Category Archives: Lesson 9 task

Griefing: Is it Cyberbullying?

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.

Trying to be all philosophical and stuff…


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!

It’s Complicated


When it comes to bullying we tend to agree that it is the act of intentionally harming others for attention, acceptance, etc. If you google “what is cyberbullying?” what kind of results would you get? You’ll get a lot of varying views on bullying in general, trust me, I just googled the question. This type of ambiguity that is present in many  abstract nouns, however, with the growing importance of identifying and preventing bullying in our society, it is important to clearly define the term. danah boyd discusses this in her book, It’s Complicated. She discusses the obstacles that are present when identifying bullying in the real and virtual world.

Her main points are about untangling the dynamics of a person to understand if they are being bullied. An example she includes is about the concept of “frenemies.” Think about it, have you ever had a friend who you had a rivalry with? Have you regretted treating that friend a certain way when you tried to compete with them?

Yes, you’re such a good friend Gretchen.

This is also portrayed in pop culture, such as in the Mean Girls film. Many would say that Regina definitely bullies the other plastics. However, the girls accept her criticisms willingly. So, does this in turn not make Regina a bully? boyd says that we need to understand the nooks and crannies of frenemies in order to understand if there is any bullying going on between them, or if it is just a friendly competition.

Even Justin Bieber doesn’t like it when his mom is in his business.

Another point she makes out is the dynamics at school, and online can be interpreted differently. Let’s face it, you don’t want your parents knowing your every move. As a result, parents are not aware of what interactions take place at school, or within a group of friends. By reading a comment on their child’s Facebook post there is no way to convey the tone, or know the background information (it is an inside joke, or an insult?). Additionally, cyberbullying is passive, there is no way to definitely know if it is going on. For example, if your child comes home with a black eye it’s obvious that someone punched them, or some type of accident happened at school. However, with cyberbullying there’s no way to tell if your child is feeling down because of a bad day, bad grades, or bullying (in short, it’s a guessing game).

I agree with boyd’s views as I see the media constantly categorizing acts as bullying. Also, when I think about bullying I find it hard to define. Often times I think “well if this happens this way,” “what is the context,” etc. Lastly, I believe that boyd’s main argument about what’s at stake is important. This is that the punishments bullies face can have adverse effects, and cause long-term harm. Studies have shown that positive reinforcements of good behavior is a much better approach to bullying. This article explains that in the last few paragraphs, it also covers the topic I will go over in my next few posts.

Are we easily “bully shaming” our kids today? What are your thoughts on categorizing bullying, the “real problem,” and how to deal with cyberbullying?

So this concludes my first post, I hoped you enjoyed it!

Leave some comments below on what you thought about my post, and any improvements, or new ideas you want to bring up 🙂