An Internet Antibody Simulation

I can understand the concept of freedom and capitalism, and that standing up against fascism and ruthless oppression is only possible thanks to each individuals’ capacity to tolerate the flaws of their neighbor.

That said, there’s a number of things that have occurred in my monkeysphere lately that cause me sympathize overmuch with the Dr. Horrible approach to world reform.  My inner dictator fantasy has crossed well over the level of “freeze ray,” even past “death ray,” and into “horde of robotic death machines.”

Zappo!

Zappo!

The thing is that there once was a time, back when the Internet was young, that there were adequate moderation to keep things relatively under control.   No place was immune, of course, but at least the disease of Internet tomfoolery was kept to a reasonable level.  That’s no longer the case.  Either our online police are sorely outnumbered, or too many outsourced clueless ones have taken their place.

When organized arbitration fails to resolve the injustices of the world, it’s human nature to eventually reach a breaking point, and grisly consequences result.  Lets see who’s on my list.

1. Those Who Pay Gold Farmers / Spammers

These are the infamous Chinese gold farmers, but I’m not racist: I’ll happily extend this to all nationalities who ply this insidious trade.  As you can see in the video, they’re not bad people. However, they are people driven by incredible incentive to do the wrong thing. They live in a county where the cost of living is much lower, so if they can get somebody to pay them $100 for 40 hours of work playing a game, it’s a whole lot more money than they could make performing many tougher jobs.

So what’s the problem?  Feed the world, right?  Supporting a gold farmer is covertly instilling thoughts of the magic of free capitalism into the Chinese mainstream, and what red-blooded American still terrified by McCarthyism shaken parents would be against that?

Personally, whether or not I’m an artist, it seems that I do at least have the artistic temperament.  Thus, I’m sensitive to the fact that the whole purpose of a virtual world is to isolate it from the (among other things) economic realities of real life, and gold farmers shatter this separation.  To me, RMT trade is about the moral equivalent of going down to the local community church and throwing bricks through all the glass stained windows.  Saying you don’t share my artistic temperament so it’s okay to engage in RMT is like my saying I don’t worship Christianity so it was fine for me to break those windows.

A less personal objection is that gold farming isn’t so innocent.  An EVE Online GM went public with a disclosure of a great deal of real life crimes that gold farmers commit to peddle their wares.  You might suggest that the GM was exaggerating to demonize gold sellers, but why wouldn’t what he said be true?  After all, when the goal becomes making money at the game, all concern for playing the game as intended disappears.  Even you, dear reader, may been personally attacked by these people and never realized it, because it’s regular practice amongst many gold farmers to attempt to hack accounts in order to sell their contents.

So, where would I send my fantasy robotic death machine horde?  Not at the gold farmer – they’re just reacting to incentives.  I go for the roots.  It would be the people who actually pay for RMT services I would capture and have molecularity disassembled, one atom at a time, over weeks.   I don’t care if they’ve justified cheating with, “I don’t have as much time to play.”  The fact that they dropped one red cent on Chinese gold farmers is the reason why gold farmers exist, and therefore their lives are forfeit before the mighty robo-armada.

This picture of the average spam supporter is far less heartwarming if youve ever done tech support for them.  Oh well, nature will soon met out a far more definitive conclusion than I would.

This picture of the average spam supporter is far less heartwarming if you've ever done tech support for them. (They're still pretty adorable, so I forgive them.)

I’d like to extend this treatment to those who pay for products spammed to them over emails for the same reason: every dollar towards spammers is incentive to keep spamming.  However, spam recipients differ from your typical MMORPG player in that the average person to fall for spam is likely to be an innocent elderly individual who just bought the computer to keep up with their kids.  (Why do you think there’s so much Viagra spam?)  I don’t think grandpa’s heart could take my methods of removing incentive from spamming, so I’ll just let nature take care of that.  In about 40 years, that demographic will be quite computer literate, and hopefully the technological spam arms race will have been settled in our favor.

2. Wanton Cheaters

Why “wanton” cheaters, and not all of them?  Well, there exist relatively innocent cheaters who do not understand that cheating in online games is wrong.

