This story is old news in some ways, but I only heard about it a couple of days ago. There are a couple of young men age 18/19 years old who in interactions in online games and Facebook, after being antagonized by other people, made unfortunate comments about shooting up a school. In reading various articles about this topic it definitely seems to me that neither of these young men meant the comments seriously, but now both of them are facing a potential of 10 years in jail and having a felony conviction on their records. You can find more information about these specific stories on the Huffington Post, The Daily Caller, and Opposing Views.
The thing that these two stories really bring to light is the idea of freedom of speech online. We are constantly told that we need to stand up for our right to freedom of speech. That we should be able to say almost anything we want as long as it is not causing true harm. The reason that shouting fire in a crowded theatre – when there is not a fire – is illegal is because the corresponding stampede could cause actual harm to people unnecessarily. At the same time if people are making threats and we just ignore them then what does that mean when things actually happen? It is such a complicated balance, but I definitely do not feel that the end – making schools safe – justifies the means – jailing a couple of just-turned adults. Continue reading
This post was inspired after the problem during a demonstration of the game Killer Instinct at E3 you can read about that at the Mary Sue.
Trash Talk is practically a staple of online video games. Even in, what some might consider, the most mundane situation people still feel the need to talk smack. Now friendly trash talk is not in itself a bad thing, but when trash talk diminishes the importance of larger issues it is something to be discussed.
Some trash talk makes use of innuendos to imply double meaning, while other trash talk is very direct and brutal in its implications. Trash talk is kind of like Your Momma jokes in that it is meant to elicit a response from the other side to get them to mess up. It is about the insult, tearing the other side down to build yourself up.
I personally do not get the idea of trash talk, but that may partly be because of the violent nature of it. Trash talk seems to take over the game itself, it is not about the game, but about who can bring the other person down more. Continue reading