Most people on the Interweb are fairly normal. You know, they post pictures of their cats, sometimes they gossip about work, sometimes they bitch about politics. Much like people everywhere.
Some people on the net are… well, quite obviously crazy. You know the ones, it’s usually something about the patriarchy or the dangers of fundamentalist preachers or intelligent insect armies or long, disturbing fantasies about family members getting it on with each other. And that’s just science fiction writers.
Then you get the ones that are like speakers of foreign languages that you kind of sort of know. You cock your head to one side, because it sounds like they should be making sense, using words that you’re pretty sure are used by normal educated people, but put together differently. Until finally, after in-depth analysis, you realize that dear God, you just wasted your time, because this person isn’t just misunderstood, they really don’t make any sense.
As part of that, I give you Prokofy Neva, probably Second Life’s most infamous avatar and certainly one of its most interviewed by the mass media. There’s not usually much to comment about Neva’s blogs (yes, she has three now), mainly because she focuses absolutely on Second Life and treats other endeavours like MMORPGs and Wikipedia as ridiculous or evil or, usually, both. In fact, pretty much anything Neva doesn’t understand, or hasn’t heard of, she treats as dismissively unimportant. Like, say, SXSW, a live music and film festival that shuts Austin’s traffic and parking down on a yearly basis. Oh, wait, no, it’s not important!
While tekkies and geeks everywhere thinks SXSW is the epitome of culture, it isn’t really, because not only have most normal people never heard of it (it’s in Austin, Texas and a few thousand people go bar-hopping and watch movies and hear panels about games at it annually), those that have wonder privately if it has peaked.
Well, that explains it, I suppose.
However, apparently Richard Bartle made the mistake of giving an interview in Second Life, and in so doing, attracting the gaze of the lidless eye.
How *could* Richard Bartle and his MUDs and whatnot have anything to do with Metanomics when Richard Bartle, as a good British socialist and intrinsic Marxist (although he’d deny everything but the British part likely) is opposed to virtual economies. He really really hates RMT, and he wants to set up a giant commission in the sky to scold REALLY hard all those nasty smug little Chinese boys that go around gold-farming and interrupting everybody’s game! For shame! Shame, shame, little Chinese boys (and Western round-eyes who do the same thing, essentially, in Second Life or some place). Shame! Maybe if we all hold hands and chant STOP THE GOLD FARMING, KILL THE RMT really really hard, we can make Tinkerbell wake up and prevent money from leaking into and out of games! Evil money! Evil capitalism!
As I said, Prokofy looks at everything through the Second Life filter. People make money in Second Life. Therefore making money is good. Why would people be against making money anywhere else? Not that anywhere else actually matters, or that you’ve heard of. But Bartle’s said that he’s against RMT in games, and people call Second Life a game, therefore, burn the heretic! Plus, he’s English so he’s probably a Commie. Or gay. No, better go with commie. They’re all lefties there, donchanow.
But, we get some clarity as to what Neva is on about: it seems Bartle didn’t speak up when they came for the Jews, or something.
Or, he could have said, “Yes, we’ve seen such a textbook example of the dynamics of griefing in that utter savaging of you on Terra Nova in the w-hat thread, and the solution should be not banning people but enabling them speak in defense of themselves, to have good speech drive out bad eventually.”
Instead, he began this total nihilist Marxian rant about the impossiblity of ever having any sort of agreed-upon morality such as to define some minimal code of behaviour (he wasn’t even willing to concede a game-god’s TOS, it was wacky).
[Let us pause for a Moment of Reflection, and recall that when it came to RMT…evil little Chinese boys…gold…there WAS an absolute, rock-solid, non-subjective, absolutely objective moral imperative which we could all invoke, which was (*holds up Cross*): evil, evil game gold mined by evil evil kiddies disrupting the game and CHEATING *gasp*!)
But griefing? Naaah, no moral imperative. It’s anything goes. P.S. this is a good example why socialism always and inevitably turns to crime.
Note that Prokofy Neva is one of the few people actually banned from commenting on Terra Nova. Note that Richard Bartle is on Terra Nova’s masthead. AT LAST ALL IS CLEAR.
But just in case you still were confused, Prokofy Neva finally drives a stake in the Bartle Player Types!
Unfortunately, with the usual crashes and lags and idiocies, I couldn’t get more than about half of what he was saying, but he did dwell quite a bit (because unfortunately Robert Bloomfield set him up to dwell on it) on these four avatar classes in games, which were something like, um, let me think now: Asian, African, American, Middle Eastern. No wait. Man Boy Women Girl. Wait. Let me check my notes. Explorer. Doer. Uhhhh Entitlement-Happy Clueless Git Nutsack. And uh…
What was it again?
Remember kids, what we don’t understand? We mock. And I really, really don’t understand Prokofy Neva.