What Makes Griefers Grief?

from the here-comes-the-science dept

There are lots of reasons to explain why people are such jerks online, such as anonymity or a lack of direct human contact. You might imagine that similar reasons could explain griefers -- people who intentionally harass or annoy other players in online games -- but one psychiatrist says it's got more to do with group dynamics. She says that griefers could frequently be either "defiant leaders" (people who are ambivalent or reluctant to remain part of a group) or "scapegoat leaders" (who, as the name implies, become scapegoats and marginalized), and their griefing is a manifestation of their acting out these roles. Out-of-game psychology can influence these players, so for instance, if they're a scapegoat in their family, they might take on that role in a game as well. But, the psychiatrist adds that griefers could also just be mentally ill, whether they're depressed, have a psychotic disorder, or substance abuse problems. The bottom line, really, seems to be that people could be jerks in games for pretty much the same reasons they could be jerks in real life, which doesn't exactly help explain the phenomenon. As for a solution, GamePro recommends responding "with compassion", so if you can get a griefer to stop killing you long enough, try to get them on your amateur shrink's couch.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Malazoth, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 9:44pm

    WoW!

    Suddenly, World of Warcraft takes on a whole dimension as the antics of gung-ho PvP dweebs are cast in the light of psychosis. My home realm, The Venture Co., is suddenly not so much a REALM per se as a half-way house for the overtly deranged.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 9:58pm

    I'm pretty sure the main reason is for the attention that they do not get at home...as well as those listed.

     

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  3.  
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    security, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 10:05pm

    Adults vrs Kids

    There probably has to be seperate analyses for Adults verse Kids or Teens who behave this way.

    Reflecting on some of the high profile tragedies involving people who just lost-it, constant behavior like this must be a warning of what could potentially occur in the future, especially if there are other signs.

     

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  4.  
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    Joe Smith, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 10:44pm

    adults

    And some adults have graduated from the games to be griefers on blogs and bulletin boards all over the country. Puts a few of the regulars here in a whole new light ...

     

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  5.  
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    Jacob Buck, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 11:05pm

    i vote that the lack of physical interaction emboldens the little twerps. when dealing with people (face to face or not) i am always respectful, and no one hassles me in person. granted that might be because i'm 6'9 and 240 pounds. if it was people acting out their family roles in group settings, i would still encounter jerks in my day to day. the only other reason for morons online must be the lack of reprecussions via physical interaction ( an ass whooping, for example ).

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 11:28pm

    "GamePro recommends responding "with compassion","

    [sarcasm]Yeah, that'll work.[/sarcasm]
    I recommend a swift kick to the balls, if that's not available, a swift ban to the face. Griefers aren't going to stop if you ask them nicely, threaten their life, or anything in between. "GamePro" would know this if they had ever spent 5 minutes in an online game.

     

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  7.  
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    The Swiss Cheese Monster, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 11:36pm

    ...Because I play Unreal to extend love and compassion to my fellow man...

     

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  8.  
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    Will, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 11:51pm

    I wonder if use of the term "standard" might be a term lost in translation, where maybe they see the term "standard" as meaning "THE standard", perceived as the best in it's class or something like that. Just a guess.


    http://www.appletvconverter.net

     

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  9.  
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    ShaggyZed, Mar 22nd, 2007 @ 12:09am

    Dear Lord, please grant me the ability to punch people in the face over standard TCP/IP.

     

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  10.  
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    Paul, Mar 22nd, 2007 @ 1:00am

    Uh huh

    sounds like the OP got griefed

     

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  11.  
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    MrPaladin, Mar 22nd, 2007 @ 3:23am

    Excuse me but I have another option...

    I believe theres another option then 'with compassion'

    you see in general, these jerks know they are being jerks, because when the same thing is done to them they dont like it either...

    so 'with compassion' if you want I would prefer that they get a nice perma ban from whatever they are greifing in... then after a few bans they can realise their behavior is not acceptable anywhere, and either seek real life companionship, or behave correctly ingame...

    hell in a real life game of chess, football or any 'sport' if someone greifed they would get thrown out of the game.... how is online any different to that?!?!?

    with compassion my arse....

     

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  12.  
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    Mike, Mar 22nd, 2007 @ 5:20am

    anonymity and Jacob Buck

    It has everything to do with anonymity.

