June 2006

ABC: Pedophiles invading Everquest! Run for your virtual lives!

From ABC:

In an attempt to avoid traceable e-mails, pedophiles are using online games, including Sony’s Everquest, to target and communicate with their victims, according to federal investigators.

This is based on… brace yourself… one pedophile.

Malone was arrested on June 14 in Texas and released on bond. Reached at his home, he told ABC News he did not deny the allegations.

“They were a terrible mistake,” Malone said. “I’ve always tried to make people happy, and I don’t think of myself as a monster or a type of creature,” Malone said.

Yes. Because 99.9999999% of the people who DO think of themselves as monsters or types of creatures in Everquest DO NOT TRY TO MOLEST SMALL CHILDREN. Clearly, this is Advanced Nonlinear Logic beyond the reach of the media.

Parents discover the Internet is for porn, sue Internet for all the monies.

Almost as silly a headline:

Teen, mom sue MySpace.com for $30 million
Suit filed in Travis County claims popular Internet site fails to protect children from adult sexual predators.

Because, clearly, if children are meeting bad people somewhere, it is the Interweb’s fault. Because you can lie on the Interweb. And THAT MUST BE STOPPED!

To create an account, a MySpace user must list a name, an e-mail address, sex, country and date of birth.

“None of this has to be true,” the lawsuit said.

Clearly, the only logical response is to yank all the demonic wires out of the ground and return to the churning of butter manually.

Answering A Penultimate Geek Question

In a completely unrelated thread, I raised the spectre of one of the hallowed geek questions, “Who would win: Enterprise or Death Star?” Most people laughed and went for the Death Star because hey, that’s no moon. My response, I think, solves the issue admirably.

Plus you have to remember, the MacGyverish manner in which Death Star I and it’s “oh screw it, let’s just waste the galaxy’s resources making another one with an equally crippling design flaw that the primary weapon used by our enemies field in quantity can trivially exploit” cousin Death Star II were taken down. Starfleet is TRAINED for MacGyver moments.

They’d warp out of the system, leaving behind a plucky engineer and a couple of security people in a cloaked shuttlecraft. They would land right in the death star trench and drop a mine down the exhaust port. The mine would of course fail to arm, and a security person would manfully volunteer to descend into the trench and arm the mine manually, assuring his death, because hey, it’s what security people on the Enterprise do.

The Death Star would explode shortly therafter, possibly with Darth Vader feeling oddly about the Force, as if it was being countered by a Secular Humanist Federation Distortion Field. The remaining security person and the plucky engineer would return to the Enterprise shortly thereafter, staring wistfully into space.


Richard Bartle recently posted a first go at a reputation system over on his blog.

Some people are prats. Some of these prats play virtual worlds. Non-prats would prefer not to play with them, but have no way of identifying them; this is because whenever systems are implemented to identify the prats, the prats use them to make non-prats seem like they’re the prats.

In other words, there isn’t a reputation system yet invented that griefers can’t use as an instrument of griefing.

His proposed solution, basically, is a shared friends/reputation list that works similarly to “You might also like…” systems on some music sites. If you like the same sort of folks that Mary likes, maybe you’ll like the folks Mary likes that you haven’t met yet. That sort of thing.

About the only thing I’d add to it is the ability to actually denote “I like this person and would like to add their stored reputation marks to my list” somehow. This is solely to get new players seeded into the mix; since they’re the ones who most need a ‘this guy is a jerk’ marks, and yet won’t actually have any opinions yet to share. There’s also some minor anti-gaming (gaming of the system, not gaming in general) things that can be done, but overall it just seems like a fairly standard database problem.

So, you can’t tear it apart there, but since I think it’s generally a good idea, tear it apart here! As an added benefit, Dr. Bartle will probably see your comments here and mark me down on his personal reputation system. Bonus for all!

Funny Interview With Funny Guy

Firingsquad interviews Jerry Holkins of Penny Arcade

FiringSquad: Since your site is so popular do you think your strip and comments have any effect on the game industry?

Jerry Holkins: We have readers who create games for a living, but I don’t think we affect it in a meaningful way, no. I wouldn’t call what we provide “constructive criticism.”

FiringSquad: At the moment, what are the biggest issues in the video and PC game industry in your opinion?

Jerry Holkins: See what I mean? This is precisely the sort of useful, valid perspective we don’t provide.

See, this is why I did all my interviews in IRC. You can drop the stupid questions once they’re found to be irrelevant and no one is the wiser!

(Found via Amber Night)