons building mockeries of Furry hangouts. Not even remotely griefing.
3) A description of the Goons killing their faction leader in WoW. Not even remotely griefing.
4) That insane person from SL compairing the events of 1 to terrorism, nothing to do with griefing, but it sure does paint the opponents of the assholes as pathetic losers.
5) The disruption of the CNET interview in SL. Griefing, but a minor example.
6) The destruction of BoB's Titan. Not even remotely griefing.
7) A description of Lotax that has squat to do with the subject, but again is there specifically to make it look all fun and games, and to make the people who say "Christ, what assholes" look like pathetic losers.

So, out of seven main points in the article exactly two are griefing, and the other were included in a bit of tactical linguistics to make anyone who dislikes griefing look like a little whiny crybaby, and to make the griefers look like heroic studs who bring a necessary bit of reality back to the lives of pathetic internet losers via a special brand of tough love.

And I say fuck that noise.

Griefers are assholes, plain and simple. Their hobby is ruining other people's fun.

And, more to the point, fuck do you care if someone spends a lot of time playing a computer game? That's just part of the insane "Protestant Work Ethic" crap we've unfortunately inherited. "OMG, how dare that vile person have fun and spend their time doing something that isn't on my approved list of how to spend your time! Won't some noble griefer show that pathetic fool the error of his ways?"

How dare people get involved (emotionally, temporally, financially, socially, however) in something you think is a waste of time. The temarity of those awful people to enjoy something you don't think is useful. You kids get off my internet. Etc.
posted by sotonohito at 10:43 AM on January 25, 2008 [14 favorites]


frankly, if you're a furry or a juggalo, imo, you're begging someone to mock you.

Yeah, because only people exactly like you are fully human and deserve sympathy. Anyone with different tastes is a subhuman loser who deserve what they get. Gotcha.
posted by languagehat at 11:08 AM on January 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


sotonohito, I would favorite that twice if I could. Very well put.
posted by Malor at 12:10 PM on January 25, 2008


thanks for posting this, dersins. Sure, the article was pretty much Wired taking a bit of sensationalist licence, as I've come to expect from them (nice summary, btw, sotonohito) but the ensuing discussion in this thread is what I come to MeFi for.
posted by lonefrontranger at 12:14 PM on January 25, 2008


Grrlscout: I'm sure I'm in a category of some sort that can be mocked, but frankly, if you're a furry or a juggalo, imo, you're begging someone to mock you.

I eagerly await your comprehensive list of innocuous hobbies, fashions, trends, kinks, subcultures and music tastes whose participants are 'begging to be mocked' just for indulging in them. I really want to know where the dividing line between 'can be mocked' and intrinsically deserving or begging for mockery lies. 'Cause, hell, anything can be mocked if you try hard enough.

That "if they weren't so damn abnormal..." stuff is such high school bully BS.

On that note, some kid just walked by the window in a winter coat that's way too bright and gheyly coloured. The nerve. He's just asking for it...

BRB - righteously taunting and teasing
posted by CKmtl at 12:15 PM on January 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Furries and juggalos aren't innocuous.
posted by Snyder at 1:26 PM on January 25, 2008


This article teh internets is fascinating.
posted by lunit at 1:31 PM on January 25, 2008


Please to be explaining the harm done to non-furries in general, and griefers in particular, by the existence of people who enjoy fantasizing about and dressing up as anthropomorphic animals socializing and interacting with other people who enjoy the same?

protip: disgust is not a form of harm.
posted by CKmtl at 2:27 PM on January 25, 2008


Yeah, because only people exactly like you are fully human and deserve sympathy. Anyone with different tastes is a subhuman loser who deserve what they get. Gotcha.

I have done and do several things that are targets of mocking. I'm a big boy, so I can deal with it. I can also recognize that mocking helps points out the absurdities and negative aspects of things and in a way, basically puts them under a bright light. To me the things I do stand up under this bright light. I even understand that there are furries on Something Awful and Encyclopedia Dramatica - ones who can deal with people making fun of their subculture instead of getting all butthurt.

Mock everything. Tear down pieties. For the lulz.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:02 PM on January 25, 2008


P.S. 2nd protip: getting made fun of on the internets is also not a form of harm.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:03 PM on January 25, 2008


someday someone is going to punch you in the face just for the lulz.

