[MUD-Dev] Historic lessons on fluid identity

Jon Lambert tychomud at ix.netcom.com
Thu Oct 4 01:36:25 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

Marian Griffith wrote:
> I was simply responding to an often heard statement on this list
> about grief players and how the lack of fixed identity made it
> impossible to stop them from being virtual sociopaths.

I don't think I've commented on this before, not directly as least.
I think the statement is just plain false!  :-)

Ex. I've had several grief players where I had known their real
names, addresses, service providers and in one case their telephone
number.  None of that stopped them from being virtual sociopaths.
What possible use is that information?  Knowing it and them knowing
I knew it in no way inhibited their grief play.  In fact they still
show up every few months or so in the guise of a new character under
a new account.


I'd suggest it's the lack of real physical proximity not anonymity
makes it impossible to stop virtual sociopaths.  That is the
perceived likelihood of physical, social or legal retaliation is
what stops socipathic(*) behavior.

That would in one respect explain "road rage", or why people inside
autos on highways tend to exhibit more frequent bouts of asocial
behavior than people walking down the street.  They're like those
silly taunting French inside their castle in Monty Python's holy
grail.  Their auto is their castle.  Likewise your internet
connection is a castle of sorts, impervious to most attacks or
threats of retaliation.

One wonders how frequent sociopathic behavior is between those
players which are proximate, like in a internet cafe or in a college
lab; assuming they are aware of each other?


(*) My use of sociopath is not clinical one.  In fact I'd exclude 
clinical sociopaths (aka "nut cases").

--* Jon A. Lambert - TychoMUD        Email:jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com *--
--* Mud Server Developer's Page <http://tychomud.home.netcom.com> *--
--* If I had known it was harmless, I would have killed it myself.*--

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