Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Quote of the Week: Tails

As I said in my prior post, I have two choices for Quote of the Week.  Here's the other one:
[Nyphur] mistakenly believed that he could debate a topic with a real-life lawyer in a live format.
That one is Shawn Schuster from Massively, commenting on Nyphur's EVE Evolved column on that website.

As I mentioned the last couple of blog posts, Nyphur was a participant in the EVE Radio interview with the other CSM members about the Alliance Panel debacle.

Overall, I'm extremely pleased at how this was covered by EVE Radio.  Unlike their previous show regarding the CSM, the so-called "debate" between riverini and Mittens, this one was handled very professionally, courteously, and with a minimum of hurf-blurf.  DJ FunkyBacon, who did most of the honors, should feel very proud of his handling of it: he laid out the situation and gave his own opinion, and then he stepped out of the way.  He brought in the participants, let them speak for themselves, asked a lot of really good questions, and generally let the drama stand on its own without a lot of silly posturing or pandering.  Well done!

It really kind of made me wish I had a pod-cast of my own, honestly.  ;-)

Nyphur, however, should feel rather ridiculous at his performance.

Now I'm not going to jump on the band-wagon of beating up on this guy, as tempting as that might be.  That's definitely not my intent.  But there really were two sides to this coin during the proceedings.  That deserves to be explored, hopefully in a fact-based dispassionate way.  Mittens made it very clear that he screwed up, took responsibility for his actions, and while he's clearly annoyed at the consequences, objectively, he appears to accept them.  When viewed objectively, Nyphur appeared to spend most of his time trying to side-step the real issue and avoid blame.

The real issue is this: he linked a person's real name to a real-life hot-button political issue, then tried to avoid responsibility when called on it.

Take a look at this:


That's a Google search of The Mittani's real name during the EVE Radio coverage, from a U.S.-based client.  The first link is Mittens's Facebook page.

The second link is Nyphur's article, identifying Mittens as an apologizing cyber-bully.  The second link.

Nyphur spent an inordinate amount of time trying to minimize, marginalize, or avoid this issue.  But from my perspective, nothing he said during the EVE Radio segment to try to justify himself makes a damn bit of difference once you look at that graphic.  He does the very same thing in the article this week, trying desperately to explain away responsibility for his actions.

Again, it's not my intent to beat up on the guy.  He's now been working hard to do the right thing here, outside of this week's EVE Evolved column.  The "cyber-bully" reference has since been removed and visiting the page on my little graphic above now goes to an empty website.  But it remains the second link shown when Mittens's real name is entered into Google.  Listening to Nyphur claim that Massively isn't all that an important site in the MMO world was just frankly disingenuous.  For the record, according to Alexa, Massively is a top 1000 website in the U.S. and a top 2500 website world-wide, far more high-profile than any other site that picked up the story, including Eurogamer.

Schuster points out that Mittens's real name was public knowledge after his CSM6 victory.  Fair enough.  But as Schuster correctly points out, a journalistic code of conduct should have been followed to prevent such a loaded political issue from being used with regard to someone's real name at such a high profile website.  Schuster recognizes that, and that's a very good thing.  That said, I also completely agree with his annoyance at the Goons and their allies for their open, apparently directed attacks on the site itself.  Many of those attacks are over the line.

How this issue has been handled by a lot of people has been almost legendarily bad.  Hell, CCP themselves has to examine their own conduct in this matter.  Reputable gaming websites and blogs -- including myself -- went to great pains to try to avoid publishing the victim's name in this incident, for instance.  But right in the EVE log-in screen, the in-game news reporters ignored the bulk of the story in their rush to publish the victim's name and virtually nothing else!

So yeah, there's plenty of blame to go around, and plenty for a lot of people to learn.

46 comments:

  1. Seems like there's a bug going around with terrible handling of major gaffes by video game companies. First BioWare, now CCP.

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  2. So let me get it straight, a guy maks an ass out himself in public by promoting a cyber bulling within and out of the game, the media reports it, and now he is playing a "victim" here and bullies the media. What is wrong with calling him a "bully" if this is what he does? How does that justifies what he does in your eyes, Jester?

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    1. So ganking people is cyber bullying now?

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    2. Are you that slow? It is not about ganking but bringing into public someone's intention to kill themselves. This should not been used while speaking in public. There are some people that are more sensitive than others, trying to run away from problems by for example playing video games. Talking about suicide is serious issue and should not be handle with such insensitivity.

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    3. No. Encouraging 10k+ people who just voted for you and however many that were watching the panel to do this is...

