A Rape in Cyberspace

Posted by & filed under Games, Old, Reading Response.

While interesting, I really believe that this event was blown way out of proportion. However, I can understand why the residents of this MOO were upset. Obviously, they had invested a great deal of time into their online personalities and felt very strongly about having their characters’ reputation damaged. However, being upset and having “posttraumatic tears streaming down her face” are completely different. Was Dr. Bungle a jerk for doing what he did? Absolutely, but personally I find Legba’s response to the situation far more “psychotic” than Bungle’s actions.

Dr. Bungle is the typical online jerk. There are thousands of people who say and do things online that would be highly inappropriate in real life. Just today, I was playing Counter-strike I angered another player to the extent that he told me, “If I was near you I’d kill you in a second.” I hardly believe that this individual would have said or done either if he was in fact right next to me. However, that is the nature of the online world. Anything can be done or said without consequences, but the lack of consequences is a two-way street provided that the individual is able to differentiate between his real and online identities. The only way for an individual to get seriously damaged by a random idiot on the internet is for him to believe that his online identity and his real life identity are one and the same. Personally, I find this far more frightening than an idiot who wants to make leud remarks about inserting “steak knives up her ass, causing immense joy.” Quite frankly, that comment is so stupid that I can’t see how someone can really be personally offended by it. Ultimately, I found this entire situation and the reactions to it to be rather boring. It’s just any other day on the good old internet.

However, the changed personality of “Dr. Jest” was entirely different. I found it fascinating how the anger of his peers affected Dr. Jest to the point that he relinquished his old ways. According to the author, he was less unpleasant to look at and far less dangerous to be around. Obviously, either his punishment or his peers had a dramatic effect on him. This creates a plethora of questions as to why his personality changed. Was he genuinely apologetic about the “harm” he had caused, or did he merely fear being “toaded” again? While legba’s reaction was so extravagant that I can’t take her seriously, Dr. Jest’s reaction is discrete enough to be far more thought-provoking. Quite frankly, I’d like to know a bit more about the evolution of Dr. Jest rather than the hysteria of those who can’t tolerate the vast number of idiots surfing the web.

One Response to “A Rape in Cyberspace”

  1. briley

    One of the key elements here is the time that this incident occurred. As we discussed in class, it was a formative event for the online community, as opposed to something people have become familiar with and even somewhat accepting of. Thanks for your thoughtful post.

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