Cooperation for a Better Gaming Commons

By JimBenson, published at 10 May 2007 - 8:12pm, last updated 12 years 17 weeks ago.

Online gaming communities have the same host of issues as other commons - free riding, dishonesty and abuse.

This includes a dynamic called "Grieving" in which people abuse other game players or thwart objectives of groups. In an article entitled Gamers Don't Want Any More Grief, the Guardian reports on on-line gaming community efforts to police their own against Grieving.

The tools are recognizable, buddy lists, reputation management systems, and reporting mechanisms. However, it would be difficult for such systems to guard against something like this:

The players of World of Warcraft were left with a similar conundrum in March, when a group of gamers performed an act whose only purpose was to cause emotional pain. The death of a member of the community inspired her fellow gamers to hold a virtual funeral, which was raided by a malicious mob that made short work of the mourners, all of whom had relinquished their weapons as a sign of respect. Since the funeral was naively held in a zone designed for combat, few could question the legitimacy of the attack within the game's rules. None the less, the mourners were outraged, not at the penalties their characters would have to suffer, but at the brazen attack on their feelings.

This is another Bull-in-a-china-shop situation, where actors in a commons specifically set out to destroy the elements of the commons that make it worthwhile.