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Journal cover: Online Information Review

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Online from: 1977

Subject Area: Library and Information Studies

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Deception in video games: examining varieties of griefing

Document Information:
Title:Deception in video games: examining varieties of griefing
Author(s):Victoria L. Rubin, (Language and Information Technologies Research Lab, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada), Sarah C. Camm, (Language and Information Technologies Research Lab, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada)
Citation:Victoria L. Rubin, Sarah C. Camm, (2013) "Deception in video games: examining varieties of griefing", Online Information Review, Vol. 37 Iss: 3, pp.369 - 387
Keywords:Computer games, Content analysis, Cyber-bulling, Deception and deceptive strategies, Griefing, Harassment, Human-to-human verbal interaction, Individual behaviour, Lying, Negative attitudes, Video games, Video gaming
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/OIR-10-2011-0181 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:This research is funded partly by the University of Western Ontario Academic Development Fund, New Research and Scholarly Initiative grant entitled “Towards Automated Deception Detection” (No. 10-303). The authors' whole-hearted gratitude goes to the Something Awful forum thread contributors, the ten interviewees and two anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful contributions.

Purpose – 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.

Design/methodology/approach – 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.

Findings – 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.

Originality/value – 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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