MUD2MMO: The 'Suggestion' - Loopholes, Online Harassment, and the Law

When you tell me to go kill myself, oh yes, it's personal.

A few weeks ago, while livestreaming, a player told me to kill myself. That got me thinking: legally speaking, what happened?

So this week, we talk about it.

First of all, my apologies for posting the video like this.  YouTube is being difficult this week, and won't let me embed the show as normal.  So I'm doing so through blip.tv 

The YouTube version is here if you prefer it this way:

 Sources:

Livestream source: http://www.twitch.tv/tyger_wdr/c/2863578

Justin Pillault article: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/352702/josh-pillault-original-justin-carter-charles-c-w-cooke

Justin Carter article: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/02/tech/social-media/facebook-threat-carter/index.html?iref=allsearch

League of Legends video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugXC7g3p0JU

Wisconsin Legislature 947.013: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/947/013

Minnesota Assisted Suicide laws: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=609.215

William Melchert-Dinkel sentenced for encouraging suicides: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8493861/Former-nurse-William-Melchert-Dinkel-sentenced-to-prison-for-encouraging-suicide-online.html

Man arrested for assaulting teen over CoD game: http://www.newsytype.com/12172-man-chokes-teen-call-of-duty/

World of Warcraft stabbing: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/13/world-of-warcraft-stabbing-jordan-osborne_n_1671234.html

Death Sentence for online gamer: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2005-06/08/content_449494.htm

James Swan chokes Mom over WoW: http://www.truecrimereport.com/2010/02/james_swan_chokes_mom_smashes.php

Plague of game dev harassment: http://www.polygon.com/2013/8/15/4622252/plague-of-game-dev-harassment-erodes-industry-spurs-support-groups

"The Psychology of Cyberspace": http://users.rider.edu/~suler/psycyber/psycyber.html

Featured Contributor

I'm a gamer. I'm a reality junkie. I'm a cynic. I'm a dinosaur. I'm a writer. I'm so much more than a paragraph can say. You want more? Ok. I started a video game show on the internet some time ago. See, I've played video games since Intellivision and Atari 2600 and PONG back in the day. Retro-gaming doesn't really fire me up as much as seeing how the community ticks. And after seeing way too many "I'm too young to have played this game when it first came out but it MAKES ME SO ANGRY" reviewers who would happily eviscerate my childhood for lulz... yeah I tossed my hat into the ring. the quickly scooped it back up, I'm told I have a bald spot that needs...more »

Published Oct. 14th 2013
  • Amy White
    Former Editor in Chief
    To your last point, I think part of the problem is one of empathy. People who haven't been through that form of loss and who lack the capacity (or the desire) to actually contemplate what it would be like, will treat that language flippantly because they don't consider the whole picture of what it means.

    People who share your experiences, or who have a higher capacity for empathy, are less likely to do so.

    Another component of the problem might be that younger players in their teens and early 20's don't often have a realistic grasp on mortality. Death threats don't mean anything to them because death isn't something they've brushed up against. I lost a close family member in my teens, and as a result had a heightened sensitivity to death at a time when all my peers felt borderline immortal. It was a strange experience to have such a different perspective, but one that really highlighted the way our personal experiences change our demeanor.

    Certainly not an excuse for poor conduct. But some thoughts about cause that came to mind while watching your video.
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    I agree, its all about empathy. There was a great reddit thread that touches on this. http://www.reddit.com/r/wow/comments/1n8rg5/saddest_experience_in_game/

    Don't go read this if you want something to cheer you up. There are many incredible stories in here, mostly very sad stories though. I made a comment about a more happy experience for me, but I left it with a comment on the subject. Next time you are in a group with anyone for any game, you need to keep in mind that the person on the other side of the computer might have a terminal disease or something awful happening too them and playing the game is what they are using to make them feel better. Watch what you say, you don't know what it might cause.

New Cache - article_comments_article_9116
Related
More World of Warcraft Content