I once met such a person.  He says, “Oh, you’re a gamer.  Cool, I love games.  Say, do you know where I can find some Half Life 2 cheats?”  No malice was on his face, it was open and honest, he said it as plainly as if he was asking for the time of day.  I meekly explained to him that while it’s okay to cheat on your own in a single player game, it’s not right to cheat when you’re playing online with strangers because it ruins the fun for other people.  He looked at me as though I was the one who was naive.

To these souls, I suspect that education would be key.  If they have difficulty picking up a simple monologue explaining things, I’m sure electroshock therapy would help things along, and lucky for me that any self-respecting killbot runs on electricity.

Ever wonder why the terrorists win?

Ever wonder why the terrorists win?

Of course, not everyone is so innocent in this manner.  Their incentives to cheat range from simple frustration and desire to win to simply enjoying making other peoples’ lives miserable.  I don’t care if it’s an online game or not, those are real emotions those people are toying with, and consequently, they need to pay.

As much as I’d prefer to attack the root, there is no easy scapegoat for the cheater.  What am I supposed to do, blame the parents for their kid’s not understanding it’s wrong to cheat?  Blame the developer for not making their game solid enough to stand up to the combined efforts of the Internet’s bored hacking community?  No, I’m afraid the best course of action is to put the fear of Robot Jesus back into the cheaters themselves.

Thus, my fantasy mechanized horde would turn their whirling gears of heartless death to descend directly upon the cheaters – ideally, in their homes, during prime time gaming hours.  On this dark night, throughout the Internet, many sessions of Counterstrike are briefly interrupted by inexplicable screams echoing off the microphones of seemingly random players.  There’ll be nothing random about it: justice has arrived on the wings of a thousand buzzing metal saws, each cheater caught red handed, and said hands removed.  For many cheaters, this would severely inhibit their ability to cheat.  Should they still seem inclined to cheat, however, the robots would be programmed to experiment with other limbs.

3. Forum Trolls

Message boards have become much worse lately, and this is due to the widespread acceptance of the rickroll.  We’ve been misdirected to lies in the name of comedy so heavily that it surprises no one anymore, it simply annoys.  The admins are apparently too tired to keep their boards clean, and so once again it falls to the metal menace to set things right.

Bam!  Suddenly you've a reason to hate cake.

Bam! Suddenly, you're off cake forever.

Maybe you just wanted attention?  Oh, such attention you shall have!  Since trolls enjoy irony so much, it seems appropriate to deliver upon them an ironic punishment.  Upon the backs of sharp mechanical mules they’ll be borne, through the brambles and into secluded caves, where they’re tied down with cold metal clamps and and kept alive extraneously by foul-feeling chemicals.  Before them, a simple viewscreen, with a never-ending demo reel of sarcastic comedy so poorly executed that even a troll’s shriveled sense of humor would be repulsed.  Their sufferance is paid once a measurement of blood emitted from the eyes has been collected by specially calibrated tech bots: one pint per troll post.  Seems like a shame to waste it – the Red Cross would have a very good month, indeed.

Fantasy is always better than reality

Of course, the inner dictator lurking in the back of the mind of a person is a heartless bastard, bereft of human compassion, ultimately a sadly myopic fellow who brings upon the world more harm than good through an inability to understand others’ point of view.   I have no robotic horde of death machines, nor would I allow my personal convictions to goad myself into seeking one.  Ignorance may be the root of evil in this world, but to destroy the ignorant is to demonstrate it exists within you as well.

Alas, those who assault my senses have no such petty moral concerns, and I’m paying for it day by day.  My vengeance relegated safely to fantasy, I guess all there’s left to do is humbly entreat purveyors of fine Internet services: Please, hire adequate moderators.

People who can ban gold farmers and their customers quickly enough to render the game unprofitable to penetrate.  People who can monitor game servers and assure fair play.  People whose forum moderator banstick has “rickroller” emblazoned upon it in gold.  And so on. If you can’t afford these people, perhaps you should consider shutting down your service entirely, instead of just allowing said service to add to the existing disease pool on the Internet.

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