Well, sure, and perhaps face punishment for an act (when unprovoked) that has been considered immoral by society since the beginning of recorded history. Slightly less so for torching down grandma's retirement village, or throwing a brick through the window of a poker game, I suppose, but still nonetheless obviously criminally illegal in most places.

Violating software terms of use ... I have no idea. I guess they could sue? The analogies to other obvious crimes doesnt work for me. That's what front doors, LAN networks, etc. are for: privacy. If you want to play with the whole wild world, you have to take the crap with the ice cream, or your favorite frozen treat. If software companies want to make rules, they need to invest in the resources to enforce them. What's so complicated?

I never thought I'd say something so stupid, but I'm wondering if this thread is a non-attachment litmus test.

Furries are A-OK with me, for the record. (need to look up juggalo. ha! lulz. no pics, please.)

no joking, be able to laugh at myself is one of the hardest things i've ever had to do, and I still struggle. I think that was a big step on the way to "growing up." I'm all for it.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:18 PM on January 25, 2008


Tim, mrgrimm: what you're doing is entirely transparent. It's not about THEM, it's about YOU -- making yourself feel better by finding someone to sneer at, despise, and torment whenever possible. In no way is it for their benefit; that's a lie, both to yourself and to us.

It appears that we're losing yet another cultural value: letting people do whatever the hell they want as long as it's not hurting anyone. Nope, now it's all about ME and MY entertainment, and damn, it's fun to try to fuck up theirs.
posted by Malor at 3:31 PM on January 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Sigh. Yourselves. Preview is good.
posted by Malor at 3:31 PM on January 25, 2008


Who's not letting anyone do whatever the hell they want, aside from short-lived pranks that may disrupt? Have they made Second Life unusable or made a law against furries?

Whatever the hell these guys want to do is make fun of people on the internet, run pranks, and generally harmlessly if sometimes annoyingly stir up shit. Why won't you let them do that?

I'll fully admit some of it's just annoying crap, but the some of most things is annoying crap. Meanwhile, some of it is hilarious with a little bit of subversiveness.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:47 PM on January 25, 2008


P.S. 2nd protip: getting made fun of on the internets is also not a form of harm.

3rd protip: Reading comprehension is an important and vital part of a good education. [insert shooped image of a menacing Levar Burton with a "You gonna get read to" caption]

Whether or not being made fun of on the intarwebs is harmful has nothing to do with the dickishness of ranking groups in terms of their begging for mockery, nor with how furries are somehow not innocuous.

I can also recognize that mocking helps points out the absurdities and negative aspects of things ... Mock everything. Tear down pieties. For the lulz.

That's a nice theory (and one hell of a rationalization if you really believe it), except it pretty much fails in practical application. The target of the lulz-attack isn't very likely to have a lulzy epiphany, whereby they'd see the error of their Serious Business ways and convert to the Lulz Side. After the lulz-attack, everyone's pretty much where they began: Serious Person is Serious (and now pissed off) and Lulz Brigade is Lulzing. Stuff has been mocked. Nothing's been torn down. Lulz have been had.
posted by CKmtl at 3:57 PM on January 25, 2008


Please to be explaining the harm

Who said anything about harm?
posted by Snyder at 4:23 PM on January 25, 2008


To explain further, furries and juggalos and G/goreans are, to varying degrees, pompous, sexually dysfunctional, gleefully anti-intellectual, self-agrandizing, fallen so far into their navel that they can't see daylight and believe being made fun of is tantamount to bigotry and that they are an oppressed minority.
posted by Snyder at 4:31 PM on January 25, 2008


Both you and I did. Behold:

> I eagerly await your comprehensive list of innocuous hobbies...

>> Furries and juggalos aren't innocuous.


in·noc·u·ous /ɪˈnɒkyuəs/
–adjective
1. not harmful or injurious; harmless: an innocuous home remedy.
posted by CKmtl at 4:31 PM on January 25, 2008


I prefer the second definition:

"2. not likely to irritate or offend; inoffensive; an innocuous remark."
posted by Snyder at 4:48 PM on January 25, 2008


In any event, I've never griefed, even by the silly definiton of the article, (I agree that most of the goon stuff is not griefing,) but a lot of furries, juggalos and G/goreans are incredibly obnoxious (along with people like Neva,) and I obnoxiousness is like to invite obnoxiousness.
posted by Snyder at 4:58 PM on January 25, 2008


It's not about mocking. There is actually an Encyclopedia Dramatica entry for me, and I think it's hilarious. (ED seems to be Wireddotted at the moment, alas.)

