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Monday, August 13, 2007


Thanks to Game Politics I've discovered Erik Bethke and the impressive premise of an online avatar's bill of rights. Erik is CEO of GoPets and developer of a game that goes by the same name. The theoretical possibility of an avatar's judiciously protected properties was hailed by Ralph Koster a chronological chasm of seven years ago, yet the materialisation of habeus corpus remains as removed from existence as a habitual corpse. This despotic state of affairs seems placed to topple as Erik has both the mind and the platform of GoPets by which to virtuously campaign and effect both expectations and reality.

Erik's proposal of action could likely lead to a re-evaluation of reality for other online content producers/hosters such as Blizzard, YouTube, and even bloggers such as myself. We'll need to enquire of ourselves: 'To what extent is this venue a public space? At what point is intervention justfied and do I, as an administrator, possess greater privilege over my visitors?'. The establishment of a tribunal - in which a public panel contemplates evidence and passes judgement - has been put forth by Erik; this system has an inherent advantage in its existence within an MMO, being that a presumedly impartial power (the game's administrator) has access to reliable logging data (such as that of both party's conversations) that can be utilised to ascertain truth when presented to a judicial organisation. Even still, is this kind of logging to be permitted in a surveillance-sensitive society? These are the kind of questions that should (and I'm confident, will) be asked before Erik's formative deadline regarding GoPets' EULA.

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