    Here watch:

    Jacob Buck is a faggy fuck face who beats off to his mother pooping.

     

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  13.  
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    ShadowSoldier, Mar 22nd, 2007 @ 5:42am

    I think they are just jerks, and using space-age technology, said jerks should be tracked down by admin or whoever and sent a hardy kick in the sack, then they'll learn that online actions can have real world reprocussions.

     

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  14.  
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    thecaptain, Mar 22nd, 2007 @ 5:46am

    I agree with MrPaladin

    I don't think there are many cases where "griefers" don't realize they are acting like jerks, they know it, they revel in it.

    Asking anyone to extend to them compassion is like your mother telling you "ignore them and they will go away". These people have incredible patience and focus and loads more time than most people do...and their sole goal is to get a rise out of people. Ignoring them or being "nice" to them just ups the ante, makes them want to work even more to piss you off.

    Ban em, eventually they'll either get the hint, or just move off somewhere else.

    Griefers get off on griefing because there are no consequences, "compassion" will not give them those consequences...so until you can find a way to punch em in the groin over TCP/IP, banning them is one consequence they CAN experience.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2007 @ 6:33am

    Robert A. Heinlein, the science fiction writer, suggested there are a lot of people in this world who are thoroughly miserable for whatever reason and their only purpose in life is to make everyone else as miserable as they are.

    According to Heinlein, these people are never going to change and they are "better off dead". In fact, we'd all be better off if they were dead. They'd be happier and we'd be happier.

    He called it his "Better Off Dead List".

    I think "griefers" fall into this category.

     

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  16.  
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    lol, Mar 22nd, 2007 @ 7:11am

    hahah

    Let's see, I have been a grief killer since the first MMORPG's... That just how I play the game. I don't give a rats ass about farming gold or getting a Vanq BattleAxe.. I just want to PvP. You are in the same world as me, if you want to survive, you must kill me.

    I find it amusing now the band of noobs have formed together and trying to find psychological reasons for us to kill you... Now go back to your care bear land servers and hold hands and roast marshmellows.. If you want to play with real players join a fucking real server

     

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  17.  
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    chaoticjelly, Mar 22nd, 2007 @ 7:19am

    It's a game

    This is just another reason for "shrinks" to make money. These are fricking games people. Just like people read books to escape reality and put themselves in different roles, so do MMORPGers...

    I am a professional tech manager and very outgoing in all aspects of my RL community, however, I get in game and am a virtual world killer. Why? Because its interesting and a different story line. It's fun.

    Seriously, if you want to play an MMO where everyone is nice and there are no consequences, try Hello Kitty's Adventure Island...

     

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  18.  
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    lol, Mar 22nd, 2007 @ 7:21am

    By the way, why am I jerk for grief killing you? I dont think the grief killer who kills me is a jerk. He is apparently a better player than myself.

    c'mon.. you know it can happen, so you should be expecting it.

    Its cloudy and you hear thunder.. you have three choices.

    1) Stay outside by the flagpole
    2) Run for cover
    3) bring out your umbrella

    obviously the majority of noobs choose 1.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2007 @ 8:52am

    Re:

    People like that tick me off. There's PvP and then there is grief killing. PvP when you are matched reletivly evenly with your opponent, then there's someone who kills you just because your around. I'm level 60 and you're level 10 and I come and kill you and camp your body is griefing.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2007 @ 10:10am

    Sometimes griefing it needed to get frustrations out.
    I'm on a lower level 30 doing some questing in STV, and upper level 30's keep killing me, and then camping me to respawn and kill me again.
    Well I'm sick of the griefing on me, so what do I do?
    I log out of my current character. I log back in on my main character, and then take my level 70 all around the area and grief killing every character I can find, sometimes more than once. Then if I'm not satisfied, I move to a different area and kill some more. The original griefer's fault for pissing me off!

     

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  21.  
    icon
    ConceptJunkie (profile), Mar 22nd, 2007 @ 10:52am

    Re:

    I think an RFC is called for: VOIP, or Violence over IP.

     

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  22.  
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    Dan, Mar 22nd, 2007 @ 11:24am

    Re: Re:

    This line of thinking gives me the idea of a USB controlled telescopic boxing glove. You know those kind that are used in slapstick comedy and cartoons?