It's not about calling people names. It's about invading their space and stopping them from doing what they want to do when they're minding their business and not bothering you. The first is free speech and is and should be protected. The second should be regarded as assault and treated the same as any other form of harrassment.

Online griefers love to shield themselves with the wall they believe separates RL and online life. I've understood since my very first forays into BBS-land that there is very little separation between the two; the very attraction of online life is that it satisfies so many of our social impulses. Even text-based interaction like this gets very personal, and that's not just "people taking themselves too seriously." That's what people do, it's how we're wired.

Anybody who thinks griefing is OK because it's just online needs to re-read this sentence until the reality sinks in: You do not have to touch someone to assault them. If you touch them it's "battery" which is why you hear the phrase "assault and battery." You are not protected in online matters because it's not the same as RL, you're mainly protected because it would be so hard to track you down and prosecute you. But interrupt enough press conferences and that will change.

The thing is, griefing is "fun" precisely because the griefers themselves are getting the same thrill as the RL bully. Why is it a triumph to make someone quit the game in tears? It's because you've proven your power over them. In the "the irony made my head explode" department it's exactly the same thing the griefer uses to justify his hobby as being justified, deriving excessive satisfaction from something in an unnatural and sterile pseudo-environment. The only difference is that the Gorean wants to express power over his women, while the griefer expresses power over the Gorean. The Gorean is morally superior because he generally gets his kicks with willing partners, though.

If anybody wants to know why governments, police, and laws exist, and why they will one day exist online, you need look no further than these fine specimens of modern humanity. The ordinary people who are paying the bills will rise up and demand that something be done. And eventually, something will be -- and none of us are likely to like it.
posted by localroger at 5:22 PM on January 25, 2008 [4 favorites]


I believe, at least in the legal sense, that assault involves something like an immediate threat of physical harm.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:39 PM on January 25, 2008


True enough.

Harassment, on the other hand, does not.
posted by dersins at 6:00 PM on January 25, 2008


furries and juggalos and G/goreans are, to varying degrees, pompous, sexually dysfunctional, gleefully anti-intellectual, self-agrandizing, fallen so far into their navel that they can't see daylight and believe being made fun of is tantamount to bigotry and that they are an oppressed minority.

a lot of furries, juggalos and G/goreans are incredibly obnoxious


Obnoxious, pompous, gleefully anti-intellectual, self-aggrandizing and self-centered. Sounds a lot like most teenagers and a fair percentage of young "adults".

So, basically, you don't like the way they get off and some of them annoy you? Therefore all are deserving of mockery and/or harassment? Lovely.
posted by CKmtl at 6:16 PM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Harassment? No. Mockery at how they choose to represent themselves? Yup. Flying penises? Of course.

And people like Neva (and other SL "entrepreneurs" are idiots and need to be shown as such.
posted by Snyder at 6:32 PM on January 25, 2008


ThOnlyCoolTim -- you'd be wrong. Assault involves the perception that you are being threatened. It doesn't have to be physical; it can be the fear that you will be robbed. It would not take much of a stretch at all to say that this applies to griefing. Most bullying activities which are considered "just good fun" at the school level are already considered assault, even though none of the perps would believe it until they got to court.
posted by localroger at 6:52 PM on January 25, 2008


So they take the piss out of people. It's a harmless hobby. If you think it's harmful, you might need to sit back and try to understand why you let them make you feel that way.
posted by jcterminal at 7:31 PM on January 25, 2008


So, jcterminal, are you so immune that you never do anything that someone might trash by crashing in and yelling at you until you slink off? If so, congratulations, you have no life either.
posted by localroger at 8:07 PM on January 25, 2008


Perception is, indeed, how I understood it. I think if you perceive a threat because someone made fun of you on the internet or threw flying penises at your Second Life interview that's a failure. I think for it to be assault the perception has to be realistic, right?
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:17 PM on January 25, 2008


So, jcterminal, are you so immune that you never do anything that someone might trash by crashing in and yelling at you until you slink off?

