You know it’s a bad day when it starts raining penises during a media interview. Wired has an article on the ‘griefer’ subculture, sociopaths of the virtual world.
Essentially, they are virtual world vandals, or online versions of those local kids on the street who love shouting abuse and messing the place up.
Like most other aspects of human behaviour, antisocial behaviour transfers from the offline to the online world.
But like many subcultures on the internet, it is a new phenomenon in that people who would never normally get a chance to meet many others who share their socially unpopular beliefs, suddenly have access to a huge, distributed community of such people.
One of the most notorious ‘griefer’ attacks, before the term was even conceived, was described in the landmark article ‘A Rape in Cyberspace’, and describes an antisocial user taking over a text-based environment
It was one of the first pieces to convince people that internet interactions could have serious emotional effects, and is widely cited in the internet psychology literature.
The Wired article discusses the motivations (and even, the ‘philosophy’) behind these groups, as well as their impact on the increasingly commercial virtual worlds.
Link to Wired article on ‘griefer subculture’.