      "Incidentally if you want to make the guy kill himself his name is ... He has his own corp... find him."

      It's interesting that Alex Gianturco was able to redefine `cyber-bullying' as something that only exists when the act of bullying is persistent.

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    4. The only thing that crossed the line was the verbiage he used. Telling people to gank someone isn't 'cyberbullying'.

      Furthermore, it's only really 'bullying' if The Mittani actually thought the dude was serious about killing himself. Otherwise it's just laughing at an outrageous claim. (Which it turned out to be.) Since every couple weeks there seems to be a new loser who wants to make light of suicide and use it as a get out of jail free card, not much credence is attached to these sorts of empty gestures. (Surprise, it was an empty gesture.)

      Far worse than this has happened in EVE, but nobody really cares unless they can grind their Mittani axe.

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    5. You contradict yourself. FIrst, you say it's never bullying. Then you say it depends on Alex's perception of the victim's intentions. You also seem to imply that suicide should not be taken seriously until the victim commits suicide.


      Somehow Alex became a mascot for the sandbox nature of Eve to all bitter vets. This selfish motivation is just about protecting the rawness of Eve.

      The size of an alliance, or a CSM seat, or an in-game celebrity should be considered irrelevant when choosing how to deal with this issue. Offending players, regardless of their status within the game should be considered disposable. Preventing a suicide is more important that our computer game. It's confused me that this has been lost throughout this debacle.

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    6. I used quotes to imply that the 'bullying' wasn't really bullying. Ganking someone in a PvP game can never be considered bullying.

      The fact remains if you're a mentally unstable person you shouldn't be playing any MMO, much less EVE. And you certainly shouldn't be telling strangers that you're thinking of suicide.

      You seem to think that human life is precious. I do not share that view.

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    7. you seem to forget that every day people in eve get told to "die in a fire", "go kill themselves" etc.. and no one cares... you say it shouldn't matter that Mittens is a public figure in EVE but at the same time the only reason you are so angry is because he is the leader of goons...

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  3. I'm concerned about "The Wiz", and his actions.

    A threat to suicide over in game actions should have resulted in an immediate suspension, until his Psychiatrist or other health-care professional tells CCP he is stable enough to play.

    Yea, Mittens screwed up. But CCP should have acted as well. A suicide threat either requires immediate intervention, if real, or immediate punishment, if not real. In either case, the account should have been suspended.

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    Replies
    1. In my opinion, CCP is not responsible for communication in-game. It is the well-discussed transmitter dilemma in today's infrastructure. AT&T is not required to act, in fact, they must not follow, what is spoken on their phone lines.

      On the other hand, the Goons potentially omitted their civil responsibility as to bringing psychological instability of a player to the knowledge of the GMs. Only then CCP would have had a basis to act on. And only then you could call on them.

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  4. I find it interesting that you'd block out Mittens' name in the graphic but not Nyphur's.

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    1. I struggled with how to portray Nyphur in this post. The difference between the two of them is that Nyphur signs all of his EVE-related work with his real name. Check his EVE Evolved column. Search for his name on Google, where his Facebook is listed fourth and his LinkedIn profile sixth.

      Mittens decidedly does NOT sign his EVE-related work with his real name, as searching his name on Google shows.

      That's the difference.

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    2. Just searched for Alex on Google, and links 3 and 6 relates to his EvE related works (TTH and Gamasutra). It seems to me he prefers to associates his real name to EvE only when he's in control of the end product. That would be ok if he wasn't a public figure. But since he's a member of a council representing the players of a game, that clearly is not the case.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_figure

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    3. Things are done differently on the internet and no one needs to reveal their real name if they do not wish to. "The Mittani" is as valid of a name on the internet as "Alex" is IRL.

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  5. Ethics in journalism = lol.
    Ethics in pseudo-journalism = lol-squared. No, make that cubes.

    Then again, this is EVE, where "bullies" rule, and 2 wrongs DO make a right.

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    Replies
    1. That's quite the insightful commentary.

      I'm so glad you joined our discussion.

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    2. At least Hong's comments were readable this time. Baby steps.

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    3. Yeah, ya got the baby part right, anonyposters. ;-) I should prob keep to more monosyllabics so you kids can keep up. My bad.

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  6. Im confused, Alex Gianturco instigated a mob to make someone commit suicide and now everyone including you treats Alex Gianturco as a victim?
    Alex Gianturco the cyber bully a victim? How does that work?
    How is reporting a FACT wrong here?

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    1. Every person with an opinion on this needs to decide if the punishment fit the crime. If you're part of the group that feels his actions were "morally reprehensible", that's totally fine. But not everyone is.

