Growing up surrounded by my brother and a mess of loud and sometimes obnoxious friends, I was no stranger when it came to gaming and trash talking. Whether we were swapping one-shot kills in Goldeneye, making fun of each others’ created characters in Wrestlemania 2000 or swapping insults during bouts of Bushido Blade, the smack we talked ran freely like milk and honey in the Promised Land. In my mind, this was just the way gaming was: friendly, fun and all in good sport. We dished out only what we could take, and only occasionally did the bad blood spill over into the real world, and usually it was the other way around.
My first extended stint into online gaming came with my late discovery of Counter-Strike my freshman year of college. What started as something just for pure fun soon grew into a relatively serious hobby. It was only when I dived in more deeply that I saw the gritty underbelly of the online world: griefing, racism, verbal threats and rage. Continue reading Is a Grief-Free Online Environment Really Possible?