    The device would be spring loaded and you could release it over USB and with the right software, over the internet.

    I imagine a future where every internet user is required to have one, and eventually we'll make an upgrade to a "Switft Kick Boot" on a pneumatic arm from behind the chair.

    I'm actually completely serious about doing this (for shits and giggles), so if anybody knows where I can get a telescopic arm (the kind that looks like this: XXXXXXXXX ), let me know. I can build the controller and the software no prob.

     

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  23.  
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    Charles Griswold, Mar 22nd, 2007 @ 3:01pm

    Re: lol

    Let's see, I have been a grief killer since the first MMORPG's... That just how I play the game. I don't give a rats ass about farming gold or getting a Vanq BattleAxe.. I just want to PvP. You are in the same world as me, if you want to survive, you must kill me.

    I find it amusing now the band of noobs have formed together and trying to find psychological reasons for us to kill you... Now go back to your care bear land servers and hold hands and roast marshmellows.. If you want to play with real players join a fucking real server

    I think that somebody needs a hug. :-)

     

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  24.  
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    Jacob Buck, Mar 23rd, 2007 @ 12:31am

    Re: anonymity and Jacob Buck

    thanks for proving my point mike.

    by the way, where did you say you live?

     

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  25.  
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    Chris, Mar 23rd, 2007 @ 11:57am

    Re:

    You sure you don't play Unreal cause you're gay?

     

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  26.  
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    Chris Grooms, Mar 23rd, 2007 @ 11:59am

    The sheer mass of idiots and psychological disorders in this discussion amuse me to no end.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2007 @ 11:06am

    I've run across a lot of griefers in Second Life, and they're almost always kids, and almost always emotionally damaged in some way. Because of these two factors, all you can do is develop methods for keeping them out that also limits the enjoyment of the game for the rest of the players. Usually, though, people are willing to put up with the extra security steps to limit the access of the griefers to the game.

     

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  28.  
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    rawr, Sep 28th, 2007 @ 6:15am

    i shoot people in counter strike... does it count as being griefer?

     

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  29.  
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    LKAJF, Sep 28th, 2007 @ 10:07am

    This is called making stuff up. Notice that none of the articles linked actually makes reference to any evidence or data, no peer-review studies, nothing. There is ZERO evidence offered that any "griefer" game player has any IRL mental issues whatsoever.

    It's just somebody with letters after their name, who probably doesn't play games, hearing people crying second-hand and isn't considering their motivations for whining.

    NOT SCIENCE.

     

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  30.  
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    Bob, Sep 28th, 2007 @ 2:28pm

    NECRO

     

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  31.  
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    Dimitry Kalashnikov, Sep 30th, 2007 @ 8:35pm

    This is why I hate psychiatrists. They see someone's actions over the internet and they suddenly believe they have some whole life story. I've been called a griefer many times. Why do I do it? I enjoy it to be honest. It's fun to see people get all worked up over a game. Usually from my experiences, the griefers are the coolest people actually playing the game, as opposed to the other side which I like to call the WHINERS who would rather complain to developers to have THEM fix the problem.

    Someone griefing you? Grief back, and if you give me some notion of e-morality then perhaps you should end yourself and relieve yourself of your misery AKA Your life.

     

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  32.  
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    Bob, Oct 2nd, 2007 @ 10:34pm

    O noes

    Tbh i started off a LOT of games a carebear. Only really clued up within the last year. I never got amazingly EMO as do some, but took it too seriously for sure.

    Most people will get shitty getting spawn ganked by a much higher level person. Theres a solution or two, gank them the F**K back (assuming you have a higher leve char), or move yourself (corpse drag, whatever) somewhere else and escape.

    Or whine about it.

    PVP is fun, in PURE pvp games (UO, Eve-O) ingame cash is purely to pay for your pvp habits. Get out of "OMGILUZESTUFFWAAAA" mode and ENJOY pvp. It is actually fun once you get into it.

     

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  33.  
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    Gazzi, Oct 3rd, 2007 @ 9:50am

    Joke

    Is this a joke? lol PvP is fun in every game. killing computer isn't. simple as that. Stop whining about some game dude. Grieving is fun specially when people like you start whining about it on some shitty website

     

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