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    2. Personally I feel DA should decide that, or FBI. After all Alex Gianturco did something that is illegal in US.

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    3. I could be wrong, but I don't think any US DA or the FBI have jurisdiction in Iceland, where the alleged offence took place...

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    4. If you watch the actual video, you could argue that Alex may, at worse, have condone bullying in one single sentence. And as soon as he realised it he apologised. So based on these facts, ANY lawyer would face an uphill battle to get Alex convicted.

      Jester, I wouldn't bring moral into this because that will keep this subject open for ever. From a legal point of view, nobody is taking Alex to court. And from an in game point of view, he received a 30 day ban from CCP. Case closed, nothing to discuss.

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  7. Jester, a heartfelt plea from an anon poster if you please...

    LET IT FUCKING GO. There are no socially redeeming goals that can be furthered by pursuing this non-story. Nobody fucking cares. Please get back to writing about EVE. I miss your blog entries that focus on EVE.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah Jester, stop voicing your opinion on an issue that affects the entire EVE community and go back to posting fittings and stuff!

      Nobody cares about how this fiasco will affect the future of EVE Online or the CSM or any of that. Just tell more PvP stories. That's what this blog is about right?

      I'm being sarcastic, by the way, if some readers can't tell.

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    2. Here is a fun fact: Goons on #tweetfleet were telling people to kill themselves throughout the controversy. I don't expect Mittens to control his horde, but let us not pretend that the most effective plan was for him to act contrite while Goons were Goons.

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    3. I don't think what Mittens did is wrong for the venue he chose to say it in.

      I also don't think massively did anything wrong. Like it or not, he applied for an eve public election that required his real name to be given. Everyone in the EvE universe has known The Mitanni's real name for over a year. Maybe not the last name, cause really, that is a bit of a mounthful and gets translated in my brain to.. "g.. why the hell would someone in the way back of history volunteer for this name.". But, it's a known quantity. A very quick google search would bring it you were unacquainted with it.

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    4. Yes, but it's not just everyone in the EVE universe that may have cause to google Mittens' real name. It's not an uncommon thing for potential employers to do, especially in high profile careers like law. If Mittens ever wanted to come out of retirement, that Massively article could cost him his choice of employment. I'd actually argue that by bringing his IRL name into this and tying it directly to cyber-bully accusation, Nyphur has done worse to Mittens than Mittens did to the guy whose ingame character he gave out (I would disagree if I seriously thought Mittens' intent was to make him kill himself - I still see that as just a joke).

      I'm sure plenty of people are going to say that that's fair and Mittens should be judged based on this. All I can say to that is, would you like your own employers, future partners or anyone you work with or go to school with to judge you based solely on one of the worst things you did, without any of the context or background surrounding it?

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  8. I can't get my head around the fact that this slide was approved by CCP for display in the first place.
    Having read it, there could have been only one course of action for a company with a ten year history in the MMO business.

    1: Tell Mr. Gianturco to not dare to display this on stage.
    2: Perma ban the accounts of t.w. and black list the owner.
    3: Notify the authorities about a possible jumper.

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    1. If the slide was the issue, then I'm sure they wouldn't have allowed it.

      The furore stems from the comments after the presentation, in the Q&A, where he blurts out the name. That's the bit that was over the line.

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    2. the slide was not an issue because the slide did not include the name of the "victim" it was in a Q&A session after the fact that the character name was mentioned and thus the slide was allowed

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    3. whoops that pretty much what the guy above here said... sorry

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  9. You just post the victims ingame name. I am amused.

    http://jestertrek.com/eve/blog/2012/ic-mittens-news.txt
    "Incidentally if you want to make the
    guy kill himself his name is 'The ...' T-H-E space .... Not with a
    z, The .... He has his own corp... find him."

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    1. I'd say the cat's been out of the bag for some time by now and I didn't want to modify the *CCP news item*. ;-)

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  10. The CSM office is tied to disclosure of the applicants' real names and countries of residence. As such, that public domain knowledge is free to be used in any other public domain.

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    1. Be sure to remember that when some idiot masquerading as a journalist runs a smear job on you, or someone you like.

      People seem to think that the name is the only thing wrong here. It's the pair of these sins together that make it so objectionable. But hey, maybe you like watching Fox News and are used to incredible bias and no accountability.

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  11. This is another silly post about The Mittani. The man messed up and the direct consequences of his actions was guys hunting "the victim" in his own system with suicide hotline number named ships. A guy obviously not very stable as mentioned in a very roundabout manner by the eve radio DJ. If things turned out differently alot more weight could have been given to The Mittani's comments. Like you said in your blog, people do get arrested and convicted for stupid stuff they do online while drunk.

