According to the gamepedia, griefing is “the act of irritating and angering people in video games through the use of destruction, construction, or social engineering. ” It has often been popularized by Minecraft, and if you search “griefing” on youtube there’s thousands of videos that highlight griefing. Many have wondered if this is a type of cyberbullying, and if it should be regulated on game servers.
In my comp 380’s reading by Ronald Wojak, the author uses philosophy to describe the world of griefing. He goes over three main points: Kantian deontology, utilitarianism, and virtue ethics.
Some background information:
Kantian deontology is basically what we’ve been hearing since we were little kids, “treat others the way you want to be treated.”
Virtue ethics is have a virtuous character, and let your virtues lead your life. This will create habits that will be like a moral compass to tell you when something you’re doing is wrong.
Utilitarianism is maximizing utility for the general public. In economics we learned that utility is the benefit you gain from a something.
Wojak uses Kantian deontology to describe why a person griefes online. He states that these people “are not treating them as an end in themselves but as a mere means for their own enjoyment,” and are totally going against Kantian deontology.
Wojak uses virtue ethics as a way to describe the growing unvirtuous nature of the virtual world.
Wojak uses utilitarianism to describe how griefing is the opposite of maximizing utility, as it causes harm to others. This is because reading posts about griefing can cause negative feelings (this is a negative consequence), and only benefits the griefer.
I agree with Wojak’s views on Kantian deontology and virtue ethics. We see it everyday online, and I think that this is because we feel disconnected in the virtual world. This is due to the fact that we often feel protected by our computer screen, and the anonymity can cause amplify behaviors. However, I don’t fully agree with his view on utilitarianism. This is because I feel that most people want to work towards a goal when playing a multi-player game. As a result, they would rather not act based on themselves, but for the greater good of the group.
I believe that griefing can be a type of cyberbullying.
Take a look at the video below, and I think you will see what I mean.
The griefer is clearly intentionally irritating the other players. Even after the others tell him to stop he continues. Others would say that it’s not bullying because there was no physical harm, or evidence of long term emotional harm. However, I believe that these continuous acts of angering people will have long term effects on other users who frequently play the game.
However, there are others who believe otherwise. My brother is a gamer, and when I asked him about the topic he said that many people online believe that “it’s just a game.” As a result, they don’t make the connection between the virtual world, and reality. They think that actions online don’t have an influence on people after the game, and that griefing is not a type of cyberbullying.
So what is your take on griefing? Do you agree with Wojak, or with my responses?
Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll see you in my next post!