Also, I can answer this: I wouldn't slink off. If Anon wanted to pwn Metafilter, for example, they'd at least have to find an interesting way to do it because for the pure crap parts we are prepared to deal with it rather than get all whiny and cry.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:22 PM on January 25, 2008


TheOnlyCoolTim -- again, you'd be wrong. Look it up.
posted by localroger at 8:34 PM on January 25, 2008


I perceive you as threatening me.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:52 PM on January 25, 2008


Alright, I won't just snark:
"acts in a threatening manner to put another in fear of immediate harm."

As far as I know most griefing doesn't include threats to come over to your house and beat you up, and while I don't have legal backing for this I don't think we can include getting your feelings hurt or being annoyed as a harm or else we have a lot of assault going on in the Metatalk.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:00 PM on January 25, 2008


Finally, before I go to bed, to be in before you say "it doesn't have to be physical harm" I also don't think they're generally threatening to rob you, defraud you, libel you, etc.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:10 PM on January 25, 2008


I'm going to put this in bold, italic, all caps, in a quotebox in hopes that perhaps some of the defenders of the noble and studly griefers will actually read and comprehend.
GRIEFING IS NOT MOCKING PEOPLE. MOCKERY IS NOT GRIEFING.
This isn't about poor, oversensitive, little losers who can't stand being made fun of. Its about actual disruption of games, etc.

Not Griefing: Making fun of furries.
Not Griefing, but pathetic: Spending time and money to make a parody of a furry hangout.
Griefing: Hacking SL and destroying a furry hangout.
Griefing: Using exploits at a furry hangout to prevent them from going about their usual affairs.

Can you see the difference? The first two ARE NOT FUCKING GRIEFING. They're free speech, and if any furries whined about it I'd say they were acting like whiny little babies.

The second two, however, are not mockery, they are not free speech, they are active disruptions. That's griefing.

This isn't about free speech. This isn't about people being oversensitive. This is about a band of assholes who do not simply mock, but to make services unusable.
posted by sotonohito at 4:17 AM on January 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Trying to disrupt people's fun is not, and never will be, 'for their own benefit'. That is, simply, a lie.
posted by Malor at 5:17 AM on January 26, 2008


pompous, sexually dysfunctional, gleefully anti-intellectual, self-agrandizing, fallen so far into their navel

That's the best description yet of the average griefer troll. Someone call an editor at Wired.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:09 AM on January 26, 2008


Strictly governed by its founder, Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka, the site boasts more than 100,000 registered Goons (as members proudly call themselves) and has spawned a small diaspora of spinoff sites. Most noticeable is the anime fan community 4chan, with its notorious /b/ forum and communities of "/b/tards."

Repeat after me:

SomethingAwful is not 4chan.
4chan is older than dirt.
4chan did not come from SomethingAwful.
Goons hate /b/tards.
/b/tards hate goons.
Lots of goons are /b/tards and vice versa.

NOTHING ON THE INTERNET CAN BE DESCRIBED WITH YOUR PITIFUL "LOGIC"
posted by tehloki at 2:02 PM on January 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't think that the WoW stuff described above and in the article is hardly qualified as griefing. The plague things were fun and unexpected entertainment for those involved. Fun! That flight master thing described above? Sounds funny.

The most recent Games for Windows podcast has some discussion of griefing by one of the editors, in Second Life. Is it mean? Maybe. Is it funny? Certainly. People take their online alternate personas WAAY to seriously. Come on. You set up a Bukkake Club, or spend hours designing action nodes in Second Life, you have to expect someone to poke a little fun at that.

The internet is such serious business.
posted by graventy at 5:15 PM on January 26, 2008


4chan is older than dirt.
4chan did not come from SomethingAwful.


False. 4chan was founded by SomethingAwful goon "mook" and its early membership was almost exclusively like-minded goons.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:17 PM on February 18, 2008


The fact that you said "mook" instead of moot sort of detracts from your credibility, there.
posted by tehloki at 12:33 AM on February 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


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