Though not new to online gamers, griefing – an act of play intended to cause grief to game players – is fairly understudied in LIS scholarship. The purpose of this paper is to expand the inventory of griefing varieties, consider their deceptive elements and examine attitudes towards the phenomenon.
The authors collected and content analysed 80 (non‐elicited) posts from the Something Awful forum thread and compared them to the results of ten (elicited) e‐mail interviews.
As a complex phenomenon, griefing has multiple interpretations and opposing attitudes. The thread results show that griefers, as perpetrators, have predominantly positive or neutral attitudes towards the act. About 15 per cent of the examined griefers reportedly resort to deceptive techniques. More extravagant griefs that require verbal interactions in player‐versus‐player (PvP) online games involve deception and often fall into two categories: scamming or greed play (prioritising personal benefits). The authors found self‐reported instances of deception by scheming, luring, entrapment, pretence and verbal concealment in griefing acts. The interview respondents, as predominantly victims of griefs, do not think of griefing (or may not be aware of it) as an act of deception and primarily associate it with harassment (inciting emotional reactions) or power imposition (exerting superiority). Casual griefing – refusing to comply with the rules for mere entertainment – stands out as another griefing variety.
With the growth of popularity of video gaming, libraries are largely unaware of griefing and should be prepared to address it in video game use policies for online gaming units or tournaments. Online gaming affords a unique opportunity to examine deception in computer‐mediated human‐to‐human communication. The complexity of the phenomenon and associated opposing views are offered here to be weighted by the LIS scholars and professionals.
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