How many of you have played or are still playing Dungeons & Dragons? Interesting The New York Times article by science journalist and io9.com co-founder Annalee Newitz. She’s the author of one of my favorite books, “Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction”.
“What makes D&D different is that we can never forget about the human beings behind the avatars. When a member of my group makes a bad choice, I can’t look into his face and shout insults the way I would if we were playing online. He’s a person, and my friend, even if he also inexplicably decided to open an obviously booby-trapped trunk, get a faceful of poison and use up my last remaining healing spell.
“But online, my friend would be just another dude with leathery blue skin, not someone whose face might crumple in sadness if I’m a jerk. There’s a toxic distance created by online gaming and social networks that allows us to pretend we’re not socializing with friends. Our empathy gets switched off. That may be one reason gamer arguments over fake countries and nonexistent knights can morph all too easily into hate-based social movements in the real world.”