TED Conversations

Gary Riccio

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Community Organization and Impact in Online Games

We would like to have a conversation about interpersonal interactions and relationships within the communities that organize around online games. Our intent is to create a "natural laboratory" for this TED conversation by grounding the conversation in contemporaneous experiences of gamers that both reflect and influence the attendant community experiences. We are exploring this as a form of "participatory journalism" (see e.g., http://bit.ly/MgDdwA)

Use your browser (not the search utility in the panel at the upper left of this page) to find key words that will direct you to important topics in this conversation to date. Visitors can then reply to the relevant post or write an "original post" (OP).

* raw person or raw individual
* identity or persona or self
* self efficacy
* leadership

* engagement
* communication
* second-person standpoint
* communities or commitment

* respawn or one-life or lobbies
* mental health and wellness
* hard conversations
* civic hacking or civil hacking

* friends
* teach or learn
* civilized
* the long tail

Community interactions also can be interesting and consequential outside the context of the gameplay around which the community organizes. We believe this potential for games is poorly understood by the general public. Yet there is an intense and general curiosity about what occurs in the interactions among gamers and in the impact of gameplay in society.

Our claim is that there is "no neutral" in the effects of significant interpersonal interactions that occur in online games. Games have prosocial effects or antisocial effects irrespective of genre (e.g., first-person shooter games).

We are exploring this topic in a variety of forums such as:
http://griccio2103b.wordpress.com (e.g., tags: prosocial, violence),


Closing Statement from Gary Riccio

Our stated intent for this TED Conversation was "to create a natural laboratory for this TED conversation by grounding the conversation in contemporaneous experiences of gamers that both reflect and influence the attendant community experiences."

We refer to this kind of conversation as "diaβlogue." This is distinguished from a web-Based LOG of one’s own ephemeral opinions. A diaβlogue utilizes multiple communication platforms to create a distributed and decentralized collaboratory for systematic development of capabilities. It thus is a synthesis of best practices in “continuous beta” and "open innovation" (see http://tinyurl.com/Riccio-diaBlogue).

A diaβlogue removes walls between insiders and outsiders, it tends to eliminate the distance between presence and remoteness, and it blurs the distinction between first-hand and second-hand experience insofar as it provides all networked participants with inescapable accountability for their impact on each other and on their respective situations.

This TED Conversation built on what had been mostly oral communication between behavioral/social scientists and informants in and around a particular online game community over a two-year period. It has created a collaborative journal that is open to the public and, to the extent it is edifying, for the public good.

The TED Conversation did, in fact, both reflect and influence the contemporaneous experiences of gamers in the Division IGR. This collateral impact is documented at www.thedivisionigr.com as well as https://twitter.com/D_IGR and https://www.facebook.com/THEDIVISIONIGR?ref=hl. We believe we thus have made some progress in developing or at least promulgating a new form of participatory science journalism (http://bit.ly/MgDdwA).

While our intent was to build bridges between communities of practice rather than to draw a large audience, we are pleased that the open conversation has drawn outside interest ranging from "Linked Wellness" to "Blended Learning."

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    Mar 1 2014: "We have to stop disliking our children" (Penn Jillette on Video Games & Violence) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohzJqq_m3uo

    The applause of the audience in this show is a thundering reminder of how ignorant we are, as a society, about the culture of playing video games and especially about the social aspect of online games, whether prosocial or antisocial. We need a different kind of public conversation that seeks above all else to become better informed.

    It is important to note that, while we have been focusing on prosocial effects of online games in our TED Conversation, we don't assume that the effects are always positive. We do assume, however, that the most positive and the most negative effects are due to the social interactions that occur more or less spontaneously around particular online games rather than to the games themselves (to the extent that one can make a valid distinction here).

    As Dan C points out, games can be designed to allow the development of relationships outside of gameplay. They don't have to foster it; they simply can avoid creating barriers to the social interactions that people crave. Communities will self organize if online games allow it. Games can come out into the commons or they can retreat to remote places where life confronts only that which is not alive. In the light of day, we can come to understand how people influence each other and what they come to mean to each other in new social media and new forums.
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      Mar 12 2014: "I believe, that [our] goal, without condescension and without manipulation, is to tell the truth as [we] see it."

      Penn is amazing >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsXxUKjklt8
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        Mar 12 2014: "if I'm trying to convince them, I have not given any possibility of them being right" (Penn Jillette)

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