Wednesday 26 March 2014

Sociopaths in Space

That statistics page on Blogger tells me that people are visiting my blog which is nice motivation to keep writing it, even if that number is still relatively small. It also shows links which have redirected traffic to the page. On a couple of occasions I've noticed traffic from other blogs that I read which is really satisfying. So I got a nice surprise today when I noticed some traffic being redirected from Kate 'On at Eve PLEX, a market focused blog. However, much to my dismay, the reasoning behind that traffic was a little embarrassing. You see, I have been called out as a sociopath: Sociopath Callout Erotica1.

Before you read on, no, I am not Erotica1. I ashamed to share a blog post with that name. My reference is much lower down the page and refers to my previous post. The post itself, as far as I'm aware, is not why I was called out. I was called out in reference to a comment which I made on a recent post at Jesters Trek and that my most recent post is ironic in light of that. Jester has recently been making a series of thought provoking posts regarding the changing culture of EVE online. Jester posits the dark side of EVE, in which players revel in the pain and misery of others, is getting worse and that this is detrimental to the game, particularly in the recruitment of new players. His main point, is that the intensity of the activities taking place is increasing. Now, I don't completely agree with him, though I'll get to that later. I suggest you read Jesters post before continuing, some of the comments may be of interest too: The bonus round

For those who don't wish to read right now I'll briefly summarize. Jester describes a recent scam carried out by Erotica1. Erotica1 is a well known ISK doubler, however they occasionally take a victim into "the bonus room" where they get the victim to provide an API key and hand over, quite literally, all of their EVE assets. Ships, ISK, cashed in LP... everything. They then say they will further multiply the value of all the items given to them, if the victim "remains faithful". What follows is where things get controversial. The victim is made to carry out a series of acts designed to break and humiliate them whilst being recorded on teamspeak. The recording is then published for all to hear. The link is available on Jesters post.

So what did I say that got me called out as a sociopath?

"I don't agree with what Erotica does but I'd hardly call it torture. The victim isn't being held captive, they can leave at any time. I do agree that they take the scam past the point at which it should stop. However, at worst I would call it bullying. Calling it torture is a disservice to actual torture victims.

Also, they don't outwardly insult their victims from what I have seen so far. They simply play off the gullibility of the victim. Is pushing that gullibility to the breaking point unethical? Probably. Honestly though I think you are blowing this out of proportion."

- Bizar Raizen

This led to me being called out and some discourse over at Eve PLEX. Kate 'On feels that I am an enabler of people like Erotica1. I must admit, I am embarrassed to be associated with people like that and it certainly was not my intention. I think that Kate 'On did a pretty good job at deconstructing most of my argument, of which there were 3 main points, and certainly made me view the situation in a new light. The first point was my dislike of using the word torture to describe the activity. I felt that the victim could simply walk away and therefore it couldn't really be considered torture and that using the term is an exaggeration. However, Kate 'On made a compelling argument that in some cases of torture, the victim is free to walk away. In this particular example, Erotica plays off the psychological weakness of his victim, who truly believes that they can get their assets back, essentially trapping them there. My second point was that they are playing off the gullibility of their victim to carry out these acts. Again, they made the point that if the victims of these scams tend to be in a psychologically weak state then we can't judge them by the same standards of gullibility that we would apply to ourselves. I think that is a fair point, and I think I jumped the gun in this case attributing it to gullibility. Unfortunately, however, my final point is the point that I actually wanted to send home but didn't do so within the context of the post.

I think Jester is blowing things out of proportion and that it is a detrimental way of looking at things if we wan't to reduce this sort of behavior within EVE online. I personally think that drawing attention to the behaviour of Erotica1 is pointless and that energy should be focused elsewhere. What are CCP supposed to do about it? Banning the person won't solve much. In fact, it could be extremely controversial, since the harassment essentially took place out of game. Though it was a very blurry line. Changing the rules regarding scamming is also controversial, as it is a widely accepted activity within EVE online. So what to do? I personally don't think there is much CCP can do directly. However, what can the playerbase do? This leads me to look at why I think Jester is blowing it out of proportion. To me, the people who applaud the behaviour of players like Erotica1 are a minority, a despicable and depraved minority. Is it a growing minority? Maybe. However, one only has to look at the progress of other entities within the game such as Brave Newbies, E-UNI, RvB and a plethora of others to see that there are other large communities within the game who have a positive influence on the game which are also growing.

Erotica1 is a depraved bully who takes advantage of vulnerable EVE players. I am ashamed to share an existence with people like that and deeply embarassed that I have been associated with him. Drawing attention to him is not what we need to do. We should be drawing attention to the heroes within the community. Make positive behaviour the norm, make it celebrated. Make EVE a game where people say "is that the game where there is a 10 year old establishment dedicated to helping new players" in reference to E-UNI. I'm proud to be a Brave Newbie. I'm proud to be part of something positive. I'm not a sociopath... but I guess that's what a sociopath would say.

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