    I agree that the mittani shouldn't get permabanned or arrested or anything like that. But everything that happend to the Mittani as his own fault. His real name and ingame char name are linked all over the internet and streamed over live broadcast and official CCP youtube movies.

    He created the media attention around his name and then got mad because the media used that info in a "scandalous" story. That exactly what happens in real politics and life. If you build yourself up, the media wants to drag you down especially if they can use "hot topics". From The Mittani's many mentions of "thats how politics" work he never truly understood the politics of the media I guess.

    Ok, now lets move on.

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    1. I'm pretty sure it was supposed to be somewhat along the lines of "whatever happens at evefest, stays at evefest" or at least within the game.

      It got blown out of proportion considering the amount of cursing and quasi-hate that flows through new eden on a regular basis.

      CCP gave the alliance panel reps free reign and threw drinks at them. I'm not sure what everyone expected to happen, but no one was offended at the panel.

      Some guys with a bone to pick simply started campaigning against the goons aggressively on this sole note alone (look at issler).

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    2. Anon nails it, this whole thing resulted from metagaming by anyone with a bone to pick with the goons/Mittani. The rest of that panel is near the same level as that single sentence, but there's no outrage at the corp that forced hostages to sing at gunpoint (which you know is how the media would sensationalize it given the proper incentives)

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  12. 3 things:
    - Brendan did apologise in that article "[...]I'd covered the story in a very sensationalist manner. I apologised on air for this". An apology does not need to be a wall of text. And the error is not linking a person's real name to a real-life hot-button political issue. It's to do so without taking any of the usual precautions: "allegedly" "appeared" "according to" and the likes. That's the difference with Eurogamer, who still have the articles on.

    - an offender can be the victim in another offence. Offender and victim are not mutually exclusive.

    - your articles about this whole business always steered cleared from stoking the flames, and you've got my kudos for that.

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  13. I was going to write a big post I would ask Jester to read/publish/whatever regarding why all of this had to go this way but it's really getting tiresome to read about this. Might have had relevance when it was close to it's events but not now.

    About this naming and shaming, there's only one point to consider, Alex 'The Mittani' is a public figure, he accepted his name to be used publicly (both real name and in game name) as soon as he started his online article writing and the inclusion in the CSM, his choice, as simple as that.

    The victim (which I could in game name, but I won't) did not ask for it, never did he something that would anywhere in the world grant anyone to drag his in game name to anywhere, granted, it's an in game name, but in eve it's a really hard to change in game name where your actions (or e-famouseness , does this word even exists?) are stuck with that name forever, even when char trading tbh, and it's hard to get rid of them.

    And in the end, there's a lot of incoherence from all parties all around, be it in the media, in eve-radio 'debate', etc, because some want to use the connections of eve in game names to real persons to justify their name being dragged down in the mud as something relevant (like how you just did with massively author and mittani) and then on the other side, their quick to dismiss the usage of the victim in game name in a public panel in a live stream as something that doesn't grant that amount of responsibility.

    From what I have seen, CCP actions were the only possible actions towards this matter to save their face (on both ends, players and media) and lucky Mittani should be, they gave him leeway to be able to rejoin CSM in the future. I guarantee that if that was not The Mittani, or Alex or Mittens, the punishment would have been far greater than this, and he knows it very well, I'm pretty sure they spoke over it, and I'm also pretty sure he knew what was coming, with the exception of the last blog post that kinda stepped on him a bit more than he deserved.

    Anyhow, the right thing has been done not to open future precedences over being lenient by CCP towards harassing players publicly (they were always strict about it actually) and nothing changed, the only thing that happened, was a very big public figure getting the whiplash, I would guess others got it as well, but without this much media attention, only because of how much of a media whore he is (with other agenda though, use it to push CPP towards a better way).

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  14. Just read the equivalent of this article, but from The Mittani's point of view on TTH. If you enjoy verbal judo, it's worth the read. And if you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll have a good laugh.

    Jester, did he send you a box of chocolates with his signed picture in it after he published that article? :P

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    Replies
    1. Sadly, no. ;-)

      But this raises an interesting point. It's been amusing to me how many people have swung over from thinking that I am an obvious Mittens enemy to thinking that I am a Mittens fanboy and white knight. The fact that neither is true seems to be escaping them.

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    2. If people shout at you from both sides of the fence, it's proof you've got a balanced view :)

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    3. what is this neutral you speak of... there is only red or blue....

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