Friday, April 18, 2008

Rape in cyberspace

‘A Rape in Cyberspace’—Julian Dibbell
At first this article was somewhat confusing. Since I choose not to be involved with any of these strange online games like second life, a great deal of the vocabulary is foreign to me. I’ve never had to the desire to spend hours on the computer living a fake life which will get me nowhere in the real world. I would rather spend that time interacting with real people face to face.

Although the happenings of this article did take place in cyberspace, they can still have a great effect on a person. This can be seen when the character ‘exu’ cried while writing about the incident in a forum. I was somewhat disgusted about how the author basically devotes a paragraph to how powerful cybersex can be. The possibility of situations like these, keep me from interacting with people I don’t know online, or even spending too much time online where others can communicate with me. She does make in important statement about how “…a MUD-made world is neither exactly real nor exactly make-believe, but nonetheless profoundly, compellingly, and emotionally true.” Putting my emotions out for others to see is not something that interests me. I am a frequent user of facebook; however I do block my information from anyone I don’t know, so I feel it is a much more protected interaction than something like second life.

Reading on about how the ‘community’ dealt with this problem was interesting. Since the ‘wizards’ had given up the power over the social lives of the gamers, finding a new solution to deal with this problem proved to be troublesome. Having a discussion about these issues over the internet must be difficult to orchestrate and I’m a little unsure how it played out. When Mr. Bungle himself, entered the discussion, his reasoning behind his actions were, I thought, somewhat flawed. He claimed how he portrayed himself has so reflection on the person who he really is. I don’t believe you could go through with those actions on the internet and claim that you are a psychologically normal human being. There had to be more reasoning behind his actions.

Overall this was an interesting article which helps to portray how involved people can get with virtual worlds, and how they may believe that their virtual actions don’t have consequences or great effects on others. As I probably showed in this reflection, I’m very skeptical about these virtual worlds and why someone would waste so much time involving themselves in a world that doesn’t even exist. I have never had any desire to open myself up to the idea that these worlds are worthwhile, but since being a part of Second Life is a requirement for this class, I guess I’ll have to put my skepticism aside and see what these virtual worlds have to offer.

1 comment:

JMMyers said...

You know, I couldn't find a way to respond to this reading on my to describe the mixture of emotions I felt as I read about "a rape in cyberspace." Reading this entry helped a bit and to all of its content, I agree. I especially like the quote about second life being both "real" and...not. I think we're too quick to dismiss this "game" as something completely alternate to reality, but also too quick to take it seriously. I keep thinking to myself, what is its actual value??

What concerns me most about this article, though, was not putting enough of the responsibility on he who would actually commit such a violent, sexual act. Online or not, real or not, it's sick...disturbing. Does it change the values and the dangers of Second Life? Does it change what users should expect?